In the know: What's heating up Austin's food scene this month

Photo: Culinary Dropout/Yelp

Food trends come and go. So how can you tell which tastes are trending right now?

We took a data-driven look at the question, using Yelp and SafeGraph, a dataset of commercial points of interest and their visitor patterns, to analyze which restaurants have been seeing especially high review volumes this month.

To find out who made the list, we first looked at Austin businesses on Yelp by category and counted how many reviews each received. Rather than compare them based on number of reviews alone, we calculated a percentage increase in reviews over the past month, and tracked businesses that consistently increased their volume of reviews to identify statistically significant outliers compared to past performance. Then we analyzed foot traffic data from SafeGraph to validate the trends.

Read on to see which spots are extra hot, right now.

Culinary Dropout

Photo: culinary dropout/Yelp

Open since 2016, this well-established bar, music venue and New American spot, courtesy of restaurateur Sam Fox, is trending compared to other businesses categorized as "American (New)" on Yelp.

Citywide, New American spots saw a median 1.3% increase in new reviews over the past month, but Culinary Dropout saw a 1.4% increase, maintaining a superior four-star rating throughout. According to SafeGraph foot traffic data, the number of visitors to Culinary Dropout more than tripled over the past month.

This location of the chain is not the only trending outlier in the New American category: Flower Child has seen a 0.7% increase in reviews, and District Kitchen and Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille have seen 13 and 10.4% increases, respectively.

Located at 11721 Rock Rose, Suite 100, in North Burnett, Culinary Dropout offers fried chicken served with mashed potatoes and buttermilk biscuits; soft pretzels with provolone fondue; and barbecue pork belly nachos. Handcrafted cocktails like the bacon Bloody Mary, plus local beer and wine, are also on offer.

Culinary Dropout is open from 11 a.m.–11 p.m. on Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.–1 a.m. on Friday, 9 a.m.–1 a.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m.–10 p.m. on Sunday. According to SafeGraph, it's usually busiest at 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., and people visit Culinary Dropout most on Saturdays and Fridays, with a slowdown on Thursdays.

Pueblo Viejo Traila

Photo: pueblo vieja traila/Yelp

Whether or not you've been hearing buzz about Dawson's Pueblo Viejo Traila, the Mexican food truck and breakfast spot located at 121 Pickle Road, is a hot topic according to Yelp review data.

While businesses categorized as "Breakfast & Brunch" on Yelp saw a median 1.5% increase in new reviews over the past month, Pueblo Viejo Traila bagged an 8.6% increase in new reviews within that time frame, maintaining a strong 4.5-star rating. It significantly outperformed the previous month by gaining 1.2 times more reviews than expected based on its past performance. As for foot traffic, Pueblo Viejo Traila saw visits more than triple in the past month, according to SafeGraph data.

Open at 121 Pickle Road since January 2018, Pueblo Viejo Traila offers breakfast items like the El Taco Viejo, made with chorizo, potato, egg and beans, and Mi Madre Taco, filled with mushrooms, spinach, jalapeño and cheese.

Pueblo Viejo Traila is open from 7:30 a.m.–10 p.m. on Monday-Saturday and 7:30 a.m.–9 p.m. on Sunday. According to SafeGraph, it's usually busiest on Saturdays and Sundays, and it attracts a quarter of its total visitors over those two days, with a slowdown on Tuesdays.

Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill

Photo: Peter k./Yelp

Downtown Austin's Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill is also making waves. Open for more than a decade at 303 Red River St., the well-established cocktail bar and Southern spot has seen a 0.8% bump in new reviews over the last month, compared to a median review increase of 1.9% for all businesses tagged "Cocktail Bars" on Yelp. As for foot traffic, Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill saw visits more than triple over the past month, according to SafeGraph data.

What does this business focus on? "We've developed quite a reputation for our bountiful Sunday Brunch Buffet and our attentive, hospitable staff...Our Southern-inspired dishes take an innovative approach to the classics, like our corn dog shrimp and our award-winning chicken fried steak with chipotle cream gravy." — that's from its its Yelp page.

There's more than one hot spot trending in Austin's cocktail bar category: Better Half Coffee & Cocktails has seen a 5% increase in reviews.

Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill offers appetizers like fried green tomatoes, entrees like hangar steak with mac and cheese, desserts like German chocolate cake and more. When it comes to libations, expect whiskey cocktails and pomegranate mimosas. Over the past month, it's maintained a solid 4.5-star rating among Yelpers.

Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill is open from 11 a.m.–10 p.m. on Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.–11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 9 a.m.–2 p.m. and 5–10 p.m. on Sunday. According to SafeGraph, foot traffic is heaviest at 12 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7 p.m., and on Sundays and Saturdays, with a slowdown on Tuesdays.

This story was created automatically using local business data, then reviewed and augmented by an editor. Click here for more about what we're doing. Got thoughts? Go here to share your feedback.