Best of 2021: 10 dining features from Central Austin

Photo of burger from Lebowski's Grill
Lebowski's Grill was one of 10 dining features in the Community Impact Newspaper Central Austin edition. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)

Lebowski's Grill was one of 10 dining features in the Community Impact Newspaper Central Austin edition. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)

Here is a roundup of some of the restaurants and bakeries featured in the Central Austin edition of Community Impact Newspaper in 2021.

January

Vegan, gluten-free bakery Zucchini Kill mixes pastries with punk

The women behind North Loop bakery Zucchini Kill say they want a revolution—“dessert-style.” That means a bakery that carries out the values of co-owners Jessica Freda and Cece Loessin in pastry form with vegan recipes and compostable packaging.

February


Shoal Creek Saloon brings a piece of New Orleans to Austin

When Ray Canfield took over Shoal Creek Saloon in 1993, the business was not yet known for many of the things it is today: there was no crawfish on the menu, and New Orleans Saints fans did not flock in on game days. But Canfield soon put his stamp on the place.

April

Quack's Bakery has been embracing Austin's quirks for nearly 40 years

Quack’s Bakery has been an Austin institution since 1983, when Captain Quackenbush’s Intergalactic Dessert Co. and Espresso Cafe opened on Guadalupe Street near The Drag.

May

Longtime Mexican restaurant staple Curra's Grill ready to expand

After 26 years in business, family-owned Mexican restaurant Curra’s Grill is an established name in the Austin restaurant landscape. But according to owner Julieta Rodriguez, Curra’s had to earn the trust of local customers in the beginning.

June

Pinthouse Pizza: Brewpub started by six friends continues to innovate as it grows

Long before the restaurant opened, Pinthouse Pizza began with a passion for craft beer shared by friends. Co-founders Ryan Van Biene and Tyler Norwood have known each other since 1997. They maintained a friendship from grade school to undergrad, and after Norwood began his studies in business school at the University of Texas, he met co-founder Ned Lavelle.

August

Kerbey Lane Cafe serves the Austin community with 'family feeling'

Managing Partner Jon Haben and Kerbey Lane Cafe’s University location have one thing in common: a history of seeing customers and employees through decades of life.

September

Windsor Park eatery Hank's aims to be ‘neighborhood hub’

When Andy Means opened Hank’s Austin in 2017, he said he aimed to create a local institution. “We wanted to be a neighborhood hub, kind of a country club type of thing for that neighborhood where you could go meet friends any time of day,” he said.

October

Bowling alley burger dive named after a cult film upends expectations in Austin

At first glance, Lebowski’s Grill looks just like any other bowling alley concessions spot: an order window, a small kitchen and a menu featuring burgers, chicken tenders and fries. Owner Helen Alger knows there is more to Lebowski’s than meets the eye but says she does not mind having the element of surprise.

November

Tarrytown deli offers ‘comfort in uncertain times’

West of Austin’s downtown, sandwich shop and deli Food Food has served up casseroles, sandwiches and baked goods for nearly three decades. Owner Susan Eggert said her establishment has stood the test of time by sticking to its niche.

December

Hyde Park’s Uncle Nicky’s serves accessible fare

Uncle Nicky’s Italian Specialties’ menu features Italian dishes often reserved for sit-down, date night restaurants, with items such as pork bolognese, chilled poached shrimp and carpaccio—a raw beef dish made with Wagyu steak.
By Benton Graham

Metro Reporter, Austin

Benton joined Community Impact Newspaper as a metro reporter covering transportation in Central Texas in June 2021. Benton's writing has appeared in Vox, The Austin Chronicle, Austonia and Reporting Texas. Originally from Minneapolis, Benton graduated from William & Mary and eventually moved to Austin in 2018.