Austin’s Hidden Neighborhood Gems
Where to find vintage vinyl, collectible books, tasty bread, beer and more
By David Clough
Ryan Goebel became enamored with bread while touring as a musician. “I started baking in my free time and fell in love with the process of making sourdough—it’s a beautiful blend of art and science,” says Goebel, owner of ThoroughBread. Soon Goebel turned his attention to bread-making full time, opening his Zilker neighborhood bakery in November 2018. ThoroughBread quickly became a local hot spot for fresh bread, cookies and “Burridoughs”—a breakfast burrito made with a flaky, bready wrapping rather than a tortilla. “We’re proud of our entire menu,” says Goebel. “The items that I tend to gravitate towards are the banana-Nutella cookie; the white sourdough; and the brisket, egg and cheese Burridough—we switched to using Terry Black’s brisket last year and they are so much better now. They make killer brisket.”
thoroughbreadatx.com | 1709 Bluebonnet Ln., Austin, TX 78704
A retro-inspired cafe, restaurant and bar, Kinda Tropical is a Govalle neighborhood chimera beloved for its coffee, cocktails and savory bites. The restaurant says it’s been improving its food menu over the past few years. “We’ve been around since 2016 but did some restructuring in 2019 and are the new and improved Kinda Tropical now,” says Courtney Goforth, director of marketing for Kinda Tropical. “A very popular item from our food menu are our Cuban yucca fries. They are served with a jalapeño-avocado dip and [are] so crunchy and delicious—they’re also vegan.” Kinda Tropical’s cocktails and margaritas are best enjoyed outside on the restaurant’s abundant patio space. “Our mezcal paloma is great—it’s got a smoky mezcal finish that goes with the tartness of the grapefruit, and it’s so refreshing,” says Goforth. “We also have two frozen cocktails, piña colada and mango margarita. We’re adding two more machines that will have new flavors. All of our frozen drinks are made with puréed real, fresh fruit.”
kindatropical.com | 3501 E 7th St., Austin, TX 78702
Living In Stereo is more than a cool hangout spot to shop for vintage vinyl. Brothers Enzo and Robert Johnson created their music store out of a love for Austin’s eclectic character. “We decided to open Living In Stereo to share our passion and love of music, vinyl records, guitars, midcentury-modern furniture and art,” says Enzo. “We wanted to give people a place that we felt really reflected the uniqueness and true vibe, attitude and character of Austin.” Located in South Austin, Living In Stereo features a full espresso bar with to-go coffee, made with locally roasted beans from El Tigre Coffee—the perfect pick-me-up when you’re browsing bins of vinyl records and shelves of turntables and audio equipment. “We also carry vintage stereo consoles that we retrofit with better components, guitars, furniture, locally crafted custom neon signs, collectible movie and music posters, incense, candles and other home goods,” says Enzo.
livinginstereoatx.com | 4361 S Congress Ave. Unit 107, Austin, TX 78745
After years of selling collectible books online, Sheri Tornatore decided to open up her own bookstore in the summer of 2011. “I missed the dynamic of an open shop—hand-selling my favorites, meeting like-minded bibliophiles and newcomers to collecting,” says Tornatore, owner of South Congress Books. Her store offers a wide selection of used, rare and vintage books, including signed editions by famous authors. “The vibe of South Congress Avenue in those days was still a little scrappy, and we felt that a small store with high-quality, hand-picked used and collectible books would not just fit in but actually add something to the culture of the neighborhood.” Ten years later, Tornatore’s bookshop is still elevating South Austin. “It’s my dream to be able to open my door and share what I find interesting with other people,” Tornatore says.
southcongressbooks.com | 1608 S Congress Ave., Austin, TX 78704
“Every week we’re adding 10 to 25 new beers,” says WhichCraft Tap Room & Bottle Shop general manager Justin Jacobson. Located next to Italian eatery L’Oca d’Oro on Simond Avenue, the Mueller watering hole showcases a cornucopia of craft beers, wine and coffee, with a rotating selection of brews in bottles and on draft. “We have 30 draft lines—27 are for beer; three are for wine. We probably have over 1,000 unique beers in our inventory altogether,” Jacobson says, adding that the craft beer store has a dedicated following because of its unmatched variety of beer options. “It’s the depth and breadth of our beer selection that keeps customers coming back.”
whichcraft.com | 1900 Simond Ave. #200, Austin, TX 78723
This isn’t your average convenience store: A combination organic grocery and gas station with a wide selection of beer, wine, tools, hardware and household goods, Hyde Park Market, a.k.a. “the Flag Store,” is a sought-after one-stop shop that seems to have a little bit of everything. Highlights include international candies, interesting ice cream flavors and hundreds of beer brands. Located on Duval Street next to the Shell gas station, the Flag Store gets its name from the bevy of international flags waving outside the entrance. And of course, those flags are available to purchase inside. Hyde Park Market says it has flags for sale representing every country and U.S. state, along with vintage and current military flags, university flags and more.
4429 Duval St., Austin, TX 78751
You don’t need to be a cigar connoisseur to feel welcome at Habana House South, a comfy lounge and retail shop off South Congress Avenue. Men and women are relaxing in leather chairs and puffing on high-end cigars; a state-of-the-art air-filtration system on the ceiling pulls smoke away from the laughter and conversation. “Customer service is our number-one priority,” says manager Daniel Rhodes. Both newbies and aficionados are treated with equal care and respect by the knowledgeable staff. You might need some help, too—inside the humidor there are hundreds of cigar brands to choose from. “As one of the largest humidors in Central Texas, your options from the classics to the new discoveries are all here,” says Rhodes.
habanahousecigarlounge.com/south-lounge | 3601 S Congress Ave. Suite K300-A, Austin, TX 78704
When you combine Austin’s favorite food and drink and add an alfresco dining space with an enclosed yard for kids to play in, you get Littlefield’s Tacos + Coffee. Located in the Tarrytown neighborhood, Littlefield’s serves up menu items from both Veracruz All Natural (think tacos, fresh juices and smoothies) and Medici Roasting (coffee, espresso and pastries). The outdoor area is spacious, with bar seating, picnic tables and a small field shaded by oak trees. Littlefield’s Tacos + Coffee is named after the property’s previous owner, Clyde Littlefield, a former football coach at the University of Texas.