Austin Eats: 24 Diner
Updated: Sep 5, 2018
In high school, it was IHOP or Denny’s. In college, it was Kerbey Lane or Magnolia Cafe. Those two have managed to cross over into adulthood with me, but now they might have to battle for my around-the-clock eatery affections with 24 Diner, which opened late last year in the Sixth and Lamar space next to Waterloo Records that was formerly home to Waterloo Ice House.
24 Diner takes comfort food and puts a sustainable spin on it, a philosophy that makes it a perfect fit for Austin. The farm-to-table approach is writ large across the menu with certified humane, cage-free eggs from Gonzales, all-natural Texas-raised chicken and organic fair-trade coffee. And unless you arrive in the no-man’s-land of the state-mandated dry hours between 2 a.m. and 7 a.m., you can order from their globally diverse wine list, chill out with a Fireman’s #4 on tap or pick from the bottle selections that include unique offerings that run the gamut from Brooklyn Brewery Local 1 to Xingu Black Lager.
When I visited, it wasn’t anywhere near breakfast time, but I still couldn’t resist the pull of a waffle breakfast, especially when the waffles are made with butter, raw sugar and Madagascar bourbon vanilla. The waffle didn’t disappoint, but the real highlight for me was the the homemade veggie sausage, which is made in-house with beets, mushrooms, lentils, rice, pumpkin seeds and golden flaxseeds and struck that absolutely perfect balance of savory, spicy and sweet.
If I had one real complaint, I would say that the service wasn’t awesome. It’s probably because I’m part camel, but my water glass sat empty several times for much longer than I’d have liked. Also, unless you land a booth, the seating configuration tends to put you up close and personal with your noshing neighbors, which can be a little awkward (especially after I noticed that one of our adjacent tablemates was my dentist, who hopefully didn’t see the amount of sweet, sticky 100% Grade A amber maple syrup I poured on my waffle).
On most late nights, if I just want to relax and pig out on some greasy grub, I’d probably still head to Kerbey Lane, but 24 Diner is a great option to have. So I guess if Kerbey Lane is your favorite pair of jeans, 24 Diner is like the new pair that make you feel super hip but will probably never be quite as comfortable. But right now, all I can think about is going back to try the bacon gorgonzola burger (sub homemade veggie patty, of course) finished off with a piece of chocolate peanut butter cake. Yum.