“He goes off every hour,” Jurassic Car Wash owner John Borek told me as we watched an animatronic pterodactyl raise its wings while cawing toward the traffic on South Congress. Underneath the dinosaur, a line of customers wash their cars with soap that smells like piña colada. It’s these unique details that make Jurassic Car Wash a successful and quintessential South Austin small business. [Read more…]
Do you want freshly-made, locally-grown food served with a warm South Austin attitude? Vespaio Ristorante and Enoteca Vespaio bring both–with Italian passion–to the heart of South Congress Avenue.
These culinary cornerstones of the SoCo strip have been setting the standard for Italian food in Austin for decades. The kitchen staff at both restaurants is up and at it early, making pasta, bread, desserts and charcuterie, and prepping all of the daily specials in-house. Much of the food is made using ingredients from the on-site garden, Tecolote Farm in Manor and other local vendors. [Read more…]
Are you interested in exploring the depths of the music scene here in Austin? You don’t have to be a classically trained musician to appreciate amazing blues and jazz. In fact, all you need is an open mind and–optionally–a pair of dancing shoes.
Austin is home to some of the greatest venues and artists around. Grab a friend and head to one of these cherished institutions. [Read more…]
Thanks to recent policy changes, traveling to Cuba has become a whole lot easier. But Austinites don’t have to travel far to experience the culture and cuisine of the region. Just head down South Congress Avenue and you’ll come across Habana–a hidden gem among tall oak trees where the cultural highlights of Cuba come alive.
The sights and smells will transport you to another world. So do yourself a favor and experience a slice of everyday Cuban life right here in Austin. [Read more…]
As the sun sets, the string lights wrapped around the majestic oak trees seem to burn brighter. You know you’ve come to a special place in Austin: Hill’s Cafe.
Hill’s Cafe has been a prominent part of south Austin since 1947. Over the years, it has provided the backdrop for many musical nights and has given locals a place to get Texas comfort food.
Here are the reasons Hill’s Cafe might become your new favorite spot. [Read more…]
Guest article by Jonatan Contreras
I’m new to Austin, and I was (quite unreasonably) excited to find out it has a pretty big Mexican food scene. Let me back up.
I’m from El Paso, Texas, land of the border culture. In El Paso, every time a new Mexican restaurant pops up, we tend to wonder “Another one?” Needless to say, I know my way around a taco. Which, ironically, was the reason I was excited to try out Austin staple Torchy’s Tacos. Word in town was, a flagship location had just opened on South Congress Avenue, where Fran’s Hamburgers used to be.
Torchy’s Tacos, you did not disappoint. [Read more…]
Although no se means “I don’t know” in Spanish, Café No Sé knows how to hold its own along one of Austin’s most well-known streets.
From my perspective, South Congress Hotel serves as a peek into Austin’s future. The minds behind this hotel that hosts Cafe No Sé are greater in number than Austin’s typical local business, but this doesn’t mean they’re any less invested in the spirit of our city than the mom and pop shop down the street. These Austin entrepreneurs have gone to great lengths to grow their hotel with Austin, as the city changes from a once-hidden gem of a town to a top destination. They acknowledge and embrace the cranes permanently caressing the skyline, but strive to preserve the infamous weirdness that put this city on the map. [Read more…]
For almost 20 years, Yard Dog Gallery has resided at 1510 S Congress Ave. When I first moved to Austin and visited the South Congress shops, I was excited to find a gallery space full of intriguing art. Since my curiosity was piqued back then, I’ve always wanted to know more about this space and the artists whose work lines the walls. Last week, I spoke with owner Randy Franklin about what makes Yard Dog a uniquely Austin art gallery.
Defining an Art Gallery
Jan, Randy’s wife, had considered the idea of a Southern Folk Art gallery for a while. Once the perfect space opened on South Congress, they had to act fast to get started. They dove in without a business plan, consulted their folk art book collection and reviewed art shows done in museums in order to track down artists. From there, Yard Dog was born. [Read more…]
Guest article by Dawn Sarnecky
Every Austinite knows that dressing appropriately for the Texas weather is an absolutely necessary task each day. The trick is to be comfortable as the beads of sweat drip down during summer and to be cozy during the winter (a.k.a. fall?). If you to dress like an Austin local with wardrobe pieces no one else will have, skip the mall action and check out these local stores.
Tip of the Brim at Hatbox
If you are looking to cover your dome from the severe sun with style, then look no further than
I’m always excited to find our city supporting local artists, like you’ll find at 23rd Street Artists Market. It’s even cooler when it’s a whole neighborhood affair.
First Thursday Is About Community
For several years now, businesses of all sizes have been congregating on South Congress Ave. for a monthly event called First Thursday. You can probably guess when this event takes place. Yes, the first Thursday of every month.
It is a neighborhood affair. The businesses up and down South Congress stay open late, many until about 10 PM. The bars in the area are known to offer drink specials for the monthly gathering, and parking areas and lot spaces are opened for artists to set up tents and sell their wares. [Read more…]