Austin >Food & Dining > Counter Cafe
626 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX | Directions 7870130.272649 -97.753755
Neighborhoods: Old West Austin
This tiny spot features a countertop & – Before it became Austin's most beloved pint-size healthy cafe, this North Lamar spot used to be GM Steakhouse. Yes, believe it or not, a steakhouse packed itself into this 20-seat eatery. Though you may have never eaten at GM, you're probably familiar with its famous film guest and her shouts of "you should quit traumatizing women with sexual intercourse. I should know, I'm a medical doctor!" to random people. Richard Linklater's bipolar love letter to Austin, Slacker, was shot in various locations all over town, but it's GM that is arguably the most iconic. Though many Austinites miss the days of yesteryear, GM was replaced with a delicious successor; Counter Cafe offers award-winning burger and pancakes that will haunt your dreams (in good way- unlike the creepy "medical doctor" sitting at the counter in Slacker). This tiny eatery is so good, it was featured on Guy Fieri's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives!
Way before it was cool Counter Cafe was doing the whole locally-sourced ingredients thing, and the South Austin hippies (turned South Austin yuppies) of Clarksville have been eating it up for years. Try the Counter Benedict, which is like the classic version, but comes with slices of seared pastrami placed lovingly on top.
Open every day from 10 til 4, the tiny Counter Cafe serves one of the best, juiciest burgers in all of Austin and the rest of the menu isn't bad either. We also enjoy the crab cakes benedict and the sweet potato fries. The restaurant gets a little crowded during lunch, so go early or a little late to avoid a wait.
All natural and locally sourced food. Try the curry-spiced chicken sandwich with goat cheese and grilled onions. Thank me later.
Good Burger, Texas Monthly Rated #2 – We visited this burger place after reading that they came in #2 on the Texas Monthly top 50 burger joints in Texas. Unfortunately, based on all that I have tried so far, I would not have ranked them #2. The are good but nothing exceptional. The best feature of the Counter Cafe's Burgers are the buns...the buns are excellent. Fluffy, lightly toasted and sweet. As for the meat, it lacks flavor but you can tell it is of high quality. I was disappointed that my order came out wrong. After drooling over my neighbors perfectly prepared burger masterpiece, I was greatly disappointed that my burger lacked the grilled onions and bacon as requested. The cook graciously grilled some onions and placed a couple of bacon slices on a separate plate for me; however, after oogling at my neighbors burger delivered (which was just as I had ordered mine), having the bacon and grilled onions slid to me on a plate just didn't produce the same effect. My partner's burger was also prepared incorrectly. If not for the mistakes and lack of attention from the waitress, I would actually have put them on my list of places to frequent. Unfortunately, since I work very hard for my money...I choose only to frequent establishments that understand the importance of quality service and getting orders right the first time around.
#2 Best Burger in Texas – Ranked #2 in Texas Monthly's Top 50 Burgers in Texas. The burger itself was an awesome hand formed patty, cooked and seasoned to perfection. Cheese was high quality, as well as the toppings. The bun was excellent as well.
45 minute wait in the hot sun, rude service and a super cramped eating space prevents this place from a 5 star rating. Worth a go if you can find it on a non busy day!
A disappointing experience – Having had excellent service and wonderful food previously, we waited about 30 minutes in the hot sun today. Our waitress's behavior when I tried to ask a question as she delivered the food was the rudest treatment I have ever had in Austin. It was exceeded only by a surly waiter in the Marais 3 years ago. After she considered her actions, she stopped by the table to explain, but never apologized. The food was great, but we left feeling sick to our stomachs. There are too many excellent restaurants with courteous staff to put up with such an attitude.
great food. refills are not free! – loved the food!
Paid five dollars for a diet coke and one refill. They don't tell you that the refills are going to be extra.
I would go there again and drink water.
veggie sandwich and the pimiento cheese sandwich were really good!
Love the sweet potato fries!
This place rocks – This place is just too small, for such big flavor. My best tip for you is to go during off peak hours. There is only one table inside and one outside that seats more than two, otherwise you sit at the counter. I love sitting at the counter, I get to talk with the chef, who is very approachable. Since I'm almost as good a cook as him, (better then 90% of the chefs in this town) I like being able to relate to someone knowledgable. At one pointhe was making a very good DEMI-GLACE, from scratch, to serve with the steak. They may not be doing that anymore as the subs, on his days off, would forget to include it and I guess they got complaints about inconsistancy. Don't let that deter you, this place is quite good, and affordable with local and organic food whenever possible. BTW, it's all good, so order anything.
Sandwiches, burgers, salads, meatloaf and all-day breakfasts are prepared with local, organic ingredients at this small diner and cafe. – In Short
Formerly the GM Steakhouse, this small, retro diner is spiffed up and is no longer a greasy spoon. The menu features healthy cafe fare, including the popular pimento cheese sandwich, crab cakes, grilled salmon and chicken pot pie, with many ingredients bought from local and organic growers. The long and narrow space is filled with a countertop running along the kitchen, while small tables line the opposite walls.
Sign in with Facebook Sign in with Facebook to see what your friends are up to!
Do you have a review of Counter Cafe on your blog? If you include the Citysearch image link (shown below) in your post, we'll automatically link to your review from the business profile page. Here's how our Linkback system works:
The Linkback system is free and automatic. It's really that easy.
To link to our business profile page, copy the html below to your web page.