black restaurants matter

The Notorious B.I.G. nilla in the banana pudding from SLAB BBQ

The tragic death of George Floyd has elevated discussions on institutional racism and the sad linThe tragic death of George Floyd has elevated discussions on institutional racism and the sad lingering effects of slavery and Jim Crow in our country. The tragedy has drawn deserved attention to black culture, contributions and, appropriately enough, black-owned restaurants. As far as I know, there are no black-owned restaurants in Allandale proper or in the immediate stomach-hood. So instead, the bride and I partook of a baker’s half-dozen of black-owned restaurants in North Austin.

Baby Greens is just down the road at 1508 West Anderson and prepares fresh and healthy salads and wraps. With a pre-existing drive-thru and mask-wearing employees, the food is doubly healthy. We’ve appreciated having an easy-peasy place to pick up a salad, and the Greens is now part of our regular rotation.

Rainbow Salad (mixed greens, purple cabbage, carrots, avocado tomatoes, pumpkin seeds, feta cheese; $10 + grilled chicken; $1.89) with chile lime dressing from Baby Greens. The chile lime dressing is plseantly spicy!

web&where: interwebs; 1508 west anderson lane; (512) 770-6255
what’s the deal? made to order salads and wraps; fast casual, drive-through
overall: ** (food**; service**; instagrammability**)
cost: $

Dia’s Market, at 812 Justin near Lamar, is an uppish-scale, curated market in a nice Modern building with a grill in the back that whips up freshly-made breakfast and lunch sandwiches as well as reservation-only rotisserie chicken. The bride and I agreed that the Turkey & Brie (she) and the Roast Beef & Havarti (me) were expertly prepared and mouth-watering.

Roast Beef & Havarti sammich (Roast Beef, dill Havarti cheese, cucumber, arugula, and horseradish cream sauce; $9.25)
Turkey & Brie sammich (turkey, brie, fig, arugula, and apple; $9.20)

web&where: interwebs; 812 justin lane; (512) 520-5115
what’s the deal? curated market with a sammich grill; fast casual
overall: ** (food***; service**; instagrammability**)
cost: $

SLAB BBQ & Beer at 9012 Research (near Burnet) has a saucy attitude and the (pork) chops (ribs, actually…) to back it up. Serving up scrumptious Dirty South sammich-style Q, they immediately captured my heart with the Notorious B.I.G. nilla lording over my banana pudding. Bonus points for hot sauce that could peel the paint off the hood off of an old Ford F-150.

SLAB Slider Trio with the Notorious P.I.G. (pulled pork topped with mustard slaw and backyard red sauce), Texas O.G., (Black Angus brisket topped with pickles, onions, and backyard red sauce), and Chicken W.A. (slow-smoked natural chicken breast topped with mustard coleslaw, onions, and dank white, backyard red, and spicy hot sauces), all for $12.
Chicken W.A. sammich ((slow-smoked natural chicken breast topped with mustard coleslaw, onions, and dank white, backyard red, and spicy hot sauces; $7.60)

web&where: interwebs; 9012 research boulevard; (512) 351-9977
what’s the deal? sammich-style BBQ with a tude
overall: ** (food***; service**; instagrammability***)
cost: $$

Bird Bird Biscuit at 2701 Manor (but soon also Brentwood) conjures the savoriest, most toothsome biscuit sandwiches this side of Olamaie. Even the bride, leaning as she does towards healthier fare, felt coronated with flavor.

Chicken Holiday (spice and breaded chicken thigh, smoked black pepper, and cranberry sauce; $9)
Lovely Day (house-made chicken sausage, free-range egg over medium, cheddar, and basil pesto; $8)
Biscuit and Jam ($5)

web&where: interwebs; 2701 manor road; (512) 761-4922
what’s the deal? biscuits! oh glorious biscuits!
overall: *** (food***; service**; instagrammability***)
cost: $

An old favorite, you can just stop into Aster’s Ethiopian at 2804 I-35 and stock up on various bites from North Africa microtaco’d with injera, including our fave, doro watt, the national dish of Ethiopa.

doro watt (spicy chicken slow simmered in berbere sauce and ethiopian spices and served with hard boiled egg; $13.50) from Aster’s Ethiopian
fasolia watt (potato, green beans, carrots, onions, tomatoes sauce with garlic cinnamon, and ginger sauce; $11.50) from Aster’s Ethiopian

web&where: interwebs; 2804 north interstate 35; (512) 469-5966
what’s the deal? tasty Ethiopean staples
overall: ** (food**; service**; instagrammability**)
cost: $$

Pre-vid, while looking for a good source of boudin balls, we discovered New Awlins Café at 8650 Spicewood. Their boudin balls are epic and, on our recent visit, we found their other Cajun dishes quite good as well.

Red Beans and Rice ($5)
Gumbo ($16)
Giant pile of boudin balls ($7 for three)
The owner was originally the best pie-maker in New Orleans before Katrina.

web&where: interwebs; 8650 spicewood springs road; (512) 394-7200
what’s the deal? Cajun food and pies pies pies
overall: ** (food**; service**; instagrammability**)
cost: $$

We’ve all heard of chicken and waffles, but fish and waffles? That’s what I ordered (fried fish and shrimp piled on top of a  waffle) from The Rolling Rooster at 13717 MoPac, and it was divine with a flavorful batter that still has me thinking about the meal.

Fish & Shrimp on a waffle ($12.75)

web&where: interwebs; 13717 mopac service road; (512) 547-4444
what’s the deal? fried chicken and fish on waffles
overall: ** (food**; service**; instagrammability**)
cost: $$

There are, of course, other Black-owned restaurants in Austin (for example, the CBD-infused choices at Lazydaze+Coffeeshop at 1738 West Anderson; and the crawfish meals of Kasian Boil, also at Rolling Rooster’s address). Google “Black owned restaurants Austin,” and the choices will unfold before you.

I wrote this review for the Allandale Neighbor.

our scale:
–          meh [think twice]
*         OK [it’ll get the job done]
**       good [solid neighborhood joint]
***     damn good [we’ll definitely be back]
****   yippity-yikes that was amazeballs [fantastic; one of the best]
***** holy sh!t [transcendental; best of the best] each $ = $10; cost is based on a typical dinner entrée and appetizer (no drinks)

each $ = $10; cost is based on a typical dinner entrée and appetizer (no drinks)

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