Retail Roundup: Nokonah Lofts Area Shopping, Dining and Entertainment

Austin’s western downtown has reinvented itself into the city’s most exciting place to shop, eat, take a brisk walk, play Frisbee with canine companions, relax with a favorite beverage, or just watch the world go by.

The shopping opportunities, perhaps the best and most concentrated anywhere in town, are led by Austin fashion pioneer By George. Popular fashion-forward shops for women include Girl Next Door, Agave, Etcetera Etc., and Plain Ivey Jane along with many more that makes this an exciting market district. The thriving 2nd Street shopping and dining district is a short walk away.

Residents of The Nokonah can walk to Austin’s Whole Foods Market for some of Austin’s highest quality fruits, vegetables, grass-fed beef, and other healthful and organic products. Whole Foods Market is also a great place to grab a bite at one of their cafes, or take home a pre-prepared meal to help calm hectic evenings.

High-Quality Food, Fresh Daily and Wine by the Glass

Area restaurants include several Austin favorites. Upscale new-American restaurant Wink, a 3-minute walk from The Nokonah, is widely hailed as one of Austin’s pioneers among innovative, sustainable, farm-to-table restaurants. From its earliest days, Wink has embraced the slow food concept — the opposite of fast food. Slow food is all based on what is local, sustainable, and fresh. When Wink opened,they tried a quarterly menu that highlighted seasonal ingredients.

But soon, they found that schedule couldn’t keep up with the variety of fresh ingredients as they came to market and then disappeared. So they moved to a monthly menu. Which, they realized, was being re-written almost daily to account for the local produce they’d receive from their local farms and suppliers. So then, and still today, Wink writes its menu daily to suit it to the most remarkable and high-quality ingredients they can find.

To accompany the ever-changing Wink menu, Wink accompanies its small plates and tasting menus with wine by the glass, with often more than 40 wines open and available by the glass on any given night. Chef/owner Mark Paul has said that he thinks of the Wink dining room as a dinner party that happens every night, where he hopes everyone feels like family who can share an exquisite culinary experience and some fine conversation.

Juicy Burgers, Late-Night Breakfast and Delectable French Cuisine

Huts Hamburgers, just a seven minute walk, was first established in 1939 and still serves authentically retro Texas diner chow down to the crispy chicken-fried steaks, the burgers, delicious fries, and irresistible shakes and malts. Next door to Huts is Frank & Angie’s, a casual restaurant serving traditional Italian food and delicious pizza.

For those late night or anytime cravings for some delicious all-American diner classics with a twist, including breakfast served 24-hours a day, 24Diner is just a four minute walk.

Only a few minutes away, Chez Nous, a 30-year Austin icon, offers a delectable menu of French bistro-style cuisine in a relaxed and unpretentious.  More recent additions to the list of local foodie favorites include Garrido’s and La Condesa, both serving central Mexican inspired dishes.

Legendary Nightlife and Other Offbeat Fun

Nightlife options include the bars and clubs in the nearby Warehouse District as well as venues on historic Sixth Street– about a mile west. There are other nearby nightclubs as well, such as the Continental Club on South Congress, a longtime Austin venue that features many local favorites and national touring musicians.

Peter Pan Mini-Golf is a campy miniature golf course, and makes great offbeat date night. It’s just a few minutes south of Lady Bird Lake.