I ran out of coffee beans a few days ago and thought, “Oh, no problem. I’ll just stop by Radio and get a cortado and two breakfast tacos before work.” Nooooooo. Unfortunately, they were all the way in Texas and I’m in California. Radio Coffee and Beer wins the award for MVP: Most Visited Place in Austin. One day, we even went to it twice: once in the morning for coffee, and then again at night for beer.
Radio Coffee and Beer is a cafe (and bar) conveniently located off of the 290 (aka Ben White). It’s on Manchaca, which I was shocked to learn was pronounced “MAN-shack” and not “man-CHA-ca” like someone who grew up in Los Angeles would expect. When the weather is good, it’s a treat to sit on the patio sipping a cortado or a glass of nitro cold brew. I don’t know if it’s because of the beer glass or the nitro, but the cold brew tastes just like a chocolate stout.
While the espresso drinks and cold brew at Radio are great, I would advise against ordering any of the brewed coffee. The hard water coming into the cafe makes brewed coffee taste a little soapy, which is most noticeable in a mug of brewed coffee.
At night, Radio turns from a cafe into a bar. The wifi is shut down at 5pm, there’s a bluegrass band playing on Mondays, people are encouraged to sit on lawn chairs on the grass facing the bandstand, and a general sense of calm that only sitting outside with a cold glass of beer can bring on. I had a nice chat with a family sitting on a picnic bench near ours while watching people sip beers.
And if a good glass of coffee and beer is not enough, there’s also the Veracruz All Natural food trailer that shares Radio’s patio. It’s not fast food, but it is good food. My favorite order for mornings is migas on flour tortilla and a breakfast taco with egg and bacon. For those not in the breakfast taco mood, they do a mean chicken molé taco.
Veracruz also has a handful of vegetarian and even vegan options, but be prepared to repeat your order a few times because none of the vegan orders are pre-entered into their system, so they have to manually put in adjustments. We didn’t realize till the day we were leaving that ordering migas without eggs or cheese is $3.00, but ordering a breakfast taco with salsa, avocado, and tortilla chips is only $2.50. One of the women working there helpfully suggested the later.
A part of me is deeply saddened that there’s nothing like the one-two combo of Radio and Veracruz near me. But another part is slightly relieved because that is not a combination that my waistline needs every day.
Radio Coffee and Beer
4208 Manchaca Rd
Austin, TX 78704
Veracruz All Natural
(same spot as Radio, same hours as Radio)