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A meal from Mattie’s at Green Pastures
A meal from Mattie’s at Green Pastures
Nick Simonite/Mattie’s/Facebook

23 Classic Restaurants Every Austinite Must Try

Austin's edible history from burgers to enchiladas to barbecue

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A meal from Mattie’s at Green Pastures
| Nick Simonite/Mattie’s/Facebook

Austin's dining history runs very deep. To honor the city’s culinary past, Eater updated its guide to historic Austin restaurants that are worth checking out. Ranging from 19th century institution Scholz Garten, which was founded in 1866, to handful of early ’80s classics like Chez Nous and Chinatown, here are the best places to experience the roots of Austin's ongoing culinary explosion.

Sadly, Austin's longtime Tex-Mex restaurants have been disappearing. This map has said farewell Nau’s, which closed its diner in 2019, and will soon no longer include Hut’s Hamburgers, which is closing in October.

For other iconic dining experiences in the city, seek out Austin's emblematic dishes, meat dishes, barbecue, burgers, pizza, drinks, and the Eater 38.

With updates by Nadia Chaudhury and Erin Russell.

Are there any historical Austin restaurants missing? Let Eater know through the tipline or the comments.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Top Notch

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7525 Burnet Rd
Austin, TX 78757
(512) 452-2181
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Top Notch enthusiasts swear by the charcoal-grilled patties, available since 1971.

Top Notch
Top Notch
Arnaud F./Yelp

2. Threadgill's

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6416 N Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX 78752
(512) 459-3855
Visit Website

A major part of Austin’s identity as Live Music Capital of the World. Kenneth Threadgill’s gas station was a hootenanny hotbed. Eddie Wilson carries on the tradition and added on Southern food. Originally opened as a beer joint in 1933, Threadgill’s started serving food in 1981. A Riverside location sadly closed in 2018.

Threadgill’s
Threadgill’s
Michelle S./Yelp

3. Dart Bowl Café

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5700 Grover Ave
Austin, TX 78756
(512) 459-4181
Visit Website

What is it about bowling alleys that drums up old school fare? The Dart Bowl Cafe has been serving up enchiladas and other Tex-Mex goodies since 1970.

Dart Bowl Cafe
Dart Bowl Cafe
Dart Bowl Cafe [Official]

4. Fonda San Miguel

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2330 W North Loop Blvd
Austin, TX 78756
(512) 459-4121
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Late chef Miguel Ravago and his business partner Tom Gilliland introduced interior Mexican cuisine to Austinites in the ’70s. Come for the brunch buffet, stay for the folk art.

Fonda San Miguel
Fonda San Miguel
Paul Bardagjy

5. Quality Seafood

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5621 Airport Blvd
Austin, TX 78751
(512) 454-5827
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Quality Seafood has changed hands many times since opening in 1938, and it’s been in the current Airport Boulevard location since 1970. The ever-evolving restaurant and fish market now features an oyster bar and a food truck dishing out seafood tacos under current owner Carol Huntsberger.

Quality Seafood
Quality Seafood
Raymond Thompson/EATX

6. The Omelettry

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4631 Airport Blvd
Austin, TX 78751
(512) 453-5062
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Originally in Rosedale, the breakfast diner was started by an ambitious hippie from California and spawned both Magnolia Café and Kerbey Lane Café. Open since 1978, the Omelettry moved to North Loop last year, but the same delicious recipes remain.

The Omelettry
The Omelettry
Melanie Haupt/EATX

7. El Patio

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2938 Guadalupe St
Austin, TX 78705
(512) 476-5955
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A campus landmark for over 65 years, El Patio is one of Austin’s oldest operating Tex-Mex restaurants.

8. Dirty Martin's Place

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2808 Guadalupe St
Austin, TX 78705
(512) 477-3173
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Visiting the campus burger dive at least once is a requirement for every UT student. John Martin opened the campus spot in 1926 as Martin's Kum-Bak, renamed Dirty because of the original dirt floor.

Dirty Martin’s
Dirty Martin’s
Stefanie C./Yelp

9. Jeffrey's

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1204 West Lynn
Austin, TX 78703
(512) 477-5584
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Another Clarksville landmark, Jeffrey’s started as a simple French-style cafe in 1975, and got the gussied-up McGuire-Moorman treatment in 2013.

Jeffrey’s
Jeffrey’s
Jeffrey’s/Facebook

10. Scholz Garten

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1607 San Jacinto Blvd
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 474-1958
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The center of German culture in Austin, Scholz’s specializes in the three Bs: beer, brats, and bowling. Those tenets remain the same under new operators, the sausage and hot dog spot Frank. It is Austin’s oldest restaurant, open since 1866.

Scholz Garten
Scholz Garten
Scholz Garten/Facebook

11. Texas Chili Parlor

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1409 Lavaca St
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 472-2828
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The campus classic and political institution doles out bowls of Texas red since 1976. The parlor was even immortalized in Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof.

Texas Chili Parlor
Texas Chili Parlor
Jennifer G./Yelp

12. House Park Bar-B-Que

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900 W 12th St
Austin, TX 78703
(512) 472-9621
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East Austin has become a barbecue mecca, but its smokey meat roots run deep. House Park Bar-B-Que has been open since 1943.

House Park Bar-B-Que
House Park Bar-B-Que
House Park Bar-B-Que/Facebook

13. Sam’s Bar-B-Que

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2000 E 12th St
Austin, TX 78702
(512) 478-0378
Visit Website

Sam’s Bar-B-Que opened on the east side in 1957 and is known for having mutton in addition to the usual barbecue staples and sides. Unfortunately, Sam’s is somewhat in danger of closing as the land is very valuable.

The Sam’s Bar-B-Que building
The Sam’s Bar-B-Que building
Sara L./Yelp

14. Chinatown

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2712 Bee Caves Rd #124
Rollingwood, TX 78746
(512) 328-6588
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Austin’s oldest-operating Chinese restaurant opened in 1983 by Ronald Cheng. There are three locations, including the original one in Rollingwood.

Chinatown
Chinatown
Claudia M./Yelp

15. Hut's Hamburgers

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807 W 6th St
Austin, TX 78703
(512) 472-0693
Visit Website

The downtown burger joint opened back in 1939, serving up dozens of speciality burgers and onion rings as big as a person's face. Sit at the counter for the best experience, and plan to visit soon — the restaurant will close in October, though a location will remain at the airport.

Hut’s Hamburgers
Hut’s Hamburgers
Nadia Chaudhury/EATX

16. Hoffbrau Steak

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613 W 6th St
Austin, TX
(512) 472-0822
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Hoffbrau’s signature steak, drenched in lemon-margarine sauce, might not be for everyone, but the family-run steakhouse on West 6th offers a peek into Austin's culinary past, operating since 1932.

Hoffbrau Steak
Hoffbrau Steak
Hoffbrau Steak/Facebook

17. The Driskill

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604 Brazos St
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 474-5911
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The Driskill’s restaurants have had many different incarnations over the hotel’s 130+ year history. The current Driskill Grill was established in 1929. The classic bar makes a great meeting place in downtown Austin too.

The Driskill
The Driskill
The Driskill/Facebook

18. Chez Nous

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510 Neches St
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 473-2413
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When Chez Nous opened in 1982, it was one of Austin’s first French restaurants. The establishment is still an elegant oasis in the grime and bustle of Dirty Sixth.

Chez Nous
Chez Nous
Chez Nous/Facebook

19. Cisco's Restaurant & Bakery

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1511 E 6th St
Austin, TX 78702
(512) 478-2420

The charismatic Rudy “Cisco” Cisneros frequently volunteered to serve on grand juries and would bring tacos and biscuits to the weekly meetings. Open since 1943, Cisco's was a longtime politico hangout, and the migas and biscuits are a classic Austin breakfast. Now there are new owners, including Rudy's grandson Matt Cisneros, who brought dinner service and booze to the restaurant.

Cisco’s
Cisco’s
Raymond Thompson/EATX

20. Joe's Bakery & Coffee Shop

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2305 E 7th St
Austin, TX 78702
(512) 472-0017
Visit Website

This place is legit, from the breaded bacon and scratch-made tortillas to the pan dulces and lardy refried beans. The current location has been open since 1969.

Joe’s Bakery
Joe’s Bakery
Joe’s Bakery [Official]

21. Sandy's Hamburgers

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603 Barton Springs Rd
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 478-6322

This old-school burger and custard stand was opened in 1946, according to the Chronicle. Sandy's makes for a great pit stop pre- or post-Barton Springs.

Sandy’s Hamburgers
Sandy’s Hamburgers
Koji L./Yelp

22. Matt's Famous El Rancho

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2613 S Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 462-9333
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The long waits for a table on weekends suggest that for some, nostalgia, tradition, and Bob Armstrong dip trump haute cuisine. Matt’s has been an Austin classic since 1952.

Matt’s El Rancho
Matt’s El Rancho
Raymond Thompson/EATX

23. Mattie's at Green Pastures

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811 W Live Oak St
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 444-1888
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Mary Faulk Koock was beloved for her hospitality, opening up her family home for weekly Sunday suppers and kicking off a tradition still going nearly 70 years later with renovated digs courtesy of La Corsha Hospitality Group and developer Greg Porter and an updated menu from chef Ethan Holmes. The Sunday brunch at Mattie’s takes on a new format, but the peacocks and milk punch are still there.

Mattie’s at Green Pastures
Mattie’s at Green Pastures
Robert J. Lerma/EATX

1. Top Notch

7525 Burnet Rd, Austin, TX 78757
Top Notch
Top Notch
Arnaud F./Yelp

Top Notch enthusiasts swear by the charcoal-grilled patties, available since 1971.

7525 Burnet Rd
Austin, TX 78757

2. Threadgill's

6416 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78752
Threadgill’s
Threadgill’s
Michelle S./Yelp

A major part of Austin’s identity as Live Music Capital of the World. Kenneth Threadgill’s gas station was a hootenanny hotbed. Eddie Wilson carries on the tradition and added on Southern food. Originally opened as a beer joint in 1933, Threadgill’s started serving food in 1981. A Riverside location sadly closed in 2018.

6416 N Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX 78752

3. Dart Bowl Café

5700 Grover Ave, Austin, TX 78756
Dart Bowl Cafe
Dart Bowl Cafe
Dart Bowl Cafe [Official]

What is it about bowling alleys that drums up old school fare? The Dart Bowl Cafe has been serving up enchiladas and other Tex-Mex goodies since 1970.

5700 Grover Ave
Austin, TX 78756

4. Fonda San Miguel

2330 W North Loop Blvd, Austin, TX 78756
Fonda San Miguel
Fonda San Miguel
Paul Bardagjy

Late chef Miguel Ravago and his business partner Tom Gilliland introduced interior Mexican cuisine to Austinites in the ’70s. Come for the brunch buffet, stay for the folk art.

2330 W North Loop Blvd
Austin, TX 78756

5. Quality Seafood

5621 Airport Blvd, Austin, TX 78751
Quality Seafood
Quality Seafood
Raymond Thompson/EATX

Quality Seafood has changed hands many times since opening in 1938, and it’s been in the current Airport Boulevard location since 1970. The ever-evolving restaurant and fish market now features an oyster bar and a food truck dishing out seafood tacos under current owner Carol Huntsberger.

5621 Airport Blvd
Austin, TX 78751

6. The Omelettry

4631 Airport Blvd, Austin, TX 78751
The Omelettry
The Omelettry
Melanie Haupt/EATX

Originally in Rosedale, the breakfast diner was started by an ambitious hippie from California and spawned both Magnolia Café and Kerbey Lane Café. Open since 1978, the Omelettry moved to North Loop last year, but the same delicious recipes remain.

4631 Airport Blvd
Austin, TX 78751

7. El Patio

2938 Guadalupe St, Austin, TX 78705

A campus landmark for over 65 years, El Patio is one of Austin’s oldest operating Tex-Mex restaurants.

2938 Guadalupe St
Austin, TX 78705

8. Dirty Martin's Place

2808 Guadalupe St, Austin, TX 78705
Dirty Martin’s
Dirty Martin’s
Stefanie C./Yelp

Visiting the campus burger dive at least once is a requirement for every UT student. John Martin opened the campus spot in 1926 as Martin's Kum-Bak, renamed Dirty because of the original dirt floor.

2808 Guadalupe St
Austin, TX 78705

9. Jeffrey's

1204 West Lynn, Austin, TX 78703
Jeffrey’s
Jeffrey’s
Jeffrey’s/Facebook

Another Clarksville landmark, Jeffrey’s started as a simple French-style cafe in 1975, and got the gussied-up McGuire-Moorman treatment in 2013.

1204 West Lynn
Austin, TX 78703

10. Scholz Garten

1607 San Jacinto Blvd, Austin, TX 78701
Scholz Garten
Scholz Garten
Scholz Garten/Facebook

The center of German culture in Austin, Scholz’s specializes in the three Bs: beer, brats, and bowling. Those tenets remain the same under new operators, the sausage and hot dog spot Frank. It is Austin’s oldest restaurant, open since 1866.

1607 San Jacinto Blvd
Austin, TX 78701

11. Texas Chili Parlor

1409 Lavaca St, Austin, TX 78701
Texas Chili Parlor
Texas Chili Parlor
Jennifer G./Yelp

The campus classic and political institution doles out bowls of Texas red since 1976. The parlor was even immortalized in Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof.

1409 Lavaca St
Austin, TX 78701

12. House Park Bar-B-Que

900 W 12th St, Austin, TX 78703
House Park Bar-B-Que
House Park Bar-B-Que
House Park Bar-B-Que/Facebook

East Austin has become a barbecue mecca, but its smokey meat roots run deep. House Park Bar-B-Que has been open since 1943.

900 W 12th St
Austin, TX 78703

13. Sam’s Bar-B-Que

2000 E 12th St, Austin, TX 78702
The Sam’s Bar-B-Que building
The Sam’s Bar-B-Que building
Sara L./Yelp

Sam’s Bar-B-Que opened on the east side in 1957 and is known for having mutton in addition to the usual barbecue staples and sides. Unfortunately, Sam’s is somewhat in danger of closing as the land is very valuable.

2000 E 12th St
Austin, TX 78702

14. Chinatown

2712 Bee Caves Rd #124, Rollingwood, TX 78746
Chinatown
Chinatown
Claudia M./Yelp

Austin’s oldest-operating Chinese restaurant opened in 1983 by Ronald Cheng. There are three locations, including the original one in Rollingwood.

2712 Bee Caves Rd #124
Rollingwood, TX 78746

15. Hut's Hamburgers

807 W 6th St, Austin, TX 78703
Hut’s Hamburgers
Hut’s Hamburgers
Nadia Chaudhury/EATX

The downtown burger joint opened back in 1939, serving up dozens of speciality burgers and onion rings as big as a person's face. Sit at the counter for the best experience, and plan to visit soon — the restaurant will close in October, though a location will remain at the airport.

807 W 6th St
Austin, TX 78703

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16. Hoffbrau Steak

613 W 6th St, Austin, TX
Hoffbrau Steak
Hoffbrau Steak
Hoffbrau Steak/Facebook

Hoffbrau’s signature steak, drenched in lemon-margarine sauce, might not be for everyone, but the family-run steakhouse on West 6th offers a peek into Austin's culinary past, operating since 1932.

613 W 6th St
Austin, TX

17. The Driskill

604 Brazos St, Austin, TX 78701
The Driskill
The Driskill
The Driskill/Facebook

The Driskill’s restaurants have had many different incarnations over the hotel’s 130+ year history. The current Driskill Grill was established in 1929. The classic bar makes a great meeting place in downtown Austin too.

604 Brazos St
Austin, TX 78701

18. Chez Nous

510 Neches St, Austin, TX 78701
Chez Nous
Chez Nous
Chez Nous/Facebook

When Chez Nous opened in 1982, it was one of Austin’s first French restaurants. The establishment is still an elegant oasis in the grime and bustle of Dirty Sixth.

510 Neches St
Austin, TX 78701

19. Cisco's Restaurant & Bakery

1511 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78702
Cisco’s
Cisco’s
Raymond Thompson/EATX

The charismatic Rudy “Cisco” Cisneros frequently volunteered to serve on grand juries and would bring tacos and biscuits to the weekly meetings. Open since 1943, Cisco's was a longtime politico hangout, and the migas and biscuits are a classic Austin breakfast. Now there are new owners, including Rudy's grandson Matt Cisneros, who brought dinner service and booze to the restaurant.

1511 E 6th St
Austin, TX 78702

20. Joe's Bakery & Coffee Shop

2305 E 7th St, Austin, TX 78702
Joe’s Bakery
Joe’s Bakery
Joe’s Bakery [Official]

This place is legit, from the breaded bacon and scratch-made tortillas to the pan dulces and lardy refried beans. The current location has been open since 1969.

2305 E 7th St
Austin, TX 78702