There are a lot of choices in our great city, even when it comes to breakfast. At times, the plethora of options may seem overwhelming, but don’t just settle on the corporate chain closest to your home. There are plenty of local, homegrown businesses serving up the most important meal of the day in a serious way.
You’ve probably grown familiar with the mainstays that are usually popular for good reason. But sometimes you need to step off the sidewalk and roam in the street for awhile, if you get my drift. Below are a few of my recommendations for a solid breakfast in Austin, at places you may not have been before.
Red River Cafe
I’ve been eating at this place for nearly ten years now. I was a little hesitant to include it for selfish reasons. There’s never a wait; it’s quiet and there’s usually a booth available. Two giant eggs – sunny side up – hang on each side of the faded and dated building as you approach. When you walk in, there’s a bench on your left with a hefty pile of newspapers to choose from. I usually linger for a good twenty to thirty minutes after I finish my meal here to catch up on current events.
I can’t say I’ve had a lot of different items from their menu. I found my go-to and haven’t strayed since. Red River Cafe makes my favorite breakfast tacos in the city. While some may consider them plain, their veggie breakfast tacos are just what I look for at breakfast time. Nothing fancy – tomatoes, hash browns, cheese and eggs inside a perfectly seared flour tortilla – but always very satisfying and consistent.
Red River Cafe is like my Seinfeld diner. I like to go here alone or with those closest to me and just sit and eat and read. I began going here with my Longhorn girlfriend, and now we go as husband and wife. It’s a special place to me – to us.
2912 Medical Arts St.
Sweetish Hill Bakery & Cafe
I’ve been going to Sweetish Hill for around seven years now, due to various jobs downtown around the very west side of 6th Street. The service is always good, their bread is delicious (baked fresh daily), and the breakfast is great and very French. You can grab it to go – they have a variety of fresh croissants and pastries to go along with their outstanding drip coffee – or if you’ve got some time, you can pull up a chair for one of their hot breakfast options.
Personally, I like their 6th Street Special: scrambled eggs, home fries, sausage or bacon, and toast or a bialy (think bagel, but better) with butter and jam. They also offer fresh quiche and bialy breakfast sandwiches if that’s your game. It’s a small place, but it has a big personality. Wonderful aromas of freshly baked bread and French roast coffee fill the air the moment you walk in. Aromas paired with an atmosphere that will keep me coming back again and again.
1120 W. Sixth Street
Editor’s Note: The Omelettry opened at 4631 Airport Blvd, #131A in May 2015.
You’re treated like family when you walk into The Omelettry, and what’s better than a fresh, hot family breakfast? They’ve been slinging omelettes and pancakes on Burnet for nearly forty years now and like to keep a traditional touch on things. The decor is dated, but intentionally so.
The Omelettry recently announced that their lease on Burnet will not be renewed in June 2015. Fortunately, they are actively looking for a new home in Austin and we wish them the best during that transition.
Here, I go for their mushroom omelette or their famous gingerbread pancakes (so good). Both substantial meals will leave you satisfied and ready for the coming day.
You can tell they have the right idea when it comes to breakfast because of their friendly demeanor and a passage that caught my eye on their website:
“There’s something primal about the serving and eating of breakfast: the routine of it, the comfort of pancakes and hot coffee. Breakfast stirs up memories, associations, thoughts of friends and family gathered at the table. It reminds us of home.”
Well said, Omelettry. I’m hungry.
4811 Burnet Road
What is your favorite little-known breakfast spot in Austin?
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