Whoever thought that turning frito chips into a meal was a good idea must be crazy. I have no idea. Here at Jo’s they cover the fitos with pulled pork or wheat roast, shredded cheddar and diced onions. You can have all that with an iced turbo drink which contains coffee, espresso, hazelnut, chocolate and cream. Maybe forget about the fritos altogether, and the coffee and have one of their breakfast tacos. Or maybe forget all of that and just have a hot chocolate.
Actually forget about the hot chocolate, it sadly wasn’t any good…. go back to the iced turbo with a breakfast taco, that’s what everyone else was ordering (and enjoying). Jo’s is many things. It is cool (because it is on South Congress and everything on South Congress is cool). The dozens of people lined up waiting mostly for iced turbos and breakfast tacos think it is cool and we felt cool just standing in line. All those people taking pictures next to their wall that says ‘I love you so much’, they were cool too. What Jo’s is not is your place to get a hot chocolate (they use Ghirardelli chocolate syrup in a way that produced a very artificially sweet warm chocolate concoction type drink). But you should definitely pass by Jo’s and you will pass by it if you are in Austin because if you go to Austin you have to take a little stroll along South Congress.
And that is what we did this morning and what I’m likely to do every time I visit Austin despite what seems like South Congress’ lack of a good hot chocolate (I’m still searching, any ideas?).
This relatively short stretch of South Congress Road is just over the river from the downtown area and the Capital building. In 1999, when this area was in a state of neglect and disrepair, some local business men purchased one of the buildings and started renovations. They named the area SoCo because they were trying to create a new identify for the area but primarily because those letters were available from an old sign they recycled. Today this area is lined with funky stores, galleries, music venues, food trucks and craft markets. You can buy some really useful things as well as all sorts of things you never knew you needed and still don’t need but will buy regardless, like an Elvis costume or a skeleton smoking a cigar. If you are lucky you can base yourself out of the historic Austin Motel or Hotel San Jose and be a local for a bit, shopping at the Farm to Market Grocery and if you in need of a hair cut, visit one of the many barbershops (there are a surprising number of barber shops in Austin, why is that?). You can buy yourself some new cowboy boots (a must in Texas) and then a hat to go with it.
Jo’s coffee, which has been there since it all started in 1999, is pretty much at the start of the street. Jo’s is a hub of community activity and hosts a range of popular annual events including South By San Jose (a music festival), a Chili Cook-off, Pet Parade where pets dress up in fancy costumes and their Sinner’s Brunch on Sundays (including more live music, we are in Austin after all).
Verdict: Jo’s Coffee, meet Delysia, a fantastic Austin based chocolate company that makes hot chocolate that is just as cool as you are. Perhaps a match made in heaven? Jo’s Coffee, 1300 South Congress Avenue, Austin, Texas, USA