Savor in the Lone Star State: Top 5 Family Eateries in Austin

If your journey to the vibrant city of Austin, Texas has you exploring the historical sites, catching live music, and tasting the unique flavors of the Lone Star State, then you’re definitely in the right place. Yes, Austin is not only known for its cultural and musical vibrancy but also as an epicurean paradise, hosting numerous unique restaurants, each with its special charm. Every fine establishment on this list brings a unique Texan flair to the table (no pun intended). In this blog post, we will delve into the top five family-friendly restaurants and why they’re so beloved. Let’s start our gastronomic tour.

1. Kerbey Lane Cafe: Brunch on a Whole New Level

Let’s start our culinary journey with one of Austin’s most beloved dining establishments: the Kerbey Lane Cafe. Established in 1980, this independent, Austin-grown restaurant has been the go-to spot for traditional comfort food made with fresh, high-quality ingredients procured from local farmers. Whether you’re craving fluffy buttermilk pancakes, a traditional Tex-Mex egg dish (known as Migas), or vegan and gluten-free dishes – everything is delectably good and reasonably priced. As for the ambiance, it’s relaxed and friendly – exactly what you’d hope for a family outing.

Why Families Love it

  • 24/7 service: Feel the sudden midnight craving? Or want to catch the early morning sun with your loved ones over breakfast? With Kerbey Lane’s around-the-clock service, you are never too early or too late to enjoy a sumptuous meal.
  • Kid-friendly options: To cater to the little ones, they offer an extensive menu including hotcakes, mini burgers, chicken strips, and eggs whichever way your kids like it!
  • Numerous Locations: With several branches scattered across Austin – Central, Northwest, South Lamar to name a few, finding a Kerbey Lane Cafe is super easy.
  • Austin-centric menu: Pamper your tastebuds with meals that truly reflect Austin’s vibrant food culture – from classic Tex-Mex dishes to innovative Texan style eats.

2. Top Notch Hamburgers: Dive into the 70s

Step into a unique dining experience that takes you back to the good ‘ole days at Top Notch Hamburgers. Operating since 1971, this restaurant is an iconic longevity act on Austin’s changing food scene. Here, you can savor juicy, charcoal-grilled hamburgers, crispy fried chicken, and the old-fashioned drive-in service that it continues to offer.

Why Families Love it

  • Classic Americana: The vintage vibe coupled with the mouthwatering All-American menu – burgers, fried chicken, hot dogs, onion rings, and more, ensures that you walk out of Top Notch enriched with a truly classic American experience.
  • Inclusive options: Vegetarian? Vegan? Not to worry. At Top Notch, everyone’s dietary preferences are considered. Their Grilled Cheese sandwich and Veggie Burger are as loved as their meat-based offerings.
  • Historic venue: Any Richard Linklater fans in the house? This iconic spot served as the backdrop for the cult classic film Dazed and Confused. So if you, or your teens, are fans, this could be a special treat.
  • Diverse dining experience: With comfortable indoor booths to the classic curbside service, you can enjoy your meal at Top Notch the way you like.

3. The Picnic: Food for Everyone

A family outing in Austin’s dining scene would be grossly incomplete without a visit to The Picnic. This unique food truck park hosts some of Austin’s best and most diverse mobile culinary talents. Whether you’re in the mood for tastefully tender barbecue or decadent desserts, you don’t have to settle for just one option. You can choose from multiple cuisines catering to all taste buds.

Why Families Love it

  • Food truck variety: Hosting eight top-rated food trucks – ranging from the Asian delights of The Mighty Cone to the authentic Southern ‘cue of BBQ Revolution, The Picnic has it all.
  • Outdoor dining: Seating in a beautiful park-like setting under strings of twinkling lights, The Picnic offers a memorable outdoor meal. And if you’re out in the winter, the heaters will ensure you stay toasty.
  • Communal atmosphere: With its communal benches and shared space, The Picnic is a great place for your family to connect with fellow food lovers. It’s an atmosphere that fosters conversation, bonding, and of course, great food.

4. Phil’s Icehouse: Love in Every Bite

Looking for the ultimate family-friendly burger hotspot in Austin? Look no further than Phil’s Icehouse. Situated conveniently around Austin, Phil’s consistently reinvents the idea of the “humble” burger. They offer a wide range of sumptuous gourmet burgers, all named after popular Austin neighborhoods, thus keeping the essence of the city alive in their menu. And if you’re not in a mood for a burger, you can dive into their delectable sandwiches, salads, and appetizers.

Why Families Love it

  • Kid-friendly Amenities: An integrated playground for kids to whip up an appetite before the meal or burn out some energy afterwards makes this spot simply a haven for families.
  • Austin-inspired menu: The names of their burgers pay homage to various Austin neighborhoods. These gourmet wonders come with flavor profiles inspired by community characteristics and local lore, making for a very ‘Austin’ experience.
  • Sweet ending: Each Phil’s Icehouse location is co-located with an Amy’s Ice Creams – an Austin staple known for its artisanal ice cream. So, let your meal end on a sweet note.

5. Home Slice Pizza: New York comes to Texas

To fix your pizza cravings, we recommend Home Slice Pizza. Bringing a slice of New York to the streets of Austin, Home Slice Pizza prides itself on offering authentic New York-style pizza. Their chewy yet crisp, thin crust pizzas with flavorful toppings are something families return for, time after time.

Why Families Love it

  • Warm and casual ambiance: The retro decor, complete with kitschy wall art and vintage checkerboard flooring, creates a laid-back, casual vibe for a comforting family meal.
  • Accessibility: Whether you want to dine-in, carry-out, or grab a slice from the separate walk-up window, Home Slice caters to every preference.
  • Gourmet Pizzas: Indulge in their specialty pies like the White Clam Pizza or cap off your meal with their Cannoli – all made in-house with love and secret recipes.

Living and dining in Austin goes far beyond a daily routine – it’s a regular festivity. In a city known for music, camaraderie, and supreme culinary prowess, taking your family out for a meal is a celebration of life’s simple but vital pleasures. The eateries listed here offer a true taste of Austin, creating a dining atmosphere perfect for family time filled with laughter, conversation, and mouthwatering food.

Embark on this mini food tour of Austin, enjoy exploring the delightful eateries and relish every bite that captures the essence of this city. From finding festival-like sophistication in the most unassuming food trailer park to feeling welcomed like a local in a diner that serves burgers 24/7, you’re about to be part of feelings and flavors that are Austin’s, and therefore, now a part of you. Bon appétit, dear friends.

From breakfast to dinner, from burgers to pizza, choosing your first stop might just be the most challenging task. But, rest assured, each dining destination provides an extraordinary experience you won’t forget. Remember, this is just the tip of the iceberg in the city teeming with culinary brilliance. Enjoy exploring and creating those heartwarming family memories over good food. After all, the love shared over a meal is the secret ingredient that makes any dish truly special.

Lauren Critzer

I was born in Charlottesville, Virginia and after college, I moved to San Francisco to explore new opportunities and broaden my horizons. I fell in love with the city's vibrant culture and unique atmosphere, but eventually, I moved again, this time to Austin, Texas.

As much as I loved living in different parts of the country, having a baby boy brought me back to my hometown in Charlottesville, where I now live with my husband, our little one, and two furry friends. I enjoy going to wineries, taking my pups everywhere, and spending quality time with my family.

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