July and August are notoriously slow months for area eateries: students evacuate, kids go to camp, families travel to avoid the heat. While the local hospitality industry is getting an unexpected bump from World Cup viewing, they've also come up with attractive strategies to stimulate business all summer.
Here's a list of summer offerings designed to entice Austinites into local restaurants – everything from free meals for kids and tasty new barbecue side dishes to prix fixe meals served in elegant settings. And remember, the air conditioning will be free.
* All summer long, the following restaurants are offering one free meal from their special kids' menus to children under 12 for each adult entrée purchased: 34th Street Cafe (1005 W. 34th); Gusto Italian Kitchen (4800 Burnet Rd.); Blue Star Cafeteria (4800 Burnet Rd. Ste. E-300); and Santa Rita Tex-Mex Cantina (1206 West 38th; 5900 Slaughter).
* While the 1886 Cafe & Bakery in the historic Driskill Hotel is being updated this summer, the Driskill Grill will be open for both breakfast and lunch. Enjoy pastries and coffee in the Driskill Bar daily from 6:30am until noon, when they begin serving lunch in addition to the regular bar menu and hours; breakfast and lunch in the Grill from 6:30am until 2pm daily; and dinner Tuesday-Saturday from 5:30-10pm.
* Max's Wine Dive (207 San Jacinto) hosts Mondays at the Dive with light snacks and wine specials from 11am until midnight and happy hour specials Tuesday-Friday from 4-7pm.
*TRIO at the Four Seasons (98 San Jacinto) continues their support for local animal care nonprofits by offering a three-course, $39 prix fixe dinner, with $2 from each dinner donated to the charity through August 29.
*Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew (6610 N. Lamar) has four new seasonal side dishes to pair with their excellent barbecue: marinated cucumbers and cherry tomatoes; chunks of watermelon; red potato salad with dill; and creamy corkscrew pasta with black olives and tomatoes.
*Z'Tejas Grill (all three locations) Enjoy their new summer entrées and desserts complemented by adult aguas frescas and garden margaritas.
* Ms. P's Electric Cock (1720 Barton Springs Rd.) Fans of the Blues on the Green concert series will want to check out Ms. P's special Picnic Chick-Nic: five pieces of fried chicken, two sides, rolls, and two bottles of water for only $20. This deal will be available at the Barton Springs Picnic location on Wednesdays July 9, 16, 23, and August 6.
* Sullivan's Steakhouse (300 Colorado) Through Labor Day, Sullivan's is offering Summer Fling prix fixe dinners: an 8-ounce filet mignon and half a Maine lobster tail for $42; and a Lobster Trio for $44. Each entrée comes with a salad, garlic mashers, and a refreshing slice of Key Lime pie.
* Apothecary Cafe & Wine Bar (4800 Burnet Rd.) In addition to their monthly wine dinner series, Apothecary is also offering seasonal, three-course meals on Monday nights for $25 all summer.
* Perry's Steakhouse & Grille (114 W. Seventh) This Texas family-owned eatery celebrates 35 successful years in business by offering their customers the 4444 Deal: four courses for $44 daily after 4pm during July and August.
* Kerbey Lane Cafe (all locations) During the entire month of July, Kerbey Lane Cafes show their support for the Capital Area Food Bank by accepting non-perishable canned goods for discounts on the diner's tab. Here's how it works: For every two cans of food donated (up to a limit of 10) diners get $1 off their bill, with a maximum $5 possible. Cash donations are also welcome.
* Corazon at Castle Hill (1101 W. Fifth) Choosing from the summer menu here, guests can buy one entrée and get one for half-price or order the prix fixe option of a three-course meal for two for $40.
* La Condesa (400 W. Second) Pollo Caliente Mondays here feature spicy hot fried chicken, potato salad, house pickles, Easy Tiger white bread, summer fruit cobbler bars, and lemonade, served family style to feed about four people for $60.
* Mandola's Trattoria Lisina (13308 FM 159 W. in Driftwood) Look for new seasonal gelato and sorbetto flavors and new cocktails all summer long.
* LaV (1501 E. Seventh) This Provencal spot is offering a Mediterranean meze menu Tuesdays-Saturdays from 5-6:30pm with appetizers and deals on wine by the glass.
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