Guest article by Mia Moore
Brunch (noun): The lazy Sunday morning afternoon tradition of breakfast lovers who never wake up in time for proper breakfast.
First and foremost, I am a foodie. I love indulging in the unique food culture Austin has to offer, and brunch is by far my favorite meal. I’m also a vegan. While there are tons of awesome, vegan-specific businesses, I’ve struggled to find brunch options that would appeal to both me and my omnivore friends. Something tells me that my omnivore friends probably don’t want noochy tofu scramble for breakfast any more than I want bacon.
Through vigorous, brunch-eating research, I’ve compiled my top Austin brunch picks that will please both vegans and omnivores. If a restaurant offers gluten-free options, I have done my best to include them here too.
The Steeping Room
The Steeping Room lives up to its name with an impressively extensive tea menu, but the real beauty is how seamlessly it caters to a variety of diets. The menu is labeled to make substitutions for vegan and gluten-free diets a breeze. For example, the Chai Spiced French Toast can be served on hallah, vegan, or gluten-free bread. Almost every menu item has the ability to be heavily modified this way.
From breakfast options, like tofu or egg scrambles and French toast, to lunch options, like sandwiches and salad, The Steeping Room is perfect for a variety of dietary needs and tastes.
Insider Tip: If you’re a tea fanatic, you’ll love this place! Order a large pot of tea to go with your meal, or try a frozen tea smoothie.
Kerbey Lane Café
The iconic Austin classic Kerbey Lane Café is on this list for two reasons: 1) 24/7 service and 2) vegan pancakes. Kerbey offers a conventional, vegan, and gluten-free pancake with flavors that rotate weekly. Kerbey’s menu also boasts a vegan breakfast platter, with the weekly pancake special, soysage, and tofu scramble. The platter is fine, but let’s not kid ourselves – when I come to Kerbey, it’s for pancakes.
Insider Tip: Check Facebook before you head out to see what flavor of pancake is offered this week. If the pancake of the week is vanilla, you can add extras, like blueberries, to spice it up.
Editor’s Note: Snack Bar is closing on Oct. 30, 2016, the restaurant’s seven-year anniversary.
For Sundays on South Congress, Snack Bar can’t be beat. Start with the Brussels sprouts – be sure to sub the aioli for a vegan alternative – and chow down on the Snack Bar Migas or French Toast. Add a brunch-worthy cocktail and you’re all set. Many of the menu items can be made vegan, and a few of them can be made gluten-free. But make sure to inform the staff or you might not receive the correct version.
Insider Tip: Snack Bar is located on South Congress, which makes it the perfect starting place for an afternoon on SoCo. After your meal, stroll down South Congress and visit all the iconic shops along the way.
Bouldin Creek Café
It almost feels like cheating to include Bouldin Creek Café on this list, since it’s already a vegetarian restaurant. But vegetarian restaurants can be a good compromise for a dining party with vegans and omnivores. Usually, vegans can find options easily, while omnivores hardly notice the difference, since they still have eggs and cheese.
From omelets and tacos to sandwiches and veggie burgers, Bouldin Creek Café has a wide variety of options with generous portions at surprisingly reasonable prices. I recommend any scramble (sub. tofu) with tortillas to make a delicious breakfast taco plate.
Insider Tip: Take advantage of the massive coffee menu. Lavender almond milk latte? Don’t mind if I do.
What’s your favorite dining spot to appease those with special dietary needs?