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Jul 23, 2000 09:24 PM

REALLY good austin eats??

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My husband and I moved to Austin a year ago from the Bay Area food mecca. Despite much local raving, we have had trouble finding restaurants that really move us. We LOVE Fonda San Miguel and have found great BBQ and Mexican (don't care much for Tex-Mex). Does anyone have any good suggestions for us?

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  1. Hope we get some interesting discussion, but have you gone through the many Austin postings on this board (use our search engine, or at least use your browser's "find" command on the texas board index)

    Also, if you've found great BBQ and Mexican, why aren't you telling us about it??? This forum is a give and take thang...


    1. That's a really broad question. Tell me a little about what you like and where you've been and I'll have a better idea of where to send you. Without some limits, I'd babble for days about Austin and the surrounding area's great eats. I've been here for most of 35 years, so I've got lots of ideas.

      1 Reply
      1. I posted some Austin mex food ideas on 8/9/99, so you may want to refer to that; I'll stand by that list. Someone recently asked about stewed pork and beef dishes in Mexican restaurants around Austin. I don't recall seeing those items on most menus, with the exception of carne guisada. Carne guisada is the standard test for many mex food fans around here. The thinking is that if they make great guisada, the rest of the food will probably be OK, too. It works sometimes. Las Manitas has great guisada, but get it at lunch. CG needs time to become great; at breakfast it usually hasn't had enough time in the pot.

        The Frisco Shop on Burnet Road at Koenig lane (pronounce those "burnit" and "kaynig" if you're asking directions) is my favorite diner in town. The breakfasts here can't be beat. Biscuits better than Mom's (she agrees), superlative sausage gravy, all the standards and for the truly famished, eggs decorated. That's two lookin' at you with house made chili on top. It'll stay with you all day. Speaking of all day, try lunch and dinner here, too. Everything's good, they have the best coleslaw on the planet, and they're known for their icebox pies. Damn, I'm hungry now.

        Mike's Pub, just east of Congress on 7th, on the top of the parking garage. Oh, man. Mike's. This place has hands down the best burger and fries in Austin. They're right off the grill and hot as they can be, with excellent had cut fries. Drag 'em through the garden yourself. My standard order is a double double and a half, or a double meat, double cheese with a half order if fries. Get a large draft beer (20 oz) that'll come in a frosty glass mug and will bare flecks of ice floating in it. A frozen snickers is a good way to finish. In the summer, those beers are nearly as good as an Alaskan cruise. Damn, now I'm hungry and thirsty.

        Taco Shack, Spicewood Springs near MoPac. Their Shack taco is the best breakfast taco in town. Filled with chorizo, eggs, potatoes, and cheese, It'll cure what ails ya'. Get two. You'll be sorry if you don't. Man, I'm hungry now.

        That's it, I gotta eat and I'm goin to Mike's. More later.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Greg Spence

          OK, my curiosity about Mike's Pub has been seriously piqued. I live downtown in east Austin (off 11th). My husband and I have walked by the "Mike's Pub" sign there on 7th several times and wondered about it - the whole "on top of the parking garage" angle is kind of mysterioso. One evening, we decided to check it out. The door was locked and there was no sign showing the hours. I've lived here 10 years and have never heard it mentioned by anyone. We decided maybe it was a Mafia front. :}

          Now, I've discovered chowhound and you make it sound so great. Last night, it was pouring down rain and we had company coming over for dinner. I didn't want to stop and do the grocery story thing on the way home so I thought, hey we could cruise over there to Mike's Pub and get one of those great burgers and hand cut fries that guy mentioned on chowhound. (We also love Hut's for the fries, but the frat boy madness there is just too much. For those looking for good food in Austin, Hut's is on 6th St; they make a burger called the Wolfman Jack that has warm green chilis, bacon, and sour cream - I love it, but they have 2 for one specials on weeknights, and when UT is in session, it's not worth it.)

          Anyway, back to Mike's. So, I called up from the cell phone to make sure Mike's Pub was open. It rang and rang. I went back to the operator and had her check the number. Again, it rang and rang. No answer, no machine or voice mail.

          So, what is up? Is the entrance hidden or hard to find? Do you have to use the elevators to get up there? What kind of pub in downtown Austin is closed at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday evening.

          Someone PLEASE help me out.

          1. re: bhreeves
            Barry Strugatz

            I, too, recently tried to check out Mikes.
            I was visiting Austin a few weeks back and wanted to try the best burger in town.
            People who literally worked across the street from it never heard of it. Finally a hotel valet pointed it out. I went there but the door was locked. This was like 6pm on a Sat. nite.
            Definitely got a Twilight Zone vibe.

            1. re: bhreeves

              Sorry, folks. I didn't fully explain Mike's. First, Mike's is run by the owner, George, his wife and a guy named Andy who pulls the beers and busses tables. They tend to work their tails off from 11:00a 'till 6:00p. Then they go home at a decent hour. Lots of old Texas businesses work that way. Mike's does have a happy hour with discounts on beer and food from 4:00 'til 6:00.

              Boy, you fellas thinking it's a mafia front must be from out of town or be idle conspiracy theorists. Not many people know about Mike's because we true believers don't tell many non - Texans about it; there's a whole lot of those folks around town these days. Mike's is crowded enough at lunch right now.

              1. re: bhreeves
                george lavas

                Mike's pub. Not a mafia front or the twilight zone. Just great burgers and the coldest beer in town. Mike's new hours monday thru thursday 11:00 am untill 9:00 pm (untill after the game for monday night football), friday and saturday 11:00 am untill midnight. Grill closes at 8:00 pm. Also now has a great t-bone or ribeye every afternoon 3:00 pm untill grill closes.

              2. re: Greg Spence

                There is a small Mom and Pop style restaurant in Austin called The Omeletry. Fantastic breakfasts.