If there’s one establishment that embodies the Austin ethos of “keeping it weird” while uniting a diversifying community that would otherwise pull in opposite directions, it’s Bouldin Creek Cafe. Since its inception in 2000, this quirky artist’s enclave has captured the hearts of locals, cementing its place in the city’s sociopolitical map. For travelers, it shines as a welcoming beacon, from early morning to late night. Given top billing in any credible guidebook, it’s a worthy pilgrimage for vegans and food enthusiasts from around the world.
Bouldin Creek Cafe left a lasting impression on me from the first time I visited Austin, many years ago. I’ll never forget that meal shared with friends following Vida Vegan Con, watching everyone pull out their cameras as the orders arrived, feeling like I finally found my tribe. It was the first place I came back to after moving in, with pots and pans still packed away, cupboards yawning open with not a single can of beans to share. It’s where I’ve had countless dates, business meetings, solo meals, celebrations, and somber evenings. If you’re part of my life in a physical sense, we have or will inevitably spend time here together.
Always vegetarian with equivalent vegan options whenever a dish isn’t already plant-based to begin with, it’s one of the last surviving “old school” kitchens that makes veggie burgers from scratch- and actual veggies. There’s no Impossible or Beyond, no shortcuts or cheap tricks. Personally, I can’t leave without ordering something with tofu scramble, a classic take on crumbled and sauteed curds, thickly encrusted with cheesy, umami nutritional yeast. Making a truly exceptional tofu scramble is a dying art, but it’s alive and well here, executed at the highest level.
The beauty of the iconic tofu scramble is that it’s wonderful as a standalone entree, and even greater as part of larger plate. Zucchini migas folds fresh veggies and tortilla chips in with a spicy salsa, while Joe’s smokin’ “omelet” incorporates sauteed spinach with chipotle-pecan pesto. Sides aren’t a side thought, especially when it comes to the blueberry cornbread, served up in sizeable slabs so sweet and tender, you could easily satisfy cake cravings for breakfast.
More than once, I’ve witnessed rigid eaters soften their stance toward vegan food, embracing a meal without meat as a welcome change of pace, rather than a sacrifice. I’ve seen strangers connect over cashew queso, pups on the patio begging for hash browns, toddlers gleefully stuffing fistfuls of pasta into their mouths while somehow managing to wear the majority of it. Students hunch over coffees in tables next to couples dressed to the nines, kicking off a night on the town. It’s truly the crossroads of humanity, the universal answer to: Where should we eat today?
Bouldin Creek Cafe. It’s always the right choice.