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Fearless Critic restaurant review
American, Burgers
Casual restaurant

Daily 8:00am–4:00pm

Features Outdoor dining, veg-friendly
Bar Beer
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Not accepted


House Park Area
626 N. Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX
(512) 708-8800
Counter Café
An ingredient-conscious diner with one hell of a grill line

Think your job is hard? Try working the grill at Counter Café, in a space one-torso wide, the row of tickets never shrinking, people murmuring their perceptions of your work from the counter behind you, and a dozen patties, hanger steaks, and buns—whose color you must constantly monitor—spitting at you from a murderously hot griddle.

It’s this constant hiss and hum we love best about classic dinettes, and this one serves up one of the city’s best, beefiest burgers, with exquisitely toasted-bun crunch; Sloppy Joes, when on the specials board, have achieved the sort of maturity and depth that you’d never expect from a ketchupy personality (especially with pickles and onions); and eggs Benedict are an object lesson in poaching perfection, with just the right amount of hollandaise. So what if potatoes and fries sit in out a little too long before hitting your plate? You don’t have room for those, anyway. Salads and daily changing soups are always reliable, and all ingredients (local and organic “wherever possible”) taste high quality; not what you’d expect from a greasy spoon.

Mimosas and low-alcohol Bloodys make this an ideal brunch option (although the coffee still tastes like burner), and if the line outside looks long, fear not: the friendly waitstaff turns and burns ’em. If you can, sit at the counter, and thank your cook.

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