Kid-Friendly Restaurants in Austin, Texas

A foodie’s playground, you can throw a rock from just about anywhere in Austin and hit a restaurant worth raving about. And forget four-star restaurants and ambiance, the hands-down best place to eat a meal anywhere in the Lone Star State is under the canopy of a shade tree. Potential grackle droppings aside, the risk of dining in the great outdoors is outweighed by the benefit of fresh air and family bonding.

Driven by hunger and stopping when we felt like it, here’s where we ate some grub on our recent trip to Texas.

Baby Rattler Gourmet Doughnut

Austin Food Carts: Gordough’s | Izzoz Tacos | Dock & Roll Diner

An inexpensive way to both support the local economy and get a feel for a wide-variety of regional food, Austin Food Carts lists food carts, trailers, or  wagons selling “mobile” (er, “to go”) food in Austin proper. Driving into the eclectic South Congress neighborhood for lunch, we barreled on in to a makeshift parking lot near the intersection of Monroe and 1st Streets. The Baby Rattler gourmet doughnut at Gordough’s Specialty Doughnuts, the Escobar at Izzoz Tacos, and the Infidel Castro sandwich at Dock & Roll Diner helped combat a family-wide sugar buzz.

Fried Okra

Uncle Billy’s Brew & Que

In the mood for beer and brisket, Uncle Billy’s Brew and Que came into view like an oasis on the horizon. Occupying an entire picnic table at the Barton Springs location, we ordered a variety of appetizers including fried okra and BBQ sliders. While the kids gobbled up corn dogs with side salads, we collectively put down more water than Shiner Bock, and chased the meal with an frozen dessert, heavy on the shaved ice:

Rainbow Shaved Ice

Snow Beach Hawaiian Shaved Ice

Located at 801 Barton Springs Road, our rental car turned on autopilot into the parking lot behind the Snow Beach Hawaiian Shaved Ice tailor. Edging to the front of a line snaking down the sidewalk, generous scoops of shaved ice were a welcome reprieve from the heat and humidity. Sampling a variety of small-servings (a bargain at $2.50), we enjoyed rainbow, coffee, tutti fruit, chocolate with sprinkles, and sangria. Jalapeno firecracker and tiger’s blood may be regional favorites (?) along with dulce de leche, pomegranate, and kiwi.

About the Author

Julie Henning
Julie Henning is a freelance writer and journalist based out of Eugene, Oregon. She is a member of the Society of American Travel Writers and owner of the family-travel website She is a recent past member of the Midwest Travel Writers Association and the Association for Great Lakes Outdoor Writers. Julie is the Oregon Coast destination specialist for Bindu Media, an itinerary-focused website launching in Spring 2016 and featuring the work of 200+ professional, indie travel writers. Julie has been published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Wisconsin State Journal, The Daily Journal (Kankakee, Illinois), the Rochester Post Bulletin, Wisconsin Natural Resources (DNR) Magazine, Sustainable Chicago Magazine, Group Tour Magazine, Student Group Tour Magazine, Silent Sports Magazine, Intercom Magazine,, and FTF Geocacher Magazine. Julie has appeared on Wisconsin Public Radio, Ohio Public Radio, and KCBX FM Central Coast Radio and is an affiliate producer with the Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, a National Public Radio travel podcast. She has blogged for, Travel Oregon, and VISIT Milwaukee. Julie travels with her three kids and black lab as much as possible and lives by the motto, "Not all who wander are lost." Check out some of her best work at