What neighborhood do you live in? We just moved into a house in the Barton Creek neighborhood about six months ago. We love it because it’s close to town—you can just hop on Southwest Parkway and be pretty much anywhere in Austin in 15 minutes.
Where do you put up friends visiting town? Hotel Saint Cecilia. This has to be one of the most unique and beautiful hotels in Austin—or anywhere really. Plus, it’s a short walk from South Congress Avenue. (112 Academy Dr.; 512-852-2400; hotelsaintcecilia.com.)
Where is the best place to find your hometown’s signature dish? There isn’t just one signature dish in Austin. You can’t beat the chicken fried steak at Threadgills (6416 N. Lamar Blvd.; 512-451-5440; threadgills.com), the migas at Polvos (2004 S. First St.; 512-441-5446; polvosaustin.com), or, of course, the brisket with espresso BBQ sauce at Franklin’s (900 E. 11th St.; 512-653-1187; franklinbarbecue.com).
What is your favorite restaurant to take visitors? Bartlett’s. It’s always consistent, really delicious, and the staff is wonderful. (2408 W. Anderson Ln.; 512-451-7333; bartlettsaustin.com.)
Where can you find the best cocktails? La Condesa (400 W. Second St.; 512-499-0300; lacondesa.com).
Beer list? Whip In. It’s an institution. (1950 IH35 South; 512-442-5337; whipin.com.)
Wine list? laV. They are new on the scene, but their wine list and food are top notch. (1501 E. Seventh St.; 512-391-1888; lavaustin.com.)
Where would you choose to splurge on a night out? Clark’s. It’s close to downtown and their seafood-focused menu is out of this world. I love the Crab Louie with super-fresh, cold-water oysters from both coasts and grilled red fish. Their burger is awesome too. (1200 W. Sixth St.; 512-297-2525; clarksoysterbar.com.)
What is your go-to after-hours bar? Garage (503 Colorado St.; 512-369-3490; garagetx.com), Jeffery’s bar (1204 W. Lynn St.; 512-477-5584; jeffreysofaustin.com), San Jose courtyard (1316 S. Congress Ave.; 512-852-2360; sanjosehotel.com), or Draught House (4112 Medical Pkwy.; 512-452-MALT; draughthouse.com).
What’s the best way to spend a Saturday afternoon in town? Walking a portion of the 11-mile hike and bike trail around Lady Bird Lake, then grabbing a bite downtown on the patio of the Four Seasons, which overlooks the lake (98 San Jacinto Blvd.; 512-478-4500; fourseasons.com).
What is your Sunday morning routine in your neighborhood? My wife Rebekkah and I take our three girls to Austin Ridge, our bible church, and then we grab brunch afterwards at St. Philip. (4715 S. Lamar; 512-358-7445; stpaustin.com.)
Where do you go for the best brunch? Elizabeth St. Cafe. I love those flavors and spicy Vietnamese goodies. Crunchy bahn mi with fried eggs! (1501 S. First St.; 512-291-2881; elizabethstreetcafe.com.)
Where do you go for the perfect cup of coffee? Sa-Tén. This is a new place that a good Japanese friend of mine opened at the Canopy studios on Springdale. There’s something so unique and yet so authentic about a Japanese coffee shop. Love the food too. (916 Springdale, Bldg 3, Ste 101; 512-524-1544; sa-ten.com.)
What’s your favorite view in town (that tourists might not know about)? The tourists might know about it, but I’ll always love the view from Mount Bonnell. After climbing to the top, take in the gorgeous Texas Hill Country, as well as a gorgeous viewpoint of Lake Austin, which it overlooks. If you can, make the trip during sunset for amazing views and colors. Be careful if you visit—it’s pretty rocky!
What’s your favorite path or trail to follow on a walk? I like to walk the Barton Creek Greenbelt. It’s an amazing rocky nature trail that’s quite hidden and lots of fun because there are many different starting points. I lived here for a decade before I knew how to find parts of it.
What are your favorite offbeat cultural attractions? Pecha Kucha is a really fun event that I participated in a couple of years ago. Founded in Tokyo, the art nights are now held in over 700 cities across the United States and allow for a fun way for the community to interact with creative Austinites. The next one in Austin is in May. Another cool cultural attraction is the West Austin Studio Tour and the East Austin Studio Tour. Both are free self-guided art tours held every May and November, respectively. They’re a great way to discover new artists around town.
What’s your favorite shop or boutique? RedBird Boutique, a fun, locally owned shop with an amazingly diverse selection of curated goods and women’s clothing from all over the country, and Métier Cook’s Supply, a beautiful store catering to chefs, owned by the team behind Lenoir restaurant next door. (3663 Bee Cave Rd.; 512-514-0027; shopredbird.com.)
What’s the best-kept local secret? Nau’s Enfield Drug. It’s hidden in Clarksville and has amazing flat top cheeseburgers and old-school chocolate milkshakes (1115 W. Lynn St.; 512-476-3663; nausdrug.com).
Image Credits: Casey Dunn, Franklin Barbecue, Jeffrey's of Austin, Hotel Saint Cecilia
In our Hometown Guides series, we're seeking the best restaurants, bars, vistas, and things to do in a given place from the people who know best—the artists, designers, chefs, and store-owners who live there. See more Hometown Guides »