Food & Drink

Austin's 10 best grown-up versions of the greatest foods you ate as a kid

Published On 04/02/2014 Published On 04/02/2014
Best Grown Up Versions of Kid Foods ATX
Claire McCormack Photography

Just because you have a "job" and a "SUV" and you once tried "yoga", doesn’t mean that you have to forego all of the pleasures of childhood. We’ve taken the task of rounding up some chic and some just downright craveable "adult" versions of the stuff we all ate as kids -- courtesy of the bars and restaurants you love in Austin. Apparently, you CAN have your Totino’s Party Pizza AND eat it too!

Uchi (click here for info and address)
What was Uchi’s Phillip Speer’s inspiration when he created the deconstructed Peanut Butter Semifreddo? Why, his daughter’s sack lunch of course. A far cry from the days of cursing the thick and unforgiving Jif that dared to rip your Wonder Bread, this artful dessert is made with golden raisin and sake puree, apple "chips", apple miso sorbet, and finished with peanut butter powder and ground peanut brittle. Wow. There’s a reason this is Uchi’s most popular dessert. 

Jared Simpson

Banger’s (click here for info and address)
Every day, you get home from school, go to the freezer, open up that giant box of Bagel Bites, and "cook" about ten of those bad boys for yourself and your after-school crew. Oh, that teeth-destroying, chewy, burn-the-roof-your-mouth goodness is undeniable. Our friends at Banger’s have taken that concept and made their own cheesy, amazing Pizza Bagel Bites. You can get them Thursday-Saturday from 11pm-1am on their Late Night Bites menu.


PĂ©chĂ© (click here for info and address)
You know those thick classic milkshakes we had as kids (and still have… ahem, sometimes), the ones that gave you the best/worst stomachache ever? Imagine if an amazing bartender added booze and served it in a reasonably sized, and totally classy Champagne coupe. Wait no longer, it’s real and it is Péché’s Grasshopper Milkshake made with house-made vanilla ice cream, crème de cacao, and green crème de menthe.


Searsucker (click here for info and address)
Remember how you felt when you upgraded from the Kraft mac and cheese with the yellow powder to the Velveeta with the gooey cheese pack? Now multiply that feeling times 100 and you’ve got Searsucker’s Lobster + Mac + Cheese. This decadent interpretation is perfectly cheesy with succulent lobster and a crispy crust.

Strange Fruit PR

Odd Duck (click here for info and address)
New kid on the block (not to be confused with the super-dreamy boy band... sigh, Joey) Odd Duck is making waves in the Austin culinary scene and this creative version of our go-to childhood snack is solid proof. Their Chocolate Potato Chip Cookie comes with, wait for it… buttermilk soda! Yes and thank you!


TRACE (click here for info and address)
Candy bars are just a part of childhood, taunting you from every grocery store check-out line with their shiny wrappers and promises of peanuts and gooey caramel and crunchy nougat. The fine folks at TRACE at the W have created a next-level dessert in their Fried Candy Bar -- which is house made, filled with rice crisps, salted caramel, and dark chocolate. Bonus: they're served with warm dipping sauces!

Robert Gallegos

Porter Gastropub (click here for info and address)
When you’re 4 1/2ft tall, sometimes ease is key when preparing an after-school snack -- and ease is where microwave popcorn reigns. Porter Gastropub’s Truffle Popcorn has elevated the simple finger food by tossing the p-corn in truffle butter, truffle oil, AND truffle salt, THEN topping it with freshly shredded Parmesan cheese.

Jared Simpson

Banger’s (click here for info and address)
When it comes to gummy bears, everyone has their own unique ritual -- first the tiny arms and legs, then the head; squeeze it vertically until it’s flat; or all the clear ones first. Whatever your "gummy-style" is, be assured that Banger’s has you covered (again) with their Gummy Bear Brat, available on their munchie-tastic late-night menu.


The Hightower (click here for info and address)
Snow cones have a special space in the hearts of grown children and actual children alike, because they represent innocence and neighborhood pools and freedom (and comparing colored tongues). The Hightower will take you back to Summer days that lasted forever with their two versions of Snow Cones -- choose from strawberry/fennel or coconut/Kahlua. Pro tip: have both.

Nick Conover

drink.well. (click here for info and address)
Local favorite drink.well. has taken everything good about the original Twinkie (essentially the shape) and created their own amazing take on the classic packaged goodie. Everything is house made, from the moist cake to the rich filling, AND the flavors rotate -- so for April you can indulge in a Reese’s Twinkie (chocolate fudge filling and a peanut butter ganache drizzled on top).

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1. Uchi 801 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704 (South Austin)

Serving up sushi and Japanese cuisine in South Austin, Uchi does have a larger price tag and you may encounter a wait -- but there's good reason for that in the deliciously fresh ingredients and bold flavors that you'll find inside. Grab a seat and order away, or put your trust in your servers and chefs and let them pick for you.

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2. Banger's Sausage House and Beer Garden 79 Rainey St, Austin, TX 78701 (Downtown)

Banger's Sausage House and Beer Garden not only provides over a 100 beers on tap, but it's also home to one of the district's largest biergartens. Enjoy live music and all the sausage that you can eat.

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3. Peche 208 W 4th St, Austin, TX 78701 (Warehouse District)

Consciously attempting to recreate the European art of mixology that was largely lost in America as a result of Prohibition, Peche is a genuine cocktail paradise, and it's the only place in Austin that you can experience absinthe "in its true form".

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4. Searsucker Austin 415 Colorado St, Austin, TX 78701 (Warehouse District)

A steakhouse from San Diego's Chef Brian Malarkey (of Top Chef and The Taste), Searsucker'll have you sucking on bone marrow and gnawing on Tomahawk ribeyes.

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5. Odd Duck 1201 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704 (South Austin)

Communal seating, an expansive patio, and an open kitchen (the view is best from the bar) abet in the casual atmosphere at Odd Duck -- a second concept from the team behind Barley Swine -- on South Lamar Boulevard. Antithetical to its atmosphere, Odd Duck's menu features upscale, intricate dishes inspired by the daily pick at the local farmer's market, and thus the menu shifts with the Texan seasons. Odd Duck features craft cocktails, craft beer, and wine to pair with its flavor- and ingredient-forward dishes. If you happen upon the pimento cheeseburger, get it.

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6. Trace 200 Lavaca St, Austin, TX 78701 (Downtown)

Trace, located in downtown Austin, is an American resto serving up farm-to-table fare. Get creative and try out some antelope loin or venison sausage.

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7. Porter Gastropub 3715 S 1st St Ste A, Austin, TX 78704 (South Austin)

Porter Gastropub brings everything you could possibly want to South First -- 30 drafts, burgers with Brie, and pierogies.

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8. The Hightower 1209 E 7th St, Austin, TX 78702 (East Austin)

The dishes at High Tower -- a friendly neighborhood spot in East Austin -- run the gamut from Tex-Mex to Asian, and though their flavor and presentation could compete with the best of Austin's white-hot culinary scene, they're still affordable enough to order any night of the week, not just for special occasions. Grab a spot on the outdoor patio and try the ever-popular and comforting roasted pork jowl, a Korean hot pot filled with rice, egg yolk, cucumber, pickled shallots, and house Sriracha. Another favorite? Grilled scallops with avocado and grapefruit.

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9. drink.well. 207 E 53rd St, Austin, TX 78751 (Hyde Park)

This American gastropub specializes in craft cocktails with fresh ingredients, boasting more than 75 different whiskeys and a whole section of the menu devoted to tiki cocktails. Though imbibing is the main event here, the food does not suffer because of it. You'll want to check out the homemade twinkies that change flavors weekly.



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