Dart Bowl Cafe

7801 Burnet, 459-4181
Mon-Sat, 7:30am-9:30pm

Sunday, 8am-9:30pm Unless you've got league night on Tuesday, you probably never eat in bowling alleys. Most people group bowling alley restaurants along with prison cafeterias and airport snack bars as dining options suitable only for captive audiences. At their worst, alleyside bars offer only the requisite ballpark nachos and gas station hot dogs designed to keep beer flowing in between frames. At their best, however, they can be free-standing destinations with great food and no shoe rental requirements.

The restaurant inside Dart Bowl fits into the second category and can easily go toe-to-toe with any traditional diner in Austin. For over 20 years, the Dart Bowl kitchen staff has served breakfast standards, rotating plate lunches, and sandwich baskets to bowlers and hungry walk-ins. Their enchiladas, hot breads, and fresh-cut fries enjoy a legendary reputation and loyal following.

Dart Bowl's cheese-heavy enchiladas epitomize the Central Texas Diner Enchilada, the culinary crossover equivalent of German/Mexican accordion polkas. Corn tortillas are filled with cheddar and onion, then rolled, covered in enchilada sauce and chili con carne, layered with more cheese, and quickly broiled. Once garnished with onions and jalapeños, the end result bears little resemblance to interior variations, but makes for a substantial, satisfying Tex-Mex fix. Their home-baked rolls make sopping up the gravy doubly pleasurable.

If the sound of pin action doesn't sit well with you, stop in for lunch when bowlers are few or sit in the soundproof dining room. After a few hot rolls, you'll be hooked -- you may even consider renting the shoes. -- Paul M. Johnson

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