Mexican, Cajun fusion and more: What's trending on Austin's food scene?

Want the inside word on Austin's most talked-about local spots?

We took a data-driven look at the question, using Yelp and SafeGraph, a dataset of commercial points of interest and their visitor patterns, to deduce which local businesses have been seeing especially high review volumes this month.

To find out who made the list, we first 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 increased their volume of reviews to identify statistically significant outliers compared to past performance. Then we analyzed foot traffic data from SafeGraph to validate the trends.

Read on to see which spots are on a hot streak, right now.

Shore Raw Bar & Grill

Photo: joseph t./Yelp

Whether or not you've been hearing buzz about West Oak Hill's Shore Raw Bar & Grill, the popular Mexican and Cajun/Creole spot, which offers seafood and more, is a hot topic according to Yelp review data.

While businesses categorized as "Mexican" on Yelp saw a median 1.7% increase in new reviews over the past month, Shore Raw Bar & Grill bagged a 17.9% increase in new reviews within that time frame, maintaining a sound four-star rating.

There's more that's trending on Austin's Mexican scene: Lupe Tortilla has seen a 1.7% increase in reviews.

Open at 8665 W. Sh 71, Suite 100, since May, Shore Raw Bar & Grill offers gulf oysters with chorizo butter, grilled Spanish octopus tostadas and shrimp and oyster po'boys, as well as desserts like the tres leches cake. 

Shore Raw Bar & Grill is open from 11 a.m.–10 p.m. on Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.–11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m.–10 p.m. on Sunday.

Torchy's Tacos

Photo: torchy's tacos/Yelp

Torchy's Tacos is also making waves. Open since 2018 at 5900 W. Slaughter Lane, Suite 550, the breakfast and brunch spot, which offers tacos and more, has seen a 12% bump in new reviews over the last month, compared to a median review increase of 1.6% 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 250%.

There's more than one hot spot trending in Austin's breakfast and brunch category: Bird Bird Biscuit has seen a 9.6% increase in reviews, and Nervous Charlie's has seen a 7% bump.

Torchy's Tacos offers breakfast tacos like one stuffed with chorizo, egg and cheese, and fusion fare such as the Brushfire with Jamaican jerk chicken, grilled jalapeños and mango. Also, on offer are margaritas, cocktails and a local rotating selection of beer and wine. Over the past month, it's maintained a mixed three-star rating among Yelpers.

Torchy's Tacos is open from 7 a.m.–10 p.m. on Monday-Thursday, 7 a.m.–11 p.m. on Friday, 8 a.m.–11 p.m. on Saturday and 8 a.m.–10 p.m. on Sunday.


Photo: garrison/Yelp

Downtown Austin's Garrison is the city's buzziest New American spot by the numbers.

The steakhouse and New American spot, which offers seafood and more and opened at 101 Red River St. since 2017, increased its new review count by 10.6% over the past month, an outlier when compared to the median new review count of 1.6% for the Yelp category "American (New)." It outperformed the previous month by gaining 1.7 times more reviews than expected based on past performance.

It's not the only trending outlier in the New American category: Pitchfork Pretty has seen a 5.6% increase in reviews, and Arlo Grey and The Brewer's Table have seen 6.4 and 6.2% increases, respectively.

Garrison offers meats (pork chops, steak and chicken) cooked over an open flame, as well as seafood (octopus and dungeness crab) and fish (cod and branzino). (Check out the menu here.)

Garrison is open from 5–10 p.m. daily.

SPIN Austin

Photo: Charlie T./Yelp

Downtown Austin's SPIN Austin is currently on the upswing in the cocktail bar category on Yelp.

While businesses categorized as "Cocktail Bars" on Yelp saw a median 2.3% increase in new reviews over the past month, this cocktail bar, sports club and traditional American spot increased its new reviews by 5.1% — and kept its rating consistent at four stars. Review counts increased by more than 150% on a month-to-month basis, and visits to SPIN Austin increased by more than 50% over the same time frame, according to SafeGraph's foot traffic data.

Open for business at 213 W. Fifth St., SPIN Austin offers specialty cocktails, draft beer, wine and non-alcoholic options. Try the Versper Royale (Ketel One Vodka, St. Germain, Botanist Gin, Lillet and Rose) or the Karma Chameleon (Johnny Walker Black, Contreau, Cacao Syrup, Chocolate Bitters and Chameleon Cold Brew)

SPIN Austin is open from noon–midnight on Sunday-Thursday and noon–4 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. According to SafeGraph, foot traffic is heaviest at 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m., and on Fridays and Wednesdays, with a slowdown on Sundays.

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.