Trend alert: What's heating up Austin's food scene this month

Want the scoop on Austin's buzziest local spots?

We took a data-driven look at the question, using Yelp to deduce which restaurants have been most discussed this month.

To find out who made the list, we looked at Austin businesses on Yelp by category and counted how many reviews each received. Rather than compare them based on number of reviews alone, we calculated a percentage increase in reviews over the past month, and tracked businesses that consistently increase their volume of reviews to identify statistically significant outliers compared to past performance.

Read on to see which spots are riding a trend this spring.

Moonshine Comfort & Cocktails

Photo: moonshine comfort & cocktails/Yelp

Open since 2003, this bar and traditional American and breakfast and brunch spot is trending compared to other businesses categorized as "Bars" on Yelp.

Citywide, bars saw a median 2 percent increase in new reviews over the past month, but Moonshine Comfort & Cocktails saw a 67.6 percent increase, maintaining a mixed 3.5-star rating throughout.

It's not the only trending outlier in the bar category: Lou's Bodega has seen a 50 percent increase in reviews, and Kerbey Lane Cafe - Mueller has seen a 37.1 percent bump.

Located at 10525 W. Parmer Lane, Moonshine Comfort & Cocktails offers American comfort food such as chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits, Wagyu meatloaf and barbecue baby back ribs as platters, as well as starters like warm kale and bacon dip and pretzels and pimento, and salads and sandwiches. (Click here to review the menu.)

Austin Java

Photo: jessica m./Yelp

Whether or not you've been hearing buzz about West Gate's Austin Java, the traditional American spot, which offers coffee and tea and more, is a hot topic according to Yelp review data.

While businesses categorized as "Coffee & Tea" on Yelp saw a median 2.7 percent increase in new reviews over the past month, Austin Java bagged a 48 percent increase in new reviews within that timeframe, with a slight downward trend from a 4.5-star rating a month ago to its current four stars.

There's more that's trending on Austin's coffee and tea scene: Sa-Ten has seen a 14.9 percent increase in reviews.

Open at 5404 Manchaca Road since December, Austin Java offers drinks like coffee classics, tea, frappes, craft sodas, smoothies and syrups. On the food menu, expect tacos, pastas, sandwiches, burgers and breakfast items like omlettes, pancakes, lox and bagels and chicken and waffles.

Torchy's Tacos

Photo: torchy's tacos/Yelp

Torchy's Tacos is also making waves. Open since January at 5900 W. Slaughter Lane, Suite 550, the breakfast and brunch spot, which offers tacos and more, has seen a 42.4 percent bump in new reviews over the last month, compared to a median review increase of 3 percent for all businesses tagged "Breakfast & Brunch" on Yelp. Moreover, on a month-to-month basis Torchy's Tacos's review count increased by more than 200 percent.

Torchy's Tacos offers breakfast tacos, such as the Dirty Sanchez (eggs, fried poblano chile, guacamole, escabeche carrots and cheese with poblano sauce on a flour tortilla) as well as 16 signature traditional tacos, plus non-taco options like salad and burritos and sweet desserts. For drinks, there are margaritas, cocktails and a local rotating selection of beer and wine. (Click here to view the menu.)

Over the past month, it's seen its Yelp rating tick down from 3.5 stars to three stars.

La Volpe

Photo: rachel s./Yelp

Downtown Austin's La Volpe is the city's buzziest Italian spot by the numbers.

The Italian spot, which opened at 201 Brazos St., Bldg B, in December, increased its new review count by 43.5 percent over the past month, an outlier when compared to the median new review count of 3.7 percent for the Yelp category "Italian." It outperformed the previous month by gaining 3.3 times more reviews than expected based on past performance.

Off the La Volpe menu, try the Mushroom Pappardelle (with mushrooms, micro parsley, marscarpone and white truffle oil), grilled shrimp and crab (linguine, lobster cream, lump crab, corn, red pepper and arugula) and the Heartbrand ribeye. 


Photo: garrison/Yelp

Downtown Austin's Garrison is currently on the upswing in the New American category on Yelp.

While businesses categorized as "American (New)" on Yelp saw a median 2.6 percent increase in new reviews over the past month, this steakhouse and New American spot, which offers seafood and more, increased its by 25 percent—and kept its rating consistent at 4.5 stars. Review counts increased by more than 160 percent on a month-to-month basis.

Open for business at 101 Red River St. since the fall of 2017, the business offers meats (pork chops, steak and chicken) cooked over an open flame and wafting smoke as well as seafood (octopus and dungeness crab) and fish (cod and branzino). Check out the menu here

This story was created automatically using local business data, then reviewed and augmented by an editor. Click here for more about what we're doing. Got thoughts? Go here to share your feedback.