A beacon in the night, Mrs. Johnson's has been providing Austin night owls and early risers with hot fresh doughnuts for over 50 years. Plain glazed rings are the top sellers, but you'll also find several filled varieties, cake doughnuts, apple fritters, cinnamon rolls, and kolaches (rolls stuffed with sausage or cheese). Plus, there's always plenty of hot coffee. Hot doughnuts roll off the conveyors at 9pm, 10pm, 2am, 3am, and 5am, so time your visits accordingly.
Regionally famous, this bakery/doughnut shop's bright yellow doughnuts are known to produce sighs of bliss from adoring fans. Through changes in ownership and other travails, the doughnuts have endured, drawing crowds from open to close every day. For those people who don't care for doughnuts (impossible to imagine!), there are other options, including apple fritters, muffins, danishes, coffee cake, and freshly baked breads.
When you see the moving cows, you know you've found Amy's. This famous Austin creamery specializes in homemade ice cream in a wide variety of flavors and even supplies their wonderful creations to a number of Austin's restaurants. Open until 1am on weekends for that late-night sweet tooth.
Owner Patrick Terry uses real milk in his shakes, real lemons in his lemonade, and real beef on his grill. As a result, there's a really long line at his burger stand every day of the week. Even better, can-do attitudes and smiling faces from P. Terry's waitstaff make visits all the more enjoyable, tempting you to return again and again.
This European-style cafe with its soaring ceilings and brick-clad walls overlooks Lake Austin and features a host of specialty coffees, espressos, gourmet teas, and granitas, not to mention an array of stellar desserts and pastries made in-house. Live music is offered on weekend evenings as well. Be sure to check out the views from the huge, tree-shaded deck.
This is down-home cooking at its best, beginning with the usual array of Lone Star breakfast dishes, all expertly prepared. Lunch and dinner consist of the heartiest country fare chicken fried steak, fried catfish, grilled steaks, and fried chicken. A salad bar can also be had, complete with potato salad and cole slaw. This being Texas, you'll find, too, fried jalapenos and guacamole on the menu, and if it's a burger you're after, they have great ones.
Intent on customer satisfaction, Irie enjoys a loyal clientele and adds its own brand of cool to the neighborhood. The place's name (pronounced "eye-ree") is Jamaican and translates as "the state of feeling great." That vibe is evident thanks to a relaxed ambience, terrific coffee drinks, and a selection of sandwiches and baked goods that's available all day. (Customers are welcome to bring food in as well.) Colorful baristas contribute to the atmosphere, and WiFi, comfy leather furniture, and an outdoor patio are added perks.
Having trained in the arts of espresso- and gelato-making in Italy, the owner of this shop brought the well-earned know-how to Austin, and locals are quick to show their appreciation. Even a traffic-heavy location isn't enough to dissuade folks from stopping in to sample flavors like dark chocolate-hazelnut, orange vanilla, banana-walnut, and seasonal favorites like ginger snap or pumpkin pie. Lower in fat than ice cream, gelato also has less air and deeper flavor. The shop's sorbets are another delicious treat, and Teo offers delectable pastries and premium espressos and cappuccinos as well.
A key figure of the Second Street district, this hip little cafe is nestled among high-rise lofts and chic boutiques that attract loads of pedestrian traffic, resulting in prime people-watching opportunities. Grab a latte and a seat outside the green apple-and-ruby red-hued eatery to watch the world go by with Bob Schneider's quirky yet upbeat "Getting Better" as perfectly appropriate background music.
This neighborhood bakery is a favorite gathering spot for light breakfast fare of freshly baked croissants, danishes, bagels, and pastries. Desserts are worthy as well.