Serving up an extensive menu of breakfast bites and deli fare, Coffee Pot Bistro resets clanging tummy clocks, and the café’s specialty coffee drinks provide flavorful caffeine kicks. Ante-meridiem munchers can jump-start their days with light breakfast options, such as eggs and toast ($3), or cram face crevasses with a croissant, such as the herbivore-friendly garden variety, with eggs, feta cheese, guacamole, and assorted veggies ($8). Various melts and sandwiches include Nana's chicken-salad sandwich topped with spinach, cranberries, and walnuts ($7) for a hearty meal free of Grandma’s relentless pyramid-scheme sales pitches. Coffee Pot Bistro also boasts a vast menu of specialty drinks that can be served hot, iced, or blended, such as the Laughalatté, with milk-chocolate and macadamia-nut flavors, or the white ghost, with essences of white chocolate, pistachio, and ectoplasm.
Within a cozy and colorful cubbyhole, the brew buffs at Sip! on the Square cater to café connoisseurs with a selection of high-quality coffee concoctions and chewable companions. Stimulate synapses sluggish from an early rising or soothe shot nerves after a night spent listening to boogey men grunting from indigestion with drip coffees such as the french roast or organic Sumatra ($1.59,12 oz.). Customers in the mood for more elaborate fare can furnish mouth caves with the thick cream of a milky mocha latte ($2.95,12 oz.) or decadent Ghirardelli chocolate frappé ($3.95,16 oz.). Like compressing Plato’s dialectics into a Bazooka Joe bubblegum comic, the quad espresso crams the vigor of a soda-sipping squirrel into one cup for a huge jolt of jack-in-the-box energy ($2.45).
The line between latte and work of art is blurry at Fuego Coffee, thanks to a team of baristas who painstakingly swirl foam into hearts, snowflakes, and paisley teardrops. Though their pouring skills are impressive, their work starts long before the coffee finds its way to the cup. The shop sources its beans from organic growers and roasts them locally to ensure consistency and freshness. Only after the baristas grind these beans do they end up in a cappuccino, Cuban espresso, or one of 20 flavored energy drinks.
But these beverages aren't all that makes Fuego Coffee unique. The shop also features two drive-thru lanes for customers who are in a rush and whose gas tanks accept only premium roast. Those who have a minute can take advantage of the shop's dog-friendly policy, which allows leashed pets to sit with their owners.
Aromas of baking sourdough, amber rye, and brioche bread waft from the ovens of Texas French Bread, winner of the Austin Chronicle's Restaurant Poll Readers award for Best Bread in 2009, 2010, and 2011. For the past three decades, these ovens have been churning out artisan breads, pastries, and desserts made from scratch, and under the helm of brothers Ben and Murphy Willcott, the ovens now cook a dinner menu of local and sustainable rustic French fare, earning a place in the top five on the Growers Alliance of Central Texas's Truly Local 2011 restaurants survey. Yet neither of the brothers set out to be bakers. Murph, a Harvard law-school graduate and lawyer, and Ben, a student of English literature, both enjoyed staying up late, cooking, and coordinating aprons with spatulas so they decided to take over Texas French Bread with the goal of turning it from bakery into bistro because, as Murph claims, "rock star and/or Hollywood movie mogul seemed like a stretch."
In the kitchen, Ben crafts a weekly rotating menu hewn under the guidelines of famed chef Alice Waters, with local, fresh, and simple ingredients from the urban farms of Boggy Creek and Angel Valley, served in season at their peak. Meanwhile, the pastry chef sculpts key-lime tartlets, cupcakes, and cream puffs to accompany cups of coffee or espresso drinks made with locally roasted beans from Anderson's Coffee Company. The house blend combines premium East African beans with a Costa Rican hard bean, barrel-cooked to a medium-brown, full-city roast to jump-start mornings without licking a car battery.
The first thing you notice while approaching Gonzo Juice is a giant rooster head perched atop a vintage 1949 trailer, which flashes multicolored feathers painted on its sides. The gargantuan bird and his towering coxcomb cast an imposing shadow over Gonzo's wooden picnic tables and grassy lawn. The food hut's eccentric façade hints at what to expect on its menu: either an inventive spin on classic American cuisine or an omelet made out of the world's largest rooster egg. Gonzo's chefs festoon made-to-order hot sandwiches, wraps, and salads with a variety of unique, all natural ingredients including slow-braised meats, tangy carrot slaw, fruit jam, and hawaiian rolls. Earning the spotlight of 365 Things to Do in Austin, Gonzo's freshly squeezed juices catch taste buds by surprise with a tasty blend of unexpected flavors such as ginger and jalapeño.
On the corner of South Congress and James Street, Jo’s Hot Coffee – Good Food might be just as well known for its photogenic exterior as it is for its caffeinated drinks. The shop is immediately recognizable: a giant red sphere on the roof lets passersby know they are, in fact, at Jo’s, and the phrase “I love you so much,” scribbled in cursive on the side of the walls, is a popular spot for lovebirds and friends alike to pose for pictures. Inside, Jo’s serves Cuvée Coffee, roasted in Austin, and when the weather heats up the Iced Turbo is a refreshing blend of coffee, espresso, hazelnut, chocolate and cream. Diners can order homemade sandwiches like the BBQ pulled pork or Frito Pie, or simply relax on the vibrantly-colored outdoor patio while noshing on a variety of fresh pastries from Quack’s 43rd Street bakery.