Fresa’s Chicken al Carbon
915 N. Lamar Blvd., Downtown
Austin is one of the few cities that can pull off a really well done drive-through. Fresa's is all about chicken—tacos, bowls, salads, wings—although there is usually a beef and shrimp plate, and you can order the salads sans meat. The have a handful of grilled sides, including, of course, Mexican street corn. The Downtown location is the original one and is to-go only; in addition to lunch and dinner, they do breakfast tacos until 11am on weekdays and until noon on weekends. The second location in Bouldin is larger; it has a dining room and outdoor patio (plus a full bar) in addition to a go-to window, so you have the option of eating there. They do lunch and dinner here only—the take-out window opens at 8am, though, with dine in starting at 11am.
242 W. 2nd St., Downtown
Jo’s is a South Austin go-to for morning coffee and breakfast tacos (this is Texas, after all). They’ve become social media famous for their signature #IcedTurbo, which is a delicious milky coffee with crushed ice. The original location is in South Congress.
Whole Foods Market
525 N. Lamar Blvd., Downtown
Whole Foods is a lunchtime staple no matter where you live, but the flagship Austin location sort of takes everything to the next level. Inside, you’ll find 80,000 square feet of fresh, local, and organic goodness, and a prepared food section that matches. HQ is right upstairs (they look down on the ice skating rink that’s on top of the store).
823 Congress Ave., Downtown
Chi’lantro BBQ’s most famous dish is their kimchi fries—classic french fries topped with caramelized kimchi and melted cheese that taste as good as they sound. The rest of the menu offers comfort food inspired by Korean BBQ, including a rice bowl, an asian salad, an excellent burger, and more. Cubicle types, take note: Their online ordering system is really easy and streamlined. There are other locations in Zilker, Rosedale, and North Burnett.
200 Congress Ave., Downtown
This adorable shop, owned by couple Alison and Michael Vaclav, has a few locations in Austin (including one in Clarksville, Zilker, and West Campus). The coffee is all French pressed, with the rich, earthy taste that comes with it. The vibe here is decidedly unpretentious, making it a comfortable place to unwind and dig into some work. As a bonus, all but one of their locations is open until 10pm.
401 Congress Ave., Downtown
It’s easy to fall for the décor in Houndstooth, which features a wooden herringbone bar, Scandinavian-style furniture, and clusters of Edison bulbs. The overall effect is really minimalist, which is great, because it lets their extremely well-researched and perfectly executed coffee shine. Nice touch: the coffee cups have adorable silhouettes of Texas that you’ll see when you make it to the bottom of the cup. There is another location in Rosedale.
Easy Tiger Bake Shop & Beer Garden
709 E. 6th St., Downtown
This isn't exactly the classic working coffee shop, but the dual-experience concept behind Easy Tiger is pretty cool. Upstairs, there's a bakery with amazing Bavarian bread; downstairs, you'll find a beer garden with a mile-long beer list and rows of picnic tables; the outside, there's a patio with ping pong tables overlooking a quiet little creek. The downstairs is definitely a party in the evenings, but it's quiet upstairs, making it a good choice for an afternoon of work.
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