Seven Urban Markets to Cure Your Dinnertime Blues
Everything from prepared foods and local beer to artisanal meats and flowers
The ritual begins at about 4pm. You look at recipes online, you read restaurant reviews, you take a mental inventory of what you have in the fridge. But two eggs, some whole wheat penne, and a mangled packet of ketchup do not a frittata make. It's time to take back your dinner. From prepared foods and local beer to artisanal meats and flowers, these seven urban markets offer everything you need for an impromptu romantic dinner – even if you are just sharing it with your cat.
Dia's Market812 Justin, 512/520-5115
This specialty grocery store and deli combines offerings of local and international products with a deli counter for quick and easy grab-and-go meals. Dia's Market offers pastries and Metropolis coffee in the morning, with an all-day deli counter serving a variety of affordable breakfast and lunch sandwiches, artisan cheeses from Spain, Italy, and France, as well as domestic and imported preserved meats. Other deli offerings include prepared foods like snack packs, chicken salad, seasonal items, and whole rotisserie chicken dishes, which can be ordered ahead of time and picked up on the way home to simplify your dinner plans. International wines and local beers round out the market's carefully curated menu, and Dia's holds frequent events and tastings, such as their weekly pint night on Thursdays from 5-8pm, featuring $3 pints of their tap beer of the week.
Royal Blue GroceryMultiple locations
Royal Blue Grocery's locations each offer a different selection of items meant to best serve their local community, but all hearken back to a casual/upscale grab-and-go theme featuring Stumptown coffee, freshly prepared meals, and the convenience of a local grocery store. They also offer catering and floral arrangements for your next office meeting or party. Daily soup and sandwich specials alternate weekly, and certain locations offer Thai food specials Wednesday-Friday, with the Fourth & Nueces location also doing a Wednesday burger special. The compact urban groceries also offer beer, wine, specialty foods, and snacks – a fine balance between convenience and quality.
in.gredients2610 Manor Rd., 512/275-6357
In.gredients is a zero-waste neighborhood grocery store and beer garden that has been setting a standard in sustainability, local sourcing, and civic engagement in Austin since 2012. Not only do they offer a plethora of local options, including meat, wine, produce, and more, in the five years since opening they have diverted 99% of all their waste away from landfills, and have had zero food waste. Aside from extensive bulk offerings and grocery items, they also offer cold brew coffee, kombucha and sodas on tap, and a menu of local and prepared food items. They also offer multiple community events, including workshops, classes, live music, and fundraisers. Enjoy a freshly prepared meal, grab some local produce, or fill up on your household needs in bulk: Just don't forget your reusable containers.
The Bee Grocery1001 E. Sixth, 512/861-5002
This East Sixth grocery offers coffee and espresso drinks, tea, bubble tea, and smoothies alongside a small menu of Vietnamese-inspired items, including spring rolls, vermicelli bowls, and bánh mì made with bread baked fresh daily. The grocery also offers a full deli case, fresh produce, and French-inspired items like pastries and house-made baguettes. Indoor and outdoor seating along East Sixth offers a great spot to grab a quick meal and support a locally owned business, or pick up a bottle of wine or six-pack of beer alongside ingredients and necessities for the house.
Whip In1950 S. I-35, 512/442-5337
Although a full-service grocery, Whip In is better known for its vast beer and wine selection. Although abundant indoor and patio seating are available, and the excellent selection of draft beers and wines by the glass are a tempting reason to hang out and eat in-house, all menu items are also available for takeout and delivery, perfect for a night in with a bottle of wine, a hard-to-find six-pack, or a pint of local ice cream from Lick. After a more-than-three-decade run, original owners Amrit and Chandan Topiwala just sold the Austin classic to Zahir Prasla of Quickie Pickie, who plans to change things up with a curry house menu and theme.
Thom's Market1418 Barton Springs Rd., 512/479-9800
160 E. Riverside, 512/448-3333
Thom's Market offers two locations for convenient and friendly local shopping, ideal for a quick supplies pit stop before hitting up Zilker Park or Barton Springs. Their selection includes beer (over 100 brews, all refrigerated and alphabetized in the cooler), wine, snacks, fresh and frozen foods, and household essentials. They are also stocked with fresh produce, Tacodeli breakfast tacos, pastries, a house blend of Anderson's coffee, and potentially the best selection of Ben & Jerry's in Austin.
Quickie Pickie1208 E. 11th, 512/479-0136
2027 E. Cesar Chavez, 512/992-1357
Quickie Pickie combines a convenience store, cafe, and bar for an easy one-stop shop – whether you need some necessities in a hurry or are looking for an affordable neighborhood joint at which to grab a casual meal. Get there before 11am to snag an artisanal baked good or Counter Culture coffee with a taco, omelet, plate, or breakfast sandwich. Lunch and dinner are offered daily at the 11th Street location, and include deli-style sandwiches, salads, and a straightforward burger with sides, to pair with their tap beer offerings or wine selections. The Cesar Chavez location just teamed up with la Barbecue to provide their popular menu. Every Thursday is pint night at both locations, featuring a different brewery, and all food items are fresh, locally sourced, and made in-house from scratch (except for baked good selections from Cake & Spoon, Misty Morning, Flour, and Baked).