Travel

South Congress

Establishment neighborhood
June’s All Day
1722 S. Congress Ave., South Congress
With the style of an old-timey diner—only much more polished—June’s (which owner and renowned restaurateur Larry McGuire named after June Rodil, their master sommelier) is a lighthearted spin on French bistro cuisine. From breakfast to dinner, their offerings are all fresh, delicious riffs on classic French comfort foods like bone marrow bolognese and steak-au-poivre, adding into the mix quintessentially Austin touches like chalupas for breakfast. And of course, their wine-and-beer list is on point—and abundant—with selections from all over the world, as well as local brews. (P.S. Their patio is dog-friendly.)
Güero’s
1412 S. Congress Ave., South Congress
Güero's is one of those places that's on every visitor's hit list. In a town where margaritas, tamales, and enchiladas are fuel, this South Congress taqueria doesn't disappoint. (It helps too, that they've been around since 1986.) Service is friendly and the vibe is lively and casual. On Sundays, it's practically a ritual to nurse a hangover in the restaurant’s Oak Garden with an order of migas—a plate of scrambled eggs, tostadas, and pico de gallo. There's a vegan menu, too.
Central Standard
1603 S. Congress Ave., South Congress
The brass accents, black and white tiles, and sleek furnishings at South Congress Hotel’s American grill feel both modern and classic. The best dishes are indulgent, like the Central Standard’s cheeseburger, which is served with cremini mushroom butter, aged cheddar, and smoked bacon. The pastry chef Amanda Rockman (who was previously at Nico Osteria in Chicago) makes a compelling argument in favor of saving room for dessert, though: her tarts, cakes, and corn fritters can make eyes water. The warm wraparound patio has an enticing weekday happy hour, too, with half-off drinks and select food dishes.
Kimber Modern
110 The Circle, South Congress
While it’s billed as a design-centric boutique hotel, Kimber’s seven mid-century modern guestrooms, minimalist courtyard, and common area, complete with kitchen, office, and fancy coffee station, strike us more as the trappings of a really well-appointed guesthouse. Its central location and not-too-big size not only makes it the ideal home base from which to explore the city, but a great option for hosting birthdays, family reunions, even weddings—reach out well ahead of time to book the entire space.
tenoverten
1603 S. Congress Ave., South Congress
Non-toxic, ethically-minded nail care migrated west with TenOverTen’s first venture outside New York City. Located within the South Congress Hotel, this spot is less of a conventional nail salon and more of an homage to your trendy friend’s downtown loft. Founders Nadine Abramcyk and Adair Illyinsky construct each salon around the neighborhood in which it lives, and Austin is no exception, with its reclaimed wood and clean, modern lines. The salon is health-centric, so you won’t find any acrylic or gel options, but come prepared for a traditional (yet indulgent) mani/pedi. Take advantage of the convenient hotel location and order food or drinks straight to your (non-massaging) chair.
Hotel San Jose
1316 S. Congress Ave., South Congress
Smack dab on South Congress Avenue and originally built in 1939 as an old motor lodge, the 40-room property was revamped by hotelier Liz Lambert in the late 90s and has since developed something of a cult following along the way. Here, her minimalist aesthetic translates to a cool gray stucco façade, terra cotta roofs, a bamboo-lined lap pool, and Eames arm-shell chairs. The concrete-floored rooms are sparsely appointed (Sferra linens, Malin + Goetz products), but thoughtful. Slip on one of the custom striped kimono robes—conveniently also for sale at the hotel’s gift shop—and you’ll be hard pressed to take it off. An added perk: Jo’s Coffee next door will deliver your daily Iced Turbo or a breakfast taco right to your room.
Hotel Saint Cecilia
112 Academy Dr., South Congress
In the hospitality world, hotelier Liz Lambert is known for her Midas touch. Case in point: She hand-picked every item—from the silky drapes to the giant chandeliers—in this fourteen-room Victorian mansion with visiting musicians and creatives in mind. (The South Congress Hotel also happens to be named after the patron saint of music and poetry.) There are five suites, six poolside bungalows, and three studios—all outfitted with turntables, monogrammed bed linens, and Le Labo products, although each one has its own distinct character. Guests can borrow LPs from the library too. The hotel bar (for guests only) has a gorgeous view of the grounds—go at sunset and order a margarita. (Lambert's other hotel in South Congress, Hotel San Jose, also has great cocktails, and is a good option if you're looking for a busier atmosphere.) Bonus: The Hotel Saint Cecilia's fifty-foot pool is heated and open around the clock.
South Congress Hotel
1603 S. Congress Ave., South Congress
Fittingly located on South Congress, the street’s namesake hotel is as much a destination for locals as tourists, thanks to a comprehensive collection of restaurants (Cafe No Se, Otoko, and Central Standard) a low-key coffee shop (Mañana), and some of the city’s best stores (Sunroom and Revival Cycle), all under one roof. Design-wise, the rooms and lobby have a warm-but-modern Texas vibe, comfortably decorated with felt headboards, midcentury furniture, and leather poufs. Make time for a drink at the rooftop pool and bar, and a pedicure at tenoverten.
Jo’s Coffee
1300 S. Congress Ave., South Congress
Tucked into the parking lot of the Hotel San Jose, Jo’s is a South Austin go-to for your 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. Another thing they’ve become famous for: “I love you so much” graffitied on the side of the building—reportedly a love note from musician Amy Cook to her then-girlfriend and Hotel San Jose owner Liz Lambert. There's a second location Downtown.
You may also like