With colorful signage resembling oversized alphabet fridge magnets, it’s hard to miss this chrome Airstream trailer at the Gulf gas station on Manor Road. And you wouldn’t want to, because the shawarmas and falafel are some of the best in the city. Get cozy on the floor pillows in the tapestry-lined tent while you wait for your food.
2101 Manor Rd.
Since August, Austinites have had the distinct pleasure of enjoying coffee, beer, and scratch kolaches made with fresh, seasonal fruits, Micklethwait brisket and sausage, and regular collaborations with craft breweries. Add live music from local jazz and swing outfits and you’ve got a heady brew.
3220 Manor Rd.
This welcoming venue is the Cherrywood neighborhood, it seems, since everybody for miles around hangs out here for the best of coffee and breakfast tacos and especially – listen – that beefy hunk of sandwich perfection called The Wife’s Cheeseburger. Bonus: cheesesteak tacos, killer dinner specials, and daily appearances from John Aielli.
1400 E. 38th½
Come for the cocktails, stay for the tasty appetizers and people watching at the most recent addition to the Mueller restaurantscape. An homage to co-owner Ashley Fric’s aunt, Colleen’s is the perfect place to knock back some house punch and gossip about the neighbors. Biscuits required.
1911 Aldrich #100
Chef Jesse Griffiths is over here serving approachable yet refined dishes like chicken fat mashed sweet potatoes and beer-battered crawfish with ricotta-stuffed squash blossoms. Oh, and good luck finding a guy more dedicated to local sourcing: He’s the dude that tracks a feral hog 15 minutes east of his restaurant. Make sure to grab a jar of lard at the butcher shop on your way out.
2406 Manor Rd.
If you’re still wishing you were an Oscar Meyer wiener, you have obviously not tried this delicious coney dog. (You’re also a weirdo.) Located just outside of the “anytime bar,” Nickel City – in the old Longbranch Inn space – this late-night trailer slings dogs, burgers, and chili fries, and they all go perfectly with a draft beer. Attention, Lubbockites: The bar serves Chiltons.
Good Ethiopian food is all about scooping up that saucy, spiced, fork-free goodness with injera, the spongy sourdough pancake made from teff, and the version at this family-owned spot is perfect. The word Habesha celebrates unity, so if you and your crew haven’t tried this cuisine, start that group text. Try the lentil sambusas and doro tibs, or go bonkers with the whole vegetarian platter.
6019 N. I-35
If a seafood-craving Goldilocks had broken into Ky¯oten Sushiko, she would have found everything exactly to her liking. From the not-too-flashy decor to phenomenal omakase dinners (reservations only, mind you, Fancy), owner/chef Otto Phan has created a dining experience that’s just right.
Ingredients for the soulful Italian fare at this bright spot in Mueller are sourced seasonally from all-Texas farms. As if chef Fiore Tedesco’s current five-pasta tasting menu wasn’t enough of a draw, this restaurant also supports One Fair Wage for their employees and makes a mean carbonara. (Pro tip: Happy hour means half-priced wines and snacks.)
Mi Madre’s didn’t create the breakfast taco, but they’ve damn near perfected it. Since 1990, Austinites have started their day with their massive #8 migas, but the Manor Road institution isn’t resting on melted cheese laurels. They’ve expanded to a mini empire with neighborhood haunt School House Pub and one of the city’s finest mezcal bars, Techo.
2201 Manor Rd.
Everything is made from scratch at this renowned barbecue spot, from the smoked meats to the jalapeño cheese grits to the peanut butter pie. They may be known for the ever-changing sausage menu, but the sides are real good, too. (We’ll see you in Smithville soon.)
Now two locations strong, this stationary trailer specializes in breakfast and brunch with a short, ever-changing menu. The bacon, egg, and cheese on a buttermilk bun is a mainstay, as is the Texas hash, made with sweet potato, pork shoulder, kale, and pecan mole. Each new day brings a variety of other bowls, toasts, salads, pastries, fresh-squeezed juice, and Tweed coffee.
1112 E. 12th
Fresh pasta, pork, lemon, tomato, egg yolk, cheese – Patrizi’s doesn’t overcomplicate the simplistic and breezy nature of Italian food. There’s almost always a line, but the outdoor seating also has a real “Grandma’s porch” vibe going on, so it’s actually the perfect place to relax. Sorry, we just made your Sunday plans.
2307 Manor Rd.
The Roland brothers dole out some of the best soul food in Austin. The menu, featuring smothered pork chops and mac & cheese anyone would happily drown in, is made with so much care you might expect it to hug you.
A favorite among the happy hour set, Harold Marmulstein’s American gastropub is all about approachable snout-to-tail dining, from rich, delectable duck fat fries to house-made charcuterie. The cocktail menu is seasonally appropriate, and the beer menu boasts a rogues’ gallery of local brews.
1917 Manor Rd.
A papas rancheras taco at 9pm? Yes, please. Chicharron with onion and cilantro at 9am? Most definitely. This Manor Road institution serves mega-solid tacos sans gourmet frills all day and night. And yes, you really do order through that tiny little window to heaven.
2611 Manor Rd.
Why shouldn’t pizza come on wood-fired naan? The answer is that it absolutely should. With nine pizzas consistently on the menu and a 10th often on special, the rotation never gets old, especially when paired with one of their fresh salads that pique your palate with hints of Indian spices.
There are few things better than hand-pulled noodles, and Xian makes ’em better than anyone else in the 512. The chicken tom yam noodle soup is the best cure-all you never knew you needed, especially with a couple of lobster dumplings on the side.
1801 E. 51st
Led by chef Maribel Rivero, this contemporary Peruvian concept was opened (in the former El Sapo location) by El Chile Restaurant Group this past year. Enjoy pisco punch and one of several cebiches on the sunny porch for happy hour and stay to enjoy the rest of the seafood-focused menu (Hi, Pescado Luisa) for dinner.
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.
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.
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
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.
Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin. Support the Chronicle