Cups & Cones' cozy mom-and-pop café welcomes visitors into a stress-free world of colorful ice cream, flaky fresh-baked pastries, and ciabatta sandwiches stuffed with turkey, cheese, and tomato. Cool teal walls and warm light from orange glass fixtures surround guests as they much on caesar salads and sip fruit smoothies, while shiny glass display cases house golden brown danishes and sugar-dusted pastries. Lunch and dinner guests sink their teeth into toasty paninis, press-grilled to give the cheese a gooey texture and allow for easy mailing to loved ones.
Zack's American Bistro is always changing. The restaurant's atmosphere shifts throughout the day, from a casual family spot?complete with an outdoor playground for wait-averse kids?in the early hours to a dinner scene that's boisterous in the evening yet quiet and romantic later in the night. Its food, meanwhile, adheres to the seasons, unlike a snow-globe souvenir from the Florida Keys. Thankfully, chef-owner Bryan Cromwell and executive chef Brian Milne can handle whatever the restaurant demands of them.
They rule an open kitchen that allows guests to watch as their food is cooked, which makes for a lively atmosphere tuned to the fast-paced meal preparation. Although their environs might be modern, the chefs are guided by an old-fashioned sensibility and an appreciation for seasonal and Texas-produced ingredients. These fresh components go into dishes such as filet of sole stuffed with crab, chicken corn chowder, hearty house-ground Texas beef burgers, and crispy thin-crust pizzas loaded with eclectic toppings and red, white, or barbecue sauce. Roughly 25 wines by the bottle and a brief but robust selection of local craft brews complement the spread.
Under the direction of Chef Morris Buck, diners are treated to culinary delights every night such as crispy Statler chicken, served with green chili mashed potatoes, or pan roasted duck with a blueberry demi-glaze. Servers then transport this hearty, seasonal cuisine across hardwood floors, stepping to the swinging notes of live jazz bands.
Though sunset is the perfect time to drink in the patio’s glorious views with a glass of wine in hand, the staff doesn’t neglect its earlier visitors. Brunch serves up both sweets such as maple-drizzled, toasted challah and savories such as Texas skillets with potatoes o'brien, sausages, biscuits, gravy and eggs.
A finger-licking land of savory bites, Uncle Billy’s boasts a menu loaded with slow cooked barbecued meats, including brisket, ribs, jalepeno cheese sausage, turkey and burgers, as well as light, contrasting salads. Though your Groupon isn't valid toward alcohol, Uncle Billy’s imprimatur remains home to handcrafted creations from brewers Amos Lowe and Brian Peters, who happily pour in-house beers alongside a rotating tap of favorites from breweries throughout Texas. Live music lights up the weekend nighttime air, and a liberal, dogs-welcome policy at the Barton Springs location keeps the outdoor patio cozy on sunny afternoons.