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!
Legacy grocery store and deli Avenue B Grocery & Market, 4403 Avenue B, re-opened its hundred-year-old doors this week, serving up sandwiches after two years of a pandemic-induced closure.
Mason, the 10th owner of the location, has been running the shop largely by himself since his family bought the location to save it from closing in the early ‘90s. Mason greeted customers with a smile and a homemade sandwich on Friday while telling them a little bit about the history behind the building.
Mason, who would not let us photograph his face, starts removing the paper that has covered the menus for two years. (Laura Figi/Austonia)
“I'm still testing the water, gauging how things are gonna go and slowly bringing things back online,” Mason told Austonia. “I haven't personally been telling people I’m open yet because I wasn’t ready. Only today, as you saw, did I uncover the menu.”
Aside from the groceries and famous sandwiches, the store sells Maine Root sodas, candy, dinnerware, records and miscellaneous knick-knacks. If you ask, Mason will pull down some antiques from the shelves behind the till.
Try Ave. B's R.L.T. (Ross a.k.a avocado, mushrooms, green olives, lettuce and tomato), Mason's take on the classic sandwich. (Laura Figi/Austonia)
The store unofficially opened when passerbys saw lights inside on Wednesday but Mason said he never told anyone he was opening, it just sorta happened. Mason didn’t uncover his sandwich menus until Friday.
“It's my social life, you know, that's how I meet people and people come to visit me,” Mason said. “People have been very understanding. I wanted to be more relaxed and social–it used to be so busy.”
First-time Ave. B visitor Rose Bowditch recently moved to the Hyde Park neighborhood from California and told Austonia she had been waiting for the store to open up so she could see what was inside. Mason offered her roast beef samples while he helped her dig for jars.
Rose bought some mason jars and a teacup on her first visit. (Laura Figi/Austonia)
Meanwhile, Brianne Bowland and John Lyman began eating Mason’s sandwiches when Lyman started working nearby. The two said they’ve become big fans since and had been waiting for the reopening.
Bowland and Lyman took in all the sights upon their first time back in the building. (Laura Figi/Austonia)
“(Ave. B) is like a go-to for everyone in my company to come for lunch,” Lyman said. “I even have a T-shirt. I've always just loved that it's a really eclectic selection of things on the shelf–and then the sandwiches are really pretty special.”
Mason excepts call-in orders at all times except the busy rush hour at noon, during which he asks for your patience as he’s a one-man band. But patrons are free to stop by from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Thursday-Monday for a great sandwich, conversation and a beer now that the store is back open.
The largest ticketed motorcycle rally in the U.S. said it will limit its attendance to 2,500 per Bastrop County rules as it forges ahead with plans for its event at Mere's Reserve on the Colorado from June 9-12.
In an April hearing, Bastrop County Judge Paul Pape denied the event permit for 3,000 attendees for the annual Republic of Texas (or ROT) Biker Rally.
The event has brought in as many as 35,000 paid customers in the past, with over 200,000 estimated to attend the yearly Friday night street party in downtown Austin, and has hosted iconic artists including Willie Nelson, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Joan Jett and more since it began in 1995. This year, the event will move to Bastrop County for the first time from Travis County and include dozens of artists—including Ray Wylie Hubbard—food trucks, vendors and more motorcycle-themed entertainment.
In the hearing, Pape said he denied the request for 3,000 attendees due to limited space and lack of infrastructure at the new venue. Mere's Reserve is located on Farm-to-Market Road 969, a well-used, two-shoulder road off State Highway 71.
Bastrop County Sheriff Maurice Cook also expressed concerns about the event. According to KXAN, Cook said it's in the organization's "best interest" to monitor attendance, and he's added plans to beef up security ahead of the rally.
“As good as they can so that next year, whenever the judge evaluates their request, if it’s over 2,500, of course, then he will have a baseline to just say, ‘Well, y’all did use what you’re supposed to'... and at that point, they could more likely get a permit over 2,500," Cook told KXAN.
Organizers said they will keep count on site and limit ticket sales to under 2,500. While Cook denied their liquor license request, the decision will ultimately be with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, which has not issued a license yet.
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