Food
1996 Readers Poll
1996 Critics Picks
Best All You Can Eat

Austin voted for over 60 different All-You-Can-Eats, and Fresh Choice prevailed. Past perennial winner Mr. Gatti's tied for second along with the two Palaces, Taj and Buffet.

Best Bakery

Out of 40 entries, four rose to the occasion. Past winners Upper Crust, Sweetish Hill (second place), and Texas French Bread (third) are expected, but a fine showing by new arrival Schlotzsky's Bread Alone is food for thought.

Upper Crust Bakery
4508 Burnet Rd.
512/467-0102
www.theuppercrustbakery.com

photo by John Anderson

Best Barbecue

The finger-licking great grub of the mighty Lick beat out many-time winner County Line. Sam's, Iron Works, and Pok-E-Jo's got votes as well.

The Salt Lick
18300 FM 1826, Driftwood, 512/858-4959
3350 E. Palm Valley Blvd., Round Rock, 512/386-1044
www.saltlickbbq.com

Best Caterer

This little house of set-up goodness takes it for a second year in a row! Deborah DeWitt's Prairie Rock is the caterer of choice for Live Oak Theatre, and with her cunning combination of French, Southwestern, and Meditteranean cuisines, this honor comes as no surprise.

Prarie Rock Catering
815-A Brazos #332
512/441-0111

Best Chips (locally Made)

The chips fell where they have for the past four years, right here at our favorite Eastside chip factory. Runners-up include El Lago, Guiltless Gourmet, and newcomer Kala's.

El Galindo
1601 E. Sixth
512/478-5656

Best Chocolates

Dr. Chocolate (winner 1994) and Lammes Candies (1995, 1993) continue to duke it out. This year it's Doctor Chocolate's turn to chalk one up, with Lammes a close second.

Best Coffee (local)

¬°Viva la Chiapatistas! Gulp down your fair share of the revolution, with Austin's famous (take) home brew.

Best Coffee House

The groovy little java joint on restaurant row upended a three-year tradition and knocked Ruta Maya, the name synonymous with coffeehouse, to second place. Little City steeps in at third.

photograph by Laura Skelding   Laura Skelding

Best Custom Cakes

We're with you, Austin! Lucy's takes the cake, and has done so since 1993.

Best Greasy Spoon

Don't let the name make you think otherwise; this burger joint has taken first place in this category just about forever... fair and square.

Dirty Martin's Place
2808 Guadalupe
512/477-3173
www.dirtymartins.com

Candice Gallion

Best Grocery Store

Don't let the name make you think otherwise; this burger joint has taken first place in this category just about forever... fair and square.

Central Market
Central Market North, 4001 N. Lamar, 512/206-1000
Central Market South, 4477 S. Lamar, 512/899-4300
www.centralmarket.com

Best Lunch Under $5

Heck, you can eat like a reyna for $3.50 here. The Airport Boulevard landmark has never messed with their formula for success: offering some of the best fast Mexican food in town for even better prices. Thundercloud and Kim Phung take second and third.

Best Open-Air Market

We figured that in previous years, when we asked you to rate the Best Farmer's Market, that this Farmer's Market won by the power of suggestion. The category "Open-Air" didn't change a thing except to solidify Travis County Farmer's Market's hold on first place. Whole Foods' local outdoor produce fests sprouted into second.

Travis County Farmers Market
6701 Burnet Rd.
512/454-1002

Best Oriental Bowl Of Noodles

Noodle-wise, they've got what you're looking Pho in aBundance. Also in abundance is their number of first places in this category; this makes their third. The new Thai Noodle House in the old Acorn Cafe location came in second.

Kim Phung Chinese & Vietnamese Restaurant
7601-I N. Lamar
512/451-2464
www.kimphungaustin.com

photograph by John Anderson   John Anderson

Best Outdoor Patio

"When the sun is dry and the throat is parched, there's more than just spring water..." The Everly Brothers' song by the same name says it all. Depending on the size of the crowd, you can listen to the whisper of the branches above or the gossip the next table over. This is Shady's fourth year as the runaway winner.

Shady Grove
1624 Barton Springs Rd.
512/474-9991
www.theshadygrove.com

Best Pie

An old friend takes the cake in this new category. Pam Made Pies and Kerbey Lane tie for second and The Frisco Shop, Wimberley Pie Co., and ForRay's make solid strides.

Threadgill's
Threadgill's North, 6416 N. Lamar, 512/451-5440
www.threadgills.com

Best Place To Impress Out-of-Towners

Sure, Oasis is the landsliding (probably a term we shouldn't use to describe this hill-perched wonder) favorite, but for a different view, how about also-rans Shoreline Grill, County Line, Foot Hills, and Hula Hut? Or for you more urban types, the Hyatt La Vista? And to impress out-of-towners, in addition to Oasis, you voted for Fonda San Miguel, Central Market, Eastside Cafe, County Line, and Threadgill's, among 50 other destinations. It makes us proud to be Texans knowing that y'all are such fine hosts.

The Oasis
6550 Comanche Trl.
512/266-2442
www.oasis-austin.com

Best Quick Lunch

The 'cloud has placed in first for three years running for Quick Lunch; in a town full of good, quick lunch options, top runners-up include Taco Cabana, Tamale House, Taco Bell, and Texas French Bread. To get their fourth win in the Sandwich Shop category, they edged second-placer Schlotzsky's by a teeny spread, with Delaware grinding in at third.

ThunderCloud Subs
ThunderCloud Subs #10, 903 W. 12th, 512/322-0154
ThunderCloud Subs #1, 1608 Lavaca, 512/478-3281
ThunderCloud Subs #3, 3200 Guadalupe, 512/452-5010
ThunderCloud Subs #2, 201 E. Riverside, 512/441-5331
ThunderCloud Subs #11, 2521 Rutland, 512/835-6458
ThunderCloud Subs #14, 3201 Bee Caves Rd., 512/328-2114
ThunderCloud Subs #151, 2300 Lohmans Spur, 512/263-1620
ThunderCloud Subs #17, 5401 Burnet Rd., 512/467-9438
ThunderCloud Subs #18, 13776 Hwy. 183 N. #152, 512/258-9145
ThunderCloud Subs #19, 1807 W. Slaughter, 512/282-2255
ThunderCloud Subs #21, 1010 S. Lamar, 512/443-0888
ThunderCloud Subs #5, 7930 Burnet Rd., 512/451-0027
ThunderCloud Subs #6, 2308 Lake Austin Blvd., 512/479-6504
ThunderCloud Subs #7, 10000 Research #137, 512/345-8186
ThunderCloud Subs #8, 2801-B S. Lamar, 512/443-0960
ThunderCloud Subs #9, 2021 E. Riverside, 512/445-4163
ThunderCloud Subs #20, 1110-D N. I-35, Round Rock, 512/244-2468
ThunderCloud Subs #28, 6920 FM 620 N., 512/335-3663
ThunderCloud Subs #31, 2500 W. Parmer #160, 512/255-2013
6501 Hwy. 290 E., 512/451-5830
www.thundercloud.com

Best Restaurant With A View

Sure, Oasis is the landsliding (probably a term we shouldn't use to describe this hill-perched wonder) favorite, but for a different view, how about also-rans Shoreline Grill, County Line, Foot Hills, and Hula Hut? Or for you more urban types, the Hyatt La Vista? And to impress out-of-towners, in addition to Oasis, you voted for Fonda San Miguel, Central Market, Eastside Cafe, County Line, and Threadgill's, among 50 other destinations. It makes us proud to be Texans knowing that y'all are such fine hosts.

The Oasis
6550 Comanche Trl.
512/266-2442
www.oasis-austin.com

Best Salsa (locally Made)

Another bouquet of Rose's graces this year's ballot -- fourth year in a row. Restaurant faves Serrano's and Chuy's tie for second, but again, here's a category with a ton of nominees.

photograph by John Anderson   John Anderson

Best Sandwich Shop/Chain

The 'cloud has placed in first for three years running for Quick Lunch; in a town full of good, quick lunch options, top runners-up include Taco Cabana, Tamale House, Taco Bell, and Texas French Bread. To get their fourth win in the Sandwich Shop category, they edged second-placer Schlotzsky's by a teeny spread, with Delaware grinding in at third.

ThunderCloud Subs
ThunderCloud Subs #10, 903 W. 12th, 512/322-0154
ThunderCloud Subs #1, 1608 Lavaca, 512/478-3281
ThunderCloud Subs #3, 3200 Guadalupe, 512/452-5010
ThunderCloud Subs #2, 201 E. Riverside, 512/441-5331
ThunderCloud Subs #11, 2521 Rutland, 512/835-6458
ThunderCloud Subs #14, 3201 Bee Caves Rd., 512/328-2114
ThunderCloud Subs #151, 2300 Lohmans Spur, 512/263-1620
ThunderCloud Subs #17, 5401 Burnet Rd., 512/467-9438
ThunderCloud Subs #18, 13776 Hwy. 183 N. #152, 512/258-9145
ThunderCloud Subs #19, 1807 W. Slaughter, 512/282-2255
ThunderCloud Subs #21, 1010 S. Lamar, 512/443-0888
ThunderCloud Subs #5, 7930 Burnet Rd., 512/451-0027
ThunderCloud Subs #6, 2308 Lake Austin Blvd., 512/479-6504
ThunderCloud Subs #7, 10000 Research #137, 512/345-8186
ThunderCloud Subs #8, 2801-B S. Lamar, 512/443-0960
ThunderCloud Subs #9, 2021 E. Riverside, 512/445-4163
ThunderCloud Subs #20, 1110-D N. I-35, Round Rock, 512/244-2468
ThunderCloud Subs #28, 6920 FM 620 N., 512/335-3663
ThunderCloud Subs #31, 2500 W. Parmer #160, 512/255-2013
6501 Hwy. 290 E., 512/451-5830
www.thundercloud.com

Best Take-out Food

Adding Best Take-Out to last year's Grocery and two previous Wine Selection awards, Central Market has certainly enhanced our shopping (and sampling) pleasure. Still, grocery-goers frequently steer their carts through Wheatsville, other HEB stores, and Whole Foods Markets as well. Wiggy's gets a strong second for its wine selection, while Tamale House, Whole Foods, and Wheatsville round out the leaders in Take-out.

Central Market
Central Market North, 4001 N. Lamar, 512/206-1000
Central Market South, 4477 S. Lamar, 512/899-4300
www.centralmarket.com

 
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