The citywide shelter-in-place order that extends over the next few weeks has labeled restaurants as an essential service.
Many restaurants that had never offered takeout service before have pivoted to the new model. While many people will naturally turn to places from which they’ve always ordered takeout (burgers, pizzas, tacos and drive-thrus being the most likely), now is a good time to order from locally owned restaurants that you might not normally consider for takeout.
I understand that some people have serious concerns about takeout, and I address those in the accompanying precautions information. I am not telling you to order takeout; you should do what makes you most comfortable.
I also realize that many people are suffering through a period fraught with financial strain. Some recommended dishes may seem like luxuries in times like these, but local restaurants need our dollars right now. If you're in a position to splurge and want to do so, I'm sure they would appreciate it. My birthday is Friday, and I plan to give myself the gift of not cooking.
If you have questions about specific ordering or safety protocols, visit the restaurants’ websites or give them a call. If there is a restaurant you love, check their website and call them. If they’re open, I know they’d love to hear from you. Also, make sure to tip as well as you can.
Cheeseburger from Better Half ($7). You can get one of the best cheeseburgers in town from this all-day cafe that’s offering curbside service via car hop from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily (until 3 p.m. Mondays). 406 Walsh St. 512-645-0786, betterhalfbar.com.
Quail Parmesan sandwich from Dai Due ($15). Think chicken parm but with a superior bird. The restaurant is taking call-in orders from noon to 8 p.m. Wednesday-Monday and their butcher shop is open for retail service. 2406 Manor Road. 512-524-0688, daidue.com.
Kofta plate of grilled lamb and beef from Emmer & Rye and TLV ($15). The Rainey Street restaurant and sister Israeli street food stall TLV from Fareground have teamed for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and dinner from 5 to 9 pm. Curbside pickup is available at Emmer & Rye. Free delivery is offered for those in the Rainey Street neighborhood. This is some of the best Middle Eastern food in town. 51 Rainey St. 512-366-5530, emmerandrye.com.
Butternut risotto at Foreign & Domestic ($25). These folks know how to do rich comfort as well as anybody in the city. The North Loop restaurant is offering dinner takeout from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and brunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday. 306 E. 53rd St. 512-459-1010, fndaustin.com.
Brisket at Franklin Barbecue ($25/pound). Always wanted Franklin Barbecue but didn’t want to deal with the line? The famous barbecue restaurant is taking online orders for curbside service. Pop your trunk and they’ll put your order in the car for you. There’s a $50 minimum for orders. Ten percent of all sales go to the Austin Relief Fund of the Houston-based Southern Smoke Foundation, which helps hospitality industry members in need. They’re serving from 11 a.m. till sold out Tuesday-Sunday. And, yes, they still sell out.
Roasted half Red Ranger chicken dinner for two with sourdough bread, spring green salad, sweet potatoes and pecan ras al hanout, along with brownies and ice cream for dessert, from Hestia ($70). The live fire restaurant that was one of the most exciting openings of last year is offering delivery and curbside options from 5 to 9 pm. Tuesday-Saturday. 607 W. Third St. #105. 512-333-0737, hestiaaustin.com.
Housemade sausages from InterStellar BBQ ($6 each). 12233 FM 620 N. Suite 105. 512-382-6248, Facebook.com/interstellarbbq. One of the city’s best barbecue restaurants has implemented curbside service.
Fried chicken sandwich with kohlrabi ranch slaw and French fries from June’s All Day ($16). You can get one of the city’s best fried chicken sandwiches delivered curbside between 5 and 8 p.m. daily. Other McGuire Moorman Hospitality restaurants offering curbside include Swedish Hill, Jeffrey’s, Elizabeth Street Cafe, Lou’s and Joann’s Fine Foods. 1722 S. Congress Ave. 512-416-1722, junesallday.com.
Smoked whole chicken with house pickles and Koshihikari rice from Kemuri Tatsu-Ya ($28). The Japanese smokehouse is offering a limited menu, and also selling bottles of sake to go. 2713 E. Second St. 512-893-5561, kemuri-tatsuya.com.
Lamb bún from Le Bleu ($13). One of the city’s best Vietnamese cafes serves a variety of vermicelli bowls, sandwiches and snacks made for sharing. 9070 Research Blvd. Suite #303. 512-770-1100, lebleuatx.com.
Pad gra prow at Little Thailand ($12). One of the area’s best Thai restaurants is taking call-in orders by phone. As a bonus, you get to take a little bit of a drive and get away ffor a spell. 4315 Caldwell Lane. 512-551-9930, littlethailandtx.com.
Crab salad sandwich with trout roe at lunch ($10) and oxtail lasagna at dinner ($25) from Lenoir. The “hot weather food” specialists are offering curbside takeout from noon to 8 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday. The restaurant with one of the best curated wine lists in town is also selling bottles to-go for 40 percent off. 1807 S. First St. 512-215-9778, lenoirrestaurant.com.
Lasagna with fermented chilies and smoked mozzarella for two or three people from L’Oca d’Oro ($40). Maybe you’ve tried your hand at homemade pasta during your time at home. I’m betting you didn’t do it as well as chef Fiore Tedesco and his crew. 1900 Simond Ave. 737-212-1876, locadoroaustin.com.
Vegetable paella at Parkside ($12). The downtown Texas bistro is offering curbside service and has committed to taking employees’ temperature before they enter the restaurant. 301 E. Sixth S. 512-474-9898, parkside-austin.com.
Hama chili cold tasting from Uchi ($17). You know we’re in uncharted territory when one of the city’s top fine dining restaurants will deliver exquisite sushi and other dishes to your car. Guests can reserve a curbside pickup time on OpenTable by visiting uchiaustin.com. 801 S. Lamar Blvd. 512-916-4808, uchiaustin.com.
Fourteen of my go-to takeout options, who are all currently offering the service, include: Bartlett’s |Deckhand Oyster Bar | Fresa’s (Lamar Blvd.) | Garbo’s | Home Slice Pizza | Hoover’s Cooking | JuiceLand | Julie’s Noodles | Lucy’s Fried Chicken | P. Terry’s | Poke Poke | Quality Seafood | Saffron | Sala & Betty | Thai Lada | Via 313
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If you are going to order takeout, make sure the restaurant has social distancing in place, with marked waiting spots or curbside service and limited engagement with touchable screens. Once acquiring your food, don’t touch your face on the way home. Wash your hands and use disinfectant wipes to clean the outside of packaging once home. Transfer the food to your own dishware and wash your hands again. If you want to go the extra step, microwave your food for about 90 seconds.
Complete coronavirus coverage on Statesman.com/coronavirus.
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