When you first enter Freebirds World Burrito, two things might immediately jump out at you: the Statue of Liberty riding a motorcycle hanging above diners’ heads, and the colorful wall mural with the word “freedom” splayed across it. More than a bit of nationalism, the word is actually Freebirds’ motto, thanks to their create-your-own burrito business model. The convivial dining room adjoins the line for food ordering, where customers can order burritos, tacos, nachos, salads and more. Want Spanish or cilantro-lime rice? Queso or shredded cheese? Freshly prepared vegetables and salsa? You can have it all, or in any combination, at Freebirds. The employees are as fun and individualistic as Austin itself, and no corporate dress code means you may be waited on by someone in a Dr. Seuss hat. “It’s not normal” states the Freebirds menu; that’s for sure.
You won?t find a microwave or can opener inside The Hot Box Diner food truck. That?s because Chef Robert makes every Mexican-inspired dish from scratch. It might be black-bean rice cooked to a fluffy finish or grilled beef and pork tucked into a signature rice bowl, then served with avocado salad and fried plantains. He also builds tacos, flautas, and quesadillas stuffed with your choice of meat, veggies, or trapped ghost.
When Roger Diaz puts together a meal in his kitchen at Vivo Tex Mex, he’s not just tossing fresh ingredients into handmade tortillas. He draws on three generations of family cooking, taught to him by his mother and grandmother before he could even reach the stovetop. These family recipes include tricks to puff up a tortilla by lightly frying it, as well as the ingredients to make the tortilla itself from scratch. Roger’s colorful dining room and patio celebrate his heritage as well. Huge, colorful canvases bedeck the interiors, bright lanterns hang from the ceiling, and a portrait of Frida Kahlo surreptitiously tries to steal sips of frosty margaritas. Al fresco, the constant burble of fountains chatters beneath diners' conversations while ample potted plants and flowers create a fresh bouquet of scents to complement meals.
Mexican fast food is not generally known for being eco-friendly, as a poorly made taco can take centuries to biodegrade. With today's Groupon, green Austinites can make a run for the border while staying true to themselves. For $10, you get $20 worth of fresh, local Mexican fare and drinks at Changos Taqueria, the locally owned and operated little brother of Austin’s upscale, award-winning Mexican restaurant Manuel’s. This deal is good for both Austin locations: 3023 Guadalupe St. and 3005 South Lamar Blvd. Although you can buy two Groupons, you may only use one per order.
Santa Rita serves up authentic and spicy Tex-Mex plated with award-winning hot sauce and cool guacamole. Spice seekers dive into Guadalajara combinaciones ($10.75) and enjoy a soft chicken taco and guacamole, followed by a chalupa compuesta and a chicken enchilada drizzled with tomatillo sauce. Vegetarians scarf down spinach-and-mushroom-enchilada dinners ($9.95), and meat-eaters mow on grilled center-cut pork loins, marinated with chiles and a blend of spices, drenched in authentico sauce and served with grilled onions and peppers, pico de gallo, guacamole, rice, and charro beans ($13.95). Today's Groupon is not good for alcohol, and vice versa, as evidenced by the time it woke up in a strange bathtub folded into inappropriate shapes.
Cuisine Type: Baja-style Mexican food
Reservations: Not offered
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Number of Tables: 25?50
Parking: Parking lot
Most popular offering: Baja tacos, several different choices.
Alcohol: Beer and wine only
Delivery/Takeout Available: Yes
Outdoor Seating: Yes
Pro Tip: Fuzzy's offers its full menu all day?breakfast tacos for dinner or Baja tacos for breakfast.
If it weren?t for father-son duo Alan and Chuck Bush, Fuzzy?s Taco Shop might?ve closed its doors permanently in 2003. Instead, the two bought the restaurant from its then-owner, transforming the flagship Fort Worth location from faltering to bustling. They slowly started to franchise locations across the country, and now 60 restaurants dot 11 states. Each one serves up a menu of Baja-style Mexican food, including jumbo burritos, tacos, enchiladas, and fajitas.