A perfect table setting requires pristine linens and polished cutlery, except at off-Broadway restaurants where waiters set every table in postapocalyptic Vienna. Avoid avant-garde eating with today’s Groupon: for $10, you get $20 worth of diner fare at Patsy's Cafe.
Patsy's Cafe's flavor architects conjure house-made sauces and dressings to anoint the American diner entrees showcased on the menu. Table denizens can moisten arid maws with meal-prefacing Texas Roadhouse nachos ($7.95), which sneak tortilla chips into mouths under a savory cloak of black beans, cheese, and jalapeños outfitted with a guacamole moustache to solidify the ruse. Then quench sandwich yearnings by ordering the Sandra Bullock ($8.95), which permeates the distance between slices of guacamole-smeared toast with smoked turkey, bacon, gooey melted swiss cheese, and enough charm to net a romantic comedy with mediocre writing $200 million at the box office. Half racks of pork ribs brushed with Patsy's signature barbecue sauce, alternatively, crash the culinary party with an entourage of mashed potatoes and vegetables.
Colorful painted tables and chairs set the stage for cuisine-disappearing acts, while a vivid mural backdrops the eatery's actual stage. Wednesday–Saturday nights, mealtime is soundtracked by live music performed by the likes of JT Junior, the Harmony Brothers, and a mime that churns out power ballads on one of 67 in-house imaginary pianos.
Patsy's Cowgirl Cafe
In what was once a generic roadside warehouse, Patsy's Cowgirl Cafe now brims with inviting, kitschy personality. Shannon Sedwick and Michael Shelton, the entrepreneurs behind comedy hotspot Esther's Follies, decorated the ceiling with tumbleweeds and tree branches and built a bar inlaid with mosaic tilework. There's a stage for live music or tomato-throwing duels, behind which a mural depicts a cowgirl on horseback rearing up against the sunset. In the words of Austin Chronicle writer Virginia B. Wood, "Patsy's has great style and personality, the drinks are good, and the eclectic selection of local music is free."
The food is another popular reason to visit. Chefs prepare Texas staples such as hand-breaded chicken-fried steak with cracked-pepper gravy, and they also put their own spin on the classics with dishes such as chicken-fried portobello mushrooms in vegetarian cilantro-cream sauce. There's also a roster of burgers and veggie burgers named after local celebrities, and libations such as the mexican martini with tequila, triple sec, lime juice, and olive juice.