P and I have this thing we do in the car when we leave for work. He turns to me and says, “So where do you want to go today?” At least once a week my answer is Austin. So one day he finally drove me to the airport instead of work.
These are the places (in no particular order) that really stood out:
Frank: Bacon, Bloody Mary’s & Did I Mention…Bacon
This place was on the tour because of the “Red Headed Stranger” cocktail. This is a bacon infused Tito’s vodka Bloody Mary and it did not disappoint. I think my favorite dish at Frank was the chocolate covered bacon with sea salt…so good. The dogs were very unique but if I went back I would stick with just the appetizers and have like four of the chocolate covered bacon. Bottom Line: You should go..hello chocolate/bacon.
This is a very small pre-fixed menu establishment. They have four courses: Field, Land, Sea, & Dream and each course has three options. You can pick any three you want so if you want all Field then go for it, and of course you can add additional courses. The portion size is not too big and every ingredient is perfectly thought out. Outside there is a beautiful outdoor seating area with a bar, musician, and huge tree decorated with white lights.This place had perfect food, portions, service and atmosphere. Bottom Line: 100% loved Lenoir; why have you not already made your reservation?!
Franklin Barbecue: Brisket, Pork, & Tailgating
This is a place we got from “No Reservations”, and we followed advice from the show/internet and got there early. We arrived about 9:15 am and was the 6th group in line. It was essentially tailgating for BBQ, one group had mimosas and another a whole cooler of beer. The place opens at 11 am. It was an experience and the BBQ was well worth the wait. Huge portions so plan a nap after. We both got the 2 meat plate which comes with two sides and we both got an additional link of sausage. The brisket is unbelievable, I would recommend getting both the fatty and the lean. The fatty brisket had the wonderful caramelized ends that just melted in your mouth. I had the ribs as my second meat and Philip the pulled pork. Both had so much flavor and you could taste the time taken in preparing this food. If I did it again I would skip the sausage (it was good) just not nearly as good as the other three options. This is definitely the kind of place that you have to utilize strategic eating skills. Bottom Line: Meat coma but well worth it.
Easy Tiger: Beer, Cheese, & Bread
Just look at the menu, and I think that should settle why this made my list. It is a bakery/small cafe upstairs and downstairs is a large beer garden complete with open and tented outdoor space and ping pong tables. Nice beer selection. I wish we could have went to lunch here as I’m sure the sandwiches would be amazing. I was able to try the beer cheese and homemade pretzels-Yum! Bottom Line: Try for lunch if you can, if not at least stop in for a beer and some beer cheese.
A highly recommended restaurant that we did not get to try is Barley Swine. We only found out about it on Saturday night and it was closed for dinner on Sunday (I only cried a little). This place was highly recommended from a couple we sat beside as well as several other people we subsequently met. Barley Swine does not take reservations and apparently can be quite busy so plan accordingly. If you decide to go…..I’ll try not to hold it against you but I’m already jealous.
And the rest…
- Sweetish Hill Bakery: European style bakery, roasted tomato and cheese croissants
- Wink: wine bar, french inspired food, wonderful/friendly service
- South Congress Cafe: busy, the “silverfire margarita” is no joke spicy, brunch ok but nothing spectacular
- 1886 Cafe & Bakery: the “Paris, TX Benedict”
- Uchi: sushi, great service, loud
- Stephen F’s Bar & Terrace: nice terrace for people watching, drinks only ok, nice bathrooms
- Black Star Co-op: great beer selection, house brews and other local choices, a bit of a bus ride, menu looked interesting
- Take the bus from the aiport to the hotel, $1 per person, bring exact change
- Stayed at the Hilton downtown, clean/quite, easy to walk/utilize the bus system from
- Used PriceLine bidding, got a good deal, P’s first time bidding (he was so proud)
- Franklin was in an area I would not be 100% comfortable walking to at night (note~ Franklin is opened 11 am until sold out which is not long, hence the line)
- Bring comfortable shoes, I would recommend closed toe even in summer as the sidewalks are a bit dirty (and in some areas broken glass)
- Visit Congress Street-nice shopping/people watching
- Visit Whole Foods-yes, you have one at home but trust me you will want to see this one
Full disclosure this trip was taken almost a year ago but I did write this right after the trip. It was such an awesome trip that I really wanted to share! All of these places are still open and all contain links to their websites.