Just off of South Lamar on Barton Springs, Uncle Billy’s specializes in two things: beers and barbecue. To the left of the entrance, the bar’s glasses hang from the ceiling like stalactites, and a ledge of cans showcases the different types of beer available. Meanwhile, a blackboard lists the guest beers of the day, and in case all of that didn’t give things away, a giant red arrow proudly displaying “Drink Local” rests behind the bar. Real Ale Brewery is housed here, and through a glass window in the back of the restaurant, diners can see the fermenting tanks in action. Outside, guests can savor brisket, pork and other meats while enjoying live music in the patio area, while indoor guests can catch a game on the one of the many TVs throughout the establishment.
Resting on Barton Springs just off South Lamar, Green Mesquite BBQ and More has been “smoking the good stuff” since 1988. And it’s not just a clever, colorful name: the stools at the bar to the left of the entrance, plus all the seats and booths – not to mention the awning outside – feature some amount of forest green coloring. The restaurant is also straightforward in its specializes of all things barbecue. Diners can dig into brisket, pulled pork, sausage and other traditional meats – but it’s the signs intriguing “more” that often keeps customers coming back. Sometimes, it’s a Green Mesquite cheese steak taco basket, made up of two ribeye tacos with Swiss cheese, grilled onions and pico de gallo. Other times, customers call for a po’ boy, bowl of jambalaya or chef’s salad. There’s a little bit of everything found inside Green Mesquite.
Although the chef at Flour and Vine Restaurant and Wine Bar draws from a pantry filled with simple, farm-fresh ingredients, the dishes are anything but simple. The restaurant puts an inventive spin on even the most traditional entrees, sweetening their pork chops with apple pomegranate chutney and folding seasoned crayfish and four different types of cheeses into their macaroni and cheese. Staying true to the restaurant’s overall focus on quality and sustainability, the resident sommelier compliments the kitchen’s unique, handcrafted offerings with a wine list that features organic and local selections from different regions.
The chefs at Kerbey Lane Cafe have spent decades combining locally sourced ingredients to craft a menu brimming with eclectic breakfast fare, Mexican-tinged entrees, and rotating seasonal dishes served all day long. Batter craftsmen flip stacks of Kerbey Lane's signature homemade pancakes ($2.99–$5.39), dressed up in a full wardrobe of adventurous flavors including gingerbread, apple whole wheat, vegan, and crushed velvet. The SoLa enchiladas pack tortillas with portobello mushrooms, spinach, and cheddar-jack cheese under a downpour of your choice of sauce ($7.99). Groups can scoop through an appetizer of the Kerbey queso ($8.09)—guacamole blanketed with queso and pico de gallo and served with tortilla chips for dipping and flinging at open-mouthed dinner dates.
The chefs at Big Bad BBQ cook their ribs three times. First, they dry-rub them with spices and slowly smoke them. Next, they soak the meaty morsels in juices and grill them. Finally, the cooks smother the ribs in barbecue sauce and flame-kiss them, which creates a nicer crackle than a coating of ice.
Chef Taylor Reid and the kitchen staff take the same amount of care with all of their barbecue, which is a blend of Memphis and Texas styles. Brisket gets rubbed with an eight-spice blend, and it and spice-smothered chicken are tossed into the smoker for a slow smoke. The meats then sail out to tables with housemade sides such as mustard potato salad and mac 'n' cheese studded with green chilis.
You’ll often spot Freddie’s Place by first spotting Freddie himself, hanging out on 1st Street and drawing in longtime locals. Freddie’s got a big work family that he loves to show off, working through framed photographs of regulars and employees (some from their childhood days) that are plastered across the walls. Wooden booths and tables line the front of the restaurant, while a large circular table encloses a fire pit in the back and a dozen TVs hang throughout. Outside, a large metal rooster perches in a tree overlooking both a dog park and outdoor seating, where visitors can occasionally catch live music performances while downing their typical Texan fare. As an added bit of quirk, Freddie’s Place lists all menu items in cents – so be sure to pull out 789 pennies if you’d like to order the cheeseburger.