My small-town Southern upbringing includes many beloved and nostalgic memories — including our Main Street mom-and-pop shops. The owner of the small grocery store we frequented knew our names, went out back to collect eggs upon request and sent my mother a monthly bill for her purchases. Those days of a pay-me-later line of credit are long gone, but it’s comforting to know that warm customer service and attention to local and artisanal product selection — particularly in the craft beer and wine departments — still exist today in the form of neighborhood markets throughout Austin.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, so get out and wander your neighborhood; perhaps you’ll discover a jewel of your own.
The Bee Grocery features a deli with Vietnamese favorites like phở and bánh mì on housemade bread, as well as French pastries made by the same chefs. General Manager Nikki Bradley is eager to help you make your selections; snacks and travel-size toiletries make it a great last stop before heading to the airport; and the pantry aisle caters to the apartment residents upstairs with staples for easy, cook-at-home meals.
512-861-5002; 1001 E. Sixth St.
Brodie Park Market, tucked into a quiet strip mall off the busy thoroughfare of Brodie Lane in Southwest Austin, is run by Clint Schultze and his wife, An. The couple’s international travels have influenced their product selection in the way of items such as unique salt-and-pepper shakers, Buddhist statues and hand-carved candles. In addition, Clint’s time in Thailand sparked an interest in drinking vinegars, which led him to bring in the Pok Pok Som line, while An’s Vietnamese family shared their bánh mì and pâté recipes for the deli. They work with several small wine distributors to ensure variety and a range of prices for all budgets.
512-719-7999; 9001 Brodie Ln.
Dia’s Market, on the Brentwood/Crestview border, truly personifies community. You’ll often find owners Amanda and David Hopper greeting customers by name between restocking the carefully curated aisles of snacks, condiments, chocolate bars and bags of coffee beans from artisan roasters from around the U.S. “Our selection is especially conducive to throwing together a quick and easy dinner with ingredients like basmati rice, jarred curry sauce and chicken breasts; kielbasa, sauerkraut and pierogies; or a frozen Bola pizza and salad greens,” says David, a busy father of three. Just past the extensive selection of beer and wine, the deli counter offers both breakfast and lunch sandwiches served all day and made-to-order, along with rotisserie chickens that can be ordered online by 2 p.m. for pickup on Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings.
512-520-5115; 812 Justin Ln.
Peg McCoy, who opened Farm to Market Grocery on South Congress in 2005, says that “it’s been such a joy seeing the neighborhood families out walking their dogs and watching kids grow up. When they first started coming in, they could barely reach the counter, and now they’re going off to college. For me, it’s always been about community.” McCoy strives to provide better access to quality food with a focus on convenience, which shows in the ample selection of organic products lining the shelves and freezers, the array of fresh produce and the free parking around back.
512-462-7220; 1718 S. Congress Ave.
Hyde Park Market, Deli & Organic Grocery (also known as “The Flag Store”) is where beer aficionados go for the mix-and-match six-pack. The owner, who goes by Biman, keeps the place nicely stocked. You’ll find Wunder-Pilz kombucha and Little City cold brew nitro coffee on tap, along with candy, snacks, chocolate, cult favorites like It’s-It ice cream sandwiches and, yes, dozens of international mini flags for sale.
512-524-4217; 4429 Duval St.
Quickie Pickie offers considerable breakfast, lunch and dinner menus in a fast-casual restaurant setting. Popular items at the East 11th Street location include burgers, tacos and hot and cold sandwiches, while the East Cesar Chavez Street location features La Barbecue food trailer Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m., or until sold out. Owner Zahir Prasla thinks the unique hybrid of market, café and beer joint is uniquely tailored for each of the neighborhoods. Both locations have two dozen beers on tap, a coffee bar featuring North Carolina artisan roaster Counter Culture and plenty of indoor and outdoor seating.
512-479-0136; 1208 E. 11th St.
512-992-1357; 2027 E. Cesar Chavez St.
Royal Blue Grocery’s six Austin stores are all located in densely populated downtown areas, where regulars are a mix of residents, office workers and hard-hat-carrying construction workers who appear to be a permanent fixture in our ever-growing city. Co-owners/proprietors Craig Staley and George Scariano credit the addition of their central commissary kitchen as a game changer — allowing them to offer freshly prepared grab-and-go salads, cut fruit and sandwiches, and giving their chefs creative freedom to concoct soups, burgers and Thai specials on a regular rotation. “We’ve really enjoyed doing what we do well in our kitchen while partnering with great Austin brands,” says Scariano. “It’s a great way to represent local vendors.”
512-469-5888; 609 Congress Ave.
512-499-3993; 241 W. 3rd St.
512-476-5700; 360 Nueces St., Ste. 90
512-524-0740; 1629 E. 6th St.
512-386-1617; 301 Brazos St., Ste. 110
512-480-0061; 51 Rainey St. ,Ste. 120
Deli sandwiches at Manchaca Road’s Live Oak Market incorporate fresh herbs, peppers and tomatoes from an on-site garden, where employees also tend a compost pile and enjoy the perk of taking home surplus produce. A freezer stocked with Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream includes both pints and 3.6-ounce single-serve cups, while the snack aisle is lined with bags of local favorite Reel Popcorn and obscure Japanese sodas.
512-416-0300; 4410 Manchaca Rd.
Open for over 10 years, the Barton Springs Road location of Bill Thom’s Thom’s Market stocks not only locally made cold beverages, snacks and pantry staples, but also sunglasses, t-shirts, beach towels, bug spray and sunscreen — all reminders of the proximity to Barton Springs Pool and Zilker Park. Pick up a quirky pair of socks, a koozie or an Illuminidol Celebrity Prayer Candle with your
Tacodeli breakfast or Upper Crust Bakery pastry and a cup of Thom’s custom blend of Anderson’s coffee. Riverside Drive is home to their second location, and they recently opened a third on Spyglass Drive, near a greenbelt trail access point.
512-479-9800; 1418 Barton Springs Rd.
512-448-3333; 160 E. Riverside Dr.
512-614-0066; 1500 Spyglass Dr.
By Valerie Broussard • Photography by Dustin Meyer