Feature

10 Reasons to Drive to Georgetown

By Veronica Meewes  |  November 29, 2016
Credit: Anna Mazurek

At first glance, Georgetown looks like another charming Texas town square, with four lengths of preserved Victorian-era storefronts facing Williamson County's courthouse in the middle. But there's more than meets the eye to this quaint Texas town, located just 30 minutes north of Austin. For one, it is home to Southwestern — the oldest university in Texas — but also the second city in the U.S. to use 100% renewable energy. This theme of old-meets-new can also describe the town's food scene, which is evolving while keeping an eye to the past. Below, find 10 spots to check out when you make the drive to Georgetown.

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  • Credit: The Hollow

    The Hollow
    At this French-inspired brasserie in a historic building on the square, chef Jacob Hilbert tells a story using mainly local ingredients and unbridled creativity. Find colorful, brilliantly inspired dishes like Loch Duarte salmon (pictured) with fried olive and lemon vinaigrette or a lamb and autumn vegetables salad. A three-"chapter" dinner costs $45 (with optional "prologues" and "epilogues"), and there's a bar menu of refined snacks (paillard of beef, snails with Roquefort) designed to accompany the craft cocktail program. 

    708 S. Austin Ave.; 512-868-3300

  • Credit: Veronica Meewes

    Eats on 8th
    ​This farm-to-table restaurant is set in a renovated house just off the square, where the atmosphere is as welcoming as the menu's Southern comfort cuisine. For lunch, expect hearty sandwich offerings like the Half Judge (chicken fried tenderloin on rye with Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Russian dressing) while dinner features more refined dishes like seared duck on a bed of kale and carrots. For brunch, classics like eggs Florentine and biscuits doused with gravy meet flavor-packed creations like chorizo hash topped with poached farm eggs.

    204 E. 8th St.; 512-869-3200

  • Credit: Monument Cafe

    Monument Cafe
    Since 1995, this local staple has been serving Georgetown roadside diner fare made with local, organic ingredients. Pull up a seat at the lengthy counter, or settle into the roomy dining room, to enjoy classics like huevos rancheros and omelets for breakfast; burgers and turkey BLTs for lunch; and blue plate–inspired dinner entrees like fried chicken, grilled rib-eye, and liver and onions. Most importantly, don't leave without experiencing towering slices of the diner's famed pies: classic coconut or chocolate cream with a pecan crust.

    500 S. Austin Ave.; 512- 930-9586

  • Credit: El Monumento

    El Monumento
    ​This spacious and lively restaurant serves Mexican and South Texas cuisine and features a wraparound mesquite bar overlooking the banks of the San Gabriel River. Each dish is made with fresh local produce and protein, from signature items like the rotisserie chicken and green chile pork stew to the camaron relleno (pictured), a roasted poblano stuffed with Gulf shrimp. Be sure to visit El Bar, which serves craft cocktails made with housemade syrups and fresh-squeezed juices — plus frozen drinks poured atop Japanese-style shaved ice.

    205 2nd St.; 512- 591-7866

  • Credit: Veronica Meewes

    Sweet Lemon Inn
    This cozy bed and breakfast, tucked away in a converted house just steps from the town square, just launched its cafe this past spring, so now both guests and daytime visitors can enjoy owner Rachel Cummins' fresh-baked kolaches, scones and coffee cakes plus pressed sandwiches (chimichurri steak and portobello goat cheese are favorites), fresh and simple salads, and classic desserts like Mississippi mud pie, strawberry shortcake and lemon thumbprint cookies.

    812 S. Church St.; 512-270-0812

  • Credit: Anna Mazurek

    Gumbo's North
    This lively restaurant on the square specializes in homestyle Creole and Cajun cuisine. Expect classics including gumbo, étouffée, muffalettas, po' boys and seafood combinations like the shrimp and crawfish stuffed trout (pictured) as well as a menu of signature blackened Angus steak tenderloin variations (pictured at top of story). There's also a bustling bar area that often features live music. In a rush for lunch? An express menu means you'll be in and out in 20 minutes or less.

    701 S. Main St.; 512-943-4214

  • Credit: Rentsch Brewery/Facebook

    Rentsch Brewery
    This summer, Georgetown's first brewery celebrated its one year anniversary by tripling its building footprint. On the menu, you'll find old-world German craft brews with new-world American twists and plenty of rotating seasonal brews — think weizenbock, hefeweizen, blonde and IPA, plus a radler made with local lemonade. Open on Fridays and Saturdays, the taproom has plenty of board games, often hosts live music, and you'll find rotating eats from guest food trucks like Wild West Franks, Locals Neighborhood Grub or Taqueria Jaguar.

    2500 NE Inner Loop; 512-688-5046

  • Credit: Wildfire/Facebook

    Wildfire
    Located in two historic buildings just a stone's throw from the center of town, Wildfire features a diverse menu spanning Southern comfort (chicken and dumplings, pot roast), Tex-Mex (enchiladas, tacos) and Cajun (shrimp and grits, blackened seafood). The famed Sunday champagne brunch begins with a complimentary white chocolate raspberry scone and fruit plate, followed by your choice from a menu of skillet creations, Benedict offerings and indulgences like almond crunch French toast with vanilla bean maple syrup.

    812 S. Austin Ave.; 512-869-3473

  • Credit: Anna Mazurek

    Scott's Oyster Bar
    Scott's has been providing Georgetown with fresh seafood in a laid-back setting since 1989. Kick back on the patio or grab a seat inside the friendly neighborhood spot to enjoy oysters on the half shell, peel-and-eat shrimp, po' boys, fried seafood baskets, "landlocked" offerings like sliders and wings, and entrees including blackened redfish and The Cajun Bowl (crab legs, shrimp, sausage, corn and red potatoes, dusted with Cajun seasoning and served with butter and cocktail sauce). 

    103 N. Austin Ave #105; 512-688-5013

  • Credit: Veronica Meewes

    600 Degrees Pizzeria
    The newest addition to Georgetown's food scene is this popular pizzeria specializing in New York–style pies made with California-style toppings. Choose from over 50 taps of craft beer to accompany your pie or giant slice, both of which can be customized with an arsenal of creative cheeses, veggies and proteins. Overwhelmed by the choices? Opt for the Baker's Choice: The chefs will create a specialty pie or slice around your preferences and dietary needs.

     124 E. 8th St.; 512-943-9272