Counter Cafe

Eatery features comfort food, cozy setting

Counter Cafe, located at 626 N. Lamar Blvd., might not have a lot of space—the restaurant is about 700 square feet—but that does not stop the staff from filling bellies and aiming for a friendly atmosphere.

Co-owner Debbie Davis, who started the restaurant in 2007, said Counter Cafe has an authentic feel that she believes helped solidify its reputation as an Austin staple.

"It's a diner," Davis said. "When I think of a diner, this is what it is. It's where the cooks are like an arm's length away from you."

Davis said the building has been a diner since the 1950s and seats 26 diners. Davis characterizes herself as an "old Austinite" and said she picked this location for Counter Cafe because the spot was already well-known in the community.

Davis said that 70 percent of her customers come in multiple times a week, adding that the customers become "our family and friends."

The business has grown significantly since Davis opened the doors, receiving praise from various publications and TV networks. But Davis said the goal of the restaurant has always been to make good food and to make people happy.

"I'm just going to make it about the quality of the ingredients and with a menu that's comfort food for people," Davis said. "Because that's what society needs and wants—a place where they can come in and feel at home."

Looking ahead, Davis said plans are in the works to add a second location of Counter Cafe to the Austin market in 2014 at 1914 E. Sixth St.

Davis, who recently brought in cooks Steve and Nick Cruz as partners, said she wanted to stay in Austin's core.

"[The location] is Central Austin; it's downtown," Davis said. "I wanted to stay downtown in the core, the heart [and] the soul."

What's served

Debbie Davis, co-owner of Counter Cafe, said the restaurant aims to please customers with hearty, fresh food.

"I wanted it to be good food, good ingredients and to share it with good people," Davis said.

Davis said some of the most well-known dishes are the restaurant's hamburgers, which were deemed second-best in the state by Texas Monthly Magazine in 2009, and the Counter Benedict.

At the new location, Davis expects the menu to stay similar to the restaurant's current offerings, but she may add some more options.

The restaurant serves breakfast all day. Other options from the menu include:

  • Grilled pimento cheese sandwich
  • Counter Crab Cakes
  • Steak and eggs
  • Grilled Texas quail

The diner also serves beer as well as Bellinis and mimosas

Counter Cafe, 626 N. Lamar Blvd., 512-708-8800, www.countercafe.com

Hours: 7:30 a.m.–4 p.m. daily