East

Photo by John Anderson

Opened in 2007 as an early component of the East 11th Street renaissance, Blue Dahlia is a restful, reliable spot for French-inspired snacks and light meals, including waffles, blintzes, croissants, dinner entrées, cheese plates, and wine, and often incorporating fresh breads and local greens. Signature open-faced sandwiches called tartines are highly recommended. – MM Pack

CLOSED

Bud's fans from Shoal Creek are happy he's now established in the Mueller food trailer park. His gumbo, étouffée, red beans and rice muffaletta, and po'boys are as good as ever. – Virginia B. Wood

4209 Airport
512/586-4425
sites.google.com/site/budspoboys/

Candice Gallion

photo by John Anderson

West African fusion reigns at this darling trailer. We're still dreaming of the Couscous Moroccan, packed with cranberries, parsley, tomato relish, and set on top of a hearty bed of mixed greens with cucumber slices. –Gracie Salem

4204 Menchaca Rd.
512/769-9560
www.cazamance.com

This comfy spot with its welcoming vibe and kid- and dog-friendly patio has been whole-heartedly embraced as the neighborhood hangout in Cherrywood. What's not to love? There's excellent coffee to go with breakfast, lunch, or dinner, soul-satisfying Sol tacos, a reliable burger, and one of the best muffalettas in town with Zapp's potato chips. – Virginia B. Wood

1400 E. 38th½
512/538-1991
www.cherrywoodcoffeehouse.com

photo by Shelley Hiam

When the first generation of children raised in East Austin's Mueller development grow up, their memories will all include afternoons and evenings spent at this überpopular spot that became a neighborhood fixture the day it opened. Contigo boasts the perfect mix of comfortable, mostly outdoor accommodations, good drinks, and casual, ranch-inspired cooking. – Virginia B. Wood

2027 Anchor
512/614-2260
www.contigotexas.com/austin

Hometown hero Paul Qui and Motoyasu "Moto" Utsunomiya have created a dynasty, improving our favorite Eastside bars with on-site trailers offering unique menus of gourmet yet budget-friendly Asian flavors like curry buns and Broccoli Pops. –Jessi Cape

CLOSED

1618 E. Sixth
512/407-8166
eastsideking.com/-liberty

CLOSED

Nate Jackson

photo by John Anderson

Step into this East Sixth spot and time travel to vintage movie houses and Prohibition era-music halls. The constantly changing menu drops anchor in the modern food revolution with local, sustainable dishes such as Windy Hill Farm goat meatballs and fresh pickle plates. Fascinating cocktails include the St. George Swizzle and the Leather Sombrero. – Jessi Cape

CLOSED

An Austin champion for organic produce, this Manor Road beauty serves an exquisite bounty of freshness, with dishes ranging from artichoke manicotti to beef and goat cheese enchiladas. Sister cafe Elaine's focuses on two top-notch treats: pulled pork sandwiches and bourbon buttermilk pie, plus a few extras for tasty measure. – Jessi Cape

CLOSED

2113 Manor Rd.
512/494-1464
www.elainesporkandpie.com

photo by John Anderson

The friendly Guerra family has been serving up classic renditions of the established American regional cuisine known as Tex-Mex since 1963 in a restaurant that was East Austin Democrats' hallowed ground. We're fans of the classic combo plates, and it's still the only place in town for cabrito flautas. – Virginia B. Wood

CLOSED

Aaron Franklin's meteoric rise from humble trailer food operator with a cart not far from our offices to national media-revered barbecue pitmaster has been truly amazing. The daily line outside his popular Eastside eatery attests to the enduring quality of his brisket, which has sold out every day the restaurant has been open. – Virginia B. Wood

900 E. 11th
512/653-1187
www.franklinbbq.com

photo by John Anderson

Candice Gallion

This is one of Austin's most sophisticated food trucks, serving stellar versions of Asian street food – from Vietnamese bánh mì to Japanese rice boxes to Hawaiian specialties like the astoundingly elegant spam musubi rolls. –MM Pack

4209 E. Airport
www.atxfreshoffthetruck.com

Designer Mickie Spencer, chef Sonya Coté, and co-owners/operating partners Jade Place-Mathews and Greg Mathews renovated this historic East Austin building and then named the restaurant in an homage to the original tenant, Austin's first African-American pharmacist. These days, the place serves up oysters and locally sourced, farm-to-table fare, and is all the rage with hipster foodies. – Virginia B. Wood

1209 E. 11th
512/628-0168
hillsidefarmacy.com

photo by John Anderson

photo by John Anderson

For more than 15 years, East Austin native son and fifth-generation Texan Hoover Alexander has been packing them into his restaurant with taste-tempting renditions of classic Southern comfort food, complemented here and there with a dash of Tex-Mex, a whiff of barbecue smoke, and a pinch of Cajun/Creole spice. – Virginia B. Wood

2002 Manor Rd.
512/479-5006
www.hooverscooking.com

Irascible and gifted, John Mueller smokes some fantastic barbecue from his latest venture on the Eastside. Short ribs to die for, amazing sausage, great pork ribs, wonderful brisket, and a sauce that improves all it touches. –Mick Vann

CLOSED

photo by Mick Vann

photo by John Anderson

These easy-on-the-wallet, plentiful platters of Tex-Mex on East Cesar Chavez have delivered many Austinites from hangovers and hankerings since 1980. Juan's Famous Breakfast is served all day and features migas, huevos rancheros, enchiladas, and tacos galore. For $4.50, the "Don Juan" El Taco Grande will challenge you to a duel. – Jessi Cape

2300 E. Cesar Chavez
512/472-3872
www.juaninamillion.com

The hourlong waits have subsided for the most part, but the quality of the food, unmatched atmosphere, and bartenders' taste in music are still top notch. Justine's remains a go-to place for special occasions, to take out-of-town visitors, or to meet with friends for drinks. – Claudia Alarcón

4710 E. Fifth
512/385-2900
www.justines1937.com

Photo by David Brendan Hall

photo by David Brendan Hall

Hailed as the best barbecue in town by many, this trailer leaves most brick-and-mortar barbecue joints in the dust. Freshly handmade sausage, moist, meaty brisket, tender beef ribs, and more make this spot a wait-in-line destination. – Kate Thornberry

2401 E. Cesar Chavez
512/605-9696
www.labarbecue.com

Tom Micklethwait's vintage 1960 Comet food trailer is cranking out some of the best smoked sausages in the ATX, not to mention the superb pork, chicken, ribs, and brisket; among the elite of the Austin barbecue scene. –Mick Vann

1309 Rosewood
512/791-5961
craftmeatsaustin.com/

photo by John Anderson

Her story is as genuine as her food. Six days a week you'll find diner-style Cajun soul food from pork chops to po'boys, plus daily specials and all-you-can-eat Friday gumbo. Closed on Sundays, Lola Stephens gives back with free food in the cafe's backyard for those in need. – Jessi Cape

CLOSED

Pork is king at this gussied-up farmhouse, which made its Manor Road entrée last spring. From the candied pork belly to the milk-braised pork shoulder, which pairs nicely with the accompanying (if puzzlingly out of season) vegetable sides, chef Harold Marmulstein puts the "wow" in "sow." Don't overlook the cocktails, either. – Melanie Haupt

1917 Manor Rd.
512/391-2337
www.saltysow.com

photo by John Anderson

I love everything about Takoba: their superior micheladas, Interior Mexican dishes, beautiful patio, and owner Jose de Loera's affinity for soccer, which turns the adjacent Cantina El Milamores into fútbol central. Not to mention they have the best carnitas in the city, and some killer mezcal and sotol cocktails. Viva Mexico! – Claudia Alarcón

CLOSED

Chef Ray Tatum's porkalicious sliders and crackling meatloaf are sublime, as is his Asian fried chicken. Get a pairing suggestion from East End Wines and enjoy dining on the lovely patio. – Virginia B. Wood

1209 Rosewood
512/653-5088
www.3littlepigsaustin.com

Her legion of fans know Reyna Vasquez serves up excellent smoothies, breakfasts, and the very best migas taco in ATX at her strategically placed Eastside trailer. – Virginia B. Wood

111 E. Cesar Chavez
512/665-2713
www.veracruzallnatural.com

The absolute best pizza in East Austin – and South Austin, too (see their setup at the Red Shed Tavern) – comes out of this trailer, owned and operated by Detroit natives Zane and Brandon Hunt, who have thankfully introduced me to the wonders of Motor City-style pizza. I am officially an addict. – Claudia Alarcón

CLOSED

Photo by John Anderson

Pull up a chair and savor the moment with strangers. At Blue Dahlia, tables are arranged so that diners brush elbows while they enjoy a midmorning tartine or fill up on French classics like ratatouille. The idea is to create community around a baguette. After all, that’s what breaking bread is all about. Inducted in 2018.

CLOSED

There once was a little house on Manor Road that served the best artichoke manicotti in all the land, but carrot pasta and sun-dried tomato cream sauce were only the beginning of the story. It’s a tale with plenty of romance (those sparkling limosas) and some very deep drama (the chocolate almond torte), perfect for all our happily-ever-afters. Inducted in 2017.

CLOSED

John Anderson

photo by John Anderson

We’ve been loving those brisket burnt ends since Aaron Franklin’s trailer was located not far from the Chron offices near I-35, way back in 2009. The smoke signals at the now Eastside restaurant are nationally recognized – an Obama fist bump, a James Beard award, and even bad boy Bourdain’s unabashed obsession. Even the notorious hours-long lines can’t deter the steady cult following. But when it comes down to it, Franklin Barbecue has earned its crown because the food comes first, and it’s always delicious. Inducted in 2018.

900 E. 11th
512/653-1187
www.franklinbbq.com

It’s the chicken-fried chicken, y’all. Many of the Southern comfort food pleasures on the menu at Hoover’s Cooking, a two-decades-and-counting Manor Road eatery, have made it an icon: their enormous and delicious pepper-fire soaked and smoked chicken wings, sweet potato coffee, banana pudding, and a side of broccoli that looks like one of the tree people from Lord of the Rings (yeah, we know, they’re called Ents). While the Smokehouse options (Jamaican jerk ribs!) compete with the best of ’em, it’s that chicken-fried chicken, paired with mashed potatoes and a side of jalapeño creamed spinach, that offers something equivalent to the culinary version of a long hug from an old friend. Inducted in 2019.

2002 Manor Rd.
512/479-5006
www.hooverscooking.com

photo by John Anderson

You’ve seen their quirky, quintessentially Austin sign and enjoyed their fun-loving approach to social media, but did you know that this family-owned and -operated business has been around since 1990? Founders Aurelio and Rosa Torres opened their 10-seat Tex-Mex restaurant serving hella good tacos, and over the years made so many loyal fans that the business expanded to occupy the entire corner, plus some. Now owned and operated by Torres’ son and daughter-in-law, Edgar and Christina Torres, the menu also boasts burritos, platos fuegos (mole enchiladas! carne guisada!), and your new favorite drink menu. (If you imbibe, don’t you dare skip the mango chamoy margarita.) The Torres crew also owns nearby School House Pub and not-so-secret speakeasy Techo Mezcaleria & Agave Bar. And if there’s one good thing about the last year, it might just be to-go margs from this truly beloved Manor Road staple. Inducted in 2021.

2201 Manor Rd.
512/322-9721
www.mimadresrestaurant.com

 
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