East 11th Street (also known as The East End IBIZ District), is an area rich with history and in the middle of an amazing transformation to a street full of retail, restaurants and residential. This area is East of I-35 along East 11th Street, and continues east to Angelina Street along Rosewood Avenue. Rents in the area range from $1450 for a one bedroom to $2000 for a 2/2. This area is best explored by foot, so park that car and go on an urban adventure.
The neighborhood is a mix of funky new shops and restaurants, as well as iconic institutions like The Victory Grill. Few places in Austin are richer with history than The Victory Grill, which was opened in 1945 as a place for black servicemen returning from the war to have a beer at a time when Austin was still segregated. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and continues to operate today as a live music venue and coffeeshop.
A newer favorite for dining is The Blue Dahlia, a casual French bistro located directly across from The Victory Grill. With both intimate inside seating and a beautiful shaded back garden, not to mention sidewalk tables for people-watching, The Blue Dahlia serves delicious breakfasts like Belgian Waffles with Berries, generous lunches like their huge gourmet tartines (open-faced sandwiches), and dinner specials including mouth-watering mussels. They also have beer on tap and a large wine selection.
No mention of East 11th would be complete without Franklin’s Barbecue. Located right under the arch announcing your arrival in East Austin, this national darling was chosen by Bon Appetit as the best barbecue in the country, and has gotten rave reviews in just about every national publication you can think of. Even though the line is hours long, no one emerges without a smile on their face and a new friend or two.
If you’re looking for unusual gifts for a friend (or even yourself), 11th Street has got you covered. Switched On Electronics, located right next to Blue Dahlia, has all the electronic synthesizers, keyboards, organs, drum machines, and electronic music making equipment your inner-electronic music geek could ever want. And if your Moog is bleating rather than blaring, they can help you out with repair too!
Take Heart features modern, handmade and vintage home decor, accessories, gifts and art in a beautiful wood and glass filled setting. Though the store’s footprint is small, you can find a million treasures within these walls located on the bottom floor of a modern marvel.
The Carver Museum and Cultural Center is dedicated to the collection, preservation, and exhibition of African-American historical and cultural items. The section devoted to the inventions of George Washington Carver is worth a visit alone, but there is also a beautiful theatre that shows performances ranging from dance to touring plays to children’s plays.
Over the last fifteen to twenty years, the City of Austin has invested $20 million in turning this once blighted area into a vibrant street full of people and fun. This vision is finally being realized, both in the projects that are already there, and in Eleven, a 257 unit apartment complex that is currently being built at the corner of 11th and I-35, and will begin pre-leasing in the Spring.