Retail Roundup: Round Rock Area Shopping, Dining and Entertainment

Round Rock is a town bursting with great shopping, dining, and entertainment options. Even though all of Austin lies just 20 minutes away, residents often find they don’t need to leave Round Rock itself to find just the kind of great time they’re looking for.

While the downtown area is compact, Round Rock has more than a typical small town — in fact, it’s earned a reputation not as a large small town, but as a little big city. Residents, together with the local business community, have supported the constant growth and vitality of the area while preserving its charm.

Local Shopping Bargains at High-End Retailers

Round Rock is convenient to a tremendous amount of great shopping. Two large commercial centers provide easy access to all of the major labels. The Round Rock Premium Outlets features more than 125 retailers featuring such high-quality brands as Burberry, Coach, Kenneth Cole, Ann Taylor and The Gap. The La Frontera shopping center is a 328-acre mixed use development with about 50 retail stores including Barnes & Noble, Kohl’s, Pier 1 Imports, Old Navy, and World Market and over 20 restaurants.

A Tempting Dining Menu — From Innovative National Brands to Popular Local Options

Round Rock has long been a restaurant industry test market, and high-quality national chain restaurants are well represented here. But it’s the local places that offer the most tempting and finely crafted dishes. Local establishments include Gino’s Italian Restaurant, Louisiana Longhorn Café, Morelia Mexican Grill, and Main Street Grill, among many more.

Jack Allen’s Kitchen is a popular destination for local diners looking for a locally owned, fine dining experience with a distinct Texas twist. Jack Allen’s is centered on Southern-inspired dishes with an infusion of southwestern flavors to create plates that are both intriguing and comforting. The restaurant is devoted to locally sourcing its ingredients — the vast majority of ingredients in every dish are from within the state of Texas. Texas-centric specials vary to take advantage of the freshest local produce while creating dishes that suit the changing Texas seasons.

Every meal begins with the restaurant’s complementary and surprisingly upscale take on pimiento cheese served with flatbread crackers. Frequent diners recommend first considering one of the unique daily specials, but also insist you can’t go wrong with something from the “Chicken Fried Anything” options — especially the chicken-fried New York Strip steak, or one of the South Texas Taco Platters (such as the popular and inventive chile, mango, and shrimp taco), or any of Jack Allen’s excellent gourmet burgers. Desserts, which are created daily in-house, also come highly recommended. And don’t forget to check out Jack Allen’s famous Sunday brunch, featuring fresh, tasty mimosas and an extensive buffet that draws diners from all over the area.

Everything from Farm-to-Table Casual Food to Celebrated Indian Cuisine

Recently opened Greenhouse Craft Food restaurant operates on a Farm-to-Table concept with a relaxed, casual atmosphere. While a few popular items are permanent fixtures on the menu, super-local specials created with the chef’s findings from his farmers are featured daily. Touting their simple, tasty dishes as “real food,” Greenhouse sources as much of its menu locally as possible. Adults are invited to read a list of all the vendors that the Greenhouse uses before exploring the chef’s daily dinner specials. Kids are welcome, and the menu offers house-made chicken nuggets (with real chicken) and un-cured hot dogs. The lunch menu always includes antibiotic/hormone free burgers on artisanal buns, all-natural chicken, wild caught Gulf shrimp and more! And the restaurant features breakfast seven days a week.

There are a number of really fine restaurants serving international and ethnic cuisine in Round Rock, but many diners say Teji’s Indian Restaurant stands above them all. Teji’s has earned a reputation throughout Austin as one of the region’s best places for Indian food. An added bonus, Teji’s includes a small Indian grocery operation in addition to the restaurant. The menu features a broad variety of chicken, goat, and lamb curries as well as a sizeable number of vegetarian entrees. From the naan to the traditional desserts such as gulab jaman (fried dough in sweetened rosewater) and kheer (sweet rice pudding), diners cannot stop talking about the incredibly high quality, craftsmanship, and authenticity of the food.

Live Music and Baseball with a Twist

The live music scene is growing as more bars and restaurants add live music to the mix. Star Company Coffeehouse & Café, Gino’s Italian Restaurant, Junior’s Grill & Icehouse, Quinn’s, and Westside Alehouse are a few of the places leading the way.

Dell Diamond, adjacent to popular Old Settlers Park, is the home of the Round Rock Express, a AAA baseball team. The Dell Diamond presents “America’s pastime” with a host of unique features for adults and kids including a hot tub, swimming pool, a bungee trampoline, climbing wall, family picnic areas, and barbecue grills, as well as business meeting and banquet facilities.