I work on the Eastside now and I like to eat, so I figured I should keep a quick list of my conquests. Have anything to add?
La Barbecue – The best brisket in Austin (sorry Franklin). And sides, and rotating specials, and two kinds of sauce, and beef ribs as big as your head. Lines get pretty long during rush, and they sell out, so call in an order and show up early (they open at 11am, Weds-Sun).
Salt and Time – A neighboorhood butcher shop with out-of-this-world lunch and dinner service. They’ve got a full bar, real coffee, and realer meats. The lunch menu is short, but changes daily, and every single item is worth having in your belly. Stop what you are doing and go to Salt and Time.
Gourmand’s Neighborhood Pub – Artisan sandwiches served out of an old tejano dance hall. Fat sandwiches (almost 1lb of food) and killer daily specials. They also serve (and sell) Yellowbird Sauce, a kickass habanero condiment made right here in Austin. It’s got carrots and tangerines and lime and makes an already awesome sandwich even awesomer.
Quickie Pickie – Half restaurant, half grab-and-go, half convience store- all awesome. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Tacos and such for breakfast, gnarly sandwiches and salads for lunch, and whole birds for take-home dinners. Favorite sandwich is the Cold Comfort, stuffed with apples and house-made pimento. Stop by after work and grab a bird if you want to arrive at home as a hero.
Qui – This place only does dinner service, but it’s so damn tasty that I had to include it in my list. If you don’t recognize the name, it’s the same Paul Qui that owns East Side King and that recently won on Top Chef. Aside from the ridiculous food, they have a killer bar, which means even if you’re not eating, there’s reason to stop (right after work at 5PM or right after dinner somewhere else). Update: Qui started serving a small plate menu on the patio from 5-7PM. Happy hour much?
Cafe Mueller (in HEB) – This may seem like sort of a weird one, the HEB up on E 51st just opened a new concept store, including an on-site restaraunt. Cafe Mueller serves BBQ, pizza, Asian bowls, salads- you name it. It’s mad cheap (check out the full menu) and the building is beautiful.
Hot Mama’s – Tiny cafe/coffeeshop cranking out killer sandwiches. Try the Bacon Alma (that’s apple), or the Persian Prince (filled with lamb). Killer patio. Usually not very crowded, but not quick either.
John Mueller Meat Co – Ridiculous brisket, sliced extra thick, bark like I’ve never seen before. Really peppery sauce. All sorts of meats, sold by the pound. Trailer and tents. Opens at 10:30, sells out frequently.
Tamale House East – Simple, authentic tacos and tamales, served from an old house. Tasty cochinita pibil (pork cooked in orange juice). Mexican Coke in a bottle.
Takoba – Simple but semi-upscale Mexican food, served on one of the best patios on the eastside. Amazing cocktails & desserts, just remember they won’t split a check for you.
Yoko Ono Miyaki – Japanese pancake. Not breakfasty, more like a salmon cake, made from thrashed meat (pork belly) and veggies (onions, etc). Topped with bonito flakes (dried, cured tuna). One of the weirdest thing I’ve ever put in my mouth. Update: this place either closed or moved.