From decades-old staples to brand-new joints, Austin, Texas’ brunch scene is bubbling more than a mimosa. But when so many plates and cocktails abound, how do you narrow down which hot spots fit your fancy and your funds? Local experts weighed in on delicious dishes at top midday eateries to help you decide where to spend your hard-earned vacation dollars.
Mattie's has quickly become a favorite after it opened in early 2017 in historic Green Pastures, an estate and events space where peacocks roam beneath impressive oak trees. Rustic, farm-fresh American cuisine like buttermilk biscuits, fried chicken eggs Benedict and the famous milk punch are served at this South Austin spot. If you’re looking for something hearty, try the burger. Mattie’s serves an a la carte brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
[Read: The Best Hotels in Austin.]
Matt’s El Rancho
Slinging plates of Tex-Mex since 1952, Matt’s El Rancho keeps locals and visitors coming back with its excellent outdoor patio and fun environment. Dishes like huevos rancheros, migas (a local favorite of scrambled eggs mixed with tortilla chips, cheese and pico de gallo) and the fajita omelet are what this favorite spot is known for, but for variety, try the build-your-own breakfast tacos. Mimosas with fresh-squeezed orange juice are also on the menu. Travelers can brunch at this South Lamar establishment Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Bouldin Creek Cafe
“It’s a vegetarian restaurant, but not just for vegetarians,” says David Scheffke, front office manager at the Hotel Ella. “I always get The Renedict, which is their take on eggs Benedict.”
This dog-friendly eatery in the Bouldin Creek neighborhood offers a lively environment decorated with local art. Tofu and bean tacos plus the vegetarian omelets are must-eats, and it has a wide selection of tea in addition to fair trade coffee that’s organic and locally roasted. Bouldin Creek Cafe is open from 8 a.m. to midnight on weekends, and most of its brunch items are available all day.
[Read: 5 Austin Breweries to Visit.]
Served inside a historic building built in 1869, Freedmen’s Sunday brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. is a Southern barbecue lover’s paradise.
“I highly recommend the barbecue Benedict with the Holy Mary” – Freedmen's take on the bloody mary, topped with brisket, pork spare rib and house-made sausage, says Steven Leigh, chief concierge at the Archer Hotel Austin. This joint near the University of Texas at Austin also serves jalapeno cheddar grits and more than 160 whiskeys.
Jack Allen’s Kitchen
At the Oak Hill location, Jack Allen’s Kitchen, a favorite of Austinites, offers a Sunday buffet brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Locally sourced seasonal cuisine with a Southern twist includes classics like Mama’s Sunday Chicken, chicken-fried pork tenderloin, house-cured ham, and biscuits and gravy, along with cocktails like the restaurant's pomegranate sangria. Southwestern dishes like green chili pork and eggs, and migas are also favorites.
Lamberts Downtown Barbecue
A take on fancy barbecue, Lamberts Downtown Barbecue in the Second Street District offers chef-inspired dishes at its Sunday brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Live music permeates the restored Schneider Brothers Building where a buffet features brisket rubbed with coffee and brown sugar, coriander- and fennel-crusted Berkshire pork ribs, and house-made jalapeno hot links. Sides of jicama and cilantro slaw, and cheddar and poblano grits are also on the menu. A la carte options are available as well, like brioche French toast, hanger steak Benedict and breakfast Frito pie.
Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill
“They’re known for their green chili macaroni and king ranch casserole,” Leigh says. “Get there early because they have waits of up to two hours, but it’s well worth it.”
Within the walls of a historic downtown Austin building, Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill delivers upscale Southern comfort dishes for its Sunday brunch from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Those looking for home-cooked dishes will love the green chili cheese grits, spiral roasted ham, buttermilk biscuits and white chocolate bread pudding.
[Read: 9 Must-Try Austin Steakhouses.]
Sit out on the huge patio with the frozen cocktail of the day or oysters on the half shell at this South Congress Avenue restaurant. The breakfast crab cake is what it's known for, along with oysters, both fresh and fried. Although it mostly serves seafood, Perla’s flat-top cheeseburger is another dish that delights locals and travelers. Brunch is on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
1886 Café & Bakery
The 1886 Café & Bakery, within The Driskill in downtown Austin, dishes up Texas comfort food, from brazos huevos rancheros to the Lady Bird omelet to the Texas pecan waffle. If you’re looking for a diverse menu for a large group or a few picky eaters, this eatery has everything from quiches, omelets and baked goods to soups, salads and sandwiches.
“I’d get the hangover burger," says Chris Johnson, concierge and greeter at the hotel. "It’s super good." The cafe serves brunch from 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends.
Café No Sé
This California-inspired brunch spot in the South Congress Hotel offers seasonal dishes on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“My must-haves are the ricotta hotcakes and avocado toast,” Scheffke says. “It’s lighter fare so you can spend your day exploring Austin.” Café No Sé's cheeseburger and fresh-baked pastries are must-tries as well.
To experience more of what Austin has to offer, check out the U.S. News Travel guide.
15 Best Foodie Destinations in the USA
Ellis graduated cum laude with a bachelor's in English from Virginia Tech (Go Hokies!) and is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, Texas Freelance Association, Freelance Austin, and Women Communicators of Austin. You can find her on LinkedIn and her website, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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