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Places to eat in Austin, TX

If you are in the Austin area and have absolutely no idea where to eat, or even where to start looking, here are 13 amazing places, most of which have outward sustainability missions, that you should choose from. 


The Butterfly Bar

The Butterfly Bar is a beautiful outdoor butterfly sanctuary that is owned by The VORTEX, which is a non-profit live theater venue. Like their owners, the Butterfly Bar is also a non-profit organization, and any profit they make supports the performing artist of the night. With the outdoor garden, they uphold a zero waste policy with recycling and composting, which is great for the environment. Open 7 nights a week, you can enjoy live music from both inside and outside. If you are a cat person you are in for a treat, the famous Radius, Elmire, and Smokey are likely to be spotted during your time there, but Radius is suggested to be admired from a distance due to his old age. Overall the natural environment is a great place to enjoy music and butterflies and is additionally beneficial for our environment.

 

Mr. Naturals

Mr. Naturals has been a family-owned business since 1988. One of their founding ideas is that “good nutrients start at the dining table.” Everything is made in-house and based on their vegan and vegetarian cooking classes. Along with their variety of food choices, they also spread their good nutrient knowledge through health fairs, radio shows, and TV broadcasts. From their gluten-free options to their passion for vegan and vegetarian foods, there is something for everyone at Mr. Naturals. 


Sap Thai

While Sai Thai isn’t necessarily in-your-face sustainable, they still make sustainability efforts such as making their Ver Fine Thai Cuisine with fresh herbs and high-quality ingredients, and it just happens to be my favorite restaurant in Austin. Even better, if you have a large group, this amazing restaurant is friendly for all age groups. Some local favorites include pad see ew, crab fried rice, noodle soup and stir fry, but personally, I think their green beans are the best in town. Additionally, all entrees are made with low-fat and gluten-free ingredients making the restaurant both sustainable and healthy. Sai Thai is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day, so swing by and try it out! If you think Sai Thai is not the place for you, try Sway Thai, another chain, that is more upfront about their sustainability efforts! 


Casa De Luz

Casa de Luz is a huge staple of the plant-based and planet-loving community in Austin. We’ll first start with the organic nutrition options that come completely fertilizer-free and void of any pesticides and artificial agents within the plates. Next moving onto the numerous vegan options that ensure customer's food is free of any animal products, in addition to the various gluten-free, refined oil-free, and refined sugar-free options for community members. Not only does Casa de Luz offer numerous nutritional options, but they additionally offer meeting spaces for both small and large events, conference spaces, and workshop rooms open to the public. They also hold their own classes, workshops, meetings, one-on-one sessions, seminars, counseling, and coaching specifically targeted at supporting the mind, spirit, and heart. With this being said, Casa de Luz offers many diverse aspects to community members and tourists alike, so if you’re looking for a sustainable yet diverse place to visit, Casa de Luz is the place for you. 


Arlo's

Look in any direction in the Austin area and your eyes will likely land upon a food truck of some sort, but Arlo’s is by far one of the best food trucks that the Austin area has to offer, and can you really say you’ve been to Austin if you haven’t eaten from a food truck? Arlo’s by far has the best scratch, plant-based burger that you will EVER find, but if that doesn’t convince you, Arlo’s supports all local, organic, and non-GMO products clearly outlining their beliefs and sustainability efforts. In addition, if you’re looking for a fun nightlife scene, Arlo’s is definitely the place for you.


Local Foods

Rooted in creating foods that stem from the ingredients of local businesses, Local Food’s on 2nd Street is one of the best restaurants you could choose to visit in Austin. These fresh, hyper-seasonal, and delicious ingredients tend to come from family-owned farms and artisanal purveyors, ultimately attempting to avoid frozen or processed foods being used in the facility. To add to the already amazing values of the company, Local Foods gives back to the community by donating food, money, and a generous amount of time to local non-profit organizations. With completely natural-based food and values set on giving back to the community, Local Foods should definitely rank high on your “to visit” list. 


Emmer & Rye

Emmer & Rye is a farm-based restaurant that focuses on solely reducing carbon emissions in the Austin area. The company believes that by working to reduce emissions, residents of the Austin area will no longer be at risk of elevated blood pressure and increased heart rate. The company is so dedicated to reducing emissions that they have partnered with “Zero Footprint” to help reduce the carbon emissions in their products in order to ultimately lead customers to have a healthier cardiac and respiratory system. Emmer & Rye stated that their goal is to create safe places for people to share food, drinks, and warm hospitality. They additionally work to create spaces that will “provide high-quality opportunities for hospitality professionals to grow within their careers and showcase pathways toward sustainable practice.” If you are looking to enjoy a delicious meal in a warm and comfortable environment, Emmer & Rye is the place for you.  


Vinaigrette

Vinaigrette or the “happy greenhouse for humans” is one of the most beautiful, nature-filled restaurants in the Austin area. The company took the liberty of planting 7 trees, 50 perennials, and over 1,000 plugs of native grasses and sedges in order to create what Austin residents see as one of the most naturally beautiful places to visit for a good sight and meal. What adds to the amazing scenery is the bright green tiled wall that reflects that of the natural world surrounding the restaurant, the sustainably harvested wood flooring, and the custom-made galvanized windows that run from floor to ceiling. Aside from the scenery, Vinaigrette also has a delicious everyday menu in addition to its drink menu and brunch menu (exclusive to Saturdays and Sundays). The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. 7 days a week and on Saturdays and Sundays, brunch is served from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. So if you want to dine in, take out, make a reservation, or even just find an adorable photo op, Vinaigrette should land a spot at the top of your list. 


Eden East

Eden East is an amazing local farm stand and market with very high-quality products. While this is without a doubt a place that you should visit, make sure to plan carefully as their hours are very minimal. They are only open three days a week: Wednesday from 4-9 and Friday-Saturday from 9-1. The stand has partnered with many local restaurants and takes pride in serving seasonal vegetables, preserved items, eggs, herbs, meats, and more to match each of the four seasons. In addition, the beautiful area is open for both farm tours and for rent for both community and educational events. Whether you are looking for some wonderful products or a tour of the beautiful farm, definitely plan to stop by Eden East. 


The Beer Plant

The Beer Plant, though sounding a little intense is an amazing place to visit while in the Austin area while also serving as the first-ever fully vegan pub. The infamous restaurant has a fully plant-based menu that additionally includes a daily special that is guaranteed to wow you every time. And if you think their daily specials are bomb, plan to make a stop for their weekend brunches on Saturday and Sunday where they offer some of the best pancakes the area has to offer. Additionally, within the past couple of months, they have added numerous gluten-free options to their menus for all of you gluten-free lovers out there. Now, while the pub is named the Beer Plant, they do offer more alcoholic beverages such as wine and cocktails while also highly valuing healthy drinking, so if you need to relax with a drink or stop for an amazing bite to eat, make sure to stop by the Beer Plant. 


Citizen Eatery

Citizen Eatery is a healthy-conscious cafe in the Austin area that has numerous upsides to its missions and facility. Their first is the free and easy parking they offer as opposed to almost every other place in the area. Next up is their 100% meat-free menu with all-day breakfast options that will change your life. Not to mention happy hour from 4-6 p.m. served Monday-Friday. If all of this wows you enough, you can even make a stop at the Citizen Eatery store where all customers can shop for Citizen merch. If this sounds intriguing to you make sure to put this on your itinerary. 


Conscious Cravings

Once again, is Austin Austin without food trucks? Absolutely not. In addition to Arlo’s, Conscious Cravings is yet another amazing staple food truck in Austin. Not only is it super affordable and convenient but they also serve very healthy meals and snacks such as vegan wraps, salads, and smoothies. The food truck can also be found in two different locations: Springdale Food Park and Muller Lake Food Park. The truck sells delicious lunch and dinner and could not be a better place to visit while in the area. 


Dorothy's

While Dorothy’s does not have an outward-facing mission on sustainability, the Mexican restaurant is Latin and LGBTQIA+ owned and cute as hell! The restaurant’s mission is to remain queer-friendly, inclusive, and community-forward, and so far they have managed to do just that. Additionally, Dorothy’s also contains a free library and community area for people of all races, genders, and ages. While it may sound like this adorable place could not get any better, IT CAN! Dorothy’s not only produces amazing food and environments but is also dedicated to hosting community events such as trivia, karaoke, and dance classes while also wanting to expand into more horizons such as movie and paint nights and craft evenings. If you ever feel like you need a place to go with no questions asked or judgment passed, always feel free to stop by Dorothy’s, a judgment-free zone where you can get some bomb Mexican food while always being accepted. 



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