Eat all of East Austin's best breakfast tacos in one damn day

Published On 05/02/2013 Published On 05/02/2013
A delicious breakfast taco

There are all sorts of regional breakfasts -- New York's got bagels, New Orleans loves beignets, and Houston has McDonalds hamburgers. And double hamburgers on Sundays! Thanks to Austin's large Hispanic population and insatiable appetite for anything wrapped in a tortilla, our city devours breakfast tacos day and night. To help guide you through the aluminum-wrapped morass, we charted a must-try, day-long course through some of East Austin's most iconic and delicious breakfast taco joints

8:00a: On your way to East Austin, stop off at the one Westside place on our list: Taco Joint, whose buttery homemade tortillas are slathered with gooey American cheese and served greasy as a late-'70s John Travolta

8:30a: Head across Manor Rd to Mi Madre's for a gut-stuffing chorizo-egg-cheese from a family that's been slinging tacos for 25yrs. Make sure to get all the cheese off that foil

9:00a: At this point, your stomach will be flying its first flags of resistance. Ignore them and jaywalk across Manor to hipster-haven Thunderbird Coffee, which slings locally roasted/internationally lauded Cuvee Coffee, plus satiation from local dynasty Tacodeli, which supplies nearly all the coffee shops in town. The tacos are likely to run out by mid-morning, so you might have to fight for a Jess Special (organic migas w/ avocado) or a Vaquero (roasted poblanos, red peppers, corn, and Jack)

11:00a: After thumbing through the Austin Chronicle and The Onion, then sidestepping a discussion with a bearded cyclist about the merits of Alejandro Jodorowsky's later work, down a Topo Chico mineral water for digestion's sake. Head South on Chestnut all the way to Pleasant Valley and take a right on Cesar Chavez

11:15a: In addition to being a taco Mecca, CC is also littered with party stores advertising pinatas and moonbounces. Jump on that thing for a few minutes to re-adjust your stomach for what you're about to eat: Juan in a Million's signature Don Juan Taco -- a massive 1lb monster of bacon, potato, egg, and cheese

12:00p: After receiving the firmest handshake in town from the restaurant's gregarious owner, depart from Juan in a Million. Head South a few blocks to the Heywood Hotel for a quick nap. Seriously, do it

1:30p: Wake up, realize you're napping in hotels because you ate too many tacos, and stumble across the street to Veracruz All Natural for migas (tortilla chips, jalapenos, tomato, onion) on homemade tortillas and a Mexico Lindo smoothie with lime juice, melon, apple & grape

2:15: Hit up the Eastside location of Tamale House, which's run by a family that's been mixing potato and egg since the '70s. Definitely ask for the off-menu ranchero sauce

2:45p: Head North to 7th St to Joe's Bakery for even more migas and a sugary Mexican dessert to wash it down

3:45p: Weave your wave back to Cesar Chavez to Cenote for another dose of Cuvee and a taco cradling house-cured bacon from Flying Pigs Farm

4:30p: Cross the street to Farewell Books and read until you're able to move again

6:00p: Make your way back to Manor Rd and El Chilito for a Charlie's Special (egg, chorizo, potato, tomato, onion, serrano). You'll have to bring your own Tiger Blood, but they do have delicious sangria. So there's that

7:30p: Walk a few blocks further East to the unassuming Taco-Mex window. If you happen to have a jar on you, they'll fill it with their creamy jalapeno salsa for just a few bucks

8:00p: Pass out with the satisfaction that you've eaten enough to feed a small army, and still would've had enough left over to feed a very large navy.

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1. Taco Joint 2807 San Jacinto Blvd, Austin, TX 78705 (Utwest Campus)

You’d think it would be hard for a taco joint in Texas to establish itself as a local favorite, but it proved fairly easy for Taco Joint… even with a name like Taco Joint. The beloved Mexican counter-serve's first location on San Jacinto Blvd. by UT Austin became a campus mainstay for coeds seeking quality breakfast tacos on hand-rolled tortillas, because there’s no better way to fuel your studies than with a reasonably priced, stuffed-to-the-brim El Benedicto (that’s right, it’s an eggs Benedict… taco).

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2. Mi Madre's Restaurant 2201 Manor Rd, Austin, TX 78722 (Cherrywood)

Austin Chronicle dubbed Mi Madre's breakfast tacos the best in Austin, and it's pretty damn hard to disagree. Do yourself a favor and get their homemade cilantro-infused sausage... actually, get four of them and eat them all alongside your choice of horchata, lemonade, beer, or coconut milk. Go in the summer (wait, it's Texas... so, go any time of year) and enjoy their outdoor patio with a few brews and buds.

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3. Thunderbird Coffee 2200 Manor Rd, Austin, TX 78722 (Cherrywood)

Thunderbird in the Cherrywood district is an eclectic coffee shop with comfy mix-matched chairs that provide the perfect space for studying. The high-quality coffee is only brewed with direct-trade beans, so the coffee shop has a personal relationship with the people who grow its beans. The food menu hosts an impressive selection of sandwiches, such as the turkey-cranberry panini. Thunderbird is also a great place to meet friends for a beer.

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4. Tacodeli 4200 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78756 (Rosedale)

This Austin taco hotspot prides itself on using local and organic ingredients and creating lasting relationships with its suppliers, which is all in the service of creating a healthier and closer-knit community (with tacos!) The family-run business makes freshness a priority, constantly changing and updating the menu with the best of what's available and making room for new inventions from the kitchen. Breakfast tacos, vegetarian and vegan tacos, and an entirely gluten-free menu mark Tacodeli's commitment to giving their customers what they want, and still making delicious food while they do it.

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5. Juan In A Million 2300 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78702 (East Austin)

Juan serves up not only a hilarious name but tasty Tex-Mex classics, too, including their signature Don Juan taco -- a massive 1lb monster of bacon, potato, egg, and cheese.

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6. Heywood Hotel 1609 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78702 (Central East)

It can be hard to find a down-home yet hip spot to chuck your bags and get some shut-eye in Austin. The solution? Boutique Heywood Hotel, whose East ATX location lets you save money on cabs (you need it for drinks, obv) -- it's a short walk to downtown, 6th Street, and the Convention Center.

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7. Tamale House East 1707 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78702 (Central East)

If you have less than 10 dollars in your pocket but still want to pig out on tacos, Tamale House East is the place to go. The original location shuttered when owner Moses Vasquez died in 2014, but his granddaughters brought it back to life at this counter-serve location on East Sixth Street. The massive dog-friendly patio provides ample room to enjoy a few breakfast tacos and an agua fresca.

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8. Cenote 1010 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78702 (Central East)

Cenote (say it with us: seh-noh-tay) takes great pride in their fair trade coffees (always French pressed), and stellar espresso. Boasting Rockstar Bagels to accompany some morning joe, this is honestly the most logical place to cure a hangover, get that extra buzz before a big night, or simply relax and catch up with friends.

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9. Farewell Books 913 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78702 (Central East)

Old art-scene outpost Domy has evolved into Farewell Books, a progressive used and new bookshop hosting weekly events (OMG let's make new friends!), readings, and just an overall awesome vibe.

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10. El Chilito 2219 Manor Rd, Austin, TX 78722 (Cherrywood)

A must-visit for the chorizo lovers out there. Known for their Charlie's Special and generous amounts of sangria.

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11. Taco-Mex 2613 Manor Rd, Austin, TX 78722 (Central East)

Taco-Mex isn't so much a restaurant as much as it's a walk-up take-out window in an Austin strip mall. It doles out quality egg-centric burritos and tacos for breakfast, and lunch/dinner plates like beef and chicken fajitas, crispy fish tacos, and quesadillas, all served with a necessary side of rice and beans. Nothing on the menu is more than $10, and to be honest, most are less than $5.



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