Places to Take Your Parents to Impress Them


By Courtney Smith

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Showing your family around UT is a must, but our campus is also in one of the coolest cities in America (not sponsored- I swear). Austin’s food scene is big, unique, delicious and probably the best way to get to know the city. Here are a few places to take your family that are sure to impress. These picks are in no particular order but are grouped based on their location to help you better plan your day.

Close to Campus…

Kerbey Lane (2606 Guadalupe St, Austin, TX 78705)

This true Austin classic (and their delicious queso) is practically on campus, making it an easy go-to option to bring your family to. Breakfast is served all day along with burgers, Tex-Mex, sandwiches and more. I’m personally a big fan of their french toast or, when I’m not in a breakfast mood, the Turkey & Avocado Club. They also offer accommodations for several dietary restrictions along with a kid’s menu which can be helpful when taking a group out to eat!

Torchy’s Tacos (2801 Guadalupe St St 5-b, Austin, TX 78705)

Torchy’s Tacos is another great introduction to Austin. With funky names for their tacos such as the “Tipsy Chick” and “The Wrangler,” Torchy’s captures the “Keep Austin Weird” slogan for sure. Not only are the tacos creatively named, but they’re delicious. By the way, if the cashier asks you if you want to “make it trashy,” just say yes- it means they’ll add queso. Always do that. 

Cold Cookie Company (2512 Rio Grande St, Austin, TX 78705)

Located in west campus, Cold Cookie Company is just a short walk from campus. That walk is perfect to get a little hot and need some ice cream to cool you down, too. The options are almost endless as you can have your ice cream in a cup, cone, as a float, shake, or in cookie sandwich form. Did I mention that EVERYTHING comes with a cookie of your choice? Oh yeah, it’s pretty great. 

South Congress…

Home Slice Pizza (1415 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704)

Pizza never fails to impress and satisfy, so you might as well take your family to this SoCo staple. Home Slice offers the classics as well as their own specialties. Sharing is easy with their pizzas, family style salad options, and subs. Can’t decide? They offer select pizzas by the slice too. 

Cafe No Se (1603 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704)

One of the many great things about Cafe No Se is that they serve brunch every single day from 7am-3pm. Freshly baked pastries, avocado toast, brioche french toast, sandwiches, and coffee are among some of the many options. If you can’t make brunch there is also dinner which begins at 3pm. Dinner is going to be a little more upscale and gourmet but still a delicious way to explore South Congress. Unlike some popular Austin spots, Cafe No Se allows reservations. Go online or use the OpenTable app to do this- it’s worth it. 

Amy’s Ice Cream (1301 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704)

If Amy’s isn’t on your Austin bucket list as you make your way through the next few years…you’re doing it wrong. Sorry, someone had to tell you. I myself was a skeptic until I tried it, but it really is worth the hype! There are over 350 flavors in the rotation along with several constant flavors such as coffee and Mexican vanilla, meaning that there are plenty of options. You can pick and choose your own crush-ins/toppings or you can choose one of their combos. You aren’t limited to just a scoop, either. Amy’s has floats, sundaes, cones, and pints for sale.

Barton Springs/Zilker Area…

Bouldin Creek Cafe (1900 S 1st St, Austin, TX 78704)

Unlike the other places on this list, Bouldin Creek Cafe is one hundred percent vegetarian and features plenty of vegan options. If breakfast is your jam, their menu features omeletts, plates, tacos, bagels and sweet options. For lunch there is a wide variety of salads and sandwiches, including an award winning veggie burger aka the Veggie Royale. 

P. Terry’s Burger Stand (404 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704)

Photo by Courtney Smith

Okay so yes there are other P. Terry’s locations but for the sake of the article and because this location is by Barton Springs and the Zilker area, this one gets the address shout out. P. Terry’s is an affordable, Austinite favorite. It’s also a crowd pleasing option if your family can appreciate a burger and fries combo with an old fashioned burger stand feel. P. Terry’s is also a good option if you are on the go while your family is visiting and need a quick, satisfying option.

Juliet Italian Kitchen (1500 Barton Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78704)

Modern and classic takes on Italian cuisine come together at Juliet Italian Kitchen. A nice patio area, luxe finishes, and free parking are just a few of the features that make this restaurant worthwhile… not to mention the handmade pasta. The menu is perfect for families because there are single portions as well as shareable portions that make it easy to try a little bit of everything. 

Juuuust South of the Capitol…

Moonshine Grill (303 Red River St, Austin, TX 78701)

Moonshine Grill has a menu that is sure to satisfy if comfort food is what you’re looking for. A few of their staples include chicken and waffles, fajita steak salad, baked macaroni, and the pimento cheeseburger. Want something sweet? I recommend the peanut butter mousse pie. Trust me, you won’t forget or regret it. Moonshine Grill also features a Sunday brunch buffet that, according to their website, is the “best brunch in Austin.” 

Irene’s (506 West Ave, Austin, TX 78701)

Irene’s takes the diner concept of classic breakfast, sweets, snacks, and platters and gives it an Austin makeover. The weekend brunch (Saturday and Sunday 10am-3pm) is a can’t miss with menu selections like nutella toast, biscuits, and brioche french toast being too good to pass up. Their lunch and dinner menu is also delicious and features a wide variety of sandwiches, salads, and other entrees. Plus, if you’d like to snag a photo for the ‘gram before your family leaves, a cute neon pink sign featuring the restaurant is just outside and makes for a fun photo-op. 

Holy Roller (509 Rio Grande St, Austin, TX 78701)

Photo by Courtney Smith

Inspired by punk rock and featuring whimsical nostalgia, Holy Roller is well on its way to becoming an Austin classic. The restaurant has all of the things you could ask for: burgers, salads, appetizers, desserts, and a brunch–but all of it is executed really well. Be sure to check what the french toast of the day is when you go and if breakfast isn’t your jam, try their grilled cheese sandwich. 

La Condesa (400 W 2nd St A, Austin, TX 78701)

Photo by Courtney Smith

Located in the 2nd Street District, La Condesa is a mouthwatering option that puts you near a plethora of shopping options. A contemporary Mexican restaurant, La Condesa is just as fresh and modern as it is delicious. The chips and salsa comes with four different salsas- what could be better than that? Nothing! I recommend getting several options to share because it’s just so hard to choose between the tortas and tacos. They also feature a brunch which is a good way to get an early start shopping on 2nd. If you’re worried about time or crowdedness, make a reservation online or on the OpenTable app. 

Overall there are no shortages of amazing restaurants to try in Austin. Give your family a taste of the city by showing them some of the delicious, local flavors Austin has to offer. Be sure to take advantage of the city while you and your family have the time to explore it.