|2305 E. 7th St.
Austin, TX 78702
Those of you who have followed our reviews over the years know of my fondness for Mexican breakfasts. I make a pretty audacious breakfast taco myself so I am not inclined to give praise lightly. But I will make a pleasant exception for Joe’s Bakery on East 7th. The origins of this place go back to the 1930’s and it’s still going strong. People are lined up at the door when Joe’s opens each day at 6:30am and it continues pretty much unabated until they close at 3pm.
I’m not wild about the bakery part (with the exception of the oatmeal and raisin cookies) but the food here resonates with authentic Tex-Mex flavors and the desayunois [breakfast] at the very top of the flavor chain. Which leads us to the Huevos Rancheros, which in my humble opinion, are quite simply the best in Austin. There are many stellar aspects to this dish: incredibly mellow and flavorful frijoles, beautiful bacon dipped in flour and then grilled (not deep fried as has been reported), eggs done once over lightly (the best way) and an exceptionally vibrant homemade ranchera sauce that just lights the plate up. And get it with the corn tortillas (Dios mio). Then there’s the Pork Chop breakfast. I get hungry just saying that. The chops are fried to a crispy finish and served with fried potatoes and killer frijoles. I’m partial to Chorizo (Mexican sausage) and I love it with scrambled eggs which blend nicely with the sausage and of course the refried beans. A little hot queso poured on top seals the deal. The Chicharron (fried porkskins) might not seem at first glance to be breakfast fare, but they’re low carb and they really work well with eggs (who knew?) to make for a very tasty breakfast. And you want breakfast tacos? My favorite is the bacon, egg, cheese, and onion, but all of Joe’s tacos, breakfast and otherwise are quite tasty.
That brings us to another dish for which Joe’s is very well known: menudo. I’m not talking about the Latin boy band whose members are forced to retire when they reach age 16, but the real deal: tripe, or the stomach of the cow. Menudo originates from the Sonoran region of Mexico and is said to be the ultimate remedy for a hangover. The essential idea of good menudo is to cook the three disparate elements: the tripe, the posole and the chile separately, blending only just before serving. And there’s now law that says gringos can’t like menudo!
Former legendary and beloved owner Joe Avila has passed but his daughter Rose is keeping things humming. You want ambiance? Well, Joe’s doesn’t have it. You want great food and camaraderie, well Joe’s has that in abundance. You don’t stay open all these years without a reason!