No more lunch rut

2 healthy restaurant openings freshen up downtown Austin dining scene

2 healthy restaurant openings freshen up downtown Austin dining scene

Modern Market bowl
Modern Market, serving a wide variety of bowls, mains, and salads, is set to open January 15 in the Frost Tower. Modern Market/ Facebook

From the proximity to happy hours to access to some of the city’s best coffee shops, working in downtown Austin has its perks. But anyone who spends their weekdays in a high-rise office will likely tell you that they have one complaint: a lack of options for a quick and healthy lunch. Luckily, two new restaurants are here to ease the downtown doldrums with openings in the next few days.

The first is Mad Greens, which will be celebrating the grand opening of its latest eatery on Wednesday, January 10. The small chain, with locations throughout the Southwest, made its name with a menu including customizable salads featuring scratch dressings, fruit and vegetable juices, wraps, and soups. Grain bowls — made with a wild rice blend, a variety of proteins, and fresh vegetables — are a new menu addition, keeping with one of the nation’s biggest culinary trends.

Busy downtown workers will be glad to know that the shop, located at Second and San Antonio streets, will be geared towards convenience. The location only allows payment by card, a policy the company says helps the ordering line move 10 percent faster than traditional setups. A separate counter allows speedy pick-up of online orders and catering delivery is available to nearby businesses.

The downtown Mad Greens will be the sixth Austin-area opening. Two stores are already operating within the city limits (one at 290 and Brodie Lane and the other in Domaine Northside) and additional shops are doing business in Lakeway, Cedar Park, and Round Rock.

Hot on the heels of that opening comes Modern Market, the third Austin location of a Boulder-based chain. A series of Instagram posts late last week revealed that the newest location at street level in the Frost Tower will be greeting customers on Monday, January 15.

Like Mad Greens, Modern Market has a wide variety of salads and grain bowls, but there is also a special focus on accommodating specialty diets and food allergies. The website boasts that they have a menu that can satisfy everyone from raw food acolytes to South Beach dieters.

In addition to the lighter fare, Modern Market also offers several brick oven pizzas with options ranging from a bacon and sweet corn pie with creme fraiche, basil, and a three-cheese blend to a crimini kale pizza with red onion and red sauce. Plates featuring sustainable meats and tofu with hearty sides round out the lunch and dinner menu. For breakfast, wake up to dishes like egg sandwiches, scrambles, whole grain waffles, and diner-like egg plates. 

And if you really need to shake up your lunchtime routine, we won't tell if you order a glass of wine (affordably priced at $2-3 each) or a local craft beer.