Brothers Alex and Mark Rechichi always enjoyed constructing hearty, Dagwood-esque sandwiches, but noticed that most of the breads they employed in these edible masterpieces literally crumbled under the pressure of supporting a glorious quantity of healthy meats, veggies, cheeses, and sauces. Naturally, the brothers fell in love when they discovered the sturdy pita, which was both nutritious and versatile. Flatbread in hands, the two brothers founded Extreme Pita in 1997 with a goal of delivering enormous, structurally sound sandwiches to the masses. Since then, the eatery has spawned franchises throughout the U.S. and Canada, where customers can enjoy a variety of pita-based creations ranging from made-to-order wraps to pizza-style flat bakes to jalapeño cheddar chips. Extreme Pita's locations put an emphasis on reducing their carbon footprint by implementing an array of green practices, such as recycling and reusing, using energy-efficient light bulbs, and warming pitas with the sighs of a dragon.
“We hold the record for world’s smallest food truck,” Verts Kebap owner Michael declares in a prominent German accent. “They are Smart cars, all three of them. They took a year to develop.” German engineers spent those 12 months retrofitting sinks, refrigeration units, and food warmers into the backs of cars each roughly the size of two stacked bathtubs. But the record-setting vehicles—which each hold 50 sandwiches or one competitive eater who just ate 50 sandwiches—have a greater function. “They are for learning about the city, and teaching the city about our food. That’s how we hope to bring our food to the U.S.”
Verts is a casual-dining concept built around the döner kebap sandwich, which over the last 40 years has became the most popular fast food in Germany. “It doesn’t exist in the U.S.,” Michael explains. “We are wanting to share that.” While pursuing their MBAs, Verts founders Michael and Dominik craved the street food from their native country, inspiring their business concept. Their tasty pita-stuffed sandwiches employ Texas-raised meat, locally made bread, and house-made sauces––all the same composition as those found in Germany. That’s not to mention Turkish-style seasonings of pepper spices, basil, cayenne, and paprika.
The mobile food trucks, while conceptually innovative, are meant to bring people into their stubbornly immobile restaurants. They believe this is their true calling. “We get many people coming from Germany. People who have been in the military or traveled across Europe. Students. They are all happy to have those tastes again. And we are pleased to bring them."
Though named for a fixture of a bygone era and reportedly haunted by its ghosts, Speakeasy lives in the present: its three floors fill with modern music each night. On the first floor, live music from local bands spills through Speakeasy Live, where hardwood accents, art-deco lamps, candle-lit tables, and exposed brick complement a Jazz Age atmosphere. On the Mezzanine level, a full bar, antique couches, and two vintage bowling lanes overlook the main stage. Lanes are open Tuesday through Sunday.
At the top of a 59-step staircase, patrons emerge onto Terrace59—a neon-lit rooftop lounge that offers panoramic views of downtown Austin. The terrace stays heated during the colder months, while a canopy allows the full bar to serve and lively music to play even in the event of inclement weather and cushions the fall of DJs who decided to parachute in. On each of the three floors, servers pour all kinds of drinks, many of which are named for people, places, and events associated with Prohibition.
Every pitted pita at Pita Pit comes with your choice of flavorful vegetables and toppings, and you can even build your own—although you'd best leave the actual construction to Pita Pit's pita pit crew, who can skin, field-dress, chop, and fold your pita in under 15 seconds. Exercise your mastication muscles on any of the Lebanese-style pita-ria's meatiest contenders: the Dagwood, with turkey, ham, and roast beef ($6.65 for regular, $5.40 for small); the chicken souvlaki with lemon-garlic chicken ($6.15 for regular, $4.90 for small); or the Philly with grilled onions and mushrooms ($6.50 for regular, $5.25 for small). Vigorously vegetarian options abound as well, including the hummus with feta cheese ($5.50 for regular, $4.25 for small) and the Garden, which packs a farm's worth of tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, and anything else that grows roots and is not human hair into its warm, bready folds ($4.95 for regular, $3.70 for small). There's even a breakfast menu (the Morning Glory contains scrambled eggs, avocado, grilled peppers and onions, and sauteed tomatoes, $5.50) and a healthy menu, which somehow finds a way to cut even more calories and fat from the already healthy regular menu, particularly if you ordered a build-your-own triple-cheese and bacon pita deep-fried in chocolate.
Beaming with an energetic atmosphere and pulsating doorframes, Kenichi, awarded Best of Citysearch 2010, offers a modern dining experience where eating enthusiasts can comfortably gobble classic sushi and contemporary Asian cuisine. Keep taste buds on the tip of your tongue with a menu filled with tantalizing treats such as the smoked salmon roll ($8), the Kobe beef roll ($13), or the Austin-style sashimi, made with yellowtail, cilantro, serrano pepper, and basil vinaigrette ($16). Though this Groupon cannot be used toward alcohol, consider providing the sushi with a tour guide of sake to ensure a safe journey to the stomach.