“Stepping into the restaurant is like visiting the home of an Ethiopian friend,” writes the Austin Chronicle about Habesha Restaurant & Bar. Woven straw mesobs—hourglass-shaped tables designed for communal eating—are central to the restaurant’s traditional decor, along with Ethiopian artwork. The friendly staff is always happy to welcome newcomers, explain the menu, show them how to properly stretch before a meal, and make dish suggestions.
However, it's the authentic eats that form the backbone of Habesha Restaurant & Bar. To start, head chef Selam Abebe uses grains from Idaho to prepare injera, a traditional Ethiopian flatbread used to scoop up bites of food in place of utensils or your neighbor’s hand. She then prepares vegetarian and meat wot, tibs, and fitfit using recipes and techniques from her homeland. As the child of Ethiopian restaurateurs, Selam has had plenty of experience preparing the traditional dishes—she’s been cooking professionally since age 20.
Meals at Habesha Restaurant & Bar often end with a coffee ceremony, a sign of friendship and respect in Ethiopian culture. Servers carefully roast green coffee beans, grind them, sing them a lullaby, and then steep the grounds in hot water to create a rich, black coffee that they serve with hot popcorn.
Under Jacob’s Well’s high ceilings, the clattering of coffee cups and the fresh-baked aroma of pizza crust crisping in a brick oven sails through the space. Natural light spills over a checkered floor, and old maps and framed prints dot the walls as staff members artfully decorate lattes, topping cups off with flowers, perky-eared bunnies, or fire-breathing dragons. Sometimes their “latte art” veers into the abstract, leaving guests to interpret whether their java resembles a rocky mountain crag or the Greek symbol for caffeinate. Frequently, local musicians provide a soundtrack for patrons decoding their cups, mingling music with the coffeehouse’s usual upbeat banter.
Lil Joe's Dyne Quik is an old fashion valentine diner built in the 1950's with a 10 seat counter and 9 booths. We serve breakfast, lunch and always a daily special Monday - Friday. Here at Lil Joe's you can always get breakfast anytime. We are open from 6-2 Monday - Friday and 7-2 Saturday and Sunday.
The sandwich masons at Toni D's, a mom-and-pop shop, cobble together carbs and cold cuts to cure lunchtime cravings. Diners can choose from more than a dozen sandwiches, all named after the individuals who first corralled the contents between parallel slices. Reuben the Great mingles corned beef, swiss cheese, and sauerkraut in a nod to German heritage on grilled rye ($4.19–$5.79). Chase's peanut butter on white warbles with childlike wonder, with classic jelly and its eponymous edible paste, also good for sticking napkin masterpieces on bathroom mirrors ($3.29–$4.69). Toni D's salad menu ditches gluten for greenery, as in the mandarin orange-green salad, a mix of toasted almonds, red onion, and green peppers in honey and orange dressing ($4.49–$5.99). Homemade chili toasts taste receptors cooled by cold cuts ($4.09–$5.59), while coleslaw ($1.69), tabouli ($1.99), and other sides flavor the main fare.
To the brains behind N&J Middle Eastern Cuisine, what's even more important than recreating the flavors of the Middle East is capturing the spirit of communal dining found in homes throughout the region. To that end, lively conversation, cross-table sharing, and families resisting the urge to blackmail each other are the norm here as groups enjoy the menu's regional comfort foods. Plates of silken hummus and crispy falafel, for instance, lead into entrees of marinated steak kababs and pita wraps filled with gyro meat. Yet the experience doesn't stop at the table. Around the feast, N&J Middle Eastern Cuisine's cozy dining area complements the casual spirit of its cooking. Simple booths and dark wooden tables fill the space, which is split into separate sections by half walls featuring cream-colored arches decorated with painted vines.
In his hunt for the perfect breakfast, Guy Fieri, the host of Food Network's hit program Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, didn't have to look any further than Brint's piping hot platters of homemade hot cakes, egg dishes, and its specialty: biscuits and gravy. Had the charismatic host, whose surgically implanted sunglasses only reflected the glare of sizzling early morning skillets, stuck around, he would've also enjoyed a homemade dinner selection that includes a butterfly-cut chicken breast and fresh, hand-breaded country-fried steak. Molten mounds of chili tumble across heaps of tender noodles on the Cincinnati spaghetti dish, a regional specialty that elevates the traditional pasta dish with diced onions and shredded cheese.