12225 West Hwy 290
Austin, TX 78737
Hours: Mon-Tue 11am-9pm, Wed-Thu 11am-12am, Fri-Sat 11am-1am, Sun 10am-9pm
Written by: Michael Roberts
The Nutty Brown Cafe & Amphitheater is 15 miles west of the cacophony of 6th Street and even further in attitude. Even though the venue fronts one of the busiest highways in the Texas Hill Country, you walk in, and you’re transported to a country kitchen with a full-out party patio.
“We’re close enough to be a reasonable drive, but far enough away from the b.s. of the city. No parking troubles. No high-rise condos. We’re trying to hang on to what Austin has lost over the years,” Nutty Brown owner Mike Farr says. This family-friendly venue is a restaurant every day of the week and a Texas country music cathedral on weekends. Farr and his staff provide patrons with live music the whole family can enjoy. Kids 12 and under are admitted free to most shows.
All the big names in Texas country music have played the Nutty Brown—Pat Green, Kevin Fowler, the Randy Rogers Band, Wade Bowen and Charlie Robison have all played this 4,000-person capacity venue. “Randy [Rogers] started playing here right after I bought the place. He couldn’t draw 10 people. We used to be small, and we grew with him. He draws 4,000 every time he plays here,” Farr said looking back on how the business has grown since he purchased it in 2002.
The Nutty Brown, and the county road that borders on the property’s western line, take their name from the Nutty Brown Mills candy factory that originally occupied the location. The company was famous for its Nutty Brown Pralines. While the factory is gone, the pralines are still for sale.