In addition to all the cookies, cupcakes, pies, churros, and other glorious carbs you could ever eat, you'll find something else at these five memorable Austin bakeries: nostalgia. Some are local fixtures that have been here forever. Austin may be getting fancier and slicker in some places, but Quack's 43rd St Bakery reminds you that we're still a laid-back college town at heart. 1886 Café and Bakery at the Driskill Hotel downtown evokes a bygone elegance, and in south Austin, La Mexicana Bakery serves traditional treats that are part of Austin's heritage. Even newer bakeries call upon this nostalgic spirit. Easy Tiger opened in 2012 on East Sixth Street, but its design is such a whimsical pastiche of vintage elements, it feels like a dream of the past. And the cute-as-(vegan) pie Capital City Bakery re-creates both Texas favorites like kolaches and the guilty-pleasure snack foods we loved as kids in vegan versions.
Quack's 43rd St Bakery
When I lived in the Hyde Park area near the University of Texas, I spent many a weekend morning in this easygoing neighborhood spot. Their salty oat cookie was doing that whole sweet-and-salty thing before it was cool. It’s part of a vast lineup of cookies, cakes, pies and other treats, which includes vegan options.
1886 Café & Bakery
Recently and beautifully renovated, 1886 Café & Bakery at the Driskill Hotel is a good way to get a taste of the Driskill's old-fashioned Texas glamour if you aren't staying there. Stop in for a full meal, or revel in a very sophisticated sugar high with bakery fare like the Pinterest-perfect vanilla cupcake.
"Bake shop and beer garden" isn't a business description you hear every day, but stick with me: In the morning, pick up coffee and pastry. Later in the day, the bakery provides breads and pretzels for dishes meant to be enjoyed with the impressive beer menu. Charming, retro-inspired design completes Easy Tiger's winning formula.
La Mexicana Bakery
Family-owned La Mexicana isn't fancy, but it is delicious — and essential if you want to experience the real flavor of Austin. You'll be drawn to the front case of pastries and cakes (including the delectable-beyond-words tres leches cake), but if you want something savory first, the tacos and sandwiches are served on their homemade tortillas and breads.
Capital City Bakery
The décor in pale aqua and white is as sweet as the vegan treats here. The "fauxstess" cupcake uncannily evokes the chocolatey childhood snack. Kolaches are beloved in Texas, and the vegan sausage version here captures just the right contrast of savory meat and cheese inside a slightly sweet roll.