Central East Austin
Micklethwait Craft Meats
1309 Rosewood Ave., Central East Austin
Austin is arguably home to the finest food trailers in the world, and Micklethwait Craft Meats (located less than a half-mile from famous Franklin BBQ) is among the very best. The menu has all the classics plus specials like Brisket Frito Pie and occasionally more rare cuts of meat. Everything is made on-site, mostly using Micklethwait's unassuming-looking pit, which sits next to the main yellow trailer where you place your order before taking a seat at one of the scattered picnic tables.
Figure 8 Coffee Purveyors
1111 Chicon St., Central East Austin
Figure 8's serious business La Marzocco Italian espresso machine draws a loyal crowd that also appreciates the lack of pretension at this small neighborhood spot. Texas roasts (like Tweed Coffee and Wild Gift) are highlighted, along with West Coast offerings (like Four Barrel in California and Coava Coffee in Oregon).
1209 E. 11th St., Central East Austin
Situated on top of a hill overlooking downtown, this former 1950s pharmacy has been turned into a farm-to-table hotspot with a line on the weekends that wraps out the door. Thankfully, the owners restored many of the old pharmacy’s charming details: there’s a pentagon-patterned floor, antique wooden display cases, and a photogenic tin roof. The breakfast menu is deceptively simple: the fried egg sandwich features avocado, aioli, fried green tomato, and eggs in a bowl, which includes mozzarella curd, sautéed kale, and zucchini. Local pride extends to its produce as well—many of the local veggies are picked from nearby Eastside Urban Farms so it’s all very fresh. During the day and into the evening, the raw bar, with its mix of East and West oysters, is a happy hour favorite, especially when paired with a grapefruit jalapeno margarita.
900 E. 11th St., Central East Austin
This is the kind of legendary BBQ joint that can only exist in Texas. Run by Aaron Franklin, Franklin Barbecue has been selling out daily since it opened in 2009 (at the time, in a trailer). The line, which starts forming around dawn—for lunch—is easily a few hours long. The now well-known way around it is to pre-order online for pick-up— which you can do up to six months in advance—provided you are ordering between 5 and 30 pounds of meat. As for the food itself: Suffice it to say there is nothing lean about the menu or the meat. The slow-smoked brisket is insanely tender; it's regularly described as "melt-in-your-mouth" good. Same goes for the pulled pork and ribs.
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