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(Tamale House/Instagram)

Listen up, new Austinites. Austin loves its food and rightly so—it certainly has its own brand of vittles. The cuisine scene is leveling-up and diversifying day-by-day, though Austin has long been a hub for excellent grub.

Whether you just moved here, are just visiting or have lived here your whole life, here are some food options that you must try to get a feel for Austin's unique gastronomy.


Breakfast tacos

As the birthplace of the breakfast taco, if you only try one food in Austin it must be the humble breakfast taco. You may have heard of similar breakfast fares, like breakfast burritos or taquitos, but the breakfast taco stole the hearts of Austin's Tex-Mex-loving populous. A cheap, easy and timeless staple, breakfast tacos are Austin's unique soul food.

By way of two brothers from Monterrey, Mexico, Vaquero Taquero, 104 E. 31st St., sells tacos of both the breakfast variety and otherwise. With the choice of in-house fresh corn or flour tortillas, topped with eggs and chorizo, bacon, machacado or nopales, Vaquero Taquero's breakfast tacos are made with love.

Tacodeli is another excellent stop on the breakfast taco front, having served them to Austinites for 22 years. Serving popular options like the sirloin, egg and cheese or the freakin' vegan, with refried black beans and avocado, Tacodeli has options for all kinds of palates.

Kolaches

If you're new to Austin, you're probably confused about the whole "kolache" thing and if you're not, believe it or not, kolaches can be found in other states as well but they just aren't as popular as they are in Central Texas. Brought over by a wave of Czechs searching for new opportunities before the Civil War, Texas became home to sizable Czech communities who brought along the popular pastry.

Flaunting kolaches of all kinds, for breakfast lunch or dinner, Lone Star Kolaches has got you covered. The locally-owned chain has six locations across Austin so you're never too far from your fix—they even sell breakfast tacos!

If you're willing to venture outside Austin City Limits, Dos Gatos in San Marcos will treat you to an enormous array of Texas, Czech and seasonal flavors. With over 30 varieties to choose from, these kolaches are well worth the drive.

Tex-Mex

Don't get a local started on Tex-Mex unless you're ready to listen—Austinites have a particular love affair with the altered cuisine, characterized by its abundance of queso and fusion influences.

When looking for Tex-Mex restaurants in Austin, there is no shortage of options. Tamale House, 1707 E 6th Street, has been serving up tamales, tacos and tortilla soup for the Austin community since 1958. The East location is situated in a cozy garden and will make you feel right at home as you chow down.

Another oldie, Matt's El Rancho, 2613 S Lamar Blvd, has been peddling Mexican comfort food since 1952. You can get their famous migas here among other places, and if you don't know what migas are—well you'll just have to try them. While it started as an unassuming family-owned homemade tamale cart, the restaurant has come full circle, still makes everything from scratch and is proudly family-run.

Food trucks

Food trucks may not be unique to Austin but the city has the fastest-growing food truck industry in the nation. In fact, even well-established restaurants, like Austin's beloved Torchy's Tacos, have broken into the food truck biz.

While Gourdough's also has a brick and mortar location, the restaurant started in an Airstream trailer, 1503 S. 1st Street, in 2008. Combining a love for southern cuisine and donuts, Gourdough's proudly serves decadent, indulgent "Big. Fat. Donuts." like the "gettin piggy with it" donut burger, which is served with pulled pork and candy jalapenos, or the sweet "baby rattler," which is topped with fudge, Oreos and a two-foot gummy snake.

Now with several locations, Veracruz All Natural also started as a trailer in 2008. Started by two sisters who were born and raised in Veracruz, Mexico, the pair were taught to cook by their grandmother and now use their culinary prowess to bring flavors of their childhood to the people of Austin. Veracruz serves a taco for everyone, homemade salsas and refreshing aguas frescas.

Vegan/vegetarian

Bouldin Creek Cafe, 1900 S. 1st Street, is more than just a locally woman-owned vegetarian restaurant, it is a community staple that supports the community it serves. When you order from the restaurant, whether it is their kool hummus sandwich or vegan blueberry cornbread, you are helping support the small businesses Bouldin Creek Cafe sources from as well.

JuiceLand has been slinging green juice right here in Austin for 20 years but the juice joint, which was the shop's former name, sells more than just vibrant drinks. Each JuiceLand store has a full plant-based vegan menu with options ranging from jackfruit carnitas to the queso roller. Plus, if you've never had a wheatgrass shot, this is the place to go.

Ice cream

You can never go wrong with Amy's Ice Cream. As a brand that is essentially synonymous with Austin, Amy's has made a name for itself by dancing the "Time Warp" with customers and doing elaborate, acrobatic tricks with the scoops. With crowd favorites like Mexican vanilla, a rotating myriad of flavors and important homages like Zilker Mint Chip, Amy's is the ice cream of Austin.

Growing up in small communities where they only ate homemade ice cream, Anthony and Chad could never eat at a big box ice cream chain. Together, they created Lick Honest Ice Creams to make a rotating menu of fresh treats from locally sourced ingredients, the way it should be. When you walk into one of Lick's three Austin locations, you can choose from a huge amount of specialty flavors like Goat Cheese, Thyme & Honey or Cilantro Lime, all made from Austin ingredients.

I'm getting hungry just thinking about all these local favorites!

Popular

Austonia file photo. (Christa McWhirter/Austonia)

Police have arrested one of two suspects involved in a mass shooting at Austin's Sixth Street in the early morning hours on Saturday, leaving 14 people injured and two in critical condition.

The arrest was made by the Austin Police Department and the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force. One suspect is still at large.

Police started receiving 911 phone calls at 1:24 a.m about a man that fired shots into a large crowd, and responded to a chaotic scene on the 400 block of East Sixth Street. Detectives are surveying video footage captured by bystanders and cameras on the scene to identify the suspect.

The Austin Police Department has narrowed down their search to two male suspects and believes there was "some type of disturbance" between the two parties.

No deaths have been reported. Fourteen victims are receiving treatment in a hospital in stable condition with one treated in an emergency room; two are in critical condition.

According to Interim Police Chief Joseph Chacon, "almost all" of the victims are innocent bystanders but police have not ruled anyone out at this time.

Shooting on 6th Street Austin Texas 6-12-2021 (Aftermath) youtu.be


The shooting occurred on the weekend of the Republic of Texas Motorcycle Rally. With lots of people downtown, police say it was difficult to get EMS in and out of the scene. Police arrived while the scene was still an "active threat," officers "immediately began lifesaving measures" and drove six victims to the hospital in their squad cars, said Chacon, and four were transported in ambulances.

Chacon said that the incident is believed to be isolated, and they optimistic they will be successful in getting the two suspects into custody. Multiple departments, including APD, the FBI, Texas DPS and the ATF, are involved in the investigation.

Austin police are also requesting state troopers for patrol assistance in the coming days. Chacon stressed staffing issues are increasingly making responding to emergency calls "very hard."

"Overall, we remain a safe city," Chacon said. "Also keep in mind when you come downtown, you need to be safety conscious. Be vigilant of your environment and your surroundings."

Today marks the five-year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting in which 49 were killed and 53 wounded in Orlando, Florida. Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to call 911 or 512-472-TIPS.

This story was updated at 2:47 p.m. to include new information and will be updated as more details are revealed.

Austin police are investigating a homicide in North Austin where a woman was shot and killed, just hours after a mass shooting in Downtown Austin hospitalized 14 people.

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