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

25 Classic Restaurants Every Austinite Must Try

Get to know your edible history, from burgers to enchiladas to barbecue.

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Matt's El Rancho
| Raymond Thompson/EATX

To kick off Classics Week 2015, it's time to update Eater's map of historic Austin restaurants worth checking out. Ranging from 19th century institution Scholz Garten, founded in 1866, to handful of early 80's classics, here's where to experience the roots of Austin's current culinary explosion.

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Eater maps are curated by editors and aim to reflect a diversity of neighborhoods, cuisines, and prices. Learn more about our editorial process. If you buy something or book a reservation from an Eater link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics policy.

Night Hawk Frisco Shop

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The last vestige of the Night Hawk chain is lauded for its pies, and has been open since 1953.

Threadgill's

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[Photo: Rudy R./Yelp]

Fonda San Miguel

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

The Omelettry

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[Photo: Michael C./Yelp]

Quality Seafood

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Quality Seafood has changed hands many times since opening in 1938, and they've been in their current location since 1970. The ever-evolving restaurant and fish market now has its very own food truck, serving breakfast.

Dirty Martin's Place

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You can’t receive your diploma from UT without ingesting at least one burger from this nearly 90-year-old joint.

Scholz Garten

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The center of German culture in Austin, Scholz’s specializes in the three Bs: beer, brats, and bowling. But mostly beer. It's Austin's oldest restaurant, open since 1866.

Nau's Enfield Drug

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You can’t get fries with this damn fine bacon cheeseburger, but you can get an equally damn fine old-timey milkshake. The Clarksville landmark has been open since 1951.

Jeffrey's

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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.

Hut's Hamburgers

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Here be onion rings as big as your face and dozens of specialty burgers. Plus, you don’t have to wait in line for an hour. Sit at the counter and pretend you're back in 1939.

Chez Nous

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When they opened in 1982, Chez Nous was one of the first French restaurants in town. They're still an elegant oasis in the grime and bustle of Dirty Sixth.

Cisco's Restaurant & Bakery€Ž

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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.

Joe's Bakery & Coffee Shop

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

Matt's Famous El Rancho

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The long waits for a table on weekends suggest that for some, nostalgia and tradition trump haute cuisine. Matt's has been an Austin classic since 1952.

Green Pastures

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[Photo: lisa G./Yelp]

Hill's Cafe

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There are traces of the cowboy chuckwagon DNA in this kitschy café; try the chicken fried steak with “yella” gravy. Now owned by Tradelogic, Hill's has been open since 1947.

Sandy's Hamburgers

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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.

Top Notch

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

House Park BBQ

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

El Azteca

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Dig into an enchilada plate or order the house special cabrito at this 51 year old East 7th institution.

Hoffbrau Steak

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Their signature steak, drenched in lemon-margarine sauce, might not be for everyone, but this eighty year old restaurant on West 6th offers a peek into Austin's culinary past.

El Patio

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A campus landmark for 60 years, El Patio is one of Austin's oldest operating Tex Mex restaurants.

The Driskill

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The Driskill's restaurants have had many different incarnations over the hotel's 126 year history, with the current Driskill Grill established in 1929. The classic bar makes a great meeting place in downtown Austin, too.

Chinatown

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Open for over 30 years, Austin's oldest operating Chinese restaurant recently reopened in its original location in Rollingwood.

El Gallo Restaurant

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Old school Tex Mex in South Austin, El Gallo has been open since 1957, and their current very pink location dates from the 60's. [Photo: Robert W. /Yelp]

Night Hawk Frisco Shop

The last vestige of the Night Hawk chain is lauded for its pies, and has been open since 1953.

Threadgill's

[Photo: Rudy R./Yelp]

Fonda San Miguel

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

The Omelettry

[Photo: Michael C./Yelp]

Quality Seafood

Quality Seafood has changed hands many times since opening in 1938, and they've been in their current location since 1970. The ever-evolving restaurant and fish market now has its very own food truck, serving breakfast.

Dirty Martin's Place

You can’t receive your diploma from UT without ingesting at least one burger from this nearly 90-year-old joint.

Scholz Garten

The center of German culture in Austin, Scholz’s specializes in the three Bs: beer, brats, and bowling. But mostly beer. It's Austin's oldest restaurant, open since 1866.

Nau's Enfield Drug

You can’t get fries with this damn fine bacon cheeseburger, but you can get an equally damn fine old-timey milkshake. The Clarksville landmark has been open since 1951.

Jeffrey's

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

Hut's Hamburgers

Here be onion rings as big as your face and dozens of specialty burgers. Plus, you don’t have to wait in line for an hour. Sit at the counter and pretend you're back in 1939.

Chez Nous

When they opened in 1982, Chez Nous was one of the first French restaurants in town. They're still an elegant oasis in the grime and bustle of Dirty Sixth.

Cisco's Restaurant & Bakery€Ž

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.

Joe's Bakery & Coffee Shop

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

Matt's Famous El Rancho

The long waits for a table on weekends suggest that for some, nostalgia and tradition trump haute cuisine. Matt's has been an Austin classic since 1952.