As I’ve visited local markets and grocery stores in Austin that many neighborhood residents frequent, it quickly became apparent what Austinites value: organic food, local products, and craft beer.
Though the atmosphere of these local businesses varies, they all make shopping local convenient and offer easy access to unique foods that are difficult to find anywhere else. Here’s a list of what I consider the best local grocery stores in Austin.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in 2014, we have made updates here to include new locations as well as curbside and delivery options where applicable.
What’s on Tap at Royal Blue Grocery?
There are six Royal Blue Grocery stores in Austin, all adapted to their immediate neighborhood.
Both the Brazos and Congress locations boast outdoor seating where you can drink the beer, wine, or coffee you just bought. The high ceiling and white wood-paneled walls of the Brazos location enclose extra grocery options, due to the apartment-centric location, whereas Congress caters to grab-and-go customers with many prepared food items made in-house. The Rainey St. location also blends into the surrounding neighborhood with beer on tap.
Patrons of all Royal Blue Grocery stores enjoy Stumptown Coffee, which, according to two earnest employees, is a premium coffee found only in a few cities nationwide. Its nitro cold brew is on tap at the Rainey St. location and Congress will soon follow suit.
Make sure not to dismiss this grocer’s food items. They make dishes as diverse and interesting as white bean arugula pasta with chicken, to salami and Gouda sandwiches. They cater, too, for breakfast, lunch, or appetizers.
They also offer free next-day contactless delivery in refrigerated vans and have curbside options available.
Multiple locations – Website
RiverCity Market Is Intimate Neighborhood Resource
Located inside a friendly building with wood paneling and whitewashed walls covered in bright blue writing, RiverCity Market is a quaint, quirky space stuffed with a mixture of convenient and unique items. The deli serves breakfast and lunch, including build-your-own breakfast tacos, and an array of fresh dishes such as Korean meatballs, butternut squash, homemade enchiladas, and much more.
Directly to the left of the entrance is a proud display of salsa heaven, many of which are locally made, looming over Skull & Cakebones cupcakes. In the back corner, they also offer local and craft brews.
2209 S. Congress Ave. – Website
Wheatsville Co-op Hosts Your Shopping Adventure
Shopping at Wheatsville Co-op is a learning experience. You will always see something you’ve never heard of and will likely be encouraged to stretch your boundaries.
My favorite section is the “Bulk: pinch or pound” area, where you self-serve a vast array of food products, including rice, cereals, oats, and even dark chocolate ginger. There is a similar system for tea.
My strategy is to always get what I like and also try something new—I mean, have you ever heard of Kukicha Twig Tea?
Check out the store’s newest location on South Lamar, a testament to the success of this cooperatively owned business. Become an owner and you can receive special deals, and even vote or run for the Board of Directors.
You can order groceries online and enjoy same-day curbside pickup at the co-op.
3101 Guadalupe St. and 4001 S. Lamar Blvd. – Website
Shop Classic at Fresh Plus
Fresh Plus has been in Austin since 1927 and still serves the local community at four locations, one of which is in the Hyde Park neighborhood.
You can complete a full grocery trip here. There is fresh, organic produce and local as well as big-name brands. Near the front door, a glass flower piece hangs in the window, calling for passersby to support local art. Regional craft brews are in the back left corner. Wine is also found here, with many bottles sporting an alluring red “Sale” sticker I found difficult to resist.
Other components that make Fresh Plus unique are its array of eccentric greeting cards and a selection of packaged food from its own deli and many other Austin businesses.
Multiple locations – Website
Thom’s Market Is a Community Staple
Prepare for your afternoon at Zilker by picking up a walking stick, sunscreen, flying disc, or kite at Thom’s Market. This humble market may have a simple black and white sign, but the interior is decidedly charming.
Artfully stacked baskets hold fresh fruit and veggies, while cupcakes from Better Bites Bakery, prepared food from Tom’s Tabooley, and wrapped Taco Deli tacos are all displayed upfront. Form your own six-pack of unusual beers, or follow the trail of staff wine picks marked with pink paper.
A counter lines the front window, where you can find a black binder that further encourages a sense of local community. Entitled “Austin Directory,” it features flyers for events, workshops, and various services available in the city.
Thom’s Market has grown into three locations: Barton Springs, Riverside, and Spyglass. A fourth location is coming soon at the corner of Burnet Road and 2222.
Multiple locations – Website
Dia’s Market is a micro-grocer that serves up delicious specialty deli items and foods for neighbors in Crestview, Brentwood, Highland, Wooten, Allandale and beyond. They have a wide selection of local and international products, including coffee, pastries, fresh produce and dairy items, frozen foods, deli sandwiches, beer and wine, as well as snacks, fine chocolate, and grocery staples.
You can order online and give them a call when you arrive for curbside pick-up.
812 Justin Lane – Website
Unique Neighborhood Attitudes
These neighborhood markets and groceries are a perpetuating force of Austin culture. They’re the first places you run for a pack of Austin Beerworks or a bottle of Adelbert’s. They are also where you try new things in order to support local businesses, like Cuvee Coffee or Buddha’s Kombucha.
If you haven’t been to these local grocery stores in Austin, then you’re missing out on fresh, organic food, unique specialty items and friendly, flexible service.
@theAustinot wants to know:
Which local market do you support?