Pizzas, Thai fusion and dog-inspired sandwiches: Our featured local eateries from 2021 in Southwest Austin and Dripping Springs

Pinthouse Pizza has continued to grow and innovate in recent years. (Trent Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Pinthouse Pizza has continued to grow and innovate in recent years. (Trent Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)

Pinthouse Pizza has continued to grow and innovate in recent years. (Trent Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)

Throughout 2021, we highlighted restaurants ranging from burger joints to breakfast around Southwest Austin, Dripping Springs and regionally. Here are the dining features we published over the last year.



January: Pizzeria Grata

Pizzeria Grata’s brick oven, small kitchen and a few bar seats are tucked into the back of Beatniks Market & Cafe on Menchaca Road in South Austin. Owner Diego Batista said in the last year since opening in December 2019, neighborhood residents have not only found the pizzeria, but they have also helped it thrive in a time when most restaurants are going through extreme challenges.

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April: Quack's Bakery

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.

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May: Thai Taste

Thai Taste manager Sumitra Buasuwan said many Thai restaurants offer food that is Thai-inspired but more American or a fusion with another cuisine. Her family’s goal is to give Southwest Austin customers a chance to taste exactly what they would find if visiting Thailand.

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June: Pinthouse Pizza

The genesis of Pinthouse Pizza began with a passion for craft beer shared by friends long before the restaurant opened.

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July: Kerbey Lane Cafe

That "coming home" feeling turns literal when stepping through the doors of the original Central Austin location on Kerbey Lane, marketing manager Ellen Gruber said. The location is a renovated 1930s house that opened in 1980 and is the longest-standing location. The original owners, David Ayer and Patricia Atkinson, lived in an apartment behind the cafe with their son Mason Ayer, who is now the CEO.

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August: Le Vacher

Lauren Weeks, marketing manager for Le Vacher, calls the restaurant her brother’s baby. Her brother, Jacob Euler, dreamed of opening a restaurant with high-quality French food in a casual, country atmosphere roughly five years before Le Vacher opened its doors in Dripping Springs in August 2020.

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September: Cooper's

Each of their sandwiches exemplifies one of the family’s dogs. The bread is baked daily at a San Marcos bakery. The meat and cheese are sliced in-house. They also sell pizza, Amy’s Ice Creams and cookies from The Bearded Baking Co., another South Austin business.

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October: Lebowski's Grill

The eatery is named for “The Big Lebowski,” a cult classic film from 1998 starring Jeff Bridges, set partially in a bowling alley.

Alger opened the first location at Highland Lanes 12 years ago with her friend Gabriel King, who frequented the business and noticed when the alley’s grill was vacant. Alger had young kids at the time, and was hesitant to make a move; she had owned restaurants before and knew how difficult it could be, but she also said she grew up in a family that owned restaurants and has a passion for the business.

Regional feature: House of Three Gorges

House of Three Gorges’ menu is filled out with authentic dishes from the Sichuan province of China. Members of the Li family, who own the restaurant, come from the adjacent Three Gorges region, and many of the restaurant’s dishes are served in houses along the Yangtze River, [co-owner Jim] Li said.

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December

To close out the year, reporter Maggie Quinlan stopped by the Austin brewery Suds Monkey. An online version of the dining profile will be published this week, and an e-edition of the newspaper featuring the profile may be viewed here.
By Ben Thompson

Austin City Hall Reporter

Ben joined Community Impact Newspaper in January 2019 after graduating with a degree in journalism from Northeastern University in Boston. He spent more than two years reporting on Montgomery County and The Woodlands area before moving to Austin in 2021 to cover City Hall and other news throughout the city. Contact Ben with questions, tips or feedback at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @BThompson_CI.