Dec 29, 2013

A breakfast that’s Juan In A Million

Juan In A Million is one of the more famous foodie destinations in Austin, Texas.  Aside from the catchy name, it has steadily built a reputation since it opened its original location in 1980 for generous portions of authentic Tex-Mex food at generous prices.  The TV show “Man Vs. Food” further cemented the restaurant’s reputation by including its Don Juan breakfast taco challenge on its Austin episode

And then there’s founder Juan Meza himself, who still tries to personally greet as many patrons as possible.  He’s even famous for it, as alluded to on the menu. 

With all of this in mind, how could I refuse when my friend Omarr suggested we go to Juan in a Million for breakfast one morning during my work trip to Austin last fall? 

Located on East Cesar Chavez Street in the increasingly revitalized East Austin neighborhood, Juan In A Million is hard to miss. See, even at daybreak, it stands out.

First in line for breakfast

And while Omarr was disappointed that we arrived too early to be greeted by Juan himself, the rest of the staff took excellent care of us from the beginning. 

They really were good sports at indulging my eccentricities.
Yes, sometimes you get a mixed reaction when you tell people you may be blogging about them in the future. 

The interior of Juan In A Million is frankly nothing fancy but you really don’t want it to be.  It has an authentic neighborhood diner feel you’d expect, and somehow you just know that the regulars still outnumber the tourists who keep learning about the place.  The food – and breakfast in particular – is what brings people from near and far here in droves with lines sometimes out the door.  

Here’s a glimpse into the kitchen where the magic happens …

And here’s the checkout counter.   

Hmmm … tequila for breakfast (see the back shelf)?  If this wasn't a business trip, perhaps.  Maybe next time ...   

In a decision I still regret, I also decided to pass on trying one of their legendary breakfast tacos since I expected I’d be having a generous barbecue lunch later that day (teaser for upcoming blog post!).  But I’d be lying if I said I was even remotely disappointed with what I got. 

Chorizo con Huevo – eggs scrambled with chorizo, and refried beans, potatoes, flour tortillas and salsa on the side – all for $8.95.  If memory serves me well, you’ll notice Omarr's Huevos Rancheros in the background. 

As you tell, they don’t go light on the chorizo – plenty in every bite.  And the refried beans were absolutely delicious.  I was mopping them up with my tortillas to clean my plate.  Add some sinus-clearing salsa to the potatoes, and I finished my meal as one happy gringo.

When it comes to legendary Tex-Mex breakfasts, I have to join the ranks of admirers who say Juan In A Million lives up to its reputation.  It may be a little bit off of the beaten path for some tourists, but it’s worth finding. 

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