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You've Come a Long Way, Baby

East Side King has gone from a backyard trailer to street-food empire in five short years

Blurry Vision

The Hightower hasn't found its groove – yet

Cold Comfort

Little Barrel and Brown is still warming up

Gus or Bust

Spicy, fried Memphis deliciousness – just hold the Styrofoam, huh?


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34 restaurants Sort by

Cuisine: Southern/Down-Home
2200 I-35 S. + 512/448-9711
When you need your Lone Star cold, your chicken-fried steak hot, and the ghost of Ernest Tubb on your shoulder, the Spoke is it.
3201 S. Lamar + 512/442-6189
300 E. Fourth + 512/473-0450
Locals who lament the scarcity of down-home dinettes these days, who search for that perfect platter of "meat and two", should take heart. The former home of Sallie's, just such a beloved joint, is now polished up and slinging three hots, seven days a week. Great folks, good food, go there. Read our review.
4140 E. 12th + 512/926-4140
It's been around for a few years, but still feels like a discovery. Look for upscale soul cooking, e.g., curried grits and greens, sweet pulled pork, and grass-fed short ribs. All ingredients are locally grown, and the condiments are all made in-house. The fresh juice cocktails go down nicely in an atmosphere described as "silent movie house meets Speakeasy". Read our review.
1100 E. Sixth + 512/467-4280
Light-filled and cheery with brightly colored walls and an open floor plan, this place serves up a raved-over crust on fried items as well as the best peach cobbler in these parts. Read our review.
1050 E. 11th #100 + 512/391-2331
The vinaigrette-dressed barley salad, tossed with smoked salmon, sectioned grapefruit, and kalamata olives is inspired simplicity. Move on to the house-made merguez, a grilled Moroccan beef and lamb sausage served with a green olive and red pepper salad, crispy potato coins, and red pepper aioli. Finish up with a puckery lemon bar. Read our review.
2307 Hancock + 512/371-6840
This Lakeway spot is serving up contemporary comfort food seven days a week. The spacious open-air patio fills up fast, so get there early on a pretty day. Read our review.
900 RR 620 S., Ste. B108, Lakewaay + 512/263-3673
As the first Texas outlet of a famous Memphis fried-chicken chain, this newcomer comes in strong. The simple menu includes chicken by the plate or individual piece. Plates come with a choice of two or three pieces: white, dark, or the "half chicken" option – one piece of each. Plates come with baked beans and slaw, but substitutions are allowed for 50 cents extra. Start with a couple of cans of Austin Beer Works brew and a plate of the best fried green tomatoes ever. Read our review.
117 San Jacinto Blvd. + 512/474-4877
Hill's Cafe has been around (off and on) since 1947 and is well-known not just for its chicken-fried steak and barbecue but for some big music in a small space.
4700 S. Congress + 512/851-9300
Chicken, biscuits, and sides.
2017 Manor Rd. +
Dishing out huge portions of Southern-style home cooking including jerk pork ribs, pork chops, and amazing sides, this place draws crowds. Try sweet-potato pancakes and fried chicken at breakfast.
2002 Manor Rd. + 512/479-5006
This legendary spot rests not on its laurels but atop beef-eaters' picks for Best Burger. It's justifiably famous for the two-for-one specials.
807 W. Sixth + 512/472-0693
Surrounded by panoramic windows and a superb view of Lake Travis, the bar and dining room offer a bright, unwittingly retro atmosphere for gussied-up comfort food with a Southern accent, including a fried-green-tomato BLT, crab-cake sliders, and a variety of down-home sides. Don't miss farm-to-table Wednesdays: Three local, seasonal, chef-prepared courses for $25.
101 Lakeway Dr., Lakeway + 800/525-3929
This popular trailer near Zilker Park turns out Nak-i-dish (ground pork and beef mixed with onions and stuffed inside a puff pastry crust), red beans and rice with juicy chunks of andouille sausage, and terrific crawfish pie.
1604 E. Sixth + 512/573-5215
Located above the Briarcliff Marina, this place is the ticket for great barbecue, fancy sides, and tender steaks.
406 Sleat Dr., Spicewood + 512/264-7040
Imagine a piece of fried chicken sealed in a thick, brown crust seasoned with a combination of 17 spices, on top of a buttery, light-as-air homemade waffle.
5035 Burnet Rd. + 512/524-2917
The chicken is tender and juicy, the breading perfectly crisp, and it washes down well with a Juicy Lucy frozen watermelon margarita or the spicy Bee Sting. Like being at an impeccably curated picnic.
5408 Burnet Rd. + 512/514-0664
2218 College Ave. + 512/297-2423
Friendly and funky, the blend of Creole and Southern soul foods here aims to please. Especially recommended are the catfish, collards, fried okra, red beans and rice, and the addictive boudin balls. Read our review.
1075 Springdale + 512/927-6666