One thing I’ve always loved about the restaurant business is that each establishment has their own “unique” thing about their menu or a specific dish that separates them from everyone else. All over the great state of Texas, you can find things like the 72oz ribeye steak, puffy tacos, actual BBQ that’s not pork (thanks northerners) and enchiladas that are literally the best thing you’ve ever tried.
Every time I go somewhere new, I go in with middle to high expectations, and I’ll admit that sometimes I do look at reviews before I go (*winces*), if only to see what people are recommending to try. So when I heard about The Park on South Lamar that had taken the place of an old Fuddruckers that I remember from my childhood (growing up near Austin, TX), I was ready for an open-minded experience that would probably be really tasty and a real treat. The problem is, I was totally wrong.
It. Was. Mind. Blowing.
The reviews told me of a place that was a classy sports bar with great service and even better food/drink specials, but that might be the understatement of the year. The menu offered so many different options, that it took me 30 minutes to decide what to eat. The Park’s appetizers could serve as a full meal for people on a budget, and I bet they wouldn’t feel hungry after. For example, a popular dish, the Smoked Brisket Quesadilla (with smoked brisket, pepper jack cheese & pico de gallo) was astoundingly good, and tipped me off that this place didn’t really serve “bar food,” but rather created a unique style and taste that caters to foodies like myself and health nuts alike.
What puts the Park above the rest though, is their famous “Sunday Funday” brunch buffet with $1 mimosas! That’s a deal that will be difficult to beat anywhere else. And even if you don’t fall in with the brunch crowd, their soups and salads (see-Asian Salad) get the job done.
On grilled side of things, their “4th of July” Burger (Cheese, applewood bacon, onions rings & BBQ sauce) was probably the best burger I’ve had in 2016, likely because of the BBQ sauce. Other options there include the “Hippie Bean,” the “Guatemalan,” the “Rebel,” and the “El-Juanito” burgers. As for the wing menu, every choice (and sauce combo) is GREAT. The wings are fried to a perfect crunch. For those eaters who would rather eat something on the grilled chicken side, the Park offers three levels of healthy choice (with creative names to remember):
- The Fit Chick – Lightly seasoned grilled chicken breast with broccoli & Spanish rice ($11)
- The Hot Chick – Grilled chicken chipotle adobo sauce mozzarella cheese roasted peppers; served with Spanish rice and black beans ($12)
- The Fat Chick – Chicken fried chicken smothered in jalapeño gravy served with mashed potatoes and seasonal veggies ($13)
The beer selection was really creative and included well over 90 beers and wines. What I also really liked was that the selection included beers made in Austin and from the surrounding areas. The Park’s secret weapon of drinks however, was their $5 frozen mojitos. Game changers. Lastly, for those foodies out there with a sweet tooth, I have three words for you: Nutella. Funnel. Cake. It was that good, no questions asked. The brownies and fried ice cream are other options as well.
Overall, the Park’s service is good, fast and polite. At times, the bar can be very loud, but that because it’s a sports bar. With over 20 TVs in and around the bar and patio, the place is great if you’re going there with kids or to watch sports. If you have ever been stuck wanting to grab a bite but you or your group can’t decide on what you want to eat, this place will solve that problem, and then some. One last thing, try the brunch on Sundays. You can thank me later.