I’ve been talking so much lately about daily eating habits, I thought I’d give a little perspective on some helpful resources to enable said habits within the city of Austin, in case you happen to live here and don’t know where to go, or in case you’re dropping in for a visit. Either way, I know when I go traveling, I need to know where I can pick up my kind of shopping purchases without having to drive all over to find the best sources and the best prices. Also, I very frequently emphasize the farmers’ market, but this post will focus more on stops outside of the fresh market arena.
Places to Check Out (Please note, this list is not exhaustive):
(Categories: selection, prices, environment, energy, location, service)
- Location: 3101 Guadalupe St Austin, TX 78705 (new location to open soon)
- Some items of note: If you’re looking for a store that brings both value, and top alternative merchandise with a wonderful and welcoming environment, this is the place for you. Their production section is fantastic yet minimal. They don’t overstock produce, but I’ve never NOT found what I was looking for. They place emphasis, as I’m sure you could guess, on local produce and organic produce. There are the regular exotic fruits like bananas and a pretty regular selection of junior coconuts. The produce staff will assist you in sizing down heavy weighted items like cabbage, if you’re not interested in buying the entire thing. Their deli has a tremendous amount of vegan and gluten-free options, though I will say their pre-made dishes are a little canola oil/soy heavy for my taste, but generally, I feel their options are a nice range of both healthy and “craving” foods to meet our many food moods. They have consistent items behind the counter like their breakfast tacos and the very popular vegan ‘po’ boy’ sandwich, yet they offer seasonal dishes to suit your pallet, such as roasted acorn squash slices. Just adjacent to the deli, is the baked goods/pastry section where you’ll find Red Rabbit Cooperative Bakery’s vegan doughnuts, fair-trade coffee, and a wide variety of other goods in stock everyday. If you have a wheat intolerance/allergy stop by on Wednesday’s for their wheat-free items.
- Locations: 3901 Guadalupe St. Austin, TX & 10515 N. Mopac Expressway, Bldg L
- Some items of note: Best Austin bargains for natural and alternative foods, overall. I always pick up my kombuchas here as they have a variety of brands and the best deal. Also, they have an extensive tea selection (boxed mainly), but if you’re into Tulsi tea at all, they have the biggest selection I’ve ever seen. There is not a deli/meat counter of any sort, but they do frequently have new items sampled at the front of the store, typically with their creator or a proxy. Within the produce section, they will discount their bananas once they are overly ripe, which is great because I LOVE ripe bananas (remember my brown buddy rule)! Also, they have a wide range of raw nuts and seeds kept fresh by refrigeration. Natural Grocers subtly stresses strength in health via diet (nutrition) and supplementation. They have a myriad of sources within their store, ranging from in-store nutritional assistance to books/magazines galore!
The Daily Juice & Juiceland:
- Location: Multiple locations for each shop
- If you’re in the mood for fresh juice and freshly prepared sandwiches, salads and other alternative goodies (even vegan soft serve and the works), these are definitely places you should stop into at some point. Immunity boosting shots and incredibly healing foods in their purest form…how could I leave these two shops off of my list? If you’re interested in raw foods, such as protein powders, bars, drinks, treats, granolas, supplements and more, each of these places are very concentrated and will not only have special and unique items you may not be able to find anywhere else, but they will also have a helpful staff to school you on all you’d like to know.
- Locations: 1901 E. Cesar Chavez & 2414 – A South Lamar & 205 E. Rundberg Ln.
- Not only can you reach out to Mr. Natural for a quick prepared bite, but you can also stop in for alternative, and some Mexican-inspired, pastries and baked goods, that range from vegan to gluten-free. Alongside their restaurant you’ll find a wide range of vitamins, supplements and an assortment of foodstuffs that are certainly not in the mainstream’s eye. Check out their radio spots too, if you’re into connecting even more!
As there are a multitude of stops in Austin for natural foods and alternative products, what you’ll see listed below are places I frequent less for an assortment of reasons, but none-the-less are ultimately good spots to check-out if you’re looking for the non-standard grocery visit. I’ve listed their locations throughout Austin, in case you’re not interested in checking out their website.
- Locations: 13860 US 183 N, Ste C (at 620) & 4018 North Lamar & 3801 South Lamar & 4201 Westbank Drive
- How it stands out: Often goes the extra step, and will often have staff on hand to chat with you about healthful food purchases. If they (the staff) are not able to find what your’e looking for, they will direct you to the best spots in town to pick them up in case they’re out.
- Locations: 4001 N. Lamar Blvd. & 4477 S. Lamar Blvd.
- How it stands out: They offer an amazing array of mushrooms that you can’t find anywhere else, and they often have very exotic fruits if you’re living on the edge that particular day. :p
- Locations: 525 N Lamar Blvd. & 4301 W. William Cannon Bldg B, Ste 800 & 9607 Research Blvd. &
- How it stands out: It’s the first Whole Foods, huge, and often offers young coconuts with holes drilled in them with a straw, screaming “DRINK ME!”
- 10225 Research Blvd. & 6920 Manchaca Rd. & 4006 S. Lamar Blvd..
- How it stands out: It has an incredible bulk section and often has great sales, you just have to be around to catch them.
Austin is the kind of city that caters to the palates of the counter-culture and droves of foodies that settle and pass through. I hope this list is of some assistance to you in your travels through or settlement of our tasty city. And remember…bite responsibly!