With COVID-19 hospitalizations continuing to climb and ICU beds and ventilators in short supply, some people are retreating to dining behavior from last year.
Every restaurant I’ve visited requires staff to continue to wear masks, and many are recommending, if not yet requiring, diners wear masks when not eating and drinking at their tables. And a recent poll from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research showed more than half of Americans favor mask mandates for dining at restaurants. Such a mandate is illegal in Texas.
I, like many diners I’ve spoken with, am once again eating almost exclusively on patios. Good news: There are a lot of great patios at Austin restaurants. There are also some great breweries with food trucks and Austin outdoor seating. Below are some of my favorite choices for al fresco dining.
Austin Beer Garden Brewing. 1305 W. Oltorf St. 512-298-2242, theabgb.com. Puffy pizzas, fat sandwiches and fresh salads are on tap along with beer on the patio.
Austin Eastciders. 1530 Barton Springs Road. 512-893-7000, austineastciders.com. Smart bar food and a selection of local ciders can be enjoyed on this restaurant’s patio and deck.
Better Half. 406 Walsh St. 512-645-0786, betterhalfbar.com. All-day dining from a creative, chef-driven menu and all-night drinking, as well, if you want.
Birdie’s. 2944 E. 12th St. birdiesaustin.com. Rely on the flavors of the Mediterranean and a natural wine list to keep you cool at this new counter-service addition to the East Austin dining scene.
Clark’s Oyster Bar. 1200 W. Sixth St. 512-297-2525, clarksoysterbar.com. Yacht club meets Manhattan oyster bar at this MML Hospitality jewel box of a restaurant ringed with outdoor seating that now spills into the parking lot.
Contigo. 2027 Anchor Lane. 512-614-2260, contigotexas.com. A restaurant in the city that feels like a South Texas ranch. Has an argument as best patio in Austin, and the dining room is open air.
Easy Tiger. Multiple locations. easytigerusa.com. This bake shop and restaurant offers expansive outdoor areas at its East, South and North Austin locations.
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