Monday, May 19, 2008

Juan in a Million at 2300 East Caesar Chavez Street (East 1st) in East Austin

Who wants to be a Millonair? Yeah, me too. Too bad there is only Juan in a Million who succeed in the restaurant business to this extent. This place qualifies big time due to its namesake and constantly vigilant owner Juan Meza. If you can get past the front counter without a greeting and handshake watch out because Juan will find you before you leave his restaurant. Juan loves people and life making for an excellent attitude that he tries to spread to others. It works, believe me. I like this joint, although it can get mighty crowded on a Saturday morning. It is located East of I-35 on East Caesar Chavez (formerly 1st Street) in Austin Texas, just a short drive from Downtown. It might be a mile or so from the interstate, probably less. You can't miss it and they have a pretty good sized parking lot in the back. The food is cheap, plentiful and most importantly, good. They serve beer, Bloody Mary's and Margaritas. I recommend all three and they can be had at bargain basement prices compared to the rest of the rest of the near downtown areas. East Austin has finally caught on and it's about damn time.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Chuy's in South Austin Texas off of William Cannon Drive

I remember when there was only one Chuy's in the world and its patron saint was Elvis. My what a difference twenty five years makes. These days friggin' Chuy's are all over Austin, Houston and god knows where else. The amazing thing is they each do a great business and serve consistently good food. Every location is a little different but they all follow the same basic theme, shiny car parts, gaudy paint colors and the ever present spirit of the King. Check out the early part of the Happy Hour for cheap drinks and free grub in the bar. It's great while it lasts and it doesn't last long. To get there take MoPac South (Loop 1) and exit at William Cannon Drive. Cross William Cannon and stay on the feeder a little ways and it will appear on the right.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

BJ's Brewhouse in Sunset Valley near Austin

A chain restaurant built with masonite printed to look like brick. They have decent beer and food with lots of parking. It's close to where I live, relatively inexpensive and my buddy claimed it was the best cheeseburger he has ever eaten. Of course that could be due to the two Mexican Martinis and the fact that I was paying. It beats the hell out of Applebee's on the other side of the highway but I'll probably reverse my opinion if I ever get around to adding them to my list of beerjoints, bars and watering holes.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Boomerz in Oak Hill Texas on the Austin City Limit fringes

Boomerz has been there in Oak Hill for a long time. I ignored it for at least a decade before I started stopping in very sporadically, but the first time told me it was a cool and very spacious place. About half of the area is devoted to pool and an air hockey table but there is lots of seating, a decent sized dance floor and stage plus a bar designed to seat about thirty patrons. The service has been quick and friendly every time I have ever been in there and this time the lady tending bar looked at me and said: I had that same T shirt in Black and White. I said really, from Tommy's Drum Shop? She said yeah and I had made a new friend. They have a large parking lot that is shared with some other business but most of them close early. This used to be any easy place to get to, all I had to say was take 290/71 towards Oak Hill. Now there are raised highways and the old highway is now an access road, so get on the access road as you leave Austin and say to hell with the super highway until just before the point where it ends and becomes 290/71 regular again. That's where you'll find Boomerz in the Oak City Shopping Center about a half a mile before 290 and William Cannon Drive.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Hole In The Wall on Guadalupe in Austin

The Hole in the Wall, on the Drag, across from the University of Texas in Austin has been my favorite dive bar in Austin for over twenty five years. I would have said twenty seven years but they closed down for a year or so a good while back. I have seen Rosie Flores and Emmy Lou Harris share the stage in there. I saw Doug Sahm with Jesse Guitar Taylor backing him up, may they rest in peace. They weren't booked to play, they just dropped in and joined the band onstage. I was once in the men's room, taking a leak, when a blind guy with a red tipped white cane came in and locked the door. He offered me a line of cocaine, which I politely refused, then he unlocked the door so I could leave and locked it again as soon as I left. It's the thought that counts. I have hours of sub par video tape of a band called the Nortons that I made in there over a period of many years. Someday I'm going to convert it to DVD. Yeah, someday when I'm not so lazy. About the only major changes to this place have been the removal of a severely smoke stained, scuzzy drop ceiling and worn out astro turf flooring plus the addition of a second bar in the back room. They have shuffleboard and pool tables plus lots of cool memorabilia behind the bar and the tip jar has survived three different owners and at least ten years. They just got some new solid bar stools and they seem to fit my butt better than the old ones did, so you know I'll be going back again soon. Heck, I'd be going back again soon even if they didn't have any bar stools. It's just that kind of place.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Poodie's Hilltop Roadhouse on Hwy 71 in Spicewood. RIP man, we'll all miss you until it is our time.

Poodie's is a country bar just a short trip from the city. It's out there near where Willie lives. It's very much a redneck hippie sort of joint that has live music most nights and they serve food. When I asked the guy behind the bar a the Hole in the Wall if Brooks Brannon was still tending bar he told me yeah: "at Poodie's." I remember Poodie coming into the Hole during Happy Hour on several different occasions. Everybody seemed to know him and I felt that way myself by the third time I sat at the bar with him. It used to be that you could pull into Poodie's parking lot from the top of the hill right before the bar. Now you have to go down the hill a little bit past the bar, make a hard right and go back up the hill on a skinny little driveway. At least there is a string of globe lights down by the road to catch your eye. Of course, in the daytime that's not a problem just be sure to brake in time. Doing a U turn on 71W could end up being mighty tricky if you miss it. It's on the right just past a store that sells Texas themed yard ornaments and metal tables, chairs and pottery from Mexico. If you've never been to Poodie's go check out the stuff at that store then drive down the hill and have cold one while playing some pool or shuffleboard. I don't do reviews but I don't mind saying that I have liked this place just fine, every time I have dropped in. Watch the video and click on their website for more details.