The Austin Chronicle

Austin Landmarks on the Menu

By Mick Vann, September 12, 2008, Food

Cisco's Restaurant, Bakery, and Liar's Club

1511 E. Sixth, 478-2420
Daily, 7am-2:30pm

Rudy "Cisco" Cisneros' father was a well-known panadero on the Eastside, having learned his baking skills from his mother and grandmother. He delivered bolillos, pan de huevo, and empanadas in baskets, selling them door-to-door on foot. He started out in 1933 and soon built the business into the Sunset Bakery on East Seventh Street. In the 1940s, he moved it to the 1300 block of East Sixth, moving a few blocks east to the restaurant's current location in 1948.

Rudy took over the business from his father and slowly started adding items for the casual breakfast diner: coffee, migas and huevos rancheros, biscuits, etc. The menu was kept simple so that it was fast to cook, and there was no holdover so that everything was fresh daily. In the 1950s, Cisco's came to be known as the place on the Eastside for Mexican breakfast, and it began to attract a loyal clientele of journalists, politicos, lawyers, and movers and shakers. If any big deal went down in the city or the Capitol dome, chances are it was first hammered out over a table at Cisco's. LBJ, Jake Pickle, Bill Clements, Ben Barnes, and all the rest were regulars.

Back in the day, Rudy sat everyone, and you didn't get a table in the back room unless you were a regular. For more than a dozen years, Rudy served breakfast cocktails on the sly to regulars, charging them only for the juice; he didn't get his liquor permit until 1979. His younger son, Clovis, took over the business after Rudy's passing in 1995. "I've worked here for 48 years. I remember getting up at 2am as a kid so that I could be here at 2:30 to start work," he said. Clovis is carrying on Rudy's tradition, greeting the regulars and swapping tales over plates of excellent migas, huevos rancheros, picadillo rolls, biscuits, fajitas, and enchiladas. Thankfully, some things never change.

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