Where the Wild Things Grow
1. Jack Allen's Kitchen7720 W Hwy 71, Austin
2. The Salty Sow1917 Manor Rd, Austin
3. Banger's Sausage House and Beer Garden79 Rainey St, Austin
4. Second Bar + Kitchen200 Congress Ave, Austin
5. The Jackalope404 E 6th St, Austin
6. Hopfields3110 Guadalupe St, Austin
7. Frank407 Colorado St, Austin
8. Black Star Co-Op7020 Easy Wind Dr, Austin
Jack Allen's has nightly rotating specials of locally sourced additions to their usual menu, but also make sure you stop by for their brunch, or even just to try a cocktail, like the Cucumber Jalapeño Rita, with Tequila, St. Germain, muddled cucumber, fresh jalapeños, simple syrup, and fresh lime.
The whole hog resto from the Hopdoddy dudes -- who brought in a pair of veteran chefs from ATL and FLA -- is in the former Red House, with a more polished but still inviting vibe marked by an open kitchen, paintings of gigantic porkers, and light fixtures made of cutlery, which has graduated from tongue to tungsten.
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.
Second Bar + Kitchen prides themselves on creating a true farm-to-table experience, offering small plates, pizzas, and various entrees. Our personal favorite is the Congress Burger, which is essentially the Rolls Royce of Austin burgers; ground brisket & chuck, gruyére cheese, shallot confit, and horseradish pickles, with the option to double the meat and cheese, add pork belly, avocado, fried egg, and seared foie gras. There are also a wide variety of wines, beers, and craft cocktails. Stop by Second for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch.
Many dive bars have burgers, but few have burgers this epic: flame grilled and piled high on a toasted bun with premium toppings like smoked bacon, brie cheese, and carmelized onions, they're plenty sizable and a good bang for your buck ($10). Cheap signature shots, tunes from the house DJ, and a giant jackalope that you can mount merely sweeten the deal.
A cathedral-inspired gastropub, Hopfields creates an upscale atmosphere where locals can enjoy craft beer, French wine, and a menu filled with French cuisine (or, at least, French-inspired takes on American classics). You can opt of a low key night of cheese plates and Pinot Grigio, or chow down on the colossal Pascal Burger and a nice craft beer.
Although Frank is known for its creative hot dogs and sausage sandwiches made with nontraditional meats like antelope, venison, and kangaroo, it also boasts an extensive selection of fries, including chili cheese and Reuben waffle fries. Its cold beer menu includes gluten-free ales, rare craft beers, and ciders.
Black Star Co-Op is a not-for-profit neighborhood brew-pub and eatery entirely owned and run by its members. Beyond house-brewed beers, bar food, and a pet-friendly patio, Black Star employs power-to-the-people policies and promotes a democratic workplace through end-of-year profit redistribution and living wages for all members. You don't have to be a member to enjoy Black Star's bounty, but you're encouraged to go to show support for the small, local businesses of Austin by drinking a beer or several.