Oldest Eatery in Downtown Austin Embraces New Trends

Tuesday 06th, February 2018 / 13:38 Written by
Oldest Eatery in Downtown Austin Embraces New Trends

Oldest Eatery in Austin’s Downtown Keeps Things Healthy, Sustainable, Local and Fresh

Open for more than 30 years, Manuels Restaurant, located at the intersection of Austin’s trendy Third and Congress streets, is the oldest eatery in downtown. Third generation restaurateur and part owner of Manuel’s, Greg Koury wasn’t interested in opening the typical Tex-Mex place. So he used his experience as a restaurant manager and his first hand family training to create an eatery that artfully prepared dishes from Mexico’s interior and coastal regions. Known for their Mexican cuisine infused with flavor and steeped in tradition, this restaurant has been a hot spot for politicians, musicians, university students and locals for years.

And throughout 3 decades, Manuel’s has kept customers coming back, as well as attracting new patrons, by continuing to serve only the best food possible. For instance, their chicken, beef and pork are all natural with no antibiotics and are hormone-free. Their beef is from grass-fed Texas cows. Their seafood is wild-caught from certified sustainable waters like the scallops and shrimp harvested from the Texas Gulf. Their fish is fresh and hand cut daily, never frozen. You can taste the difference! Their corn chips and corn tortillas are made from non-GMO corn. Their salsas and sauces are made from fresh ingredients sourced locally when possible.

They also follow a strict recycle program which includes all take-out boxes being made from 100% recyclable material. They want everything at their restaurant to be clean, green, and delicious.

I had the pleasure of eating lunch at Manuel’s and I say they are absolutely putting their money where YOUR mouth is from the food I ate.

Walking in off of Congress street, you enter the original dining area set up with booths along one wall and a full service bar along the opposite wall. They have since extended out to add a second dining area that allows for more customers. The second room can also be rented for private events. Located in one of the original buildings on Congress Avenue built in 1880 helps lend to the atmosphere while still keeping a modern vibe.

Oldest Eatery

Manuel’s is a Mexican food restaurant & bar in downtown Austin, TX

Lunch started with Non-GMO white corn tortilla chips with house made salsa. Excellent salsa with the fresh ingredients preparing the palate for more to come. With that came the Campechana, their seafood cocktail with poached Yellowfin Tuna, Gulf wild caught Shrimp and Black Drum fish all tossed together with serrano chiles, onions, tomatoes and cilantro and topped with fresh slices of avocado. The only way to get this dish fresher is to fly to coastal Mexico. This was served with fresh, house-made tortillas (both flour and corn) in case you wanted to make taquitos. We did!

Oldest Eatery

I was informed that Manuel’s is known for their mole. If you aren’t familiar with mole, it is this fragrant, delicious sauce containing chili pepper, fruits, nuts, sesame seeds and spices like cinnamon, cumin, cloves and black pepper as well as chocolate. This rich and wonderful sauce comes from the areas of Puebla and Oaxaca in Mexico. At Manuel’s, they made their mole in-house using a rich festive blend of chicken broth, roasted chiles, nuts, chocolate, herbs and spices letting it slow cook for hours allowing the flavors to blend. I learned to love mole from my many years of summer vacations in Mexico, so I was drooling to try their dish. Pollo en Mole con Queso (chicken in mole sauce with white cheese) was made with tender white shredded chicken blanketed in mole with queso blanco on top. The presentation was great in the covered soup bowl and the mole was outstanding. If you have never tried mole, this is the place to do so. If you love mole, you have to get to Manuel’s!

Oldest Eatery

Camarones a la Veracruzana (shrimp Veracruz style) was one of the entrees today. Veracruz sauce is a light blend of tomatoes, onions, jalapeno, capers, olives and spices used mostly for chicken and fish dishes. Here the wild caught colossal Texas Gulf shrimp are sautéed with fresh tomatoes, green olives, onions, garlic, capers & olive oil, served on a bed of rice. Very simple to make, and so good to eat!

Oldest Eatery

Enchiladas de Jaiba (Blue crab enchiladas) was the second entree. Here sautéed jumbo lump crab is wrapped in a tortilla and topped with a chipotle lime cream salsa. You can also get a salsa verde or sulza instead. The tortilla is filled to overflowing with lots of delicate, fresh crab meat. This enchilada comes with a side of white rice and a grilled red onion.

Oldest Eatery

Manuel’s has a nice selection of wines by the bottle and many by the glass. Today I tried a glass of the Mantazas Creek Winery Sauvignon Blanc, a nice white out of Napa Valley and a glass of the Skyfall Vineyard Pinot Gris from Columbia Valley. Both are refreshing light wines that paired well with all the food today.

Oldest Eatery

They also have a full service bar which is known for its stellar margaritas and other signature cocktails like the Pink Chihuahua or their Skinny Cucumber Lime Martini.

Of course you can’t forget dessert here either and once you hear about this famous dessert, you won’t even try. Their Signature Flan served like a tart is rich in vanilla custard with coconut, drizzled with thick creamy caramel & topped with fresh picked blackberries. Yep, you want some of this, don’t you!

Oldest Eatery

Manuel’s has two locations to serve you, the first one on Congress St. downtown and the second on Jollyville Road at the Arboretum.

Location #1: 310 Congress Ave , Austin, TX

Phone: (512) 472-7555

Hours:

Serving Lunch & Dinner
Monday – Thursday: 11am – 10pm
Friday and Saturday: 11am – 11pm
Sunday: 10am – 10pm

Sunday Brunch
10am – 3pm

Happy Hour Daily, 4 – 6pm

Arboretum Location

Location #2: 10201 Jollyville Rd, Austin, TX

Phone: (512) 345-1042

Hours: 

Serving Lunch & Dinner
Monday – Thursday: 11am – 10pm
Friday and Saturday: 11am – 11pm
Sunday: 10am – 10pm

Sunday Brunch
10am – 3pm

Happy Hour Daily, 4 – 6pm

www.manuels.com

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