Shady Grove is an Austin staple. They’ve been on Barton Springs since 1992. In a time when Austin restaurants open and close faster than the seasons, Shady Grove has been operating for 27 years. I went to visit them last week during an Austin Food Bloggers Alliance happy hour and WOW were we spoiled. While I did receive free, tasty food and drinks, all opinions are my own.
Shady Grove’s design was influenced by the State Parks of the 40s. It’s very approachable and relaxed. There’s a huge patio spread out under a 100+ year old pecan tree, but also a large indoor space filled with campy, cabin decor. Their menu of appetizers, entrees, drinks, and desserts is pretty large and there’s definitely something for everyone – including the kids! I’ve always thought of Shady Grove as a great place to take visiting family. I started out with a Wat.A.Rita, made with watermelon and lime juice. It was pretty delicious. I actually ordered two…
When the food came out, I was very impressed. I’ll be honest – I always thought of Shady Grove as having ok, generic food. I was pleased to see they’ve stepped up their game! I sampled a little bit of everything – from green chile cheese fries to gulf coast fried shrimp to the classic cheeseburger.
The spread was extensive. See what I’m talking about – something for everyone!
I tried to take bites of everything and in the end, I had two favorite food items – the tamale cakes and the buttermilk fried chicken minis. The tamale cakes I ate were made with thick avocado slices instead of pulled pork and it was absolutely delicious. I would order this appetizer as a meal, 100%. It was slightly spicy with an excellent flavor. MMM! My second favorite thing was the buttermilk fried chicken minis. They looked plain at first sight, but were surprisingly tasty! The chicken was perfectly fried – not too dry, but still super crispy. Pro tip – put some of the coleslaw they serve on the side ON the sandwich.
After eating my weight in food, they brought out dessert – chocolate mousse, pecan, and peanut butter ice cream pies! There was also a peach cobbler that was SO delicious it was eaten before I could grab a photo. It’ll be hard, but for sure save room for dessert. They’re worth it!
Next time you’re feeling like having a relaxed, patio meal, head down to Shady Grove. Especially if you’re with a large group with varying tastes and preferences. Thank you so much for inviting me out, Shady Grove! This wasn’t my first visit and definitely won’t be my last.