Austin is known for keeping things weird and if you want to go off the beaten path and try vegetarian dining, Studio 512 intern Gracie Watt can introduce you to some great local options.

Gracie says, “One of my favorite things about this city is that being a vegetarian is so easy and affordable in Austin, thanks to restaurants like the ones I’m gonna talk about. Coming from a small town and always trying to follow a vegetarian diet, I often thought my only options were salads or pasta when I went out to eat, and that just wasn’t getting me the nutrition that I needed. So, these are some places where you can see how diverse and well-balanced vegetarian or vegan dining can actually be!”

Gracie’s picks:

#1) Bouldin Creek Cafe

“The first place I’m going to talk about is one that is near and dear to my heart, and conveniently located on South 1st street. Bouldin Creek Cafe is a local, woman-owned, vegan and vegetarian restaurant that sources all their ingredients locally as well.

“From the funky art to the handcrafted coffee drinks, Bouldin Creek Cafe is a great place to catch up with old friends and make new ones too. Their indoor area is so fun and relaxing, but they also have an awesome outdoor patio for seating as well.

“Some of my favorite menu items from Bouldin Creek include the Benny, which is a spiced ginger chai latte with a shot of espresso, paired with the South Austin Stir Fry, and breakfast is served all day!

And you can end your meal with their famous Taxi Driver dessert, which is a warm, house-made brownie, topped with an espresso shot, vegan ice cream & chocolate sauce. It’s a Bouldin Creek Cafe classic, perfect for sharing!”

Browse their menu – and order takeout – at BouldinCreekCafe.com.

#2) Counter Culture

“The second local vegetarian restaurant I’ll be talking about today is Counter Culture, which has very similar vibes to Bouldin Creek Cafe. Counter Culture is also woman-owned and also sources most of their ingredients locally, and is located on East Cesar Chavez St.

“This restaurant is super eco-friendly, as they compost and recycle over 97% of waste and all of their to-go containers are also compostable.

“The ‘Buffalo Mac n Cheese’ appetizer is delicious, and so is the entree called ‘The Meltdown,’ with garbanzo bean salad, cashew cheese and sliced tomatoes.

“Some exciting news from Counter Culture is that they are finally starting their brunch back up after 2 years. Brunch will be served at 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, and will offer mimosas with fresh orange juice!

Counter Culture also has a weekday happy hour Tuesday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. – all appetizers are 30% off, and beer and wine are a dollar off.”

Learn more at CounterCultureAustin.com.

#3) Conscious Cravings

Conscious Cravings is the third restaurant, or rather, food truck, that I love. They have two locations with a truck on South 1st and one on Airport Blvd.

“Conscious Cravings has been in the Austin community since 2010, and was actually one of the first vegan and vegetarian food trucks in town!

“They have a great variety of healthy wraps, bowls, shakes, and smoothies, but some of my favorites are the ‘blackened tofu wrap’ with cajun-style tofu and the ‘piña colada smoothie.’

“Conscious Cravings is a great place to go and hang out outside on a nice sunny day when you want something light and healthy to eat. And you should head there soon, as they are adding some exciting new healthy menu options!”

See their latest menu updates at ConsciousCravingsAustin.com.