You may have noticed a slight crispness in the early morning air this week - a hint that fall, and with it, promises of cooler weather, is right around the corner. Here in Texas, we may not get the dramatic autumn foliage that sweeps through the East or get to experience the joy of picking the fresh apples of the trees as Northerners do, but there are plenty of ways to enjoy fall and the reprieve from scorching temperatures in and around the Austin area. Here are some of our favorite fall getaways and events in Central Texas:Stanley's Farmhouse Pizza tucked underneath. The handcrafted pies use fresh, locally sourced ingredients and go well with its neighbor's brews. With plenty of picnic tables, string lights, and space to bring friends, you could easily spend a lazy fall afternoon here.
5. Johnson CityWhether you pronounce it "pe-can" or "pa-con" (the Texan way), there's no denying the deliciousness of this buttery nut. Though locals have been munching on them for hundreds of years, it wasn't until 1919, that the Texas Legislature made pecans the official state nut of Texas. There are plenty of places you can buy locally sourced pecans (try Navidad Farms), but it's also fun scouting out the fallen nuts yourself. Johnson City, and several other small towns have pecan trees surrounding the courthouse in the main town square; these are great places to scout out pecans. Grab some bags and get to gathering the fruits of fall. If the pecans aren't enough to satiate, you can head across the street to the Pecan Street Brewery for some delicious burgers and beer.Royer's Café and save room for the legendary homemade pies that are alone worth the trip.
Lifting furniture and moving boxes torches over 400 calories per hour, so it's no wonder our movers have big appetites. Between moves, the guys like to fill up at some of the best local burger joints in Austin. Here are some of our favorite restaurants where you can get a delicious burger for under $10:
2. Mighty FineIf you're looking for a simple, classic American burger, this is the place to go. With hand-formed all-natural beef patties and fresh fries cut right in front of you, Mighty Fine lives up to its name. Beyond striving to deliver high quality food, Mighty Fine prides itself on service with a smile and maintains immaculate facilities. Carb conscious burger lovers can ask about the burger bowl.With burgers starting at just $4.19, your wallet will be as happy as your stomach.
4. Hut'sLocated off West 6th street in a vintage building that appears to be the lone survivor of downtown renovations, Hut's has been serving Austin burgers since it opened its doors in 1939. The red and black checkered floors and college pendants adorning the ceiling contribute to a retro vibe that takes you back to an era when burgers were real, fresh beef, not the frozen hockey pucks now served up by big chains. Hut's still makes burgers the old-fashioned way, with locally sourced fresh beef and buffalo. With burgers starting at $5.95, you won't want to miss the 2 for 1 burger night on Wednesdays.
5. P. Terry'sThe original P. Terry's is nestled on a small, narrow plot of land just off of S. Lamar and while it has no indoor dining, the outdoor patio invites patrons to sit in the shade with a fence of honeysuckle to shield them from the noisy traffic just on the other side. This location opened in 2005, leading the way for 11 other P. Terry's in the Austin area, all bearing the distinctive teal and red "Googie" architectural design that blends retro with contemporary. P. Terry's' success has been enormous, and for good reason. These people know quality - cooks start their day at 1 a.m. preparing fresh ground patties from local beef, squeezing fresh lemonade, and baking fresh cookies. Consideration is given to every detail, which is evident in the simple but utterly delicious burgers and fries that result. Burgers start at just $2.35, and in fact, the most expensive item on the menu is the combo meal that comes with fries and a drink for just $6.90. This is an Apple Moving favorite for convenience, price, and quality.
7. Shady GroveMore than just a hamburger joint, the Shady Grove is an Austin icon. Just off of Barton Springs, close to Zilker Park, the Shady Grove embodies the Austin spirit with it's laid back, inviting patio space tucked under a grove of pecan trees. While there are plenty of options to choose from, our favorite section of the menu is of course the burgers. In addition to the usual burger varieties, a must-try is the Green Chile Cheeseburger, spiced up with Hatch Green Chile sauce and topped with jack cheese on a mouth-watering brioche bun. The basic burger starts at $7.79, and it's worth every penny for the food and dining experience.
9. HopdoddyThere's a reason Hopdoddy usually has lines out the door - it is worth the wait. With fresh ingredients, ample portions, and mind-blowing burger recipes such as the Terlingua burger, topped with chili con carne, Fritos, Tillamook cheddar, and Hopdoddy's own sassy sauce, you are sure to go home full and happy. Pair your burger with a thick and creamy milkshake such as the Nutella and pretzel shake (yum!) and prepare to loosen your belt a notch before slipping into a blissful food coma. Burgers range from $6.25 for the Classsic to $12.25 for the Ahi Tuna Burger.
10. Roaring ForkWhile Roaring Fork is usually known for its finer dining, it does have a mean burger. The burger offered at lunch makes our list right at the $10 cap. Brimming with flavor, this burger is loaded down with mouth-watering poblano peppers, cheddar, and smoked pepper bacon. With 2 Austin locations, Roaring Fork offers an incredible dining experience with picturesque water views at the Stone Lake location and upscale yet cozy vibe at the downtown location. This is definitely the place to go if you have a little extra time and money to enjoy a fine burger experience. We hope you'll treat yourself to one of these amazing (and affordable) Austin burgers this week! Did we miss any of your favorites? Tell us in the comments below and give our moving crew somewhere new to try this week!
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With school starting again next week for most Austin students and teachers, it may feel like summer is almost over, but we know the summer heat will last for several weeks to come. Here are 11 things you have to do before bidding farewell to summer!
Go For a Swim
Float the RiverThe Colorado: Drive over the Mopac bridge on any given weekend, and you'll see hoards of people out kayaking, paddle boarding, and canoeing on Lady Bird Lake. Join the crowds and rent a watercraft from one of several docks around the lake.
7. ATXcursionsTo maximize your experience, consider hiring a service that will pick you up and drop you off in downtown Austin, such as ATXcursions. They provide everything (including the cooler and ice) except for the actual drinks and food, and offer float trips on rivers within about a 45-minute radius of Austin. ATXcursions offers float trips on most Thursdays-Sundays into mid-October. Check their booking feature for up-to-date availability.
8. Kayak CampingIf you're craving more adventure, consider taking an overnight kayak trip on the Colorado River. The small islands in the middle of the Colorado are public land, which means they may be used for camping. Pack your kayak (and waterproof bag) and find an island of your own to call home for the night.Just 30 minutes east of Austin, the Bastrop River Company has everything you need for your kayak camping adventure. Go the self-guided route, and BRC will send you off on your voyage with instructions and your kayaks for a 2-3 day excursion. BRC also offers a glamping trip for those that aren't quite as into being one with nature. Like an abbreviated summer camp for grown-ups, this cushy trip comes with guides, catered meals around the campfire, tents & bedding, and even a toilet! Open Sunday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
WaterparksWhether you have kids or are just a big kid yourself, you're sure to have fun screaming your way down spiraling waterslides and splashing through the chlorinated and shark-less wave pools at these nearby waterparks:
With an average of 228 sunny days a year, Austin is the perfect place to dine outside. Here we bring you some of our favorite patio restaurants in Austin.
This unassuming hipster hangout is one of the hot spots in the newly revamped 78702 zip code (previously mentioned in our blog as one of the trendiest zipcodes in Austin). Shrouded in bamboo and shaded by oaks, the pup-friendly outdoor space makes you feel as if you are miles away from the city. Relax and enjoy a cold drink and some tasty, reasonably priced grub. While the Frito pie is a delicious and guilty pleasure, the menu accommodates healthier eaters with a variety of salads and sandwiches to choose from.
Just above the Tom Miller Dam, on the eastern edge of Lake Austin, Mozart's coffee offers a spacious deck to take in lakeside views. Mozart's opens early and stays open late, so it's equally perfect for a peaceful morning cup of joe or a late night dessert run with decaf. In December, Mozart's puts on a delightful and impressive holiday light show at the top of every hour.
Named after the head chef and co-founder Alma Alcocer, El Alma serves up delicious Mexican dishes in a warm and inviting atmosphere. You can't miss the Sunday brunch here, replete with Bloody Marias and breakfast tacos. Aside from the food, one of the best features of the restaurant is the flora-filled hillside deck space that lures you to stay for just one more round of margaritas.
Tucked along a small inlet of Lake Austin near 2222 and 360, County Line on the Lake has been offering Texans delectable BBQ and a taste of Texan culture since 1975. Bedecked inside with Texas paraphernalia, one of the charms of this place is the audio perpetually playing in the bathrooms that teaches non-Texan patrons "how to speak Texan" by expanding their vocabulary to include such terms as "y'all" and "fixin' to". If you're overwhelmed by the level of Texan inside, mozie out to the deck to enjoy the view of the lazy creek that is home to many a turtle and occasional boats passing through. The place even offers turtle food if you are eager to feed the turtles who swarm for easy eating.
The inspiration for this place was a ranch by the same name in South Texas. The owners loved the original ranch so much that they decided to bring it with them to Austin and open this restaurant on the fringes of the now booming Mueller development. The open concept restaurant is almost entirely outdoors, with just the kitchen, bar and a few tables actually under a roof. Most of the seating consists of long rustic tables with string lights overhead and a gravel floor that makes you feel like you're dining in the middle of a ranch. The menu boasts carefully crafted versions of favorite foods such as the melt-in-your-mouth grilled cheese with housemade brioche and scrumptious beef tongue hash.
Along the winding and hilly Mount Bonnell Drive, overlooking the opulent Lake Austin mansions, is a little bar called Dry Creek Café that is so unassuming that you might miss it the first time you drive by. A friendly, seasoned bartender greets you with a smile as she hands you a beer and tells you to grab a koozie from the colorful pile by the door. Upstairs on the deck, you can take in the sunset while the juke box hums with old tunes. A great place for hanging out on a unhurried Saturday afternoon, this place is so popular by word of mouth, it doesn't even need a website.
The original sits in Westlake Hills, at the corner of Bee Caves and 360, with a 2nd location in Lakeway and a 3rd that just opened downtown on 6th street with views below of Shoal Creek. The original may be our favorite, with its massive deck, brilliant string lights, and laid back atmosphere. The Grove offers an assortment of fine wines, with some available to try by the flight, and has a menu that's sure to whet your appetite.
Central Market on N. Lamar
You don't often think of spending a relaxing evening at a grocery store, but Central Market is an exception. Inside, this grocery offers a foodie's paradise of fresh produce, the finest meats and cheeses, a wine collection sure to satisfy even the pickiest palette, and a bakery with some of the best tortillas in town. Outside, a two-story patio overlooks a stage where bands will often play several times a week and a playground for the smaller customers. This is a fun place to go for a bottle of wine (you can buy it in the store and have it uncorked at the cafe) or for a gathering of the whole family. It's a great place to go when you don't feel like getting dressed up to go out.
This new restaurant took over the space on Barton Springs previously occupied by Umama Mia and completely transformed it. As you come in from the parking lot (yes, it has its own parking!) you are ushered into an inviting outdoor oasis that is for the most part shaded by awnings and trees so you won't fry in the scorching Texas sun. If you'd rather sit inside, you'll be equally delighted by the careful attention to detail that makes the space feel refined but appealing. The menu offers Italian inspired dishes sourced from right here in central Texas.Even though summer is drawing to an end, you still have plenty of time to get out and enjoy one of these great patios before any cold weather hits, and we hope that you will!