Eating out for breakfast is so popular that one-hour waits are common at most restaurants on weekends. Fortunately, most of them offer free coffee and low-priced mimosas to help you while away the time. Newcomers are often surprised by the popularity of spicy Tex-Mex fare for breakfast in Austin. If you prefer a sweeter or lighter breakfast, there are plenty of options for that too.
While the concept sounds almost too simple, Bird Bird Biscuit builds some amazing flavors around the core ingredients of chicken and a biscuit. First, it’s not just any biscuit. They’re dense yet flaky and buttery. The Bird Bird Bacon sandwich is a meal unto itself, stuffed with an organic egg, bacon, cheddar and chipotle mayo. The Lovely Day sandwich offers a savory blend of tastes and textures, including chicken sausage made on site, an over-medium egg, basil pesto and cheddar cheese. Before you leave, order some cinnamon-and-sugar-coated doughnut holes, known as Dough-Doughs, to go.
Owned by the same people who run Trudy’s Tex-Mex restaurants around town, South Congress Cafe is a little more upscale but not snooty. Even the fancy dishes have some link back to traditional Texas fare or Tex-Mex. The eggs Benedict with crab cakes dish is a must-have. All the omelets are well executed, featuring uncommon ingredients such as artichokes and portabella mushrooms. If you have a sweet tooth, consider the carrot cake French toast. If you’re planning a nap afterwards, the migas enchiladas are a masterful concoction. The enchiladas are stuffed with spicy eggs and cheese and topped with avocado slices. Refried beans and a gouda potato pancake round out the plate.
In addition to classics like bacon and eggs and buttermilk flapjacks, Phoebe’s Diner offers a creative twist on migas, made with crispy masa cakes, as well as the meat-heavy ’04 Plate, with brisket smoked on site, two eggs, pickled chiles and hashbrown casserole. For a sweeter breakfast, try the deep-fried French toast with maple syrup and whipped cream.
Kerbey Lane is an Austin breakfast institution for all the right reasons. The pumpkin pancakes are undoubtedly the best in town, and the migas plate is packed with spicy, cheesy goodness. If the pumpkin pancakes aren’t sweet enough for you, how about cinnamon roll pancakes? Want a completely over-the-top breakfast? Try the crispy chicken Benedict, a biscuit layered with an egg, fried chicken, grilled onions and hollandaise sauce. With seven locations around the city it's easy to get to a Kerbey Lane to get your fix.
If you’re interested in a heaping helping of Austin weirdness along with your breakfast, head to Maria’s Taco Xpress. Informally referred to as Hippie Church, the Sunday brunch at Maria’s attracts a loyal following of aging hippies who cannot dance but insist on dancing anyway. If you do have rhythm, you may want to face the band and not the informal dance floor that breaks out on the periphery of the large outdoor patio. The interior space is fairly small, but it’s much quieter if you’re looking to actually converse with your breakfast companion. The migas tacos are a crowd favorite, and all the breakfast tacos are served on fluffy tortillas made on site.
The giant gingerbread pancakes may be the most popular breakfast option, but the Love Migas are preferred by those who like a jolt of hot spice to help them wake up. Chock full of garlic and cheese, the migas plate may not be the best choice if you have a date later on. For tongue-burning spiciness, try the three-alarm tacos, with eggs, potatoes, jalapenos and chipotle sauce. There are two locations, both open 24 hours a day.
The ideal breakfast destination for vegans and their non-vegan spouses, Bouldin Creek specializes in creative concoctions like the potato leek omelet and the oven cake breakfast with blueberry cornbread and agave syrup. The Tamale Breakfast is a perennial favorite, with two sweet potato and pecan tamales, house-made salsa and beans. All egg dishes can be made with Bouldin Creek’s custom tofu scrambler.
For those with jumbo appetites, the Mighty Z migas will leave you happy and satisfied. Less spicy but equally delicious, the crab cake eggs Benedict is served with two crab cakes, rosemary potatoes and hollandaise sauce. To satisfy your sweet tooth, opt for the restaurant’s dark and decadent version of Bananas Foster, with walnut cinnamon bread covered in vanilla bean custard, grilled and topped with roasted bananas. If you’re in a day-drinking mood, try the Ruby Red mimosa, made with Deep Eddy Ruby Red Grapefruit Vodka, grapefruit juice and champagne. The restaurant also has an outdoor balcony with a gorgeous view of rolling hills.
In addition to serving coffees from around the world, Cherrywood Coffeehouse is known for its laid-back neighborhood vibe and massive breakfast tacos. The terra taco is a delectable mix of fried tofu, eggs, avocado and cheese. If you’re looking for a new go-to breakfast dish, try the shrimp and grits or the unusual sweet potato hash with red bell peppers, onions, two eggs and hollandaise sauce. For something semi-healthy, opt for the Peanut Power smoothie, with peanut butter, bananas, almond milk and apple juice.
The restaurant’s signature breakfast dish, the Don Juan, is a breakfast masterpiece made with layers of egg, tortillas, bacon and secret ingredients. You can keep your mouth from overheating with an ice-cold horchata with cinnamon. This no-frills restaurant on the east side looks a little rough around the edges from the outside, but the friendly vibe inside, plus the food, will make you forget about the decor.
If you love sweet Mexican pastries and tongue-burning Tex-Mex breakfasts, this place is downright heavenly. The chorizo con huevos delivers enough sustenance for about a day and a half. The migas tacos are spicier than most, but they’re a good option if you need something stronger than coffee to help you wake up. Menudo fans contend that this is the best place in town for the traditional Mexican dish.
One of the oldest eateries in Austin, Cisco’s has been churning out tasty breakfast tacos and homemade biscuits for more than 50 years. Biscuits and spicy Tex-Mex food may sound like an odd combination, but try it just once and you too will become a convert. Another standout is the picadillo served in fresh house-made buns. If you’re new to the migas experience, this is an excellent spot to sample the spicy, cheesy egg dish. Following a tradition that’s common in San Antonio, the coffee is made with a dash of cinnamon added.