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AUSTIN’S BEST HEALTHY BRUNCH SPOTS

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Kelly Weimert

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Austin will always be the breakfast taco capitol, with mimosas, syrupy french toast, and cheesy grits worth an honorable mention. But as of late, it has been refreshing to see more restaurants serving up healthy spins on our favorite brunch classics.

We're talking dishes made with fresh, organic, locally-sourced ingredients, vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options, and a whole lot of flavor. Ready to explore Austin's healthy brunch scene by way of your taste buds? We've got the lowdown on all the must-try spots.

This swanky all-day cafe is set up in the elegant South Congress Hotel and serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner creations that are to die for. But what you don't want to sleep on is their brunch menu. The best part? You won't have to wait until Sunday to indulge. Stop by any day of the week for delicious, good-for-you dishes made with fresh, seasonal ingredients. Think quinoa bowls, smoked salmon croissants, and oatmeal hotcakes with gluten-free oat batter and peach thyme compote. Fitt Tip: sub out your typical mimosa for a glass of the Café No Sé All Day Rosé. You can thank us later.

Definitely a favorite among northern Austinites, The Steeping Room on N. Lamar has plenty of gluten-free and vegan varieties to choose from like the Smoky Quinoa Bowl, which is both! But you also can't go wrong with the Gravlax and Latkes that are super popular for a reason: jasmine tea-cured Atlantic salmon served on potato pancakes? Yes, please. Though, if you’re craving something on the sweet side, the Organic Oatmeal and Banana Brulée is beyond satisfying. If you just can’t decide what you’re in the mood for, then the loaded Breakfast Bowl with black beans, potatoes, and vegan cashew sauce will surely give you everything you need. And, of course, there’s also tea from nearly every region to go along with whatever you're brunching on.

If novels are your thing, you should check out the Snooze menu — or menus (plural!). They have a whole section for just eggs, and it has 10 different plates. All jokes aside, this spot with locations on both North and South Lamar has everything you could possibly want for brunch, and then some. Some of their best light recipes include the BRAVOcado Toast with red onion honey jam, the sweet potato hash, and the egg white frittata. Need a pancake done gluten-free? No problem at all. They’re also committed to giving back to the community and pride themselves on creating a business focused on sustainability. What’s not to love?

No list of healthy delights is complete without this South Austin staple. Bouldin Creek Cafe is a vegetarian (and mostly vegan) treasure nestled just far enough from downtown to avoid long wait times, while still being a stone’s throw away from post-brunch paddleboarding on Lady Bird Lake. Kickstart your day with a little Southwestern flare and order up their killer Zucchini & Cheese Migas that can be made with scrambled eggs or tofu, the Tamale Breakfast, or, get your entire day’s worth of vegetables in by ordering the Veggie Royale sandwich with a house-made veggie burger, lettuce, red onion, local tomatoes, and chipotle-pecan pesto or basil aioli. Whatever you do, though, do not forget to treat yourself to the vegan blueberry cornbread.

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Picnik

Restaurant

If a sans gluten brunch is what you're after, this Austin-based hot spot fits the bill — their menu is entirely gluten-, corn-, peanut-, and soy-free. Priding themselves on serving only real food made with the best ingredients (that means no preservatives or anything artificial), Picnik on Burnet Rd., South Lamar, and East Cesar Chavez serves up craveable dishes like the Meatlovers breakfast taco and Superfood Muesli packed with all sorts of fruit varieties. Plus, you can count on lots of butter coffee options (they’re the butter coffee connoisseurs around here), and a Gold Matcha Latte that is incredible.

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Cenote

Restaurant

French pressed coffee in a circa 1887 house is an interesting way to start the day, but that's exactly what you can expect from Cenote's East Austin locale. This spot has all of the city’s Sunday brunch favorites—like migas, fish tacos, and fried chicken—just with a health-forward twist. Even better, every ingredient used to make these amazing meals is selected with care. You’ve got local veggies from many Texas farms, pasture-raised eggs from Vital Farms, and bacon from Flying Pig Provisions, too. Bonus: they have gluten-free bread and tortilla options. Their second location on Cameron Rd., but you can only find brunch vibes at their original digs.

Imagine a gastropub with all your favorite beers on tap. Now imagine it with a plant-based menu. The catch? You don’t need to dream — it’s real. Introducing to The Beer Plant on Windsor Rd., the first vegan gastropub in Austin! Stop by on Saturday and Sunday morning for brunch creations like smoked Carrot Lox, a tofu scramble skillet with crimping mushrooms, hash browns, and sourdough bread, plus chicken and waffles featuring chicken-fried seitan, buffalo sauce, and maple syrup. Needless to say, these guys are well worth the hype.

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Paperboy

Restaurant

Healthy and fast — not two things that usually are associated with each other. However, Paperboy is changing that with their food truck brunch. They've got two mobile eateries, one on E. 12th St. and one at Merit Coffee on South Lamar, both serving up a seasonal menu featuring quality ingredients, plus sauces, juices, and preserves that are made in-house. Not only that, all of their produce and dairy is sourced from local farms. Fitt Tip: word on the street is Paperboy is planning to open its first brick-and-mortar on E. 11th St. (where it's first truck first sat). The new digs is slated to open in fall 2019 and will have indoor and outdoor seating, a rooftop patio and garden, and grab-and-go window.

Blue Dahlia is one of the best cafe-bistros in Austin. Consider it your go-to for fresh, simple, and organic salads, sandwiches, and cheese boards that put all others to shame. They also serve breakfast all day (always bonus points in our book), which makes brunch a lot less stressful. Sit on the patio and people-watch at either their East 11th location or the Westlake shop. Both are quirky, reasonably priced, and always deliver healthy, delicious meals crafted with locally-sourced ingredients. Fitt Tip: their house-made basil walnut pesto is vegan – request it on everything.

After opening in July 2016, this charming restaurant took little to no time establishing itself as one of the best healthy eateries in Downtown Austin. With its tall windows and natural lighting, it’s always a pleasure to stop and grab a quick bite. The fact that they have amazing salads and sandwiches, as well as a great brunch menu, doesn't hurt, either. Pair your matcha latte or fresh cocktail with the Fortnight Brunch Burger or the organic chia pudding and have yourself a MEAL. Editor's note: as a result of a fire, Fortnight temporarily closed in October 2018, but hope to reopen as soon as possible. In the meantime, you can find their food truck on Cesar Chavez at Brazos St. Monday through Friday from 8am to 2pm.

If you’re more of a North Austin dweller, Mother’s Cafe & Garden is just the spot to feast with your friends, recounting weekend tales while filling your belly with non-GMO, organic, and sustainably-sourced eats. And no matter if you're vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, or just plain picky, you'll find something here that will satisfy your cravings. The spinach omelette with sautéed mushrooms and white wine is pure decadence, while the plant-based banana walnut pancakes (topped with vegan margarine!) will please your sweet tooth without an ounce of guilt.

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Modern Market

Restaurant

The popular eatery from Boulder, Colorado now has three locations in Austin and that is reason to celebrate! So what do you have to look forward to? Breakfast sandwiches, burritos, decked-out avocado toast, and breakfast bowls. Oh, and did we mention all ingredients are locally sourced, and they have options for all sorts of eaters — paleo, vegan, veg, gluten-free, or whatever else? If it isn't already, this place is about to become your new favorite brunch spot.

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Flower Child

Restaurant

Flower Child believes that you shouldn’t have to sacrifice flavor just because you’re set on eating healthy, and after brunching with them, we do, too. Their menu is packed with innovative creations like Avocado Hummus, Indian Spiced Cauliflower and Red Chili Glazed Sweet Potato plates, but also mac n’ cheese and a Flying Avocado wrap with smoked turkey, gouda, romaine, tomato, avocado, and hummus! And they take the guesswork out of ordering — labeling every menu item to let you know if it's vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free. Visit their Domain or downtown location for delicious, scratch-made, healthy fare in a relaxed atmosphere.

Citizen Eatery is a modern, entirely plant-based cafe on Burnet Rd. that we’re sure is going to be your new go-to brunch spot. Not only does their meat-free menu boast a bangin' selection of local brews, wine, and Citizen Smart cocktails made with freshly-pressed juices, but breakfast is served all day. That's right — you don’t need to get up early to enjoy a Chorizo Omelette or The Californian Toast, they'll be waiting for you no matter what time you stop by.

East Austin is more than dive bars and art galleries; it’s also home to some of the best healthy brunch spots in town. With its sunny patio, you can comfortably lounge with your crew while enjoying any number of Counter Culture’s vegan delights. The Raw Oatmeal Banana Split will meet all of your gluten-free needs, while the breakfast burrito with its tofu scramble, seitan sausage, and cashew cheeze will satisfy your most complex craving. Even better, they are dedicated to serving only organic, Fair Trade, and locally-sourced ingredients from area farmers.

**Updated by Nickie Harris, February 2019

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Stay up to date on what’s happening in Austin’s health and fitness scene.