Austin has an abundance of perfect places for great dates, but every once in awhile you need to take that special someone out of town. You want to hit the road, but where do you go?
Fortunately, Austin is a great starting point for a day trip. Within a couple of hours, you can be well outside the metro area. Beyond Austin’s borders lie tons of great destinations for your date. Here are 10 restaurant options to anchor your next out-of-town date.
10.) Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que in Llano
You can get Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que in Austin, but if you want to make a special trip out of their delicious and famous barbecue, head out Highway 71 West for about 75 miles to their original location in Llano. Their signature dish is the Big Chop which is a thick-cut pork chop lightly seasoned and cooked in their pits. They have all the traditional Texas barbecue staples, so you and your date are bound to find something to hit the spot. The picnic tables inside aren’t quite a bistro table for two, but you’ll be fine making new friends.
9.) Clear Springs Restaurant in New Braunfels
Clear Springs Restaurant grew from an out-of-the-way catfish place hardly anyone knew about to a small chain of quaint restaurants in New Braunfels, Midland, Nacogdoches and Tyler. You can go to the far flung locations, but the original in New Braunfels has a charm the other locations come close to replicating. But you can’t beat that old place that sits in a building that housed a general store in the 1870’s. Take yourself back in time and to some great comfort food!
8.) Cafe Cappuccino in Waco
If you go to a breakfast and lunch joint two hours away, the pancakes better be worth the drive. At Cafe Cappuccino, they most certainly are. Waco may not sound like a day trip destination, but she’ll want to stop by Magnolia Market, and he’ll want to check out Baylor University’s McLane Stadium. It’s nowhere near the size of DKR, but then again, Waco isn’t the size of Austin. Anyway, trust us on the pancakes.
7.) BlueBonnet Cafe in Marble Falls
If you like meringue on your pie, Bluebonnet Cafe will make you go nuts. They pile on meringue until it looks like it is going to topple over. If you prefer your pies without meringue, they have plenty of choices for you, but you’ll still admire the mountainous pies even if you don’t want to eat those particular ones. Take a day off work, and drive up for their weekday pie happy hour from 3:00 to 5:00.
6.) Hondo’s on Main in Fredericksburg
Hondo’s on Main is a jumping music venue and bar on most weekend nights, but don’t miss out on their food. Things are quieter on weekday nights if you want to chill without talking over live music. Their “fajita-ladas” are stacked cheese enchiladas topped with fajita beef. You will be glad you ordered them. Pick your favorite beer from the bar, and you have quite the Texas Hill Country meal.
5.) Huisache Grill and Wine Bar in New Braunfels
When you think about New Braunfels, you probably think about Shlitterbahn and all the loud, kid-filled places where swimmers need to fuel up for their next several hours of tubing and water sliding. But if you want a quaint place to dine for two, try Huisache Grill and Wine Bar. The interior is cozy and completely envelops you in its charm. The food is on point, and you’ll want to sit and hang around after your meal.
4.) Inn on the Creek in Salado
Small town fine dining can be hit or miss, but at Inn on the Creek, the food is always a hit. Inside, Alexander’s Restaurant satisfies with a small, simple menu Tuesday through Saturday evenings. You’ll enjoy the restaurant so much you’ll want to book a room and come back for more the next night.
3.) Gristmill River Restaurant & Bar in Gruene
If you’ve been to Gruene, you’ve eaten at Gristmill River Restaurant & Bar. And you loved it, didn’t you? The food is so good you’ll think the tree-covered decks and picturesque views are bonus. You should save room for dessert, but you probably won’t.
2.) Jobell Cafe & Bistro in Wimberley
Jobell Cafe & Bistro is fairly new to the Wimberley restaurant scene, but they’re making a big impression fast. They describe their food as rustic French-inspired Bistro fare. Their newly renovated restaurant provides the perfect setting for their delicious food.
1.) Crossroads Saloon & Steakhouse in Fredericksburg
Nothing says Texas food like a great steak, and no place defines the essence of Texas quite like the Hill Country. Fredericksburg has many tasty restaurants, but none offer quite the ambiance of Crossroads Saloon & Steakhouse. Their spacious bar is a great place to kick back and have a conversation, and their dining room is the spot for eating some serious standard steakhouse dishes.
Feature photo: Inn on the Creek in Salado on Facebook.