Austin is fortunate to have so many thriving, local restaurants offering a variety of menu options for the hungry patron. Weekends are the perfect opportunity to relax and enjoy some of the best dining our city has to offer. Breakfast is my favorite meal, so I am always on the hunt for great brunch locales. After trying several highly-regarded restaurants, I settled on Frank as the best brunch spot in Austin.
The Winner – Frank
I’ve peeked into Frank for the occasional coffee and lunch for a few years now, but only recently stopped in for a nice brunch after reading great reviews about their extended brunch menu on the weekends. I loved my experience so much, I went again this past Sunday. Although I ordered a different menu item, I was equally as impressed during the second visit. It was one of those scrape-your-plate-clean meals and I cannot recommend it highly enough.
The atmosphere offers up a something-for-everyone option: the bar seating is perfect for a singleton looking to catch up on work emails while enjoying a great plate, the downstairs seating is a bustling series of tables and booths, and the second floor is a quieter, café like atmosphere with big screen televisions for sporting events and skylights which make it seem deceptively large.
The servers are an eclectic bunch of 20-somethings, sharing interesting stories and kind smiles as they go about their duties. I’ve never been waited upon by the same person twice, but the entire team seems happy and everyone does their job well.
For someone interested in a great drink as well as a great brunch, Frank wins here too. Even though I stick to my usual latte or mocha, I see some very interesting concoctions, perhaps the most interesting of which is the Red Headed Stranger (a spin on a bloody Mary with bacon, cheese, pepperoncini and red pepper vodka). If you haven’t had your cigarette for the day you could also opt for the tobacco mule (a tobacco-infused bourbon drink with bitters, ginger, and lime – it contains nicotine!). For the non-drinkers, there is a wonderful selection of coffees, limeades, sugar cane sodas, and the original Big Red.
The brunch menu offers a wonderful mix of sweet and savory. My first brunch visit I opted for the Maker’s French Toast (custard battered French toast with bourbon blueberry sauce) and a side of the cheesy hasbrown casserole. It was the perfect mix of sweet and salty and I didn’t think I could love a brunch item more…Until yesterday when I ordered the Biscuits & Gravy. The gravy wasn’t overly salty, and it was the perfect consistency. The order came with bacon and eggs and I again added the hashbrowns, and it was too much food, but in the most wonderful of ways. I was left with that warm full feeling that generally accompanies a holiday meal. A genuinely wonderful spot for brunch.
Diner 24 offers great diner food and their round-the-clock hours make it a wonderful late night stop. Even though it isn’t entirely a brunch item, their milkshakes are amazing. The only unfortunate downside is the wait time can be a bit lengthy, especially if there are special events downtown.
Russell’s Bistro is a quaint, quiet brunch atmosphere, and features wonderful indoor/outdoor seating. Some of my best experiences at Russell’s often involve butterflies, fresh flowers, and a warm breeze to go with my banana pecan pancakes. Just be sure to factor in parking time, especially with Kerbey Lane Café and Anderson’s Coffee Roasters patrons competing for available spots.
Speaking of Kerbey Lane, this is another great 24 hour café offering a lot of specialty brunch items for anyone with a special diet (vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free). You can never go wrong with Kerbey’s signature pancakes, but their baked potato omelet is what keeps me coming back.
Missed the Mark
Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill is a hometown favorite, but I was only impressed with the variety. All of the items were savory, heavy, and I felt like a little less olive oil or butter would’ve gone a long way. Also, the last thing I want to do during brunch is stand in long, winding lines and carry my espresso and plate down stairs.
Le Café Crepe serves wonderful crepes, but few other options, so I’m not sure it is the best brunch spot. That being said, their lemon crepe is the best crepe I’ve ever had, Austin or otherwise.
Are you hungry yet?
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