No one does country cuisine like Austin.
The Texas Capital city is probably the most talked about in the Lone Star state. Austin is a jet-setting, trendy hotspot beloved by television personalities like Jimmy Kimmel and Adam Richman.
It’s no surprise the city known for live music and weird culture is also a foodie boomtown. As trendy as it is, restaurants in Austin are still firmly rooted in Texas culture. Here are the 10 most country eateries in Austin.
Christopher B. Stubblefield originally opened Stubb’s Bar-B-Q in 1968 in Lubbock. It expanded to Austin and became a de facto music venue boasting such acts as Stevie Ray Vaughn, Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash. Stubb’s continues to host concerts alongside its everyday operations as a mouthwatering Texas barbecue joint.
9. Broken Spoke
Broken Spoke is known as “the last of the true Texas dance halls.” It opened in 1964 and hosted famous country stars like Kitty Wells, Bob Wills and George Strait, among many others. Not only can you get up and do the Texas Two-Step at the Broken Spoke, you can also order an amazingly delicious chicken fried steak. Broken Spoke also offers burgers, barbecue and enchiladas, so there’s something for everyone. Of all the country restaurants in Austin, this one is the most iconic.
8. Salty Sow
Salty Sow seeks to create healthy and appetizing meals harkening back to the way Americans used to eat around the turn of the 20th century. It was a time when families kept their own chickens, grew their own vegetables and had fresh milk delivered from local dairy farms. The self-professed “farmhouse fare” includes dishes like fried chicken, candied pork belly and slow-cooked beef shoulder. All ingredients are locally sourced and delivered fresh to the restaurant.
7. The Salt Lick BBQ
A Central Texas tradition since 1967, the Salt Lick actually dates back to the late 1800s, when Bettie Howard raised nine children in the little town of Driftwood. Her great grandson, Thurman Roberts started the Salt Lick using the same barbecue methods she used, and the rest is history. The Salt Lick now has a second location in Round Rock, north of Austin, near the Dell Diamond. The brisket is especially delectable and was featured on the Travel Channel show Man v. Food.
6. Foreign and Domestic
Famed New York chef Ned Elliot founded Foreign and Domestic in 2010. The trendy eatery on East 53rd street combines American comfort food with haute cuisine for an unforgettable dining experience. The menu offers Black Pepper and Gruyere Popovers, Carolina Gold Rice Crispy Gnocchi and Fried Chicken Biscuits, as well as a wide selection of craft brews and wines that are, well, foreign and domestic. You might have even seen F&D on the Food Network show Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.
5. Little Barrel & Brown
Little Barrel & Brown opened in 2013 on the corner of South Congress and Annie to offer what they call “daring new ventures into the uncharted territories of food.” If that sounds scary to you, don’t worry, it’s just an eloquent way of saying they put new twists on classic dishes. Little Barrel & Brown’s menu includes offerings like sloppy joe sliders, crispy fried oysters and Lockhart grilled quail.
4. Hyde Park Bar & Grill
Hyde Park Bar & Grill is another Austin institution, and you’ll immediately recognize it by the giant fork outside its Duval Street location. It offers comfort food and classic American & Texan dishes like burgers, fried chicken and collard greens. Hyde Park Bar & Grill opened in 1982 by University of Texas alumnus Bick Brown and immediately became popular for their incredible french fries and extensive wine selection, which are all offered by the glass.
3. Franklin BBQ
You’ve probably already heard about this one. Once a small, but popular, east Austin barbecue joint, the secret is now out on Franklin BBQ. Every day, the line forms hours before the restaurant even opens! Franklin’s was featured in the 2014 Jon Favreau movie Chef. President Obama even ate there once, creating controversy when he walked to the front of the famously long line.
2. Magnolia Cafe
The late-night choice of buzzed college students and early bird trail runners alike, Magnolia Cafe is an Austin staple. This 24-hour, uniquely Austin take on the classic diner is anything but boring. Come in for the famous “Mag Mud,” a queso dish with black beans, avocado and pico de gallo. While you’re there, try their plate-sized gingerbread pancake. You’ll only need one; it’s the size of a small pizza.
1. Dai Due
The chef, and the concept, behind Dai Due are absolutely fascinating. Jesse Griffiths got his start in Austin’s farmer’s market stalls in 2006, selling locally-grown vegetables and sustainably-sourced meats and fish. Griffiths got his start by hunting to supply the meats for his stall at the farmer’s market. The butcher shop at the front of the restaurant offers items like wild boar chorizo, quail and various forms of venison. The eatery has a cozy feel, with home-canned vegetables, fruits and preserves stacked high along the walls. It’s also not uncommon to see a side of lamb be wheeled out from the freezer, through the restaurant, past the oak fired grill and to the butcher shop.
GQ recently featured Dai Due on their list of 25 Best Restaurants of 2015.