8 under-the-radar restaurants you must try on Burnet Road

Burnet Road Hidden Gems

Burnet Road used to be that weird street where you’d go to buy mattresses or get your car repaired. Now, it’s an (almost) walkable mecca of restaurants. You probably know most of the buzzy spots to get a bite (Barley Swine, The Peached Tortilla, and the like), so we're giving the lesser-known Burnet faves a turn in the spotlight. Add these hidden gems to your rotation.

T-Loc's Sonora Hot Dogs
Grilled hot dogs wrapped in bacon and tucked in Tucson bread — true Sonoran style. If you're not down with the dog, consider getting one of the carne asada burritos stuffed with steak, avocado, and fresh pico de gallo.

Don't let the strip mall location fool you: This spot has serious devotees. Go for the tuna tower, stay for the omakase-style service (RSVP required).

Shu Shu's Asian Cuisine
Shu Shu's serves fast-casual Chinese food that's perfect for an inexpensive Asian fix. Build your lunch with a choice of protein, rice, and a side for less than $10.

Chocolaterie Tessa
Salted butter caramels, hazelnut truffles, and mocha pyramids, oh my! Master chocolatier Tessa Halstead has managed to bring the chocolate factory to life (sans deadly chocolate river). Each offering is handcrafted in small batches using techniques learned from her father.

Nosh & Bevvy
Does it get more British than curry and a pint? This pub is tucked away in the spot where Baby Blues Bar used to be and offers local beers and hearty items, like shepherd's pie and bubble and squeak.

Kolache Creations
Kolache Creations has been rocking out Burnet Road since 1979. Low-carb diets need not apply: There are more than 20 varieties of traditional and contemporary kolaches.

Gusto Italian Kitchen + Wine Bar
Before the spate of recently opened Italian restaurants, there was Gusto, quietly doing its thing. There's an inexpensive all-you-care-to-eat brunch and a darn good happy hour that includes 25 percent off bottles of wine.

Tiny Pies
Fun-sized pies are the name of the game. Dutch apple, coconut cream, Key lime, bourbon pecan ... you get it. Pie heaven. These baby baked goods are perfect to pick up for a party or hoard for yourself (or both).

The 10 hottest brunches in East Austin right now

East Side Brunches

There comes a time in every Austinite’s life when brunch is in order. Brunching is practically the highlight of the week, and the decision of where to do so should not be taken lightly.

With approximately 1,020 brunch options in Austin (thank you, Yelp) how does one decide? We narrowed in on Austin’s east side to determine the best neighborhood spots this side of I-35. Here are our 10 favorite brunch places to enjoy a delicious meal, complete with a leisurely drink or two.

Dai Due
The king of all brunches, a meal from Chef Jesse Griffiths' kitchen is not to be missed. Since brunch is usually only a weekend thing, Dai Due’s day menu — served Tuesday through Sunday from 10 am to 3 pm — is a real treat. Dive head first into house favorites like the hash with cured and smoked meats, turnips, and eggs or the pastrami sandwich with house-made rye bread. For those with a sweet tooth, the massive sourdough pancake with fromage blanc, strawberries, and citrus curd is a must-try. If you’re gonna go all the way, split a French press coffee and bottle of sparkling blanc de blanc.

Brunch is all about the balance between savory and sweet, and the Hightower has mastered this in one dish: chicken and waffles. Served with ginger honey syrup, hot sauce, and butter, this is the sinful bruncher’s Sunday church. Grilled pork belly sandwiches, grit waffles, and carnitas scrambles are also highlights. Seal the deal with the Bloody Mary bar that comes complete with all the regular fixings, some unique twists, and maybe even a Slim Jim or two.

With beautiful spring weather in the air, Takoba’s expansive patio is the perfect place to grab a table. Cooking from the interior of Mexico, try classics like huevos motuleños, chilaquiles, and menudo. The tortas ​served on Austin’s Panaderia Chuy bread are out of this world, and our favorites are the carnitas with jalapeño and guacamole and the smoked salmon with two poached eggs. Served Saturdays and Sundays, wash it all down with a fresh-made michelada or an agua fresca.

Salt & Time
Start your morning right with coffee on draft from Salt & Time. Since this is a butcher shop, you're going to need to share one of the meat boards with your group. Serving brunch on Sundays only, you can expect locally sourced ingredients incorporated in traditional brunch dishes that are expertly crafted with some unusual surprises. If you’re a late bruncher, extend your meal into Salt & Time’s daily happy hour starting at 3 pm with build-your-own salumi boards and beer and wine specials.

The newly added weekend brunch has become just as popular as Launderette's dinner service. Indulge in one-of-a-kind dishes like the fried oyster Florentine, asparagus Benedict, or duck hash. Order the pastry of the day off of the “sweet thangs” menu, and let award-winning pastry chef/owner Laura Sawicki take your taste buds on a doughy adventure.

Blue Dahlia
Offering breakfast options all day every day, Blue Dahlia serves up one of our favorite midday meals. Choose from one of the rotating frittatas — there’s always one veggie and one meaty option — which come with crisp greens and freshly baked bread. For sweets, try the French crepes with chocolate sauce or the Belgian berry waffles. Blintzes, oatmeal, parfait, and granola are also available. For something delectably salty in all the right ways, try the smoked salmon tartine with dill cream cheese. We recommend sitting on the eclectic back patio with latte in hand.

Joe’s Bakery
For traditional Mexican and Tex-Mex favorites, look no further than this affordable mom-and-pop diner on East Seventh Street. The cozy space is a nice break from some of the trendier places going in on the east side. Order any of the tacos, wrapped in Joe’s homemade tortillas, or the mammoth chorizo con huevos plate. When you want a big, heavy Mexican breakfast, this is your spot Tuesday through Sunday. The coffee is strong, and the servers are friendly, just like a neighborhood diner should be.

Driving down East Cesar Chavez Street you almost miss the unassuming white building that houses Austin’s latest brunch craze, Juniper. Its weekend brunch offers fresh-squeezed juices, pour-over coffees, and classic Bloody Marys. Share the honey-dipped doughnut holes with your dining compadre, and try as many as the brunch plates as you can — trust us, you’ll want to try it all. Can’t-miss dishes include the roasted trumpets with feta and eggs and the roasted pear Dutch Baby.

The “barnitecture” of Jacoby’s impeccably designed space is worth the trip alone. Brunch is served Saturdays and Sundays, and the Southern comfort restaurant has made a name for itself with items like deviled eggs, quiche, cinnamon rolls, scones, blueberry French toast, duck confit migas, and smoked short rib hash. Sip on a Stumptown cold-brew coffee, which will rejuvenate you from whatever you did the night before.

Open Tuesday through Sunday, Paperboy is the east side’s new trailer that dishes out killer breakfast options to be enjoyed in its dog-friendly yard. The trailer has already developed a die-hard following for its limited menu of gourmet egg sandwiches, hash, oatmeal, and savory and sweet toasts. Finish it off with hot or cold-brewed coffee from Tweed Coffee Roasters and house-made OJ.

Paperboy is the east side’s new trailer dishing out killer breakfast options on its dog-friendly patio.

Paperboy patio
Paperboy is the east side’s new trailer dishing out killer breakfast options on its dog-friendly patio.
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Austin's apartment construction rate is the highest in the nation, says new report


If you think new apartment buildings have been popping up nonstop all around the city within the last couple of years, you’d be right. The Austin-Round Rock metro area is experiencing one of the biggest apartment construction booms in the nation, in an effort to alleviate an ongoing affordability crisis.

But while increasing multi-family housing is solving part of the problem, long term it keeps homeownership out of arm’s reach for younger Americans. That’s according to a new report from apartment rental “matchmaker” and marketplace Apartment List.

Austin has spent decades building more housing for its residents, and 2022 saw the highest number – 18.3 – of new unit permits being issued per thousand residents. Austin’s rate is three times larger than the average rate in 50 of the largest American metros.

The top five cities that had highest number of new unit permits issued per 1,000 residents in 2022 include:

  • No. 1 – Austin (18.3)
  • No. 2 – Raleigh, North Carolina (14.9)
  • No. 3 – Jacksonville (14.1)
  • No. 4 – Orlando (10.7)
  • No. 5 – Houston (10.5)

In Apartment List’s comparison charts, 2021 saw the biggest-ever leap in Austin-Round Rock area housing units permitted for the year, with 24,000 single-family permits and 26,000 multi-family permits issued.

2022 saw a dramatic decrease in both housing options with 3,000 less multi-family permits being issued for the year, and 4,000 less single-family home permits.

Furthermore, a majority of those housing permits issued last year were not in the city, but in the surrounding area. Only 43 percent of 2022’s housing unit permits were issued in Austin proper, which is a six percent increase over 2021. This spells out the struggle for affordability the inner city has experienced in recent years.

The year that had the most housing permits issued in Austin proper versus the surrounding area was 2013, at 57 percent. Those percentages have dwindled into the 40s since then, with 2021 being the lowest in the last decade.

Austin’s apartment construction boom has not shown signs of slowing, even with concerns about single-family home buying, according to the report. The city has topped the per-capita permit activity ranks for six consecutive years, and has never been outside the top three since 2006.

The full report can be found on apartmentlist.com.

7 things to know in Austin food right now: Soup dumpling spot splashes into North Lamar

News You Can Eat

Editor’s note: We get it. It can be difficult to keep up with the fast pace of Austin’s restaurant and bar scene. We have you covered with our regular roundup of essential food news.


Wu Chow, a downtown Chinese restaurant known for its soup dumplings, is expanding from its high-traffic location on West 5th Street to something more accessible to the northern masses: the former site of Rosedale Kitchen and Bar (3800 N Lamar Boulevard). This is the first full expansion from the original location, although Little Wu serves up dumplings to-go at Fareground. The new location will have a private dining room for 30 guests and serve a dim sum brunch on Sundays (11 am to 3 pm). Wu Chow North will open in late summer from Monday to Friday between 11am and 2pm, and dinner from 5-10pm, plus Fridays and Saturdays until 11pm.

Mighty Fine Burgers is opening its first Dripping Springs location in the Belterra area at 165 Hargraves Drive. The first 50 opening day visitors on April 1 will receive gift cards between $5 and $500. The grand opening celebration also includes a first responder happy hour from noon to 2 pm with free burgers for those in uniform, an onsite fire truck demonstration by the North Hays County Fire Rescue team, and live music on the patio in the evening. Mighty Fine is known for its straightforward burger shack menu and shakes. Hours on Google Maps show that the location opens daily at 11 am and closes at 9:30 pm Sunday through Thursday, and at 10 pm on Friday and Saturday.

Other news and notes

LCRA Parks, the state-created operator of Pedernales River Nature Park, is offering another onsite installment of its farm-to-table series "Savor the Outdoors" on April 1. This dinner will feature a menu by the Roaming Fire (maker of an outdoor cooking rig) featuring a creative spring crostini with ingredients grown in Spicewood, a brown sugar rubbed pork tenderloin sourced from Center Point, Texas, sips by Texas Beer Co., and more. Tickets ($150) available at eventcreate.com.

Fierce Whiskers Distillery and social clubSmoke + Mash collaborated to release a special edition carbon-neutral rye, with a launch party on April 1. Guests may buy wristbands ($38) to taste barbecue from some of the top-rated chefs and restaurants in the state: Burnt Bean Co, Truth BBQ, and Bryan Furman BBQ. Details are sparse on the Smoke + Mash Volume 1 Special Release, but anyone can stop by for free to learn about the distillery's sustainable practices and buy a bottle. More info and tickets on Tock.

Jazz in the sculpture garden sounds like a maximally fancy event, but anyone with $12 can stop by. The Texas Moaners will serenade crowds at the Umlauf Sculpture Garden at nightfall on April 4, while Texas artist Marla Ripperda creates sculptures of armadillos. (Of course, what else?) Guests can snack on Crave Hot Dogs and BBQ, beer from Independence Brewery, wine from BOXT, and cocktails from Tito's Handmade Vodka. Register online. Members enter free.

Otopia Rooftop Lounge celebrates Global Astronomy Month for all of April, with themed cocktails that generate funds for the University of Texas at Austin Astronomy Department: the Azimuth with mezcal and islandy flavors, Equinox with Still Austin Straight Bourbon and citrus notes, and Luminosity with Titos Vodka and Crème de Violette. In addition to donating 15 percent of those sales, the lounge is partnering with the department for a free educational stargazing event on April 27. RSVP on Eventbrite.

Austinites who wish to return to the good ole days will get a chance at the Stephen F. Austin Royal Sonesta for a monthlong 20s-themed pop-up restaurant, The Austin, that goes back to the hotel's founding. It's bringing back items from the original 1924 menu, plus indulging in Domincan cigars from Bolivar Cigar Shop & Private Smoking Lounge. Stop by Stephen F’s Bar and Terrace on Thursdays in April from 4-7 pm to experience the time travel, no reservations required.

Crane flies have landed ever so lightly in Austin, which means one thing

Insect News

The crane flies have arrived in Austin, and this year, they're here in droves.

Fragile, leggy, and whisper-light, crane flies are most often found around streams and lakes. But at certain times of year, they show up in urban areas, hovering and bobbing around houses and doorways.

If you live in certain areas — green, suburban areas — you've surely encountered them or seen complaints on your cranky Facebook neighborhood page. This, even though they don't bite or want to bother you in any way.

To bug experts like Janet Hurley, an Extension Program Specialist with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, their arrival means one thing: Spring is officially here.

If they seem to be in larger numbers, it's, as usual, related to weather.

"The weather has been warmer, and we've had a number of damp days," Hurley says. "We've also had an unusual 2023, with spring bouncing in and out for a couple months. They usually show up during or right before spring break. But we all joke that if you see the crane fly, you won’t be seeing freezing temperatures again."

Of all the pests Texas must endure, crane flies have to be the most innocuous. Now-retired Texas A&M entomologist Mike Merchant called them "among the gentlest of insects."

It's a myth that they prey on or are related to mosquitoes. Crane flies are larger, and unlike mosquitos, their wings do not have scales. They also don't want your blood. They live on fat reserves built up during their larval stage.

They live short but amorous lives. Their sole purpose is to mate and make more crane flies for next spring.

Hurley says that they might be a nuisance but to consider the alternatives.

"Once they're gone, the mosquitoes come in," she says.