If you follow along on Instagram, you know that I’m a diehard fan of MMH, more formally known as McGuire Moorman Hospitality, and known by food-obsessed people like me as the group behind Austin restaurants like June’s, Jeffrey’s, Elizabeth Street Café, Josephine House, Perla’s, Clark’s, and Lamberts. Whenever I walk into one of their places for the first time, I get the same feeling: It’s like they’ve hired Hollywood production designers to crawl inside our collective mind and create the restaurants we all aspire to hang out in. They’re dreamy and cinematic, but thankfully totally real and right here in Austin. Every detail from the appetizers to the server uniforms and the candles in the bathroom are perfectly thought out.
When I’m having a crappy day, happy hour at June’s never fails to cheer me up. It’s like therapy, only so much more fun. So when the opportunity to eat at ALL seven of their restaurants in 24 hours and document it was presented to me, I responded to the email with a record amount of speed and enthusiasm. Being such a devotee of this restaurant group, you would have thought that I would plan out every moment of the day from soup to nuts, but I decided to throw caution to the wind and wing it.
Here now is hour-by-hour account of the greatest food day of my life. (Editor’s note: You might want to read it with a snack.)
Swim laps at the YMCA (I need to burn some calories to make room for all the buttery sauces I will ingest.)
Barre class. Two workouts in one day. I am feeling like I can conquer the world, but also eat it—I am famished.
And so it begins: Breakfast at Elizabeth Street Café
A little background on this place: Since opening in 2011, they’ve served up 85,311 macarons and 25,696 Singapore noodles. Both of those items are amazing, but I’m here for the breakfast of champions. I never think to go here, but breakfast at ESC is a hidden gem. As I mentioned before, I am hungry and “pacing myself” is the furthest thing from my mind. So I spend way to much time deciding what to order off their breakfast menu while nibbling on a chocolate croissant. Finally, I settle on the Breakfast Bahn Mi. That was the first perfect decision of my day.
I leave so full and content. Six restaurants to go. I head home to walk off breakfast with my dog, Brady.
Early Lunch at Lamberts
Lamberts was the original MMH hotspot, and they are celebrating 10 years of slinging high-end barbecue and fabulous cocktails. In that time, they’ve sold 680,000 pounds of brisket and 84,500 gallons of beer. My friend and I walk in, look at each other, and have the same great thought at the same time: should we grab a drink at the bar? Why, yes! Yes we should. It’s the most non-Tuesday of Tuesdays. The first drink of the day slides right down as we head out to the patio. Surprisingly, breakfast has settled and I’m ready to tackle meal number two, lunch number one. We go with the Cripsy Wild Boar Ribs for the appetizer. Can I quit now? There is no way anything else we order today can top this. Amazing. We decide to share a meat plate and fries because we’re at Lambert’s and it would be a Texas crime not to.
Late Lunch at Perla’s
Listen, I am full but I have never said “no” to Perla’s and I’m not about to start now. Besides, there is always room for oysters right? Apparently because since opening in 2009, this place has shucked 2,105,625 of the little guys. Perla’s does a rotating frozen cocktail and it’s August and I’m sitting on the their beautiful patio, so naturally I get the frozen cocktail. The Blue Hawaiian tastes like vacation. My friend and I decide that we really need to pace ourselves so we decide on a cool half dozen oysters to start. Those slide right down, and I still have room so we go for my favorite thing on their menu: The Grilled Octopus. They also just added Mexican Street Corn to the menu. I don’t claim to be an expert on a lot of things but I am picky when it comes to my street corn. This is easily, some of the best I’ve had.
Honestly, at this point I am ready to wave my white flag and move on. Our waiter insists that we get Salted Butterscotch Pot de Crème for dessert. Hesitant, I mull if over for a split second. Ok, I am getting the dessert. This is up there in the top three desserts I’ve had in my entire life. Now I am feeling full-er. The rest of the day seems kind of daunting, but I’m pretty sure I was born for this so I decide to go on a walk before happy hour number one.
Happy Hour at Clark’s
This walk has me feeling like a new person. I’ve had some time to let the previous meals digest and now I am ready for a light bite and drinks at Clark’s. Since 2012, this cozy little joint has served 1,952 tins of Caviar and their happy hour is a stellar deal: Monday – Friday 3-6 p.m., you get half-off burgers, 50 cents off oysters, and $5
martinis, oyster shooters and draft beers. Saturday and Sunday from 3- 6 p.m. 50 cents off
oysters, half-off wine bottles, and $5 oyster shooters.
This is easy, a dozen oysters. We crush those. Then the debate starts: Should we or shouldn’t we get the Happy Hour Burger? For those who don’t know already, the fries at Clark’s are the jam. Ordering the burger (which Austin Monthly just named the best burger in town) means we’ll get those fries. So yes, one burger please. We split the burger, we’re still standing, and now we’re ready for happy hour number two.
Happy Hour at Josephine House
This little cottage restaurant is the perfect prelude to Jeffrey’s. A cool glass of wine and a plate of burrata later, I am feeling like we are making all the right choices today.
Dinner at Jeffrey’s
And now for the main event. Jeffrey’s has been a fixture in Austin since 1975. MMH bought and renovated it from top to bottom in 2013 and that same year, Bon Appetit magazine named it Top 10 Best New Restaurants in the US, along with Josephine House. Also, very importantly, you should know that since 2013 they’ve uncorked 35,956 bottles of wine.
This climax of my day is now somewhat of a blur, but here is what I can tell you: You will not get better service then this in Austin. Everything at Jeffrey’s is done right from the second you walk in the restaurant. Most people, me included, come here for very special occasions, which is a shame because you can enjoy their happy hour without breaking the bank. We went with the cheese plate, King Crab and Avocado Toast, Hamachi Carpaccio (MY FAVORITE), Tortellini, Pan Seared Bar Steak and somehow managed to sneak in a dessert. Those that know, know. Jeffrey’s is the best. If you want first-class dining in Austin, go here.
Dessert at June’s All Day
Seriously, I have never been this full in my entire life. This is way beyond Thanksgiving full. But the show must go on, so a nightcap at June’s. Food & Wine named June’s one of 10 Best New Restaurants in 2017 in the entire country in May and Bon Appetit just named it one of their Top 50 Finalists for Best New Restaurants. They’ve been open less than a year, but they’ve sold 7,525 cups of coffee and 1,426 Monster Cookies.
Sadly, they are out of the Monster Cookie, so I have a Lemon Tart. June herself pairs the perfect dessert wine for me and I call it night.
There’s no need for anymore food for a while, maybe I’ll fast for a week. I’ve had the best of the best all day and I only have the one stomach.
A friend duo hailing from Mexico had a vision to bring authentic tacos to Austin. Seven years ago, their vision came to life when they opened their first taco trailer called One Taco. You may remember their name from our Breakfast Taco Taste Off earlier this year where they took home 1st prize with the Jefe Taco. If there’s one arena in Austin that’s difficult to enter and come out on top, it’s the taco arena. But Tony Avila and Axel Beverido found a way to win over the taco loving appetites of Austin.
Recently, their dream of opening a Brick and Mortar became a reality. And trust us, it’s a place where taco dreams really do come true. They kill it all day long serving breakfast, lunch and dinner tacos. From the “Big Kahuna” to the Gowalla Taco to the 5 de Pastor, you can’t go wrong. Our most recent visit even included the Pancake Taco. Yes, the Pancake Taco.
Whether you’re looking for a quick pick-up order, for a place to eat tacos and drink a few beers with your buddies, or a family-friendly hang out, do yourself this one favor. Check out One Taco.
Brick and Mortar
12200 Research Blvd. #400
One Taco – Container
6th & Nueces
Austin, Texas 78701
Once a novelty in Austin, food trailers have exploded onto the scene, cropping up in parking lots and behind bars all over town. With the plethora of new trailers opening every week, it’s often hard to keep up with it all. We’ve run down a list of our favorites to visit.
What was once a desert for really great brisket and sides—save for Franklin and a few scattered, older restaurants—Austin proper has now become a barbecue haven, largely in part of two food trailers known as Micklethwait Craft Meats and La barbecue.
1. Micklethwait Craft Meats
At 1309 Rosewood in the heart of East Austin, Micklethwait is notable for—beyond its juicy brisket—twists on classics (brisket frito pie with escabeche) and unusual smoked meats (pulled goat, available some Saturdays).
2. la Barbecue
Now settled in its fourth spot in town at Aztec Food Park on Cesar Chavez, la Barbecue is also serving some of the best barbecue in Central Texas. Meat plates are an obvious favorite, but I also recommend some of the sandwiches, including La Frito Loco, featuring a medley of pulled pork, chopped beef, jalapeños, cheese, chipotle slaw, and black beans.
All the meats from la Barbecue
3. Via 313
Austin isn’t known for its pizza, but some of the tastiest pies I’ve ever had are made at VIA 313, a growing, Detroit-style pizza parlor with multiple locations in the city. It got its start as a food trailer in front of The Violet Crown bar on East Sixth Street, and is still the primo place to grab a pie or a couple of slices. Try the Detroiter, featuring two different kinds of pepperoni, and wash it down with an ice-cold Vernor’s, a classic Detroit ginger ale.
Detroit Style Pizza from VIA 313
4. Veracruz All Natural
Whether you stop by the original location on Cesar Chavez, the one at Radio Coffee & Beer in South Austin, or the one in Round Rock, Veracruz All Natural is one of the best taco trucks in town. Opened by two sisters from Veracruz, Mexico, the food is some of the freshest you’ll find, and the tortillas and chips are handmade. The al pastor is my favorite offering, with just a touch of the fresh green salsa on top. It’s spicy, but delicious.
Breakfast Tacos from Veracruz
5. Violet Taco
More of a hybrid but still delicious taco experience is Violet Taco, a trailer at 600 West Sixth Street downtown. Featuring barbecue from its sister restaurant, the East Side’s Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ, huevos rancheros tacos and the like are the vibe here, with tons of ingredients for hungry eaters. The Ultimate Bean and Cheese Taco is a twist on the simple classic, except this one has bacon and a choice of smoked brisket or pulled pork—three items that make any food order markedly tastier.
A plethora of tacos from Violet Taco
6. Burro Cheese Kitchen
Grilled cheese is the ultimate comfort food: It’s hearty, easy, and reminds us of a time when we were younger. At Burro Cheese Kitchen at 1221 South Congress Avenue, it’s that formula except on steroids. First you pick your bread, and we’re not talking wimpy Wonderbread here. You can choose from sourdough made at Easy Tiger, a Hawaiian bun, or a gluten-free option. Next, of course, is the cheese, and while an aged cheddar is on the menu, more adventurous eaters will find Danish Havarti, manchego, and aged blue cheese from Oregon. Then you get a sauce, with offerings like spicy maple bacon and balsamic apricot fig, plus veggies, smoked meats, and even a fried egg.
The Mac n’ Cheese Grilled Cheese from Burro
7. Hey! You Gonna Eat or What?
Similarly, Hey!…You Gonna Eat or What? subverts the classic sandwich into something even better. The Lonestar BLT features thick-cut applewood bacon, fried green tomatoes, and homemade poblano aioli on a ciabatta baguette. And their version of the monte cristo is beer-battered in Shiner Bock and comes with homemade cherry and fig jelly.
The Monte Cristo from Hey You Gonna Eat Or What? Photo by Nick Bianco
Umami fried chicken, dashi bacon braised kale, house biscuits & grilled corn with kimchi miso butter *mmmm* Just one of the many reasons we love local Austin food truck turned brick and mortar, The Peached Tortilla. Here’s why it made the cut for our 365 Approved program:
The Peached Tortilla merges that southern, comfort food that we all love and spices it up with an Asian flare. From Brisket Hash for brunch to a Malaysian Laksa Bowl for dinner (poached shrimp, Japanese noodles, curry seafood broth, bean sprouts, all topped with 45 minute egg), The Peached Tortilla has one of the most unique menus offered in Austin.
For social drinkers and happy hour enthusiasts – The Peached Tortilla also offers some pretty fantastic specials. From 5 pm – 7 pm, at the bar, daily, you can enjoy these specials:
- $5 cocktails, $5 draft pours, $5 wine pours
- $3 specialty tacos, including our kalua pork + chinese bbq taco
- $5 snacks, including kimchi arancini balls and charred brussels (served with parmesan, bacon jam and lemon oil)
- $7 social burger (6 oz. burger, peached sauce, american cheese, miso caramelized onions, japanese pickles, lettuce)
One of our favorite nights of the week at The Peached Tortilla is Fried Chicken & Whiskey Wednesdays. For just $15, get three pieces of umami fried chicken, dashi bacon braised kale, house biscuits & grilled corn with kimchi miso butter. To wash down that delicious meal, they also offer a rotating $5 whiskey pour. What a combination!
And finally, what’s a Sunday without brunch? The Peached Tortilla mixes things up with a whole array of new items recently added to their menu, including the brisket hash (served with charred sweet potatoes, corn & kimchi miso butter), challah french toast (served with coconut whipped cream & miso caramel), korean steak and egg bowl (served with two fried eggs & dehydrated egg furikake – pictured), and crab pad thai (with fresh herbs, peanuts, bean sprouts & fish sauce caramel). And of course, they also offer their staple items, including the taco trio and their to-die-for burgers.
Drink and food specials on the daily, Fried Chicken & Whiskey Wednesdays, and did we mention it’s one of our favorite brunch spots? Make sure you check this one out, Austinites!
For a chance to win a $40 gift certificate to The Peached Tortilla, follow them on Instagram and visit their website to view their menu.
Brick & Mortar Location:
5520 Burnet Rd. Suite 100
Austin, TX, 78756
What’s one thing an Austinite will never get sick of? Tacos, tacos, tacos. And it’s about time we included one of our favorite taco joints in our 365 Approved Program.
Located in Austin hotpots (South Congress and MLK Blvd.), Kesos Taco House has all your taco needs sorted. And what better way to wash down a couple of tacos than with a FREE beer or mimosa? That’s right, from 2 – 6 pm Monday-Friday, Kesos invites you to have a beer, mimosa, or fountain drink on the house (limited to one beverage per customer; MLK Location only).
Their menu offers a wide array of tacos that you won’t find at any Mexican food joint in Austin. One of our favorites is the ‘Surf N Turf Diablo’ – shrimp, sirloin steak, grilled onions, jalapenos, bell peppers, melted queso, Kesos sauce, avocado dressing, all on a flour tortilla. Their breakfast tacos are also a hit, with over 6 different varieties to choose from.
With murals of some of our favorite Austin spots and a menu named after Austin events/must-see attractions, Keso’s is the perfect place to soak up the Austin culture we all know and love. Not to mention, it’s a great place to bring visitors from out of town!
Follow them on Instagram for a chance to win a $40 gift certificate to Keso’s Taco House, and visit their website to view their menu.
600 W. Martin Luther King Blvd.
Austin, TX 78701
4720 S. Congress Ave
Austin, TX 78745
Gamers, unite – we’ve got the brunch spot of your dreams. The Goodnight will take your brunch activities to a whole new level with free games and $1 mimosas every Saturday and Sunday from 11-4 pm. What kind of games, do you ask? Free bowling, free billiards, free ping pong, free shuffle board, $100 per hour air guitar lessons, AND free karaoke!
In case you need more convincing to get out of the house on the weekend, The Goodnight’s brunch menu includes this slice of heaven – Biscuits & Gravy Benedict. That’s right, eggs benedict and biscuits and gravy served in one dish.
Their hearty, brunch menu, paired with $1 mimosas, AND free games make for the perfect way to spend your weekend. For your new brunch spot, check out The Goodnight!
When: Saturday and Sundays
Time: 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
2700 Anderson Lane
Austin, Texas 78757
Add happy hour at The Goodnight to your Austin Bucket List. They offer an excellent food menu, great cocktails, plus plenty of activities. If you get to enjoy all this during “halfy hour” when they have half-off all gaming, pizza and appetizers you really can’t lose!
The food at the Goodnight is way better than your typical “bar food.” The appetizer menu consists of something for every pallet, ranging from items like baked brie and shrimp & grits, to a chef’s board and hummus.
They offer eight well-maintained vintage bowling lanes, pool, Ping-Pong, shuffleboard, and board games. All the equipment is in great shape (rare for a place that serves alcohol).
Forget Happy Hour, check out Halfy Hour!
Time: 4:00 -6:30 pm
2700 Anderson Lane
Austin, Texas 78757
For the fourth installment of 365 Approved we venture down West 5th Street to the seafood and southern mecca that is Liberty Kitchen. We’ve found ourselves dining their more and more frequently over the past few months, and still haven’t found an item on their (extensive) menu that we don’t absolutely love.
For an in-depth look at our first experience at Liberty, click here. Or read on for what’s happening at the restaurant NOW…
They recently launched a happy hour that includes 50 cents off (shucked at the wet bar) oysters, 1/2 price burgers, wine/beer/martini specials, and a whole lot more. They even offer a few specials on weekends! See the full Happy Hour Menu.
Their building also has ample FREE covered parking, so it’s a great, stress-free place to stop by on your way home from work.
In addition to happy hour, Liberty is now open for lunch seven days a week. They have really great daily specials, possibly the best mac n’ cheese in the city, and perhaps equally important for a weekday lunch, GREAT PARKING, which has become a commodity in Austin!
Lastly, Liberty spreads an amazing brunch on Sundays AND Saturdays, as well as holidays. It runs until 2:30pm, and one can find both sweet and savory options on the menu. Including the amazing Cajun Chicken and Waffles pictured below.
Follow us on Instagram for a chance to win a $40 gift certificate to Liberty Kitchen, and visit their website at www.LibertyKitchenATX.com for menus and more info.
This week’s 365 Approved trailer takes one of America’s favorite sandwiches, the grilled cheese, to a new level.
The motto at Burro Cheese Kitchen is simple: “We love good cheese. We love good bread. We love to apply fire to good cheese and good bread.” They use great cheese, excellent bread and make their sauces in house, which makes for the ultimate sandwich combination.
You have two options. You could go with a sandwich already on the menu. It just depends what your mood is because they have several different takes on grilled cheese. Like many things in life, I prefer to go big or go home, so the Croque-Madame is a personal favorite. Sourdough, smoked ham, gouda + pesto aioli- all topped with a fried egg + dulce de leche, makes for sandwich heaven.
If nothing on the menu jumps out at you, you can have it your way by making your own crazy combination. Make your call with the choice of bread, cheese, sauce, meat, and veggies.
Don’t take our word on this grand slam of a sammie. Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Cover Model and local Austinie, Brooklyn Decker has instagram-ed herself enjoying “the best sandwich she’s ever tasted.”
Aside from their regular locations, be sure to look for them at ACL, FFF Fest, Trail of Lights, and F1 this fall.
Burro Cheese Kitchen sandwiches are truly an art form. They’re definitely not the Kraft-cheese sandwiches you had as a child, and these masterpieces will change the way you think about grilled cheese.
1221 South Congress Avenue
Austin, Texas 78704
Midway Food Park
1905 South Capital of Texas Hwy
Austin, Texas 78746
Welcome to the first edition of the 365 Approved Restaurant Program!
We decided to start with one of our favorite recent openings, Monger’s Market + Kitchen.
Located on East Cesar Chavez, Monger’s specializes in seafood both from the gulf and beyond. They also have exquisite dishes from dry land as well (try the 44 farms chuck steak), and beer and wine offerings that will enhance any menu selection.
On July 13th, Monger’s will be hosting a craft beer dinner featuring Abita. See the menu below, and purchase tickets by calling the restaurant at 512-215-8972 or by emailing Julie@MongersAustin.com
Lastly, on Wednesdays, Monger’s celebrates an Afternoon Oyster Social. 1/2 Priced oysters are accompanied by $5 select wines and $1 off all drafts from 2-6pm.
2401 E Cesar Chavez St
Austin, TX 78702
Sunday Brunch 11:30am-3:30pm