Less than a 25 minute drive from downtown Austin, Dripping Springs, TX is a great escape from the bustle of the busy city that seems endless. This small country town draws visitors primarily for its serene location, outdoor attractions, wineries, and weddings—yes, weddings. Given the title of “Official Wedding Capital of Texas” in 2015, there has been new growth in all directions, so you can bet the food scene is rich and plentiful in Dripping Springs.
Restaurants in Dripping Springs range from farm-to-table venues using local ingredients to fine dining, cafes, bistros, cafes, and everything in between. What I love most about the food scene is that many local restaurants are there to serve you, and the owners are there to cook. So whether you are looking for a hearty breakfast to start your day, a nice leisurely lunch in a field of olive trees, an elegant dinner with wine or a good cup of coffee any time of the day, you will find it here. at one of my favorite restaurants in Dripping Springs! These restaurants are in no particular order.
And, with more than 35 wineries, distilleries and breweries, some serving food and some not, this area of the highlands is thriving with visitors every day.
I was hosted by Destination Dripping Springs. All opinions are mine.
1. Tillie Restaurant and Bar
Camp Lucy Resort
Tillie’s is an upscale fine dining restaurant located in the beautiful 289-acre Camp Lucy Resort. The restaurant sits amid old luxury accommodation and heritage buildings. Its stunning venues throughout are immaculate and the resort is a premier wedding venue. Camp Lucy is where I stayed for 2 days and got the royal treatment.
We dined at Tillie’s the first night I was there. We had a drink at the bar while waiting for our dinner reservations. It’s a small area, but it’s a full bar. Once seated, we ordered an appetizer of two cannolis. The menu needs to change, because I don’t see them on the current menu.
Tillie’s is where you’ll want to dress up and take your partner for a romantic dinner or just to experience it all. There is a full bar inside the restaurant, and it is open to the public. Reservations are strongly required. Dinner is available Wednesday through Sunday from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
The scenic drive to Tillie’s is remarkable. You will travel over several one-way bridges over a river and through hills.
2. Oak Creek Cafe
Head to Oak Creek Cafe for all-American comfort food, good ol’ bacon and eggs, burgers, fried fish, po’ boys, and more. I’m not much of a breakfast eater these days, but I’m glad I gave that up for this place. My order looks bland, but that’s how I like it – and as you can see, it’s as filling as any of their dishes. They adapt to your tastes as you wish. No reservation is necessary. They are open for breakfast and lunch and close at 2 p.m.
Pro Tip: Before leaving, take your photo in front of the Dripping Springs mural inside the cafe.
3. Texas Hill Country Olive Company
6 miles from town
Family owned by a father and daughter duo, Dripping Springs, in my opinion, is lucky to have such a wonderful business that cares about preserving the natural beauty of the area. They produce the highest quality olive oil in the United States and have won multiple awards. Texas Hill Country Olive Co. is one of the highlights of Dripping Springs, and if you get the chance to visit, do – I think you’ll love it. I met the boss there, and she gets her hands dirty at the bistro and in the orchard like all the workers. Everyone was so friendly, and it’s more just having lunch there – it’s an experience.
I highly suggest trying an olive oil tasting if you’ve never experienced it. It was my first. It’s far from a wine tasting, but they’ll talk it over with you. You can order an olive oil flight or take it a step further and arrange a guided olive oil tasting.
Several reasons why people visit:
- Lunch at the Bistro.
- Take a tour of the orchard or just wander at your leisure.
- Buy from the gift shop.
Be sure to browse the gift shop for every type of olive oil you can imagine, as well as beautifully wrapped gift boxes with olive oils. I bought my husband a present for Father’s Day when I was there. Inside the gift were three olive oils and a balsamic vinegar. I also threw a dipping spoon in the gift box before she closed it and tied that big white bow!
Pro Tip: The bistro is open from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. every day.
4. Mazama Coffee Company + Roasting
Mercer Street Historic District
Located in the heart of downtown, Mazama Coffee Co. is a casual cafe with plenty of indoor seating and plenty of outdoor seating in the shady courtyard. Although a coffee drinker, I had all the coffee I needed for that day at the time of our visit, so I ordered a mango smoothie and enjoyed it outside in the yard while I waited the arrival of my friend. Dogs are allowed in the yard. They also offer breakfast, lunch and pastries.
Pro Tip: There is always a line.
5. Epicure Market
In the city
Epicure Market is a modern wine bar with a cozy atmosphere and outdoor seating, as well as cheese plates and bistro dishes. It’s a small place to dine as one wall is covered in wines from around the world, a wine bar in the back and a few tables. This is definitely a place you want to make reservations.
I ordered the asparagus prosciutto with balsamic vinegar and dried figs and a glass of cabernet sauvignon recommended by the sommelier and co-owner of the wine, then capped off my evening with a raspberry creme brulee dessert. I could have eaten that first and then another after, it was so good!
6. The Lick BBQ
Border of dripping springs and driftwood
Where Dripping Springs meets Driftwood (Driftwood is not a town but is part of Dripping Springs), Salt Lick BBQ is where everyone goes when visiting the area. This is a very popular restaurant with indoor/outdoor seating and live music outside, and the atmosphere is like a party but also family friendly. They still have the original restaurant on site where you can also eat in and rent for parties. This place is so big that several spaces are commendable for special occasions.
There are four locations in Texas: Driftwood, Round Rock, Austin, and Dallas. I only went to the one in Driftwood.
Pro Tip: Get there early so you don’t have to wait in line too long.
7. Crispy Crispy Chicken
Mercer Street Historic District
Have you ever eaten fried chicken at the gas station? They say gas stations served the nastiest food. I experienced this once in another town, but a friend and the CEO of Dripping Springs said this place had the best fried chicken, so I’m adding it to my list here. Krispy Krunchy Chicken is located on US-290, just behind The Barber Shop (a former barber shop turned bar). The bar does not sell food but will allow you to bring food so you can enjoy eating while sipping your favorite beer.
There are two restaurants that I was unable to visit but were on my itinerary. I think both are worth mentioning here. The first is Rolling In Thyme And Dough, a wonderful place for coffee and breakfast. It was launched in 2005 by a professional European baker, and she is still there to concoct her recipes. It’s Googled many listings, and I’ve been told that the bread and baked goods are “out of this world” delight! The other one I want to mention is Get Along Grill. It is locally owned and offers American comfort food made from scratch. It opens at 3 p.m. on weekdays and at 11 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. They are both located on Highway 290.
Pro Tip: Whether you’re driving from Austin or staying for the weekend, there’s plenty to do in town, and the friendly locals will always lend a hand. Dripping Springs offers several annual events that are worth visiting before you go. Be sure to drop by the visitor desk on Mercer Street to pick up a brochure or two.