Second Helpings: Gourmet Takeout

In this week's installment of the weekly dining guide Second Helpings, Rachel Feit covers the local gourmet take-out scene.

Tasty, bite-sized restaurant listings compiled from new and previous reviews, guides, and poll results. This week's entries were compiled by Rachel Feit. When you need quick, reliable information about Austin eateries, check here.

Grapevine Market

7936 Great Northern Blvd., 323-5900

Mon-Sat, 10am-9pm

Next time you pop into the Grapevine Market to buy that favorite Gigondas, sidle over to the food case and pick up some delectable snacks to accompany it. Grapevine Market offers appetizing pizzas, pastas, and vegetables, all prepared in-house. In addition to gourmet provisions of cheese, pâté, crackers, cured meats, and fish, Grapevine Market may be the only place in town where you can buy real sable (a cured whitefish popular in East Coast delis) and cured sturgeon. A pleasant lounging area and comfortable outdoor tables make this an inviting place to stop for lunch or a quick hassle-free dinner on the way home from work.

Cippolina

1213 West Lynn, 477-5211

Daily, 7:30am-8pm

Impress your friends at your next dinner party with a meal from Cippolina, which offers roasted chicken, osso bucco, and other meats prepared by the same masterminds who operate the Jeffrey's kitchen. This newest of gourmet takeout eateries also prepares wood-fired pizzas, pasta salads, risotto, and a changing assortment of fresh, Italian-inspired vegetables. Take it home, or eat it there in the stylish cafe located in the space (formerly Cook's Night Out) adjacent to Fresh Plus on West Lynn.

Cook's Night Out

1221 West Lynn, 477-3945

Mon-Sat, 8am-8pm; Sun, 10am-8pm

Fans of CNO's delicious chicken salads, pecan pesto farfale, and mouthwatering potato salads can rest easy that the mother of all gourmet takeout places in Austin is alive and well, albeit in a smaller, hidden location inside the Fresh Plus market on West Lynn. In addition to the old favorites, a recent visit spotted a creamy leek pie and several varieties of pre-smoked meats. Do-it-yourselfers can take home uncooked stuffed chicken, crab cakes, or marinated meats for that homemade effect. Voted the Best Picnic Provisions in the Chronicle's Critic's Picks, CNO still packs a basket mean enough to drive Yogi bear out of hibernation.

Food! Food!

2719 Exposition, 474-8515

Mon-Fri, 9:30am-8:30pm; Sat, 9:30am-7pm

With over 20 varieties of sandwiches to choose from, lunch at this friendly, neighborhood deli will always turn up something new and interesting. If sandwiches don't turn you on, then individual pizzas with toppings such as roasted eggplant make a winning choice. Also featured on their changing menu are items such as King Ranch Casserole, Chicken Pot Pie, trendy pasta salads, and polenta with roasted vegetables. Dine in at their cafe or take home one of the dinner specials, complete with main course, side dish, and dessert.

Whole Foods Kitchen

601 N. Lamar, 476-1206

Daily, 8am-10pm

9607 Research, 345-5003

Daily, 8am-10:30pm

Don't be fooled by the New Age dietary supplements, crystals, and scented aromatherapy soaps that dominate the central hall. The Whole Foods Market also sells a dazzling variety of wholesome prepared comestibles hearty enough to satisfy just about any craving. The rotisserie offers hot entrees, while the salad bar features a number of fresh, healthy veggies to nibble on. If that doesn't sound appetizing, try the kung pao tofu, butternut squash risotto, Cajun potato salad, green bean almondine, or pesto linguine from their deli case. Still not interested? Then pick up some fresh nori rolls or spicy prepared chole from their refrigerator. Not just for health nuts, the Whole Foods Kitchen offers one-stop, readymade meal procurement for busy gourmets of every stripe.

Second Helpings
Photo By John Anderson

Liberty Pies

1716 S. Congress, 383-8880

Mon-Sat, 11am-9pm; Sun, 11am-8:30pm

This four-month-old takeout place already seems to have found its niche among the busy professionals of South Austin. The small storefront contains a deli case full of wholesome and freshly prepared morsels -- lasagna, quiche, chicken salad, tuna salad, and grilled veggies. Also featured are gourmet pizzas topped with delectable wild mushrooms, artichokes, roasted peppers, caramelized onions, or arugula. Don't forget to take home one of the desserts for which the eatery is named -- sublime lemon squares, creamy tiramisu, or one of the half-dozen homemade pies sold daily won't disappoint your sweet tooth. They also offer excellent personalized catering for large events, so plan your next meal with Liberty.

Central Market Grab and Go

4001 N. Lamar, 206-1000

Daily, 9am-9pm

4521 West Gate Blvd., 899-4300

Daily, 9am-9pm

Whole roasted chicken, meat tamales, vegetarian tamales, prepared meat stock, fresh sushi, nori rolls, Kala's Indian cuisine, wild rice pilaf, pies, quiche, vegetable moussaka, coconut-crusted chicken, grilled peppered salmon, four grain salad, hummus, tortilla soup, kid's pizzas, gourmet pizzas, Central Market signature sandwiches -- all this plus a salad bar, olives, cheese, deli meats, pâté, bread baked daily, and an entire store full of culinary oddities designed to satisfy just about any gustatory craving. Outdoor seating and free live music ... need we say more?

Tom's Tabouleh

2928 Guadalupe, 479-7337

Tue-Thu, 7am-7pm; Fri, 7am-3pm; Sat, 11am-6pm

You've been buying the stuff now for years in grocery stores around town. Now you can go straight to the source at Tom's new store located on Guadalupe. The sign outside advertises falafel, hummus, salads, and imported candies. Inside, the kitchen also offers tabouleh, dolmades, baba ghannoug, baklava, and gourmet coffee. While you're there, pick up some fruity olive oil or brined grape leaves to cook with at home. What could be more relaxing than eating at one of their sidewalk tables, watching the bustle of Guadalupe Street, and listening to the strains of down-home blues lilting out of neighboring Antone's Records?

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