Retail Roundup: Caswell Lofts Area Shopping, Dining and Entertainment

Home to the Caswell Lofts, Austin’s western downtown has reinvented itself into one of the city’s most exciting places to shop, eat, take a brisk walk, or just relax with a favorite beverage.

The shopping opportunities here are perhaps the best and most concentrated throughout Austin with fashion leading the way at By George, Girl Next Door, Agave, Etcetera Etc., and Plain Ivy Jane along with many others. For daily needs and groceries, locals flock to the 80,000 square foot Whole Foods Market, the world’s leading purveyor of fresh produce, organic selections, and a huge inventory healthful groceries. Whole Foods also includes several restaurant areas and prepared foods to take home.

Burgers, 24-Hour Breakfast and Eggplant Fritters with Grilled Okra

Area restaurants include several Austin landmark favorites such as The Tavern, a neo-European styled bar and restaurant, Huts Hamburgers, a 40s-styled diner, Sweetish Hill Bakery, and Frank and Angie’s Pizza and Italian Food. For an upscale experience, Garrido’s and La Condesa, both serveflavorful, central Mexican inspired dishes for dinner overlooking romantic Lady Bird Lake.

For a really fun, casual burger, Huts Hamburgers is just a few minutes from home. First established in 1939, Huts still serves authentically retro Texas diner fare down to the crispy chicken-fried steaks, gooey 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.

Offering a fresh take on traditional breakfast, 24 Diner is always open. And one of the hottest spots for dining from a refreshing and unconventional blend of flavors is The Barley Swine Restaurant. Eggplant fritters with grilled okra, feta tofu and sesame are one tasty example.

A New Menu Every Day at Wink

About two minutes from Caswell Lofts, upscale new-American Wink 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. In turn, Wink writes its menu daily to include 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. (There are often more than 40 wines open and available by the glass on any given night.) Co-owner and chef 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 interesting conversation.

Dance to Live Music and Share a Laugh at the Comedy Club

While home life is serene and private at the Caswell Lofts, residents always have the option of enjoying the wonderful urban experiences of downtown Austin. Nightlife is forever in full swing every night with the 4th and 6th Street entertainment districts offering nightclubs, bars, dance clubs, restaurants, and a comedy club or two. Live music venues like The Elephant Room, Antone’s, Mohawk, Continental Club, and Stubb’s, seem to be everywhere in Austin, offering both well-loved local musicians and popular touring acts.