Eat + Drink

Your First Stop in Austin? Breakfast — and Here’s Where to Eat It.

Wake up like a champion with the pancakes from Kerbey Lane Cafe. (Photo: Courtesy of Kerbey Lane Cafe)

The morning after an Austin night of music and beer (or beer and music), you’re going to want to tuck into a good breakfast. Unless you can drag yourself out of bed early on Sunday morning (what are the chances?), you can expect to wait for a table at the city’s most popular spots — but that’s part of the Austin experience.

Grab a cup of coffee inside and hang outside, soaking in the Texas sunshine while you count tattoos, beards and piercings to pass the time.

Here are a few local Austin restaurant favorites to check out.

Magnolia Café

Austin restaurants
By all means, start the day at Magnolia Cafe. (Photo: Alamy)

“Sorry, We’re Open,” reads the sign outside both locations of the pleasantly hippie-dippy Magnolia Café — and they always are, “24/8,” as the staff likes to say.

The extensive breakfast menu, from eggs to pancakes to tacos, is available all day and night, and the cozy, colorful little South Congress location has a weekend brunch menu. Both locations have gluten-free and vegan menus.

Kerbey Lane Cafe

Austin restaurants
Want your breakfast for dinner? Kerbey Lane is open 24/7. (Photo: Courtesy of Kerbey Lane)

Another longtime institution, the original Kerbey Lane (on Kerbey Lane) opened in 1980; now there are six locations in Austin and one in Round Rock, and several are open 24/7.

Check the restaurant’s blog to see what the featured pancakes are for the week — maybe Rocky Road, Vegan Chili Cinnamon Chocolate or Gluten-Free Pumpkin.

And if you’d rather skip the inevitable weekend wait for a table, Kerbey Lane uses the Nowait app: Get on the list, check your wait time and get there when your table is ready.

Torchy’s Tacos

Torchy’s started in a trailer on South 1st Street. Now you can’t swing a jalapeño without hitting a Torchy’s location; there are 10 in Austin alone (and others across Texas and into Colorado).

Order one (or more) of the nine breakfast tacos on the menu, or prove you’re in the know and order one of the “secret” tacos — perhaps the Ace of Spades: a jalapeño sausage link, grilled brisket, fried egg, green chili queso, cilantro, cotija cheese, sour cream and Torchy’s “Diablo” hot sauce on a flour tortilla.

El Meson

The Sunday brunch at El Meson on South Lamar is extensive and impressive. This isn’t cheesy Tex-Mex, it’s food from the interior of Mexico. Load up on all-you-can-eat handmade tortillas and tamales, ceviche, pozole, carne guisado, chicken mole, cochinita pibil and more — or if you must, eggs, pancakes and French toast. Try to arrive early, while the food is fresh, hot and plentiful.

Maudie’s Tex-Mex

Austin restaurants
Craving Tex-Mex in the morning? Hit up Maudie’s. (Photo: Courtesy of Maudie’s Tex-Mex)

Here is the classic Tex-Mex breakfast visitors crave on a visit to Austin — huevos rancheros, migas, chilaquiles, etc. At Maudie’s (which has several locations) however, the eggs in your breakfast tacos are organic, vegetarian tacos have their own space on the menu, and you can order most menu items gluten free. Which is very Austin.

Polvos Mexican Restaurant

Polvos is another solid option for a casual Mexican breakfast served all day (although prices increase after 3 p.m.). Eat inside the colorfully decorated 1st Street restaurant or sit on the deck and watch funky South Austin passers by. Tortillas are fresh and made on site.

Polvos courageously commits the sacrilege of charging for chips and salsa — but you get unlimited chips and a selection of house-made salsas at the salsa bar for your $1.99.