10 Comfort-Food Classics in Austin

From fried chicken to banana splits
October 27, 2014
by Megan Giller

Fried chicken, chili, grilled cheese and banana splits: it may not be the holidays yet, but it’s certainly time to indulge.

Fried Chicken at Lucy’s Fried Chicken  

The brunch item at chef James Holmes’ modern French restaurant was so popular that it now has its own restaurant — two of them, in fact. Tuck into a big bucket of fried chicken with three of your closest friends (or eat it all yourself if you’re a pig like us). We also highly advise prefacing your fried chicken frenzy with a plate of deep-fried deviled eggs. This is one place where the egg should come before the chicken.

Classic With Cheese at Mighty Fine Burgers 

The quarter-pound burger with all the fixin’s took home Austin’s top spot on our recent burger survey, and with good reason. A buttered, griddled bun sandwiches the juicy meat and fresh-sliced lettuce, tomatoes, onions and plenty of pickles. We suggest a shake and fries for the winning trifecta.

Green Chile Pork Mac 'n' Cheese at Roaring Fork  

Baked mac 'n' cheese clearly isn’t enough at this upscale Southwestern spot. No, to make it truly decadent, the restaurant adds juicy hunks of pork and our city’s favorite, green chiles, then tops it with bread crumbs. Perfect for some a winter night or, really, just any night.

Apple Pie at Moonshine  

Southern comfort is this Downtown restaurant’s specialty. After you make your way through the chicken-fried steak or babyback ribs, hunker down for the last round with this individual (yet enormous) apple pie. You may be full, but you won’t be sorry.

Tipsy Texan at Franklin Barbecue

Listen, we live in Texas, which means brisket is breakfast, lunch, dinner, comfort food, sick food, happy food, sad food, really just synonymous with food. Nobody does it better than Aaron Franklin, and he has the lines to prove it. Top yours with sausage, onions and pickles and put it between a buttery bun for the ultimate treat.

Salisbury Steak at Jacoby’s Restaurant and Mercantile  

The new Southern-comfort restaurant rescues Salisbury steak from its sad, school-cafeteria past and fancies it up with veal gravy and buttermilk mashed potatoes. The East Austin spot has already become a classic for its highly designed aesthetic and gorgeous patio, with a store full of adorable vintage home goods next door.

Banana Split at Sway  

Ok, so this isn’t exactly a classic banana split, but more like the most inspired version you’ve ever encountered. Think milk chocolate ice cream, five-spice ice cream and cashew-swirl ice cream topped with black-sesame brownies, candied cashews, coconut-milk jam, drunken cherries, bananas and homemade whipped cream. Once you go Sway, you can’t ever go back.

Fried Catfish at Jack Allen’s Kitchen  

Fried catfish and slaw have been a winning combination ever since the word “y’all” was invented, and chef Jack Gilmore does the plate justice at his farm-to-table comfort-food restaurant. Try the chipotle tartar sauce on the side for a bit of bite.

Habanero Chili at Texas Chili Parlor  

Sometimes comfort food isn’t exactly comfortable, as is the case with this fiery-hot beef-and-pinto-bean chili at the Austin institution. But dang, it tastes good, and besides, all of that pain leads to a killer endorphin rush. Head to the campus-area spot on game day and you’ll get another kind of rush too.

Chicken and Waffles at 24 Diner  

Thick, batter-fried chunks of tender white meat. Big fluffy waffles. And more syrup than you can stand. Plus, you can eat it all day and all night — and anytime in between — at this Clarksville hot spot.

james holmes
jack gilmore
comfort food