Gourdough’s – An Austin Take on Donuts

Nikolas Maffei

Are you in town and seeking out a menu that will satisfy your craving for the weird in a way that only Austin restaurants can? Gourdough’s is a restaurant that answers the age-old question of, “What if we loaded Texas-sized burgers with ridiculous toppings and then put it on a donut?” with a resounding YES.

The History

Originally established as a food truck on 1st Street, Gourdough’s Big. Fat. Donuts has served the city its characteristic fried donut creations since 2012. A tale of entrepreneurship, success, and expansion as old as time, the restaurant has since opened up a brick-and-mortar location: Gourdough’s Public House on S. Lamar Blvd.

Already familiar with the food truck, I opted to visit the newer location. A cheerful donut man, whom I can only imagine to be a Mr. Gourdough, almost seemed to beckon to me and made it easy to spot the restaurant with its sheet metal roof. A spacious outdoor patio on the side of the building could seat several parties, even during times of social distancing.

Going inside the restaurant we found a fully stocked bar, with several guests talking and enjoying the game playing on the screens. A projector was set up to play television and movies on the wall across from the larger tables in the back that are suited to groups. It was nice to know that Gourdough’s has plenty of options for dining depending on the occasion or amount of people!

With its roots as a food trailer highly focused on donuts, it was a pleasant surprise to see the expanded version of it at the restaurant proper. Gourdough’s features a full brunch with coffee cocktails, signature donut sandwiches and burgers, and dinner entrees reminiscent of more typical southern food.

Menu

For an appetizer I wanted to start with one of the more popular choices on the menu – The Big Cheez.  This starter consists of gooey mozzarella wrapped in donut dough and fried, then served with a cilantro buttermilk dressing. Not the cheesy bread you know, but a shining example of Gourdough’s willingness to experiment and improve upon familiar dishes.

I had known from the get-go that I wanted nothing more than to devour the entirety of whatever Donut Burger I ended up ordering, though the fact that everything looked good threw me for a loop. I ended up ordering the Gettin’ Piggy With It burger which featured sweet pulled pork, applewood smoked bacon, white cheddar, a potato pancake, and candied jalapenos all piled onto a burger and wedged between two donuts.

On another plate is the Mother Clucker, one of Gourdough’s original recipes that can be found at its food truck location. Crunchy deep fried chicken breast smothered in their house-made honey-butter sauce and served over a savory garlic donut – a perfect pairing for their hand-battered fried okra (that was probably also the best I’ve ever had).

Deserts

Finally, I didn’t want to leave without trying out the absurd desserts they are known for. So, I made my way to Gourdough’s extensive donut menu. Chocolate donuts, donut holes, peach cobbler donuts and even CBD donuts all enticed me, but I ended up deciding on the Fat Elvis which was easily the highlight of my visit.

 A halo of glazed goodness topped with peanut butter icing, smoked bacon, grilled bananas, and a drizzle of honey, this beast of a donut was finally the thing to defeat me. Half-eaten, I boxed it up so that I could look forward to eating it when I got home.

If you would like to try Gourdough’s for yourself rather than just taking my word for it, both the Public House and original location are open 7 days a week with the brick-and-mortar location offering dine-in and delivery. Just be sure to bring an empty stomach, and a craving for donuts!