Eating Your Way through SXSW
The time has arrived! SXSW is upon us. Whether you’re a SX vet or a newbie, you’ll want to read below for ideas of where to eat when visiting the capitol of Texas. *Most are near the Austin Convention Center (ACC) for convenience.
Champion’s Sports Bar & Restaurant - If you’re a sports buff or are looking for something SUPER close to the Convention Center, I recommend popping into Champion’s. Here you will find a full menu with a full bar, a plethora of TVs, and friendly bartenders if you choose to sit at the bar. I find it helpful that they have a large bar top so you can skip the wait for a table as long as a stool is available. It’s also a good place if you need a table for a larger group as there are many seating options. However, be prepared for a bit of wait as it is located steps away from the ACC.
Torchy’s Tacos - Eating at Torchy’s when visiting Austin is a must. This taco chain started here and has since expanded into other regions of Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Colorado. They offer a little bit of everything for everyone. They serve breakfast tacos, vegan tacos, a great salad, and even have Happy Hour. The closest location to the ACC is off of San Antonio Street. Pro tip: Order their queso, the Democrat taco, and the Trailer Park taco. So. Good. I know you won’t be disappointed.
1886 Cafe and Bakery at the Driskill Hotel - Here you will find a classic cafe that serves breakfast and lunch all day. Their signature items include a Texas Shaped Pecan Waffle, the Hangover Burger, and a Cinnamon Roll large enough to feed three people. They also serve lighter items such as the Hippie Hollow omelet filled with fresh vegetables, a Vegan Avocado Sandwich, and more. It’s a few blocks from the ACC but on the corner of Brazos and 6th, a super popular destination. (Voodoo Doughnut is also right down the street if that’s more your style) Pro tip: Take a walk through the hotel lobby. This hotel is historic and has ornate details you won’t want to miss. Also, try the Quiche Lorraine. It’s delicious.
Gus’s Fried Chicken - This spot is almost always crowded so don’t be surprised if you see a line out the door. However, it typically moves pretty quickly. Here you will find spicy fried chicken with a menu of sides that are all lip smackin’ good! Pro tip: Pair with a Topo Chico for a great palette cleanser!
Stiles Switch BBQ - When in Austin, you must eat local barbecue. Now, most people will mention Franklin’s but there is ALWAYS a wait. I mean, hours in a line wrapped around the building. Ain’t nobody got time for that! Instead, I recommend visiting Stiles Switch. It’s a seven-mile Uber ride away from the ACC but totally worth it. Here you’ll find some of the best potato salad, tasty brisket, and other barbecue favorites. I highly recommend making a trip to this spot either by yourself or with a group. It doesn’t matter. Pro tip: Visit their website to check out the daily special. And arrive hungry!
Counter Cafe - This little gem is an American diner that serves breakfast and lunch and was featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. Here you can get breakfast tacos, Eggs Benedict, one of the best burgers in Austin, and much more. They also offer a Happy Hour on weekdays. Pro tip: As a native Texan, I highly recommend the breakfast tacos.
Rainey Street Food Trucks - This is a great option when you’re with a group of people who can’t decide what they want or you’re crunched for time. You’ll find multiple options such as Via 313, a well-known pizza place in Austin with permanent locations and two food trucks, White Girl Asian Food, Burro Cheese Kitchen which as you can imagine serves a variety of grilled cheese sandwiches, Four Brothers which serves Venezuelan cuisine, Ms. P’s Electric Cock Fried Chicken, and more. Pro tip: Get a Chicken Arepa from Four Brothers. It’s perfect.
The Driskill Bar - I mentioned 1886 Cafe and Bakery at The Driskill earlier, but The Driskill Bar deserves its own mention. This bar is iconic. You never know who will you see when you visit. The dress is casual as most places in Austin are but you’ll see people dressed for all occasions. Stop in for a classic cocktail or stay awhile and get a bite to eat. Pro tip: Talk to the bartender. You’re sure to get a good story.
JuiceLand - Whether you need a cleanse after eating on the road for several days, nursing a hangover, or just want a smoothie, I recommend you make a visit to JuiceLand. The closest location to the ACC is off E 4th Street. Here you’ll find an assortment of smoothies, cold pressed juices, plant-based meals, and more. Similar to Torchy’s, JuiceLand started in Austin and now has locations in Dallas and Houston. Pro tip: Try Paradise Found and visit their website to find Today’s Special and the Monthly Special.
Now that you know some good spots to grub at during the festival, I hope you have a great time! Feel free to share with us any of your favorite places to eat that I may have missed. Also, look out for my colleague Ben who will be at SXSW this year with our friend, Piglet!