Austin plays host to large festivals twice per year, has a thriving music scene, great technology hub and even two business incubators (Capital Factory and TechStars). Here at Texas’ capitol, you would be surprised to find that the best breakfast spots come with many hidden surprises.
Best free breakfast: Embassy Suites
Dress up a tad in the Austin tech uniform, which consists of khaki pants and a blue shirt, to experience a great warm breakfast. One time, the GM corralled me and asked, “Are you a guest here.” I owned up and said, ”You were sold out, so I stayed at an AirBnb, but I missed this yummy food.” He said to just enjoy myself and come back whenever.
Austin’s motto may be: “Stay weird” but I think it is: ”Be super nice and hospitable to people who crash your breakfast bar.” Note: your results may vary.
Best breakfast to spot celebrities: Trio
Four Seasons has a downstairs restaurant called Trio. It really only draws hotel guests since it is tucked away. The back restaurant elevator whisks sun-glassed guests back up to their rooms. The restaurant is full but never crowded.
After you approach a celeb to say ”Hello,” there is never a run of other breakfast guests going over to also say hello. They are probably celebs in their own right and are jealous that you do not know and say hi to them. It has themed breakfasts including Eggs Benedict where there are 12 different forms (who knew!). The Chef “Bryan” will conjure up a custom Eggs Benedict if you’re there for brunch.
Best Startup Breakfast: Omni
The hotel in downtown Austin is adjacent to an office building. On the 16th floor is a business incubator that houses over 120 entrepreneurs. Venture Capitalists, consultants and politicians host breakfasts in the lobby.
Standard schedule of a startup-ie breakfast is
7:45AM – 8:15AM registration. Also known as “who are we doling out muffins and bagels to?”
8:00 – 9:15 a light talk and a bunch of lighthearted palm-pressing and chin-wagging
Best No Name Breakfast: Hotel across the street from Intercontinental Hotel
It advertises itself as BBQ or/and salads, but their omlettes are amazing. It has a patio for seating and even has buffet on the weekends.
Best Fundraising Breakfast: Lobby of the Four Seasons March 12
For 10 bucks donated to a decent cause, you can hear three to five bands and get all the breakfast burritos you can squirrel away. The lobby is full by 7:10 am. People camp out. This breakfast kicks off SXSW Music at 7:00 on day number one and is open to the public. No, a $1200 SXSW badge isn’t required, but a small donation above the minimum is recommended.
From what I understand, there’s no way to purchase a wristband before this, so be wary of those selling fake wristbands. You are just going to have to grin and bear it with me and line up at 6:45 am. Mark your calendar for the first Wednesday of SXSW annually.
I hope you get to enjoy Austin as a tourist even if you already live here. Who knows, eating at these spots might nudge you in the direction of starting up a new company for yourself.