Second Helpings: Staying Power

Austin Restaurants Open for 35 Years or More


The weekly Chronicle feature "Second Helpings" offers readers the opportunity to sample tasty, bite-sized restaurant listings compiled from new and previous reviews, guides, and poll results. This week's entries were compiled by Chronicle Cuisines editor Virginia B. Wood. When you need quick, reliable information about Austin eateries, check here.

Dirty Martin's Place (established 1926)

2802 Guadalupe, 477-3173

Sun-Thu, 11am-10pm; Fri-Sat, 11am-11pm

This unassuming frame building has served burgers, fries, onion rings, and shakes to more generations of Austinites and UT students than we can count. They'll celebrate 75 years' worth of burgers in 2001 and we intend to buy a few for auld lang syne.

The Hoffbrau (1934)

611 W. Sixth, 472-0822

Mon-Fri, 11am-2pm, 5-8:30pm

No matter how many trendy restaurants and big-name steakhouses spring up around them, the folks at the Hoffbrau keep right on slinging steaks with German potatoes and salad on the side, just like they've always done them.

Hut's Hamburgers (1939)

906 W. Sixth, 472-0693

Mon-Sat, 11am-10pm; Sun, 11:30am-10pm

Though this ever-popular burger emporium started out at Sammy's Drive-In and was the preferred hangout for Austin teens of the Forties and Fifties, it's been Hut's since the Sixties and a perennial favorite of Chronicle voters as long as we've had a restaurant poll.

Green Pastures (1945)

811 W. Live Oak, 444-4747

Daily, 11am-2pm, 6-9:30pm

Renowned Austin hostess Mary Faulk Koock turned her family's stately ancestral home into a restaurant and Green Pastures has been the home of gracious Southern dining in Austin ever since. The Plantation Sunday brunch is the signature event here.

Holiday House (1947)

2425 Exposition, 478-2652

Daily, 6:30am-9:30pm

Ralph Moreland's local restaurant empire once included several Holiday House locations but this West Austin stalwart is the only one to survive in its original location. It's a revered dining and socializing spot for Tarrytown families of all ages.

Arkie's Grill (1948)

4827 E. Cesar Chavez, 385-2986

Mon-Fri, 5:30am-3pm

Arkie's has always been known as a place where you could count on a formidable breakfast or a working man's lunch of pork ribs, meatloaf, or hearty chicken and dumplings served in a friendly surrounding. The ownership changed after owner Arkie Sawyer's death but the grill remains the same.

Nau's Enfield Drug (1951)

1115 W. Lynn, 476-1221

Mon-Fri, 7:30am-4:30pm; Sat, 7:30am-2:30pm

Genuine drugstore soda fountains are a thing of the past in most places, but the counter at Nau's never lacks for patrons. We're partial to the thick burgers, great grilled cheese sandwiches, and the voluptuous shakes and malts, all served up with a side of neighborhood people watching.

The Frisco Shop (1952)

5819 Burnet, 459-6279

Daily, 7am-10pm

The Frisco was the fourth of local entrepreneur Harry Akin's beloved chain of restaurants and one of the first eateries opened in what was then "North Austin." It's still the preferred breakfast spot of many old Austinites and maintains a loyal neighborhood following.

Cisco's Bakery & Cafe (1952)

1511 E. Sixth, 478-2420

Daily, 7am-2:30pm

East Austin restaurateur Rudy "Cisco" Cisneros welcomed politicians and businessmen, UT students, and everyday folks for migas, hot biscuits, and coffee in this restaurant's heyday. These days, a new generation of the Cisneros family is hard at work making old-timers and newcomers feel right at home, as well.

Matt's El Rancho (1952)

2613 S. Lamar, 462-9333

Sun-Mon, 11am-10pm; Wed-Thu, 11am-10pm; Fri-Sat, 11am-11pm

Matt Martinez dubbed himself the "King of Mexican Food" years ago and the nickname is well deserved: El Rancho is one of the restaurants that helped build Austin's reputation as a Mexican food mecca. You'll find traditional Tex-Mex dishes, good margaritas, and a chicken-fried steak that comes with cream gravy, green sauce, or chili con carne. It just doesn't get more Texas than that.

Maudie's Cafe (1954)

2608 W. Seventh, 473-3740

Daily 9am-10pm

The late Maudie Hamilton never served a sizzling fajita or a veggie soft taco in her life, but the little West Austin cafe that bears her name is now a very popular Tex-Mex spot. Maudie's down-home cooking may be gone, but her name and the friendly ambience of this place live on under new ownership.

El Patio (1954)

2938 Guadalupe, 476-5955

Mon-Sat, 11am-9:45pm

The very traditional Tex-Mex fare here hasn't changed or given in to trends in nearly 50 years of friendly service on the north end of UT's main drag. It's probably the only place you'll find saltines instead of chips and each meal ends with a frosty scoop of sherbet and some Mexican coconut candy.

El Azteca (1963)

2600 E. Seventh, 477-4701

Mon-Thu, 11am-9pm; Fri-Sat, 11am-midnight

The menu at this longtime East Austin Democratic hangout has always featured traditional Tex-Mex favorites and specialties such as cabrito. The Guerras were the first local Mexican restaurant owners to offer a solid selection of vegetarian choices "for our vegetarian customers and friends." With consideration like that, it's no wonder they've lasted so long.

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