With the weather warming up in preparation for summer, brunch season is upon us and the Austonia team has some thoughts.
Whether you’re looking for something lowkey to roll out of bed for, like Andrea's pick, a South Congress outing, where Sonia's pick will take you, or something a little more on the wild side like Figi’s pick, there’s a brunch in Austin for everyone.
If you haven't already, check out some of our Austonia-approved favorites.
Andrea’s pick: Magnolia Cafe, 1920 S. Congress Ave.
Serving Austin since 1979, Magnolia Cafe is synonymous with Austin and even served President Barack Obama at its now-closed Lake Austin location once. Andrea likes the option to sit either indoor or outdoor and the pleasant waiting experience, since they don’t take reservations. If she's feeling savory, Andrea orders the tropical turkey tacos. If she’s feeling sweet, Andrea recommends the royal toast.
Claire’s pick: Blue Dahlia Bistro, 3663 Bee Cave Rd.
With fond memories of visiting the San Marcos location throughout college, Claire has been enjoying Austin-based Blue Dahlia Bistro. Claire often sits on the gardeny outdoor patio with a prickly pear or white peach mimosa and orders some of the bistro’s “legendary waffles.”
Figi’s pick: Vixens of Volstead Drag Brunch, 1500 E. 6th St.
When I go out on weekends, I’m looking for brunch and a show. The patio at Hotel Vegas and Volstead is the place to be when drag queens Mars, May Magdalene and Veronica Valentine take the stage from 1-3 p.m. for Sunday brunch. Grab a crispy chicken sandwich and some sriracha ranch tots from Vegas Concessions, the adjoining food truck, a cocktail of your preference and get your cash out for an exciting show from start to finish. Don’t forget to tip the Vixens!
Isabel’s pick: Paperboy, 1203 E. 11th St.
If you can manage a reservation at the buzzy East Austin restaurant, Isabel recommends making a stop at Paperboy. Isabel says to sit upstairs on the patio if you can, grab a cold brew martini and enjoy the vibes. Try her favorite, the migas with goat carnitas, or a kale salad for a light choice.
John’s pick: Jo’s Coffee, 242 W. 2nd St.
A tried-and-true Austin classic so popular it has its own airport location, you can find our operations manager visiting Jo’s downtown location on weekends. Though it’s not your typical brunch setting, John says the joint has great coffee, “phenomenal” lunch sandwiches and despite not having a dog, he enjoys seeing other people’s pups on the patio. Seasonal specials, like a pistachio latte or matcha palmer, keep the menu fresh and free parking keeps the downtown location accessible.
Mark’s pick: Pool Burger, 2315 Lake Austin Blvd.
For those warm summers, our publisher enjoys the outdoor atmosphere and a Mai Tai (with a dark rum floater) at Pool Burger’s tiki bar. Mark orders a hippy burger with a fried egg and crinkle fries and soaks in that casual, carefree and beachy vibe.
Sonia’s pick: Joann’s Fine Foods, 1224 S. Congress Ave.
A lowkey tropical vibe along South Congress, Joann’s Fine Foods is great for people watching or enjoying the sights and sounds of the strip. Our Sonia likes to sit on the back patio, since you often don’t need to make reservations in that section, with some white bean hummus and some great migas. The laid-back atmosphere is perfect for long jaw sessions!
Timmy and Tommy are ready to play.
As the 2-month-old white-and-tabby brothers swat feather wands, chase toys and generally hold court inside Purr-fecto Cat Lounge, a half-dozen potential adoptive parents look on lovingly, trying to get their attention.
“This is kind of like the speed dating of cats,” said Lupita Foster, owner of Purr-fecto Cat Lounge. “I intentionally didn’t put in any tables. That’s why we call it a lounge instead of a cat café because we have these lounge areas where you can sit and relax and cuddle.”
Foster, who has owned a cleaning company, Enviromaids, for 18 years, was inspired to open Purr-fecto Cat Lounge after adopting her own cat, Romeo, from a local shelter.
“When you want to adopt a cat, you have to spend a lot of time with them to get their personality,” Foster said. “I wanted to do something to help the community and something that makes me feel good, that warms my heart. A business with a purpose. This was a perfect idea.”
Actually, a purr-fect idea.
Inspired in part by a cat lounge she visited in Los Angeles, Foster began laying the groundwork for the business in late 2021 and officially opened the doors of Purr-fecto Cat Lounge, located at 2300 S. Lamar Blvd., in July 2022. Since then, she’s worked with rescue organizations such as Fuzzy Texan Animal Rescue and Sunshine Fund Cat Rescue to facilitate nearly 100 cat adoptions.
At any given time, there are 10-15 cats living in the space, which features an ideal blend of calm, cool corners and adorably Instagrammable backdrops with phrases such as “I want to spend all my 9 lives with you.”
Lina Martinez, 32, learned about Purr-fecto Cat Lounge from a friend’s Instagram post and made an appointment to visit two days later.
“My first impression was, ‘AWW!’” Martinez said. “The kittens were to die for. I felt happy and at peace – just what I needed.”
Visitors to the cat lounge pay $15 for a 30-minute CATXperience session or $30 for a 70-minute session that is spent getting to know the personalities of each cat. Foster said the first thing she typically sees from visitors to the lounge is a smile.
“Everybody that enters the door is smiling,” she said. “And we’ve seen people who have cried because they can’t have kids and they decide to go and adopt a cat instead.”
Foster said she loves bringing in cats who might not have a chance to be adopted at traditional shelters. She told the story of one cat named Izzy, who was partially blind, who was adopted by a family that had a deaf cat at home.
“Izzy was not going to get adopted anywhere else, but she’s extremely beautiful,” she said. “If she was in a cage in a rescue and you tell people she’s blind, she was probably going to be overlooked. But visiting our space, she doesn’t seem like she’s blind. She knows her way around. She moves around perfectly.”
Although Martinez, who had been casually looking for a pet to adopt since moving to Austin nearly four years ago, was interested in a cat named Ruby that she had seen on Purr-fecto’s social media, at the lounge she instead found herself drawn to 5-month-old mixed breed Tuxedo cat.
“I thought he was a star,” she said. “He worked the room and introduced himself to everyone. When I laid down to pet Ruby, he ran from the other side of the room and cuddled with me. It was game over. He got me.”
And she, of course, got him, complete with a commemorative photo that read “My Furrever Family” the day she took him home. Although his original name was Emmanuel, she renamed him Sullivan after her favorite DJ.
“Purr-fecto is special because of the amount of effort and love they put into taking care of the cats,” Martinez said, “and finding them good homes and making possible adopters feel at home.”
Foster, who spent a recent Thursday hosting a group of teenagers in foster care at the lounge, several of whom expressed interest in working there, said the best part about her new endeavor is that her heart is always full.
“I just feel complete,” she said. “I always felt as an entrepreneur that I was missing something. I knew I accomplished a lot, but in my heart I was missing a little connection with the community. Now I’m creating connections between humans and pets and that’s amazing. I’m creating family bonds. It’s just about love, you know. And we need that.”
We all have those cravings for an amazing butter chicken or some authentic dosas with coconut chutney, but when I was thinking about where I wanted to go to satisfy my taste buds I realized that my list of great Indian food around Austin was surprisingly short. After doing some research and asking around, here is your list of the best Indian restaurants around town.
This restaurant claims to have the most authentic South Indian food, and from what I've heard, the claims might be true! Their menu features the traditional South Indian dishes of Idlis, Vadas, a variety of Dosas, and more.
If you're looking for an Indian and Tex-Mex fusion cozy restaurant, then look no further! Nasha on East 7th Street prides itself on its specialty margaritas, Tikka con Queso, Biryani, and more creative dishes!