Once again, it’s South by Southwest time.
You’ve come for the tech. The music. The movies. The networking. The brand activations. The weather (hopefully). But while you’re in Austin, don’t forget we’ve got an impressive (and growing) dining scene for you to tackle, as well.
You can’t spend all of your time at talks and screenings and shows. At some point you’re going to have to eat. Don’t be lured by free queso bars, passed appetizers and complimentary energy bars.
Take some time out and eat at one of the many restaurants and food trucks in Austin’s core. Exploring the restaurant scene can be a great way to get a feel for a city and its culture, even if you do only have 30 minutes before you have to go see the presentation of the next world-changing app.
The restaurants listed here are all located relatively close to the main action at SXSW — just a short walk, bike ride or (inset preferred method of automotive transport here) away.
Some of these restaurants may have special events and private parties during SXSW, so it’s wise to call ahead or check their website. And, while I always find SXSW a good time to slip into surprisingly uncrowded restaurants downtown, some of these spots will be impossible to get into. There’s always July.
(For my 2015 ranking of Austin’s best burgers, click here.)
(Click here for my complete SXSW Dining Guide.)
Casino El Camino. 517 E. Sixth St. 512-469-9330, casinoelcamino.net. This dark Sixth Street bar with a rock ‘n’ roll vibe and devil-may-care attitude grills fat, juicy burgers.
El Sapo. 1900 Manor Road. 512-366-5154, elsapoatx.com. More than a dozen burgers with a Tex-Mex twist from the owners of nearby Mexican restaurant El Chile.
Hopdoddy. 1400 S. Congress Ave. 512-243-7505, hopdoddy.com. Quality ingredients and thoughtful flavor profiles make for long lines on South Congress.
Jackalope. 404 E. Sixth St. 512-472-3663, jackalopebar.com. This dive bar serves sandwiches, wings and hot dogs, but the stars of the show are the fat burgers. Try the honey jalapeno bacon burger or the Chupacabra (goat barbacoa).
Nau’s Enfield Drug. 1115 W. Lynn St. 512-476-1221, nausdrug.com. Wax paper-wrapped burgers from a grill that features a classic soda fountain at the Austin institution opened more than 60 years ago in Clarksville, just west of downtown.
P. Terry’s. 404 S. Lamar Blvd. 512-473-2217, pterrys.com. Austin’s answer to (and besting of) In-N-Out Burger before we had the California invasion, this retro spot has made its name on the strength of quality ingredients, friendly service and competitive prices.
Sandy’s. 603 Barton Springs Road. 512-478-6322. Thin, classic burgers and small, crunchy fries at this drive-thru and walk-up spot with the frozen custard sign. Great deals on burger meals Thursday and Saturday.
Shady Grove. 1624 Barton Springs Road. 512-474-9991, theshadygrove.com. The restaurant located amid the grove of pecan trees keeps the crowds coming in with a menu that includes green chile hamburgers.
Sputnik. 1300 E. Sixth St. 512-628-1250, sputnik-austin.com. These folks put a brioche spin on a classic 100-percent angus burger and also serve a roster of hot dogs, something hard to find around these parts.