Austin, TX

My Two Favorite Restaurants in Austin, TX, Loro and Hop Doddy

Carol Lennox

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Hop Doddy burger.Photo byPhoto from Hop Doddy website

I have two favorite restaurants in Austin: Loro and Hop Doddy. While I prefer fine dining when I can get it — as in when someone takes me on a date or it’s my birthday— these two check all the other boxes.

Servers who treat me — a regular — as a friend. At Hop Daddy, the servers call me Care Bear. Other diners have asked if I’m a celebrity. No, not because I’m speaking gibberish while alone at a table — although don’t rule that out — but because the servers all seem to love me.

Both places have amazingly good food. Loro is owned by James Beard Award winners, Chef Tyson Cole of Uchi and Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue. That’s as close to fine dining as you can get without linen tablecloths.

Hop Doddy bakes their own buns and hand cuts their fries. The burgers are too rare for me, but they happily cook them to my specification. As they like to say, “Happiness is a warm customer,” or it may be “Hoppiness is a warm bun.”

They both have good happy hours, one with my favorite wine and one with outstanding margaritas called Doblé Finas. What’s not to love?

Constant bombardment with emails and texts, that’s what.

One shouts, using the old limited-time offer trick: HURRY IN NOW TO GET OUR LIMITED EDITION HAMBURGER. It's the Ultimate Burger with an ingredient from every burger on their menu. Pickles, mushrooms, bacon, buffalo sauce, crispy Brussels sprouts, cheese, lettuce, Doddy mayo. You name it.

There's a new one each month, and if enough people order it and respond favorably it might get added to the menu. Or at least brought back again for a limited time. .

The other uses the selling tool of limited supply. Their menu offers a Loro Cheese Burger with brisket onion jam, but ONLY until 5:00 p.m.

If you want one and don’t get there for lunch, you better hope you make their Happy Hours of 2:00 to 5:00 BEFORE THEY RUN OUT. This is not hyperbole, as it is a Franklin’s deal. Franklin's barbecue advertises meat "served until we run out." And they do.

Once Loro even ran out of salmon, but that had to be a fluke. Which is good because the salmon rice bowl is my favorite thing on the menu. With the exception of the salted toffee chocolate chip cookies.

Loro also has ribs available ONLY after 5:00 on Sundays and Mondays until they run out. That would be a good text or email reminder to receive.

I’m not sure why either restaurant reaches out to me at all. It’s not like I fit either of their marketing demographics.

Hop Doddy’s CEO says this:

Chandler: At the heart of it are a couple of different segmented groups: American royalty, who are higher income folks looking for quality, something different and better. Our marketing research says we appeal to striving singles, young city solos, urban ambition, wired for success, bohemian groove, and metrofusion.

Maybe I fit the bohemian groove category. Maybe striving single, but that sounds young. Striving for what exactly? A romantic partner? The perfect burger, fries and margarita? I fit the second. And Hop Doddy offers that.

The Loro vibe is much the same. Urban singles, entrepreneurs, younger couples. But there are plenty of the rest of us to fill out the tables.

Whatever my demographic, I’m a regular. Or an easy sell.

Does it work? Of course.

I scrolled through my emails looking for examples over an hour ago. Hop Doddy grabbed me with an announcement of crispy brussels sprouts, for a limited time only.

Yes, they and the bison burger on whole wheat, various seeds embedded, with goat cheese and mushrooms were quite delicious.

Tonight, I’ll be at Loro’s. I hope they don’t run out of salmon for my salmon bowl, and they definitely better not run out of salted-toffee chocolate chip cookies.

Sometimes a server will even save me a cookie or two. That’s what I call love. That and being called Care Bear.

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My purpose is to inspire and inform. You can read more by me on Medium.com/@carollennox, and on the Good Men Project. I've had a lifetime of valuable experiences, and I want to share the lessons I've learned readily, or been forced to learn. I'm a psychotherapist, a hypnotherapist, a mother to my amazing son, Blake Scott, whom I write about often. I also write about race, equality, social justice, sex, government, and Mindfulness, not in that order.

Austin, TX
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