Southern/Down-Home Restaurants in Austin
“Last of the True Texas Dancehalls and damn sure proud of it!” Thus declares Broken Spoke owner and dance floor greeter James M. White, who opened up the honky-tonk in 1964. Home to both the upper rungs of country music history (Bob Wills, Ernest Tubb, George Strait, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson) and its local equivalent (Don Walser, Dale Watson, Kelly Willis, the Derailers), there’s no denying the structure stubbornly resisting the sky-high overdevelopment surrounding it on South Lamar. Serving chicken-fried steak, cold beer, and hardcore country almost every night, the Spoke’s swing and two-step lessons happen Wednesday through Saturday, 8:30-9:30pm.
3201 S. Lamar, 512/442-6189
This South Austin institution, which changed management (contentiously) in 2019 and underwent a million-dollar renovation, features a 9-hole, par-3 course with real grass greens. Olamaie's Michael Fojtasek supplies the clubhouse eats, including his Little Ola's biscuit sandwiches.
201 Lee Barton, 512/477-4430
4301 W William Cannon Dr, 512/899-9727
is a comfortable family restaurant with something on the menu to please everyone. Try the fried green tomatoes.
5712 Menchaca Rd., 512/440-8810
Refined Southern fare featuring fried chicken, biscuit sliders, and traditional sides served family-style.
1911 Aldrich #100, 512/580-2413
At this counter-service eatery located in the Austin Central Library, Chef Drew Curren of ELM Restaurant Group uses recipes from inspirational cookbooks, with a focus on the South and Mexico. The menus change seasonally and often incorporate local farm-to-table ingredients.
710 W. Cesar Chavez, 512/487-5166
Southern comfort dishes include shrimp po'boys, whole catfish, and peach cobbler.
4140 E. 12th, 512/928-5555
3901 Promontory Point Dr., 512/717-2504
2002 Southern Oaks Drive, Suite A, 512/983-3023
Southern food’s humble building blocks – buttermilk, black-eyed peas, grits, and salt pork – are refreshed through a combination of molecular gastronomy and just plain ingenuity.
500 W. Fifth, 512/888-9133
This Lakeway spot is serving up contemporary comfort food seven days a week. The spacious open-air patio fills up fast, so get there early on a pretty day.
900 RR 620 S., Ste. B108, Lakewaay, 512/263-3673
5811 Manor Rd., 512/300-0226
As the first Texas outlet of a famous Memphis fried-chicken chain, this newcomer comes in strong. The simple menu includes chicken by the plate or individual piece. Plates come with a choice of two or three pieces: white, dark, or the "half chicken" option – one piece of each. Plates come with baked beans and slaw, but substitutions are allowed for 50 cents extra. Start with a couple of cans of Austin Beer Works brew and a plate of the best fried green tomatoes ever.
117 San Jacinto Blvd., 512/474-4877
214 East 6th Street, 512/469-0002
Located inside the Garfield Public Library, this place is the unlikely source of the best chicken-fried steak and onion rings around. Check out the ethereal chicken-fried steak and the Angus hamburger steak in brown onion gravy. Don't forget to stop by for breakfast.
5121 Albert Brown, Del Valle, 512/470-2953