Unfortunately, the Coronavirus has caused some of our favorite local haunts to temporarily shut down and some—ugh, even sadder—close their doors for good. In an effort to keep others we love open, we’re sharing a list of Austin businesses to support so we can keep them around.
You haven’t lived if you haven’t taken a twirl around the Broken Spoke dance floor. Pro tip: Before you take your boots for a spin, order a Lone Star and a chicken fried steak. Then peruse the photos of the wonderful people who still run it today—James and Annetta White and their daughter, Ginny and her husband Mike Peacock—standing cheerily next to Garth Brooks, Dolly Parton, Harry Connick Jr., Willie, and other celebs who have stopped in to play or practice their two-step. You can support them by donating to their GoFundMe page.
A good day starts with a hefty plate of Migas… or a potato, egg, and cheese taco with a biscuit and gravy on the side at this Austin staple. You can’t miss the teal blue building on East 6th Street, decorated with the face of the original owner Rudy “Cisco” Cisneros. You can even buy a cool hat with his name and face on it from their online shop. If you want to support them with your appetite, stop by to chow down in their limited seating dining room or order take-out and delivery for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Austin isn’t Austin without Donn’s Depot! Though one of our favorite honky-tonks is currently closed, you can help them stay afloat in the meantime by donating to their GoFundMe page. In late August, they posted a heartfelt plea (and sweet thank you from THE Donn) on Instagram asking 250 people to donate $50 every month over the next year. The money will go towards paying their super high rent, and those who are able to donate will get an invite to a private Facebook page, your name on the “Wall of Thanks”, a special “Thank You” party, and a 2021 Christmas Preview shindig when they are able to re-open. #DonnsForever indeed!
“At this point, if a clown invited me into the woods, I’d just go.” The hilariously clever famous El Arroyo sign at one of Austin’s best Tex-Mex restaurants has lifted our spirits many times, especially during this dreadful 2020. You too? You can pay them back and help keep them open by purchasing the El Arroyo’s Big Book of Signs Volume Four, order their Fajita Kit for 4 and margaritas to-go, or make reservations to dine on their patio in (masked) person. They also offer other merch like cool coral-hued hats, holiday ornaments, and yard signs that will let your neighbors know the kind of (hilarious) people you are.
Kerbey Lane’s first location opened in 1980 on a street called (yep, ya guessed it) Kerbey Lane. It’s hard to believe this local favorite now has eight locations in and around Austin! You can support them (and fill your belly) during the pandemic by dining in with them, or by ordering delivery or “Kerbside” to-go. They’re even offering brunch cocktail favorites to-go like Mimosas and Bloody Marys. And of course, kids eat free with one adult meal – even if you’re ordering to-go or delivery!
Okay, real talk. Cancel tonight’s dinner plans because you can order the Magnolia Cafe’s famous Mag Mud, redonkulously delicious pancakes, and all your other Mag favorites to-go or for delivery! Psst… you can also pick up bubbly, brews, cider, and wine if you’re into that sort of thing. 😉 Need to get out of the house for a bit? If you’re feeling healthy, support this family-owned, Austin gem by dining in or out on their patio from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day.
You may not be able to order a chocolate milkshake, bacon cheeseburger, or breakfast taco at this old school soda fountain right now because their kitchen is currently closed, but you can stop in to pick up a prescription, lottery ticket, and other fun knick-knacks in their pharmacy, which is open from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day.
Sandy’s is another adorable spot that will transport you back to the ’50s. Don your favorite mask and walk up to their window to order a cheap (but solid) old-fashioned burger, root beer float, or their famous swirl of frozen custard. Dine on a bench nearby or take it to-go and have a picnic across the way at Auditorium Shores.
Support the oldest restaurant in Austin and oldest biergarten in America(!) while getting your fix of German brats, beer, and UT football. Get ahead of the socially distanced crowd and make a table reservation for you and 6-8 of your fellow quarantine family and friends. Email [email protected] for rates and reservations. Bonus: Email [email protected] to order an Oktoberfest Sausage Platter that feeds 6-8 people and includes various brats, sides, pretzels, and mustards—only available for pick-up!
Juan in a Million is another family-owned favorite for breakfast and lunch in East Austin. They’re open for (limited) dine-in, pick-up, and delivery (through Uber Eats!) from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily. The Don Juan is a favorite, but you also can’t go wrong with any of their breakfast tacos. And ya gotta order the Horchata.
If you’re looking for a place to watch your favorite sports teams other than your couch, look no further than the Tavern on North Lamar. Their kitchen is serving up goodies until 11 p.m. and their bar is open until 2 a.m. Just be a pal and wear a mask and practice social distancing. And if you’re weary of being inside, grab a seat on their outdoor patio.
Though people outside of Texas may have only heard about the Texas Chili Parlor for the first time in Guy Clark’s 1995 song, “Dublin Blues”, and may have only seen the Texas Chili Parlor for the first time in Quentin Tarantino’s 2007 movie Death Proof (he apparently wrote a draft for it in a booth at the TCP), Austinites have been visiting this joint for Texas-style chili and Mad Dog Margaritas since 1976. Show your support by dining in or taking your no-bean chili to-go.
One of our favorite scenes (and there are many) in local Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused was filmed at this old school burger spot in north-ish Austin. That’s not the only reason it’s listed as one of our favorite Austin businesses though. The charcoal hamburgers, carhop experience, and hot rod drive-in movie nights make this an amazing night out. Sadly, their movie nights are currently paused but you can still swing by for carhop service daily and nightly.