CUSP Associate Donna Barton’s Guide to Austin!
March 14, 2015
Austin, TX, is known for its rich culture: music, art, and oh yes, barbecue. You’ll find countless guides to this great city that are helpful—until the big music fest begins. Suddenly West 6th is closed, South Congress is overrun, and the coffee shop that was a quiet place to read a week ago is now a standing-room-only phone-charging station.
Curious about how we can still enjoy the city like a local, we turned to NM Austin’s CUSP Sales Associate Donna Barton for an insider’s take…
“North Central and East Austin offer hidden jewels that don’t require standing in long lines where only wristbands and badges are allowed. Near downtown, explore the area east of I-35; it’s a little grittier than South Congress or West 6th, but is home to some of my favorite bars and restaurants, like Micklethwait Craft Meats (1309 Rosewood Ave). Often named one of Austin’s top barbecue spots, they have brisket to die for, house-made sausage, and jalapeño cheese grits that are the best thing I’ve ever put in my mouth.
After you’re full, head to The Yellow Jacket Social Club (1704 E. 5th St.), grab a table under the crepe myrtle trees, and have a cold Lone Star or margarita. If you have room for a snack, try the Texas-favorite Frito Pie. This is my favorite bar for people watching. If you want to know what the fashion set will be wearing in a few seasons, check out the ladies hanging out at YJSC. These babes were on top of the Bohemian, fringe, and moto jacket trends long before they appeared on the catwalks in Paris.
For a real taste of Texas, walk down the railroad tracks from the YJSC to The White Horse Honky Tonk (500 Comal St.), where most nights you can dance the night away to live Country and Bluegrass. Ladies, be prepared to be asked to dance.
My favorites for fine dining on the Eastside are Jacoby’s Restaurant and Mercantile (3235 E. Cesar Chavez St.) and Launderette Cafe (2115 Holly St.). Both are fairly new with scrumptious menus and ambiance for days. Grab a coffee away from the iPhone-charging crowd in the beautiful atmosphere at Figure 8 Coffee Purveyors (1111 Chicon St.).
Next, take a cab up Lamar to the North Loop Strip Shopping District. This area is home to a plethora of vintage clothing and decor shops. Revival Vintage (100 North Loop Blvd. E.), Blue Velvet Vintage (217 W. North Loop Blvd.), and Room Service (107 North Loop Blvd. E.) are some of the best. There are also some great bars on North Loop. Drink Well (207 E. 53rd St.) has a creative list of craft cocktails; The Tigress Pub (100 W. North Loop Blvd.) and The Workhorse Bar (100 North Loop Blvd. E.) both serve local craft brews and bites. If you’re in need of a coffee fix or want to escape the event’s madness, regroup and refuel at Epoch Coffee (221 W. North Loop Blvd.), which is open 24 hours a day.
Though not technically on North Loop, East Side Pies is right around the corner and serves the best pizza in Austin. They also offer a delicious gluten-free smart crust. The 5312 Airport Blvd. location has indoor seating, while the 1809 W. Anderson Ln. location has a covered outdoor patio. It’s BYOB, so pick up a bottle of wine or beer next door from the great selection at Sunrise Mini Mart.
If you have time during your stay, explore the Burnet Road area. With new restaurants and shops popping up every day, this is on its way to being the new South Congress, but better since it’s closer to Neiman Marcus—where you can come visit me! Do some vintage shopping at Gypsies Antiques (5202 Burnet Rd.) and Uptown Modern (5111 Burnet Rd.). If you haven’t gotten your Tex Mex fix yet, you have to try La Mancha (2203 Hancock Dr.), right off of Burnet. They serve a delicious all-natural Mexican Martini.
Finally, stop by The Austin Antique Mall (8822 McCann Dr.). It’s home to the city’s largest selection of antique and vintage jewelry, clothing, china, crystal, and every conceivable collection known to man. There are some real treasures to be had. After you’ve finished exploring, you’ll find yourself just a stone’s throw from Neiman Marcus at The Domain (3400 Palm Way). Come see me! We’ll be hosting The CUSP Event with all sorts of fabulous offers happening in store. And while you’re there, walk over to the The Steeping Room. My favorite spot at The Domain, they serve natural and organic teas and light bites with many gluten-free options.”