Second Helpings: American Cafes
Greg Beets profiles Austin's American cafes .
4827 East Cesar Chavez, 385-2986
This homestyle cafe, founded in 1948 by the late Arkie Sawyer, serves breakfast and lunch each weekday with come-back-soon hospitality. Lunch specials include meatloaf, pork ribs, and chicken and dumplings. Thursday's turkey and dressing special is highly recommended.
Austin Java Co.
1206 Parkway, 476-1829
13376 Research Blvd., 219-5388
Mon-Thu, 7am-10pm; Fri-Sat, 8am-11pm; Sun, 8am-10pm
Barton Creek Square mall, 2901 Capital of Texas Hwy. #C-12A, 327-8944
Mon-Fri, 10am-10pm; Sat-Sun, 9am-10pm
The relaxed, stay-awhile atmosphere of this coffee shop/restaurant incorporates some of the best elements of both pre- and post-dot com Austin. Breakfast fare includes creative takes on omelettes, breakfast tacos, French toast, and eggs Benedict (one version features tomatillo sauce). Pastas and sandwiches make up the lunch and dinner menu; the sun-dried tomato pasta with grilled chicken is a treat. And don't leave without sampling Austin Java Co.'s desserts.
7604 North I-35, 451-7953
301 Barton Springs Rd., 472-7902
You know a food trend has become ubiquitous when it shows up at Bennigan's, an Irish-themed grill and tavern headquartered in Plano. Their exhaustive menu includes something for just about everyone, including Oh Baby Back Ribs, New World Fajitas, and the Turkey O'Toole sandwich. The health-conscious can stick to Bennigan's Health Club Stir-Fry and the Pacific Rim Pasta Salad. Wash it all down with an Irish coffee drink for dessert.
Cain & Abel's
2313 Rio Grande, 476-3201
Mon-Sat, 3pm-2am; Sun, 3pm-12am (food served until 10pm Sun-Thu; until 10:30pm, Fri-Sat)
This longtime UT Greek hangout in West Campus is best known as a watering hole, but they'll keep you from going hungry with American-style pub grub like fried appetizers, burgers, sandwiches, and chicken-fried steak. Green Bay Packers fans (or "Cheeseheads," as they're affectionately known) have also been known to gather at Cain & Abel's on NFL game days.
409 Colorado, 322-0051
Mon-Wed, 4pm-midnight; Thu-Sat, 4pm-2am (food served until 10pm)
Conveniently located in the thick of the Warehouse District, Austin's Cue Lounge offers a wide range of hearty staples with just enough flair to make things interesting. Their Black & Blue burger comes dressed down with peppercorn sauce and a hunk of gorgonzola cheese. Other menu items include steaks, pastas, salads, fajitas, and crawfish po-boys. If your nightlife includes plans to see a movie at Alamo Drafthouse or boogie on the disco round at Polly Esther's, the Cue Lounge is a good place to start.
District Bar & Grill
301 W. Sixth, 476-2399
Daily, 11am-2am (food served until 10pm)
The District Bar & Grill is extremely popular with sports fans, but then how could they miss with a 100-inch screen TV? Reasonably priced brick oven pizzas, pastas, burgers, and sandwiches keep the minions happy as they cheer on the home team. The District also has a "Diner" menu featuring pot roast, meat loaf, and catfish. This is another good starting point for Warehouse District sojourns.
The Frisco Shop
5819 Burnet, 459-6279
As the last outpost of Harry Akin's Night Hawk Restaurant chain, the Frisco is an old-school Austin landmark. Built in 1952, when Koenig and Burnet was far north Austin, the Frisco's namesake item is a thin-pattied hamburger made with barbecue sauce and relish. If that sounds a bit too sweet and tangy, try their tasty cole slaw made with cabbage, bell peppers, and Italian-style dressing.
The Frisco also serves steaks (both grilled and chicken-fried varieties), chicken, fish, and enchiladas.
Hickory Street Bar & Grille
800 Congress, 477-8968
Mon-Fri, 6:30am-10pm; Sat-Sun, 10am-10pm
With hungry student prices and a central business district location, Hickory Street Bar & Grille is jam-packed come lunchtime. The quantity-minded will want to partake of the Food Bar Combo, which includes unlimited trips to the soup, salad, baked potato, and ice cream bars. Hickory Street also serves above-average hamburgers and a New Orleans-style breakfast menu.
Hyde Park Bar & Grill
4206 Duval, 458-3168
Every neighborhood should be lucky enough to have a restaurant like this to claim as its own. Batter-dipped french fries are the superlative, must-have menu item at Hyde Park, but they also serve a noteworthy red lentil soup. Entree-wise, Hyde Park does just as well with pasta dishes and fish as they do with Southern comforts like chicken-fried chicken and two-fisted burgers.