Second Helpings: American Cafes, Part III

"Second Helpings" offers tasty, bite-sized restaurant listings compiled from new and previous reviews, guides, and poll results. This week's entries were updated by Erin Mosow. For quick, reliable info about Austin eateries, check here.

Arkie's Grill

4827 E. Cesar Chavez, 385-2986 Monday-Friday, 5:30am-3pm
This home-style cafe, founded in 1948 by the late Arkie Sawyer, serves breakfast and lunch each weekday with come-back-soon hospitality. Lunch specials include meat loaf, pork ribs, and chicken and dumplings. Arkie's now serves steak, too.

Austin Java Co.

In Barton Creek Square mall, 327-8944 Monday-Friday, 11am-9pm; Saturday-Sunday, 9am-9pm 1206 Parkway, 476-1829 Monday-Saturday, 7am-11pm; Sunday, 7am-10pm
Despite closing two locations, the remaining Austin Java Cos. still offer up the substantial honest-to-goodness menu. Don't underestimate them as a coffeehouse serving the standard bagel or muffin as sustenance to balance the caffeine. Soup and salad combos, bounteous pasta plates, and hearty breakfasts are all available and all skillfully prepared. You can get that good cuppa joe that is its namesake, too.

East Side Cafe

2113 Manor Rd., 476-5858 Sunday, 10am-9:30pm; Monday-Thursday, 11:30am-9:30pm; Friday, 11:30am-10pm; Saturday, 10am-10pm
What could be more charming than a 1928 bungalow in a bucolic setting? One that houses a delightful restaurant offering fresh, delicious food, that's what. The backyard gardens provide a peaceful retreat and fresh ingredients for the famously fabulous soups and other menu items. Lots of well-prepared fish and pastas, too, and a generous selection of wines by the glass. A charming gift shop next door offers to-go items and cookbooks featuring favorite items from the menu. The spot has taken the standard-issue Ladies' Destination and given it an Austin twist.

Hyde Park Bar & Grill

4206 Duval St., 458-3168 Daily, 11am-midnight
Gotta have those batter-dipped fries, we know. But don't let your quest for spuds quell further investigation of the menu, for this Hyde Park spot at the fork in the road does lots of things very well, like fish, chicken, and beef. There's also a good selection of wines by the glass. Usually lots of folks queuing up for this Austin favorite.

Red River Cafe

2912 Medical Arts, 472-0385 Monday-Friday, 7am-9pm; Saturday-Sunday, 8am-5pm
When driving or walking to the Red River Cafe, it's best to look for the two eggs, sunny-side up, hanging outside, or, more accurately, splat against the wall. If nothing else, they'll give you an idea of what you might want to eat, as it seems that breakfast is the restaurant's most popular meal. Lunch and dinner are prime time for burgers. Most of the time, you may sit where you like, and it is best to sit outside to eat in the shaded deck that gives diners the feeling of lunching in the 40-acre wood.
Star Seeds Cafe
Star Seeds Cafe (Photo By John Anderson)

Star Seeds Cafe

3101 N. I-35, 478-7107 24 hours a day, seven days a week
This motel-straddling institution has been around since the Armadillo days when hungry cosmic cowboys restored themselves at its booths. But aside from its cultural significance and the skilled fry cook, Star Seeds is one of the only places in town that doesn't require you to get up at the crack of dawn on a Sunday to avoid an hour wait. Star Seeds' menu has breakfast selections galore and an a la carte section that appeals to fussbudgets. It's as close to a real diner as Austin has.

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