10 Local Chains We Love in Austin

By Megan Giller  |  January 20, 2014

Austin is all about keeping it local, which often translates to a hatred of chain restaurants. Luckily, our fair city has its share of local restaurants with more than one location, making good eats more convenient and accessible. From places to eat pancakes and breakfast tacos to late-night burgers, here are 10 Austin chains that we can’t get enough of.

  • Torchy’s Tacos

    It’s the quintessential Austin success story: start in a trailer and over the years expand to dozens of locations around town, and even other Texas cities. Probably has something to do with the amazing queso and blow-your-mind big tacos.

  • Tiff’s Treats

    This business started as an idea 15 years ago between two UT students. Warm, just-baked cookies plus delivery service equal a solid business plan, especially to the campus and fun-loving community. Old Austinites will remember that they used to be called Tiffany’s Treats, until Tiffany the jeweler protested. We can see how someone might confuse these cookies with couture jewelry.

  • Credit: Flickr/milksss

    P. Terry’s

    A fast-food restaurant that's anti-fast food. Owner Patrick Terry hit on a solid concept when he paired fast-food burgers with all-natural ingredients and a hip design from Michael Hsu. Austin responded with much love for the burgers, fries and even cookies.

  • Kerbey Lane Café

    Pancakes! Whether you're on campus, down south or in Rosedale, and whether it’s 3 AM or 3 PM, there’s a stack of gingerbread pancakes with extra butter waiting for you. Or if you’re not in the mood for pure carbs (who are you?), Kerbey Lane has you covered with queso, enchiladas, salads and more.

  • Tacodeli 

    An Austinite’s schedule: Monday through Friday, hit up Tacodeli on the way to work to pick up a migas taco or the Popeye with sautéed spinach, scrambled egg and queso fresco. Saturday and Sunday, wake up late, then head to Tacodeli for a Frontera Fundido (sirloin with Monterey Jack cheese and sautéed poblanos and onion) and a couple of build-your-owns topped with doña sauce. That’s the life.

  • Hopdoddy

    The long lines that often wrap around blocks of South Congress prove how much Austinites love the crafted, all-natural burgers at this restaurant. We like the unusual ones like the lamb burger with feta and tzatziki almost as much as a good old-fashioned cheeseburger. Also don’t miss the thin, seasoned fries and to-die-for milkshakes.

  • Chuy’s

    This Austin chain has even been feeling some national love lately, with locations as varied as Arkansas, Kentucky and Kansas. And we know why. The tortilla soup is spicy and hearty, the steak burritos a monster meal, and the margaritas famous. Pro tip: hit up the bar during the day for a margarita and free access to the most extensive nacho bar we’ve ever laid eyes on.

  • Verts

    There aren’t so many Mediterranean options in the ATX, so thank goodness for Verts. Like Tiff’s Treats, the doner kebab shop started with UT students with savvy business minds. It’s quickly taken over the city with its Berlin street-food-inspired fare.

  • Juiceland 

    The juice and smoothie king just opened its seventh location last week in Lakeway, which will serve as a store as well as a juice cleanse pick-up center. The mini-chain’s enthusiasm for local, organic produce as well as juices and smoothies loaded with ingredients (bee pollen, spirulina, kale) means Austinites are willing to wait an extra-long time for their professional smoothie maker to deliver the goods to the pick-up window.

  • East Side King

    We dare you to dislike what chef Paul Qui does with Brussels sprouts (fries ‘em and coats them in sweet-spicy Thai sauce with fresh herbs) and beets (again, deep-fries ‘em). Whether you hit up the original trailer behind the Liberty bar, one of the other trailers on East Sixth, the brick-and-mortar at Hole in the Wall or the new stand-alone brick-and-mortar spot on South Lamar, there’s some excellent Asian fusion waiting for you.