“I don’t know maybe about 50 times in the last 8 years. That’s how many visits my family and I have made to cafe 1626 since our move to austin. What started out as an easy location to eat out with our small children has turned into a destination of choice when a choice is given. My youngest daughter 13 still loves the pizza buffet, my oldest daughter has moved to the salad bar and my wife and I love the burgers. The atmosphere is friendly. If you don’t enjoy children having fun in a relaxed envioronment I suggest you go elsewhere. I like the fact that kids can be kids and more often than not you will be eating with at least one youth sports team. The bacon cheesburger is fantastic. Old time taste with just enough character to bring you back. Clean and friendly this place is a hidden gem that’s not too big for it’s own sake. Enjoy”
Phil L. – Austin, TX
“I eat here on a regular basis. Its a casual place, with a big screen TV. They play sports on it, but are not a “sports bar. Portions are generous, prices are reasonable. Very laid back, nice staff. My favorite is their Philly cheesesteak, especially if you add extra meat. This is not for anyone counting calories- it’s greasy and fattening, but very tasty! (The only cheesesteak I will eat in Austin). There is a pizza buffet, with a good variety of toppings. The sandwiches, burgers, and salads were good, All sandwiches come with fries (also very tasty). Check it out!, have a beer!”
Lynn W. – Austin, TX
“I am completely and madly in love with the chicken philly sub at Cafe 1626. Everything from the chicken (tender and well-seasoned) to the bread is delicious. The fries are pretty darn good, too. I’m also fond of the regular philly and the cheese sticks. I had a swiss mushroom burger once, which was good, but not the best in town. I haven’t tried the pizza yet, but the dinner buffet, which includes salad, is a good deal at only $6.95. I usually opt for takeout, so I can’t talk extensively about actually dining there. They do have a big-screen TV and inexpensive beer, so it might be a good option for watching a game. If you’re looking for a cheap, delicious takeout option on the (far) south side, Cafe 1626 is the way to go. And definitely try that chicken Philly!”
Richard H. – Manchaca, TX
“This is out past Slaughter and Manchaca and it was a real treat when I used to live out there. I’ve had their chicken sandwiches, pasta, burgers, fries, onion rings, chicken fried steak and I’ve never been disappointed. They also deliver, as Regina M. has pointed out, which turns out to be a huge plus. I sure do miss this place.”
Kate S. – Austin, TX
“I took my family to this place awhile back. I had kind of hesitated because it looked like another pizza joint. I was very impressed with the hamburgers, chicken and pizza. The food was great. They were very busy but we were able to get our food without any holdups. For a place that is not the normal pizza joint, this place is on the top of my list.”
Randall H. – Austin, TX
“We had Cafe 1626 deliever dinner tonight– for the first time. I’ve been hearing about this place from neighbors. The food was good and hot. The Meatball sub was tasty as was the Philly Steak sandwich. They’ve got a decent kids’ menu as well. It’s great to have something other than pizza or Chinese delivered without have to spend a fortune for those multi-restaurant delivery services.”
Bill K. – Kyle, TX
“Pretty awesome stuff! I usually do the chicken burger which is huge. I love it’s large dices of chicken. Great salads…Delivery is really fast…”
Jenny K. – Austin, TX
“5 star rating! Cafe 1626 is the bomb!! They deliver to Buda!! But, going there is so much more fun. Big greasy hamburger with a salad instead of fries. And a whole order of onion rings. They even have great spaghetti and meatballs. Bring some cash to play games after dinner. Elvis pinball!!!”
Ms B. – Austin, TX
“I love this place for their game room. I would return here to play Elvis Pinball even if they served crappy food. But, they happen to serve some great food with a varied selection. They offer a good selection of pizza, burgers and subs and they also deliver. I have only had the stuffed jalapenos as an appetizer and the Chicken Philly Cheese Steak (grilled chicken, onions and green peppers topped with melted Swiss cheese on a french roll) served with french fries. They won me over with the Elvis Pinball but they will bring me back for the Chicken Philly Sandwich!”
Mike D. – Buda, TX
“They have the best Homestyle French Fries! Their delivery is great, always on time or earlier then expected. & their meatball sub is great!”
Jodi M. – Austin, TX
“They deliver fat, juicy burgers to your house. With bacon. And stuffed jalepenos. Do you really need anything else?”
Tara S. – Austin, TX
Austin American-Statesman Restaurant Critic
July 22, 2004
The parents of two families sat there, engrossed in conversation at tables that had been pushed together. Empty chairs marked the spots for their half-dozen children, who were playing in the adjacent video-game arcade and occasionally ran back to the table for a breathless announcement. No, it was not dinnertime at some new Chuck E Cheese. It was better.
It’s the family-oriented Cafe 1626, a burger/pizza joint on Manchaca Road about 1 1/2 miles south of Slaughter Lane. Although the place radiates a sports bar atmosphere, with television sets broadcasting a variety of events and a walled-off video arcade, it was still possible to conduct a normal conversation in this casual spot.
But the ability of adults to talk with one another is not the only reason to visit Cafe 1626. A good burger — made from one-third pound of beef that had not been frozen — came with all the regular trimmings (including lots of chopped onions) and a side of fries. Although the regular cheeseburger ($5.50) was not greasy, the bacon-cheeseburger ($5.75) produced enough oil that the bun rapidly disintegrated.
On a better-than-average, all-you-can-eat pizza buffet ($5.95, including a drink), Cafe 1626 offered a wide variety of pies with plentiful meat and vegetarian toppings. It’s clearly a hit with the kids, who were piling their plates high with slices. From a small Italian lineup, the homemade lasagna ($6.99) consisted of a tasty and generous portion of pasta and meat sauce that came with two thick pieces of garlic bread.
From a much wider variety of submarine sandwiches, the meatball sub ($5.50) featured homemade meatballs covered in marinara sauce and melted cheese on a soft French roll.
With those hearty portions and moderate prices, it’s easy to see why families head to Cafe 1626. Besides, they can actually have a conversation there, too.
You may contact Dale Rice at firstname.lastname@example.org or 445-3859.
Eating Out with Rob Balon
May 12, 2006
Austin is a town that is literally changing before our eyes. Once again, we are in the national spotlight for accelerated growth, gentrification of neighborhoods, and that almost overwhelming sense of self-fulfilling prophecy that seems to say “get thee to Austin.” Yet there’s a potential dark side to all this expansion. We’ve got to be careful to preserve the things that are uniquely Ausintatious; you know, those little joints where families from neighborhoods cluster and have some good chow.
Such a place is the Café 1626 on S. Manchaca Road not far from the fire house. It was originally named Crazy Betty’s after a former owner. I like this place so much that I even recorded the first known hip-hop restaurant critic “flow” in the history of radio on Hot 93 in Austin. 1626 is about burgers and pizza and sandwiches and neighborhoods, and yeah, it’s about Austin.
Café 1626 is comfort food at its best. Let’s start with the salads. I like the Greek Salad with Feta cheese and ultra fresh cucumbers, lettuce, and Greek peppers. And it’s nice every now and then to sink your teeth into an old-fashioned Chef Salad with turkey, ham and provolone cheese. Kind of retro but it works.
And the burgers! The patties are fresh, never frozen, and hand formed. They don’t need no stinking machines! And the output is great. I love the Swiss Mushroom Onion Burger. This is owner Maurad Belkacem’s favorite and mine as well. The beef is inundated in sauteed mushrooms and the swiss cheese and onions round out the package. And the bun is incredibly fresh, another huge plus for me. And do try the Fish Fillet Burger. This is a breaded cod fillet that crushes the fish sandwiches at the fast food places. Again, great flavor, freshness, texture and home-style cooking win out.
The quality of the sandwiches and subs at 1626 is unmistakable from the first bite. The Deli Club is a good example. This is ham and turkey with fresh Swiss cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, mustard and mayo on a FRESH (do you hear me???) French roll. Very tasty. And Maurad’s version of the Philly Cheese Steak is worth tasting. They key to a good cheese steak is the grilling of the razor-thin beef. 1626 adds onions, green peppers, Swiss cheese and the all-important mayo. The roll is fresh. But what else did you expect?
And pizza. While 1626 may not be Pepe’s in New Haven, CT, no place else in Texas is either. And 1626 does a good job with their pies. Carnivore that I am, I like the Road Kill pie. Every meat you can conceivably imagine and then a few more. But the Greek is tasty as well. Different kind of flavor with an emphasis on lighter, more aromatic middle-Eastern ingredients. And a garlic butter sauce that really rocks.
And in a world where most restaurants say they welcome kids but really don’t, Café 1626 provides good kid chow and an environment (game room) where they can have fun and you can have your sanity. This place works for families, but it’s not a scream-a-torium like a Gatti Town. Mom and Dad and junior can all find a way to peacefully coexist.
So if you want to hear my rap, follow the directions below. We’ll run it on the site for one week. It’s pretty famous by now in food circles. Come to think of it, so is 1626.