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The Austin Brunch Guide

PHOTO: Roger Ho

It might have taken a minute, but Austin has caught up with the rest of America and is officially a full-on brunch city - not just a place to get the world’s best hungover migas. There are a ridiculous number of restaurants now serving $16 eggs, and plenty of people lining up for them.

But we’re here to make sure you spend less time standing in line for mediocre waffles and more time drinking mimosas, so we’ve compiled a guide to our top Austin brunch spots. Whether you need a great restaurant to pregame your Rainey St. adventure or are just looking for an excellent weekend meal, this guide to the best Austin brunch has you covered.

the spots

Holy Roller

Downtown Austin
509 Rio Grande St

The crowd at Holy Roller is there for the biscuit-based brunch foods, the daytime bar scene, and the punk rock soundtrack. Everyone will probably seem about 10% cooler than you and have a tattoo they regret. Try the fried chicken with honey butter or the grilled cheese, and save room for the housemade desserts, like their spin on a choco taco, or the Horchata cake. Keep in mind that this place stays open until 1am on weekends, so if you want to eat “brunch” at 11pm, that’s also an option.

Tiny Boxwoods

Rosedale
1503 W 35th St

Tiny Boxwoods looks like it came straight from a Williams-Sonoma catalog. The people here tend to be more dressed up than your average brunch-eaters, but you won’t mind putting on a button-down shirt, because the food holds up. There are sort-of-healthy options like avocado toast and chia seed pudding, but this is also a great place to get a BLT or burger - and the chocolate chip cookies are famous for a reason. Just make a reservation if you want to sit on the patio.

Pitchfork Pretty

East Austin
2708 E Cesar Chavez St

Another photogenic East Side spot. You’ll find dishes like eggs, ham, provolone, and red chile on a potato roll (sort of like a breakfast taco all dressed up for prom), as well as something pretty rare in Austin: a great bagel (get it with lox and capers). This is the type of place where you might kick off brunch with oysters and a cocktail. Lean into it.

Cisco’s is one of the only original Austin joints still standing, and you’re here for a Tex-Mex breakfast. The owners would probably rather you didn’t even think of this as a “brunch” spot - coming here is about appreciating things the way they were in the ’70s. So on a weekend, there’s nothing better than a “late breakfast” of huevos rancheros with fajita steak or a migas plate, followed by a biscuit with honey and butter. Keep an eye out for photos on the walls of Austin politicians like LBJ - they were known to shake hands, kiss babies, and lobby for their agendas over breakfast at Cisco’s in their day.

8.2
MAP

It’s primarily patio space at the almost-nauseatingly-charming French-Vietnamese Elizabeth Street Cafe, so when you make your plans for brunch, be ready to eat outside. While you can order pho and spring rolls from their regular menu, the specialty breakfast items - like sticky rice with ginger sausage and poached eggs, or a fried egg, pork belly, and avocado banh mi - are the way to go. If you believe in eating dessert after breakfast, go for the brioche french toast with blueberries and ice cream as a final course. Or pick up some macarons on the way out.

Bonhomie

Allandale
5350 Burnet Rd
8.2
MAP

This French diner is fancier than the strip malls it’s surrounded by on Burnet Road, and it serves brunch dishes we haven’t really seen elsewhere in town, like shakshuka or rosti with lox and creme fraiche (a.k.a. the hashbrown of your dreams). But their classic dishes, like the burger and croque monsieur, also deliver. If there are just two of you, you shouldn’t have trouble grabbing a spot at the bar.

Snooze

South Lamar
1700 S Lamar Blvd

When you’re a breakfast and brunch only kind of place, it’s important to offer all three of the following categories: omelet, benedict, and pancake. At Snooze, the omelets are perfectly fine and the benedicts are strong, but the pancakes are incredible - with varieties ranging from peanut butter cup to pineapple upside-down cake. There is always a long wait, so put your most Type A friend in charge of getting your name down early. The atmosphere (at both locations) is forgettable, but it’s OK. There’s only room in your brain for pancake memories.

June's All Day

South Congress
1722 South Congress Avenue
8.5
MAP

There are plenty of other brunch spots on South Congress, but June’s, with its checkered floors, jukebox, and dog-friendly patio, outshines them all. The menu is impressively varied, with options like Matzo Ball Caldo (a matzo ball soup spiced up with jalapenos and avocado) and sourdough pancakes. Our preference here is to choose dishes like those two, which you might not find elsewhere. If you want something really filling, get the fried chicken sandwich. Just hope some of this place’s effortless cool rubs off on you as you leave.

8.6
MAP

Six days a week, Emmer & Rye is a dinner spot with interesting, farm-to-table dishes, some of which come to you via dim sum cart. On Sundays only, they change everything up and offer brunch instead. You still get the joy of watching the cart roll up to your table, but this time, instead of things like beef tartare and roasted sweet potato, it’s bringing you pastries. For your entree, you should strongly consider the soft scramble with a flaky homemade roti bread, or the sweet potato and crispy pork. All they need is Saturday brunch service, and we’ll be really happy.

8.0
MAP

Mattie’s has the type of wraparound porch you might design for your dream house. This restaurant in a historic mansion is hidden away in Bouldin Creek, and has been serving brunch since the ’40s. A recent renovation has only made it more pleasant, filling the patio, lobby, bars, and main dining rooms with the kind of vintage decor that looks authentic but doesn’t smell like mothballs. The food has the same upgraded old-school feel, with grits, biscuits, and fried chicken all available. And while they probably didn’t serve kale salad back in the ’40s, know that you’re paying tribute to Austin’s history just by dining here, no matter what you eat. Say hi to the peacocks, too.

Post up at the bar of the original (and tiny) Counter Cafe for quick service and a reliably great meal. The breakfast tacos here are inexpensive, and they also do greasy-spoon food, like biscuits and gravy, pretty well - not to mention a surprisingly good crab cake. And it’s one of the few places in town where you can still get old-school diner coffee. So if you happen to come at a time when it’s packed, just hang out with your cup of coffee and wait it out.

8.5
MAP

Sometimes brunch is a matter of using all your will power to get out of bed and into the nearest place that will allow you to shovel grease and carbs down your throat. But other times, it’s a little more of a thing. Maybe you’re entertaining some distant cousins in town and you’ve exhausted all other activities besides eating. Maybe it’s your birthday meal because you’ve realized day drinking is a much better plan for you. In either (or any) case, you’d be doing yourself right with brunch at Sway, where you’ll eat things like softshell crab and eggs and brioche french toast with spicy pear. Obviously, don’t skip the spicy bloody Marys.

Sick of eggs benedict and pancakes and avocado toast? Direct yourself to Sunday dim sum at Wu Chow. This is your best opportunity to sample a ton of stuff from this upscale Chinese spot downtown - and while they don’t do cart service, they make up for it with cocktails. Take advantage of the fact that you can make reservations for brunch, come with a big group, and order everything from (best-in-town) soup dumplings to scallion pancakes to baked pineapple bao, and wash everything down with Mai-Tais.

7.9
MAP

If Perla’s is a shiny private yacht docked in the Hamptons, Clark’s Oyster Bar is more like a freshly-painted skiff on Cape Cod. Or at least that’s how it works in our imagination. This is the sister restaurant to the seafood behemoth that is Perla’s, and while it’s certainly still upscale, Clark’s has a slightly more casual, cooler feel. The menu is giant - so from the huge raw bar selection to the burger, chowder, or cioppino, it’s pretty impossible not to find something to like here as you’re sitting under a striped awning drinking what should probably be champagne.

Paperboy

East Austin
1203 E 11th St
8.3
MAP

You had three too many margaritas last night and you need lots of brunch food and minimal (read: zero) brunch scene. Paperboy is your answer. These guys are serving a small but excellent menu of breakfast food out of a truck, which means the only human interaction you’ll have to have is placing your order with the (very nice) staff, and weaving between people to find yourself a seat. No judgment if that seat ends up being the ground.

Launderette

Holly
2115 Holly St
8.2
MAP

Launderette looks even better in the daylight. Whether you’re out on the patio or inside the dining room, it’s hard to have a daytime meal here without wanting to move out of your own house so you can start over with a place that looks like this. And while dinner at Launderette is a sharing situation, if you’re an only child or just never got good at compromising, you’ll appreciate that you can go to town on your own burger or fried oyster florentine or pastrami hash during brunch.

8.3
MAP

One of our favorite neighborhood spots in Austin recently started doing Sunday brunch, and it doesn’t disappoint. Especially if your go-to brunch order is a burger. Just look at that thing.

Juniper

East Austin
2400 E Cesar Chavez St Ste 304

We have no idea why Juniper still flies pretty under-the-radar, but we’re not complaining that you can usually sit right down for a killer brunch with minimal-to-zero wait. This is a modern, kind-of-fancy Italian place, so it’s also probably not your every-Saturday spot. But go ahead and save it for when your parents are in town. They’ll like it.

8.1
MAP

As close as you’ll get to The Hamptons without leaving Texas. There’s something on the Perla’s menu for everyone, from the crab cakes to homemade pop tarts - come for a slightly fancy group brunch and share everything. Also don’t let them skimp on the complimentary hush puppies before the meal, they may be free but they’re definitely the best part.

One of the better boozy brunches in town considering its $2 mimosa and bellini situation, Taverna has a line from the minute it opens. And that’s because they serve everything you could possibly need at brunch: quality pizza and pasta, great coffee, and strong drinks.

8.5
MAP

Fact: Magnolia migas/breakfast tacos/pancakes taste just as amazing at normal brunch times as they do at 3am. It’s also one of the best bang-for-your-buck brunch situations in town. Don’t forget it.

We appreciate any excuse to plan a day on South Congress, and brunch at this longtime Austin staple is a great one. The food is modern American, and it’s crowd-pleasing all around. Get there early or plan to wait - either way you’ll find a way to use your time wisely.

Josephine House

1601 Waterston Ave
MAP

Located in a ridiculously quaint craftsman house, Josephine’s space feels less like it’s in the middle of Austin and more like you’ve just walked down to a beachfront hotel lobby. And the outdoor space is even more pleasant. When a restaurant is this good-looking, it can be hard for the food to measure up - but not in this case. You really can’t go wrong with any of the menu, but we have a hard time turning down the Josephine Rice Bowl.

Photo: Maggie Svodoba

Cenote

East Austin
1010 E Cesar Chavez St

Cenote is one of our go-tos for any great, casual meal on the East Side. Get yourself a (really big) coffee cup, grab a seat outside, and prepare to stay a while. Free wifi means you can treat yourself to an excellent brunch even if you’re doing work on a weekend.

Photo: Eric Pohl

A classic Austin spot for breakfast foods served all day. Kerbey is casual, comfortable, and serves what are arguably the best pancakes in town.

8.4
MAP

Hillside Farmacy is perfect for most situations, and that includes occasions when you are looking for a truly great brunch. We love their fried egg sandwich and top-tier mac and cheese, and it’s a pretty perfect place to drink outside as long as it isn’t 100 degrees.

We’re partial to any place that puts almost everything on a piece of bread. There are a couple of Blue Dahlia locations around town, but our favorite is on East 11th thanks to the greenhouse-looking space. The plants not only provide lots of oxygen (key for eating ridiculous quantities of food), but also make for a zen atmosphere for unwinding before the start of your week.

“Sunday Funday” might have been invented at Banger’s. If you’re in search of a party time brunch spot, look no further. Banger’s is actually a bar, so as long as the drinks are flowing you might accidentally end up staying here all day. Be responsible - order some sausage.

8.4
MAP

Quiche, donuts, eggs benedict - everything on this menu is good. Contigo is a brunch go-to not just for the food, but also for the feeling that you’re actually eating brunch on a ranch.

7.1
MAP

A local favorite for all Austin vegetable-lovers, Bouldin Creek Cafe’s vegan and vegetarian options are good enough to please even people who wouldn’t typically trust a breakfast without eggs and/or chorizo.

Odd Duck

Bouldin / South Lamar
1201 S Lamar Blvd
8.4
MAP

Odd is correct, but so is delicious. Serving up smaller portions than your average Texas restaurant, you’ll want to order to share and try a little bit of everything. Don’t let names like ‘Cucumber Parfait’ and ‘Cabbage Pancake’ scare you - these pairings sound absurd but these folks know what they’re doing. Sit outside if there’s not too long of a wait, the porch is where it’s at.

Photo: Richard Casteel

Another all you can eat goldmine, Moonshine is a temple of Southern cooking and all things good. You’ll be torn between the breakfast and lunch options, but the good news is you can get them all. Be prepared to leave Moonshine a heavier individual than when you sat down.

Photo: Matt Lankes
8.2
MAP

We love Lucy’s. Come for the laid-back atmosphere, come for a picnic table meal, but most importantly come for the fried chicken. Most items are family-style, so bring a group and share everything (like the bucket of fried chicken for four that’s only $25).

6.6
MAP

More hungover than you thought possible, but promised to have brunch with your parents? 24 Diner is the compromise your morning needs. Show up in your pajamas, order yourself the insanely good chicken & waffles, and let Mom and Dad appreciate the slightly more upscale environment.

Epicerie

Allandale
2307 Hancock Dr

Hidden in a residential section of North Austin, this restaurant inside a house has permanent good vibes. And the power to make you very excited to eat quiche.

Photo: Maggie Svoboda
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