Sunday, February 8, 2009

Thursday, January 22, 2009: Hill's Cafe (Austin, Texas)

Though we’d visited many times before for dinner or free Wednesday-night concerts under the big oak trees, this was our first Man-Up visit to Hill’s Cafe in South Austin. Hill’s is a great place to grab a drink, eat comfort food, catch a game, and hear some Texas music. It’s not strictly a BBQ joint, but they have a good range of BBQ to choose from.

We had a party of eight, but a few didn’t partake of Bob Cole’s BBQ offerings. Those of us who did found the BBQ to be fairly solid. Not great, but not bad. Of the BBQ we’ve eaten in Austin, I’d put Hill’s in the middle of the pack. I’d choose it over Iron Works, Ruby’s, and R.J.’s but not The County Line, Green Mesquite, or Rudy’s.

Bo writes, “Hospitality: Any place owned and operated by Country Music Hall of Fame personality Bob Cole has to be friendly, even if it is in South Austin. Hill's came through on my scale with a score of 8.8. The waiter also did a god job of handling such a large and loud group. Turkey: The turkey had some flavor in it but seemed dry, as if it was cooked earlier in the day and was sitting underneath a heating lamp for some time. Sausage: I thought the sausage had potential but had dried out a bit too much for my liking. Brisket: Surprisingly moist and full of flavor. Sides: I had the mac 'n cheese and something else. That says it all - I can’t even remember what I had.”

And now, thoughts from Russell: “Hospitality: Hill’s has the friendliest service you can expect for a South Austin place. Even though we didn’t meet him, I assume Mr. BBQ Bob Cole does a good job setting that good-ole-boy tone at his place. I think it has a warm feeling associated with it…maybe it’s from all that free live music they play on the back patio under the big oak trees! I was highly disappointed they were out of their 'award winning' pork ribs…that kept them from scoring higher on the hospitality scale. Brisket: Maybe a little fatty, but their moist brisket was some of the juiciest, most flavorful in the ATX and would be my recommended item at Hill’s. Brisket quesadillas are also great. Turkey: I'm not a huge turkey fan at a lot of BBQ joints; but theirs was quite flavorful and moist. I would also recommend this highly. Sides: Tons of great sides! Jalapeno black eyed peas! Corn casserole! My favorite: Sweet potato fries! All excellent! Overall: Ranks highly mainly because of the hospitality and authentic TX feel, and it’s just down the road on S. Congress.”

Bo’s scores – Brisket: 9.3; Turkey: 8.5; Sausage: 8.5; Sides: 8; Hospitality: 8.8; Overall experience: 9.2

Russell’s scores – Brisket: 9.55; Turkey: 9.15; Jalapeno black-eyed peas: 9.3; Corn casserole: 9.8; Sweet potato fries: 9.99; Hospitality: 8.5; Overall experience: 9.62

Drew’s scores – Brisket: 8; Turkey: 7; Jalapeno black-eyed peas: 8; Grilled squash: 8.5; Atmosphere: 7; Overall experience: 7.5

Overall Man-Up Score: 8.7733

Hill's Cafe on Urbanspoon

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