Hutto Hungry Hippos: SOME of Our Favorite Eateries

By: Elizabeth Garner

Hutto not only has the most Hippos per capita anywhere, but it also has some fabulous restaurants to enjoy with your friends and family. So without further ado, here is a list of just some of our favorites. 

Hippo Cafe is a local staple for breakfast dates, family dinners, and all sorts of celebrations. They offer a wide variety of breakfast items, such as their All-American French toast, which I can tell you from my own experience is delicious! They also feature daily specials like Tuesdays Pot Roast, Fridays Catfish Fry, or Sunday's Hot Roast Beef Sandwich. So whether you are looking for a stack of pancakes or a plate of chicken-fried steak, the Hippo Cafe has your back. 

Texan Cafe & Pie Shop is always worth a visit, and their goal is to serve home-cooked meals like the good ol' days of Route 66 when family-owned and operated cafes were abundant. This local Hutto gem is doing just that. With its classic homestyle menu with chicken fried steak, Fried Green Tomatoes, Glazed Ham Steak, Burgers, and more, you're sure to find something for everyone in the family to enjoy. Don't forget to get dessert:  The Texan is renowned for putting out some of the best pies around, with over 50 types of pies to choose from! I LOVE the Snickers pie:  it's the perfect balance of chocolate, caramel, and peanuts. Some of their other options include classics like banana cream pie, apple pie, cherry pie, coconut cream pie, and even some sugar-free options for those who want something sweet without the guilt. 

The ultimate goal of Happy Panini is to leave every customer with a smile as food should always make you happy. Happy Panini is the place to go for all things sandwiches, especially if you want locally sourced and seasonal ingredients like the freshly baked sourdough bread from The New World Bakery in Kyle, TX. They serve Italian and American-inspired sandwiches and paninis such as the Mr. Big, which is packed with Roast beef, smoked ham, turkey, Genoa salami, and pepperoni with melty sharp cheddar and Fontina cheese, pickled jalapenos, and chili garlic mayo. YUM! Or maybe go with something classic like the Big Cheese -- a combination of Provolone, Sharp Cheddar, Fontina, and Parmesan cheese on garlic buttered sourdough with marinara on the side for dipping. There is no going wrong with all those cheeses!! They also feature some great salad options like the classic Mini Caprese Salad or the Quinoa Side Salad, which has Quinoa, chickpeas, bell peppers, roasted hazelnuts, and more tossed in an Apple Cider Vinaigrette. Whatever you crave, Happy Panini is sure to delight your taste buds. 

Rio Grande Tex Mex Restaurant is one of the best in the area for tasty Tex-Mex options. They are family-owned and operated with the belief that great food and excellent service are an affair of the heart, and it shows when you sit down to eat. Start your meal with one of their delicious queso dips, and round it out with enchiladas, flautas, Chile Relleno, or one of the other many options they have that will pair perfectly with a house margarita! Finish off your meal with fried ice cream, flan, or Sopapillas. However you build your order, you are sure to be satisfied with the food, drink, and atmosphere at the Rio Grande. 

The Downtown Hall of Fame is another excellent eatery here in Hutto, established in 2011 by two dear friends to make their dreams a reality. Using locally sourced beef and quality produce, they have transformed the humble hamburger into the artisanal burger of your dreams, making them one of the greats in Hutto. They offer various drinks and tasty starters to get your appetite going. From fried mushrooms, onion rings, and fried pickles to chips and queso, they have it all. Once you're good and hungry, order one of their specialty burgers like the Fried Mac n Cheese burger or the Spicy Hawaiian; perhaps a more classic option is more tempting like the Hall of Fame Burger, which comes with double meat, double American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle, onion, and rock & roll sauce. Whatever you are looking for in a burger, you are sure to find it at the Downtown Hall of Fame. 

Southside Market & Barbeque is relatively new to the Hutto area but has been a Texas staple since 1882 when founder William Moon sold his goods door to door via horse and buggy. Southside Market has come a long way since, with restaurants in Elgin, Bastrop, Austin, and, of course, Hutto. Like many BBQ joints across Texas, they have brisket, sausage, ribs, and more. However, the sides make them special (to me anyway). They have so many great options that pair perfectly with their BBQ, from classics like coleslaw, baked beans, and potato salad to their extra cheesy mac n cheese or the lighter choice of a side salad or corn on the cob; you can't go wrong. So whether you are looking to feed the Family a BBQ feast or have a chopped brisket baked potato all to yourself, Southside has you covered.  

And, of course, we couldn't list some of our favorite Hutto eats without Julio's Mexican Restaurant. Founded in Rockdale, TX in 2005, Julio's Mexican Restaurant features a covered patio, indoor seating, and a bar. With their friendly staff and a diverse menu that includes the Jalisco Plate, Carne Guisada, and Chalupas Supreme, Julio's serves to provide an enjoyable atmosphere for your family and friends with tasty, Mexican dishes.

Hopefully, this list gives you an excellent snapshot of some of our favorite local eateries here in Hutto; however, there are plenty more for your tastebuds to explore and enjoy here. Happy eating hungry Hutto Hippos!

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