With origins dating back to around 1840 and a location enclosed, according to the homeowner’s association, within the boundaries of 38th Street, 51st Street, Guadalupe, Duval, andl (north of 45th Street) Red River, the neighborhood is a hodge-podge of sprawling homes and tiny cottages; open-air parks and hole-in-the-wall theaters and galleries; wide, tree-lined streets and narrow alleys. In this one-of-a-kind ‘hood are places to eat well, places to drink well, and—if you can find ‘em—places to live well. That said, here are a few of our favorite ways to live the Hyde Park dream…whether or not you actually live in Hyde Park.
- Contributed by Sam Sumpter -
One of the many excellent dining establishments along Duval, Mother’s has been serving up hearty vegetarian and vegan fare for over three decades. Whether you rip into the award-winning Bueno Burger—which we dubbed one of the five best veggie burgers in Austin—or opt for a big bowl of greens topped with Cashew Tamari (probably the most renowned salad dressing in Austin), you—and even the meat-eaters in your life—are sure to come back for seconds. 4215 Duval St.
This all-around awesome eatery prides itself on three things: handmade food, moderate prices and a casual atmosphere. Opened in 1982 by a UT alum, Hyde Park Bar and Grill offers top-notch versions of standard menu items (including burgers, sandwiches and unbelievable fries) plus less traditional options like steamed dumplings, sweet corn tamales and a fried caper fettuccini. Whatever you order, believe one thing: one bite and you’ll be convinced you’ve found your new favorite restaurant. 4206 Duval St.
If the name Quack’s isn’t endearing enough for you, you’ll be happy to know that the self-proclaimed “first coffeehouse in Austin” was originally dubbed Captain Quackenbushes Intergalactic Dessert Company and Espresso Café years ago when it was located on The Drag. Now the coffee shop and bakery is happily housed in a building in Hyde Park, and serves up espresso and both drip-brewed and French-pressed coffee from locally roasted beans. Oh, and there’s also an astounding array of pastries, desserts and delicacies (including, even, a vegan peanut butter cup) that are impossible to resist. Trust us…we’ve tried. 411 E 43rd St.
You like juice and you like smoothies—we know that. But sometimes you don’t have the time to do your own blending…or the upper-body strength to carry home 100 lbs. of produce. Enter one of the ten JuiceLand locations scattered around Austin. And besides slurp-able goodness and a startling selection of suspiciously healthy snacks, the Hyde Park storefront also houses a vinyl store (Exploded Records) and vegan ice cream parlor (Sweet Ritual) inside. Because it’s about time music, juice and dairy-free delights combine forces. (Come by on your bike to score a 10% discount!) 4500 Duval St.
What, you thought we could just mention a vegan ice cream parlor in passing? Please, let us elaborate: Sweet Ritual boasts 16 flavors of cold, creamy goodness, which can be enjoyed as a thick shake, a decadent sundae (perhaps topped with spoonfuls of vegan cookie dough from local brand Celeste’s Best) or in scoop form within the confines of a crunchy waffle cone. Whichever you order, you better believe the brain freeze is totally worth it. 4500 Duval St.
When it comes to wine, we appreciate both quality and quantity, and Vino Vino comes through on both fronts, with a wide selection of wines that run the gamut in price from I-can-afford-two-bottles-tonight low to I-hope-my-kids-don’t-expect-to-go-to-college high. (Okay, maybe not that high.) The bottom line is that this wine bar boasts plenty of imbibing options, delicious plates to pair with each, and a knowledgeable staff to help guide you on your drinking journey. Hey, we’ll raise a glass to that. 4119 Guadalupe St.
The most unique feature of The Flightpath, one of Austin’s oldest coffeehouses, isn’t something it has, but instead what it doesn’t have: entertainment. But what it lacks in live music, poetry slams and open mic nights, it makes up for with a great patio, moderately priced beer and wine (or, sure, coffee), and a quiet, constructive environment that makes it so popular with both students and the token part of the population still working on their screenplay. 5011 Duval St.
It’s safe to say that most Americans know the Italian language from Alfredo to Ziti…as in, they’ve been to an Olive Garden. And that’s okay, but there’s another Italian phrase that at least the Austinites should consider committing to memory: Dolce Vita—aka the sweet life, or in this case, the name of a little café offering gelato, espresso, sorbet, bites and a full bar. Come by to nibble on a biscotti and sip espresso, European-style, or cure a case of the good ol’ American munchies with a flavorful panini (only five bucks at lunch). If you need us, we’ll probably be there, sipping on the sorbet cocktail they’ve dubbed the Sorberita. We suggest trying all 12. 4222 Duval St.
We sang The Parlor’s praises when we wrote about some of the best places to grab pizza in Austin, and there’s a definite reason for that—namely that they make a pretty damn good pie. Now combine the awesome edible aspects of the establishment with its environment: think pool, pinball machines, a jukebox and a patio offering a prime view of the fitness fiends working out at the gym across the street. If you thought pizza tasted good before, just wait ‘til your washing it down with a cold beer while watching other people suffer through lunges. This is what we call winning. 4301 Guadalupe St.
Also one of our favorite pizza joints, Salvation touts its unique New Haven-style pizza, recognizable by the thin, crispy crust and especially satisfying crunch. Choose from one of their “Top 10” pizzas, which range from extravagant options to high-quality versions of the classics, or experiment and build your own pie with a personalized combination of the 25+ toppings on offer. And in terms of checking out Salvation—now that you’ve got the what, the where, the why and the who (that’s you!)—let us give you the when: now. 624 W. 34th St.
Yet another Hyde Park restaurant that has been feeding the neighborhood since the ‘80s, Julio’s offers fresh Mexican food with specialties including roasted chicken, highly regarded green enchilada, and what they claim is the best soup in town. Start your day off right with a breakfast taco or two, and commence your evening in the form of $2.25 beers and $4.50 house ritas during happy hour (2-6 p.m). Oh, and for the record, said happy hour is best enjoyed on their patio…and we won’t judge you if you stay all four hours. 4230 Duval St,
Another dining spot offering Italian eats in Hyde Park, ASTI serves gourmet-ish cuisine that would be considered full-on gourmet if it wasn’t for the totally reasonable price point. Bring along a lover for a big bowl of pasta (Capellini Neopolitano, perhaps?) and reenact a certain Lady and the Tramp scene; grab some friends and dig into hot and crunch Semolina Fried Calamari before splitting some specialty pizzas; or fly solo and indulge via the Artisanal Cheese Board and an order of Tiramisu or 12. Whatever you get, there’s a definite deliciousness guarantee. 480C E. 43rd St.
If you’re looking for a good sandwich (and, honestly, when are you not?), look no further. The grub at NeWorlDeli is as good as the name is clever, and their motto—Where Bland Is Banned—speaks to the flavor you’ll find in their food. Situated on the border of the neighborhood in a strip called Hyde Park Marketplace, the deli serves up tasty takes on typical deli cuisine like sandwiches, soups, salads and more. Their real claim to fame, however, is the reuben sandwich, which they proudly declare is the best in town. Personally, we recommend you come in and try for yourself. You know…for science. 4101 Guadalupe St.
Known for its friendly atmosphere and neighborhood feel, Hyde Park Gym isn’t a fitness establishment where you have to worry about wearing the latest Lululemon ensemble or only drinking brand-name water. They have the essentials—7500 sq feet of equipment plus classes and personal training options—without the spectacle, and whether you’re a muscle maniac or typically only do curls when dunking Oreos in milk, they’ll make you feel comfortable and help you find a regimen that works. Plus, you can do a seven-day trial for free. It’s one week of your life—what do you have to lose? Except, you know, weight. 4125 Guadalupe St.
Confession: when we were talking about drinking beer at The Parlor and watching people work out, we were talking about the dedicated crew who work out at Dane’s. The trainers—dubbed The Mechanics, in accordance with the body shop theme—head up a variety of programs that include strength, running, yoga, fusion, nutrition coaching and more. Whether your body is completely totaled or you just need a tune up, we suggest you park yourself at Dane’s and get your engine going with an intense sweat session. You can always get pizza at The Parlor afterwards. 4227 Guadalupe St.
If you haven’t heard of Elisabet Ney, you’re probably not alone, but if you’re an appreciator of art, history, or just buildings that kind of resemble castles, this museum is worth a visit. The former studio of Ney, an 18th century sculptor, the building also served as a gathering place for notable Texans where art, politics and philosophy were discussed. After Ney’s death in 1907, the studio and it contents were preserved, and now the museum is open and available for the public to enjoy—over 100 years later. 304 E. 44th St.
Sometimes you need to broaden your horizons with an unusual hobby…and sometimes you’re in dire need of some stained glass to achieve that cathedral-esque look you’re going for. We’re not a big fan of clichés, but in this scenario, you can easily kill two birds with one stone via a class at Blue Moon Glassworks. Get your creative juices flowing and try your hand at stained glass, flameworking, glass fusing, jewelry making, or even photography. If nothing else, you’ll have learned something …and it’ll give you an interesting hobby to add to your match.com profile. 108 W. 43rd St.
A night at the theatre doesn’t have to be a hoity-toity event involving fancy attire and expensive drinks. Instead, enjoy Austin’s alternative theatre scene—and some of the city’s undercover talent—by catching a show at this hidden gem. Hyde Park Theatre seeks to develop local writers, directors, actors and designers within the community, and if you’re interested in a low-key evening enjoying some onstage art by fellow Austinites, there’s no better place to do it. 511 W. 43rd St.
When people camp out in a long, winding line along the sidewalk of Guadalupe near 41st Street, it can only be for one reason: to get their hands on one of Mondo’s exclusive prints. Mondo poster collecting is a phenomenon that borders on obsession for many collectors, and the shows at the gallery—which was started by the Alamo Drafthouse’s founders as a t-shirt shop before expanding just like the theater did—often inspire Mondo fanatics to wait in line for hours for the chance to snag a limited-edition poster. And while it may seem crazy, whether you understand the cult phenomenon or not, it’s definitely worth checking out the hype…but maybe on a day where there’s not a seven-hour line. 4115 Guadalupe St.
Open since 1909, the small, white ramshackle building known as Avenue B Grocery & Market is likely the oldest grocery store in Austin. And while there certainly is an interesting variety of grocery items lining the shelves, ensuring there’s some truth in the name, the main highlight is actually the deli. From a small window in the back of the store, owner Ross Mason serves up homemade soups, brownies and sandwiches—including the popular veggie “Queen B” and the meat-and-cheese-packed “King Combo”—which all serve to lure in a serious lunchtime crowd. 4403 Avenue B
While the awning of this neighborhood favorite—which, given its associated Shell station, could almost be considered an upscale convenience store—may say Hyde Park Market, Deli & Organic Grocery, to those in the know, it’s simply The Flag Store. And while flags adorn the outside of the building, the surprisingly spacious inside is a maze of twisting, turning aisles stocked with a fascinating selection of atypical, outside-the-box beers (typically sold by the bottle), specialty groceries, and unusual snacks (crickets, anyone?) that make every trip there an interesting experience. 4429 Duval St.
Not to be cheesy, but we love Antonelli’s…dairy, dairy much. (Sorry—it’s out of our system, swear.) If you’re looking for a place where you can buy high-quality, artisanal cheese from experts with a passion for their product, you’ve found it. Before opening up their shop, John and Kendall Antonelli ran a cheese club out of their house, attended cheese conferences and even went to cheese bootcamps. (No word on what that entails.) The resulting store—open since 2004—is a true passion project and labor of love where you’ll find a staggering selection of not only the telltale product, but of charcuterie, olives, chocolate, wine and beer as well. And the best part? They’re big supporters of taste testing, meaning you know that you’ll love what you’re ordering before they, shall we say, cut the cheese. 4220 Duval St.
One of the oldest grocery stores in Austin, Fresh Plus opened in 1927 and has been serving the ‘hood for 80+ years now. Located in three locations around Austin, Fresh Plus boasts quite a few beer options and, food-wise, a mixture of big-name brands and more unique, niche items. Simply put, as they say it on their site: you can get your Frosted Flakes and your gluten-free snacks in the same place. Now that’s one-stop shopping if we’ve ever seen it. 408 E. 43rd St.
Conveniences stores always seem...well, convenient, but at Wok ‘N Express, they’ve really upped the ante by adding in a small Chinese restaurant inside. Stop by and soon you’ll find yourself digging into deliciously greasy specials like General Tso Chicken, Combination Fried Rice and Salt and Pepper Shrimp—all of which totally put typical convenience store snacks to shame. 4413 Guadalupe St.
While there are several park-like areas—better defined, perhaps, as places where you can sit on a bench in a grassy area and enjoy the outdoors without a skyscraper in sight—in Hyde Park and the nearby North Campus vicinity, this one takes the cake with its trees, pool, tennis and basketball courts, and playground equipment. If you want to feel like a kid again (or spend some time with your own kids), it doesn’t get much better than Shipe. 4400 Avenue G
With a history dating back to 1899, when it was founded by the former mayor of Austin (Lewis Hancock Jr. himself), the beautiful Hancock Golf Course is one of the oldest courses in Texas. What was originally an 18-hole course spread out over the rolling green hills has over the years been simplified down to a par-35 nine-hole course that runs along Waller Creek and is open to the public. Personally, we’ll take tee time over tea time any day. 811 E. 41st St.