Our list of family-friendly places to eat in Austin, Texas. These restaurants are great for kids!
When we travel, we like to check out the best places to eat in the area. It's a hobby both Ben and I enjoy. When the kids are with us, though, there are some challenges. For example, we cannot eat at a restaurant that has a wait for more than 20 minutes. Judah would be fine waiting longer, but Simon is definitely on a very short time limit. He'd reach his limit before we're even seated!
So, when we have the kids we plan to visit restaurants that are family friendly, yet still known for serving exceptional food. If you're visiting Austin, TX with your kids and looking for enjoyable kid-friendly places to eat, then read on! Today I'm listing a few of our favorites where kids are comfortable, having fun, and enjoying the food, too!
Family Friendly Places to Eat in Austin, TX
Let's start with what Austin is known for: it's barbecue! You may have heard of Franklin's Barbecue and other wildly popular local favorites, however, most of them have lines out the wa-zoo which means a very long wait. For Franklin's, a normal wait time is 2-3 hours! That is definitely a no-can-do for my kids!
So, we ventured out to find just as great barbecue that doesn't also include the hassle of its popularity.
We found a couple awesome restaurants, one being Rudy's Bar-B-Q. We have actually been to Rudy's in Colorado Springs a few times and loved it, but since it is based out of Texas we wanted to go to one in Austin. There was hardly a wait, the atmosphere was most definitely kid-friendly, and we all loved sharing our meat and sides on the large community picnic tables. The meat is outstanding and don't even get me started on the creamed corn!
A new (to us) barbecue restaurant we found quickly became our new favorite. Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew offers slow smoked meats that are out of this world. As long as you arrive for an early dinner, you're wait will be minimal. The kids had fun watching the meat we ordered being sliced and chopped. We also ordered ribs (heck ya!), mac 'n cheese and corn casserole. Sometimes restaurants will disappoint us with their lack of sides, but Stiles Switch hit it out of the ballpark!
It's not only about barbecue in Austin. I've mentioned here before that we love burger joints. A place we always have to visit when we're in Austin is Mighty Fine Burgers. It became an instant fave when we first visited a couple years ago. Now, we crave it and sometimes joke that we want to take a weekend trip to Austin just so we can eat at Mighty Fine Burgers! Everything I love about a burger joint comes together perfectly at Mighty Fine, from the fresh crinkle cut skinny fries, to the treat of the milkshakes.
Sure, there may be many other restaurants in the Austin area that offer more gourmet burgers, but that's not what we're looking for, especially when we're with the kids. Mighty Fine Burgers, friends, is where it's at! Also boasting community picnic tables, the atmosphere is laid back and fun! The workers? Well, I think you can just take a look at the photo above and know that this is one welcoming and friendly restaurant! (I talk more about Mighty Fine Burgers here.)
Let's discuss breakfast. Our first morning in Austin during our most recent visit, we were considering brunch at South Congress Cafe. Our concierge highly discouraged us from going there because of it's busyness and cramped seating, not exactly ideal for high chairs and kids. Instead, he recommended Annie's Cafe which was in walking distance and more spacious in accommodating families.
When we walked in to Annie's, I was initially skeptical. It wasn't busy -- at all. When a place isn't busy, I start wondering why and consider that maybe it's just not that good. Then, I realized it was late morning on a weekday so we were between the rush hours of breakfast and lunch. No wonder! It was a perfect situation for us because we were seated right away and were able to sit far from anyone else -- so to not bother anyone with our rambunctious 1 year old. 😉
We were eating light since our next stop planned was donuts (see below). The kids and I shared an egg and bacon breakfast sandwich that I absolutely loved. Ben ordered a breakfast taco and we also passed around some zucchini bread. Coffee was definitely in order and we enjoyed every bite. Definitely recommend Annie's if you're in walking distance.
After Annie's, we headed to Round Rock, TX (just north of Austin) because we wanted to go to IKEA. Since we were in the area, we had to check out the popular local donut fave, Round Rock Donuts. The donuts here are world famous, and people will line up early to get their hands on a dozen... or more. We arrived at a good time where the line wasn't long, but we were passing people leaving with a few dozen donuts in their arms! This told me we were in for a treat!
Sure enough, the donuts are warm and gooey...and orange! (Or, yellow?) I could've eaten an entire dozen, but limited myself to one. The boys and Ben thoroughly enjoyed them, too. Don't want to get your kids out of their car seats? Round Rock Donuts also has a drive-through window so you don't have to!
Another place we make sure to visit for breakfast when we're in Austin is Jo's Coffee. Jo's is not just a coffee shop, but they also offer great food. We love the coffee and the breakfast tacos. We haven't been there for lunch, but next time I want to give it a try! Plan to get there at an off-peak time, or just before the crowds and you shouldn't have any issues of seating with the kids. We like to make it our last breakfast before heading out on our 10 hour road trip home.
Totally unplanned, we came across another breakfast cafe that was super youthful and delicious. Kerby Lane Cafe (Guadalupe location) doesn't offer the best parking lot (from our booth, we watched out the window as cars were in line waiting for a parking spot) but it does offer fabulous food and a fun vibe. We found out they are known for their pancakes, so gave them a try! Actually, their entire menu looked gratifying, and next visit we're definitely checking them out at lunch time! I'm dying to try their Kerbey Queso!
We are always looking for fun dessert type treats when traveling, too. Amy's Ice Creams was a no-brainer for us. With multiple locations, we came across this particular one just as we were driving by and decided to stop. Located on Burnet Rd. in Austin, it has a full-out playground for the kids! We were there at night time, and the weather was unusually cold, so our kids did not play. BUT, it is a great option for warmer weather days when you and the kids need an ice cream break and time to let loose! PS - the ice cream was phenomal. If I remember right, I ordered the hot chocolate ice cream with chocolate bits stirred in. Mmmm!
If you've been to Austin and you haven't been to Gourdough's food truck, you are missing out. They also have a restaurant, Gourdough's Public House, but I haven't been there -- yet. We make sure to order these big fat gourmet doughnuts every time we're in town. Click here to see another place I've mentioned them. Favorites include Key Lime Pie, Funky Monkey and Son of a Peach. The donuts are made to order and large enough to share. Plus, their menu is just plain interesting.
There you have it. These are the places we have tried so far in Austin, TX and consider family-friendly where you shouldn't be concerned having your kids with you. Do you have other suggestions for our next visit?