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Austin - April 23-29 - Cheap Eats?

Will be in the Austin/San Antonio areas for that week.......
A band of 9 guys that will not have a lot of money for food........
Need cheap good eats!!
Any suggestions............??!??!!?

Will be hitting Lockhart for BBQ while going back and forth from S.A. and Austin so don't really need BBQ tips....


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  1. La Mexicana Bakery (24 hours, great tacos, good tres leches)
    Hut's Burgers has 2 for 1 Mon-Wed (Call to verify days)
    Madam Mam's is good cheap Thai
    Kyoto has drink and sushi special until 6:45 ecah day

    2 Replies
    1. re: adewaal

      a sad subject to revisit but please consider before visiting La Mexicana....a better choice would be to go to La Michoacana on E.7th at Chicon,buy a pound of carnitas for 6 bucks and lay out a spread for the lads.

      1. re: scrumptiouschef

        That is sad to hear...I have not been there in awhile. Thanks for the heads up!

    2. Here are a few super cheap options:

      Happy Hour at Chuys: Free Nacho bar....go have a margarita and load up on nachos with meat, queso etc.

      Veggie Heaven: (near campus on the drag) most plates chock full of tofu or other meat sub., most less than $7.

      Hut's Hamburgers: Wednesdays is 2 for 1 burger night!

      Casino El Camino: Huge Yummy Cheap Hamburgers in a great bar on 6th. Better than Hut's.

      Chango's: (one on Guadalupe around 30th the other on South Lamar) one of my choices for cheap and very fresh tasting tacos and burritos.

      Madam Mam's: Great cheap thai just across from campus

      Best Wurst: Find these carts downtown at night. Very tasty dogs, brats, and kraut. My favorite of all the late night options downtown (at least in the thick of it all).

      Silhouette: Certainly not the best sushi in town but they do have some cheap specials including all night happy hour (many rolls half off) on Monday.

      Frank and Angie's: Has many 2 for 1 deals: one night....maybe someone can help...is two for one pizza night and i think Sunday is two for one Spagetti and Meatballs.

      Thunderclouds Subs: A cheap local chain for subs. Try the Office Special (egg salad, bacon and cheese).

      Star Seeds: NOTE! I only recommend going here after a long night out at the bars. It's pretty crusty, but a standard for drunk eats and super cheap. The breakfast tacos are as big as your face.

      Hoovers: A little pricier (think around 12 or so for entrees) but the CFS is as big as the plate. With sides and the yummy bread basket it'll fill you for days.

      ANY Taco stand!

      1. What does "not have a lot of money" mean? $10-$12.00 per head?
        Guero's, Manuel's, (both authentic Mexican), Moonshine (southern), Champs (sports bar in the Marriott downtown). All will give you about $10.00-$18.00 per head.
        In the downtown area, this would be about it for "cheap" eats. The other suggestions will require a car and a drive. Downtown area is walkable, which is what I'm suggesting. Good luck!

        11 Replies
        1. re: sleigh

          More like $5.00 per head unfortunately........real CHEAP...........
          thanks !

          1. re: slowrider

            I think one of the GREAT cheap eats in austin is the Fish Taco at Marisco Grill (I go to the one on Burnet but there is one down town too). It's like, $3.50 and huge and tasty It's grilled fish in a mayo-ish sauce. Not like the fried ones I've had elsewhere, (Those are good too.) Anyway, at happy hour you can get chips salsa, a beer and a fish taco for $5.00.

            1. re: slowrider

              Also: Go to Wheatville Coop. Walk to the Deli counter. Order a LARGE blackbeans and rice with cheese, tomatoes, onions, and Jalapenos. It is wonderful food, so much I can hardly eat it all, incredibly healthy, and I think it's under $4.00. Two people could split one for lunch and save money for beer later.

              1. re: Dave Westerberg

                WV beans and rice is 1.99!And all organic to boot...But even better, is the tempeh frito pie, for 3.75 or something. REALLY hits the spot on a budget!

                1. re: amenidad

                  Before people run wild on Wheatsville please bear in mind Chowhounds 'Mission...."intense deliciousness"is the order of the day.Wheatsville's charms do not extend into this realm,it may be cheap,vegetarian etc but it does not even try for intense deliciousness.You can dine cheaply in our fair city and still have stellar food.

                  1. re: scrumptiouschef

                    I assume, then, you've eaten the meal I posted about? If you have not had that meal at WV, (Rice, blackbeans and add-ins), please try it try it. It is one of the tastiest meals in Austin. Simple and robust and delicious. Peasant fare, but no less delicious for being so. This IS stellar food, to me. I've had it maybe 10 times, and I'm always glad I did.

                    1. re: Dave Westerberg

                      A good friends roomie was the cook there for a couple years so we regularly ate Wheatsvilles food....it was filling,nourishing etc but I can't recall my eyes rolling back in my head like the first time I had Rosita's al Pastor,El Zunzal's guacamole or the Chicago Burger at Casino's.I love peasant food but once again intense deliciousness is why I utilize Chowhound as a vital resource.

                      1. re: scrumptiouschef

                        One person's "intense deliciousness" is another person's "eh." Dave's post has me excited to try the black beans at WV...my mother and grandmother both made black beans that made my eyes roll back, and the description here bodes of intense deliciousness in my book.

              2. re: slowrider

                MGM foods on Burnet has great Samosas--stuffed Indian savory, spicy pastries. They are 89 cents apiece. These are the same ones sold at Ken's Doughnuts (same maker), but cheaper. Two or three will fill you up.

                1. re: Dave Westerberg

                  Can you elaborate on this? Are they made there? Thanks.

                  1. re: chucklesmcfarland

                    No they are not made at MGM. There is a family that makes samosas--lots and lots of them--and they sell them wholesale in big aluminum foil pans to MGM and Kens donuts, where they are sold retail. The man who owns MGM (who is a GREAT guy) told me Ken's sells them for I think 1.25, MGM sells them for 89 cents. Ken's sells several thousand a month. The family is opening a store or resto, soon.

                    One of the great bargains at MGM are the 4 lb bags of almonds. I eat a lot of almonds as a snack and they are under $5 a pound there. But I always have to pay the "Samosa Tax" as I call it and buy two samosas just for walking in the store. I love those things.

            2. Taqueria Arandas #3!! Cheap as hell and darn good. Not that you can't get that in SA. Kirby's isn't expensive I don't think.

              1. Taco Cabana?
                But I actually LIKE their black bean tacos, can't comment on the meats etc.
                2xtacos@.99 + chips@.59 + all the free salsa and extras you can eat= $2.8something.

                1 Reply
                1. re: chucklesmcfarland

                  Of course you could go to any taqueria in town (Arandas for example) and get two tacos (at 1.29 a piece) and free chips and salsa and it would still be better than Taco Cabana. The only thing Taco C has going for it is that it is 24 hours. t

                2. If you're downtown and need cheap eats until 10:00, try Mekong River. They have very tasty vermicelli bowls and pho for less than $6.00.

                  1. Hmmm...Lockhart is worth the side trip--but it's not any direct between Austin to SA. San Marcos IS on the way, and if you go through, be sure to stop at Herbert's Taco Hut.

                    1. I'm loving these suggestions! All of them!!!
                      It's always a crapshoot going on tour w/a band.........usually come home in the hole or break even if your lucky.......
                      But sometimes you sell a lot of cd's & t-shirts and the bar/club sells a lot of alcohol and you get paid well............
                      With all these tips I'll have both bases covered and not have to treat the monetarily challenged in the group!

                      1. My choices:

                        Breakfast: Juan in a Million (2300 E. Cesar Chavez) or La Reyna (1816 S. 1st) where at either you can get delicious Tex Mex for under $5. I'd have the Don Juan taco at JIAM, and ask for an extra tortilla...it's huge. At La Reyna, have the Huevos ala Mexicana, also under $5.

                        Lunch: Frank & Angie's (508 West Ave) lunch special runs under $7 and the pizza is NY style fabulous. Thai Passion (620 Congress Ave, Ste 105) has a lunch express menu with curry of the day, fried rice, noodle bowls for $5.50. Shady Grove (1624 Barton Springs) is so very, very Austin-ish and has an extremely cheap and delicious "Bad Hot Dog" that is HUGE. I want to say it's under $4, so if you've made some bank selling cd's, splurge and get a Shady Thing to drink with it. They're strong, you only need one. P Terry's (Barton Springs @ S. Lamar) has cheeseburger combos for $4.50. Sandy's Hamburgers & Frozen Custard (603 Barton Springs Rd) has a special on Tues & Sat. The combo meal is less than $3.

                        Dinner: The Jackelope (404 E. 6th) has half price chicken wings on Tues and 2 for 1 burgers on Wed. So, around $3 for dinner. Also, the Cedar Door (2nd & Brazos) doesn't have any entree on the menu over $6.75. If you're gay friendly, or really really hungry and close to broke, go to Oil Can Harry's (211 W. 4th) on Mondays & Fridays at 6pm for the happy hour buffet. You buy a drink, which in a gay bar & cheap and strong, then tip a buck or two for a full catered buffet. Austin's gay girls & guys know how to do it up right.

                        1. For 5 bucks at the bar during happy hour you can get two of the biggest and tastiest burgers in town, Sullivan's and Roaring Fork (just skip the drinks and get water). WAY, WAY better than Hut's. Polvo's has an exotic taco, which for 3.50 you can get an entire plate of food (meat, beans, rice and sauce). Again you may have to go sans the marg. If you want to drink on the cheap Hickory Street has two dollar beers all day everyday. And Deep Eddy Caberet has beers for under 2 bucks.

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: kirelerya

                            Luby's Cafeteria on Oltorf and I35. I realize how gauch e it may be to bring up cafeterias because after all it is not real food. But this Luby's has decent food. If you don't order a meat item and can live on veggies, you can eat fairly cheaply. Also bowls of noodles at pho places are a real bargain, IMO.

                            1. re: kirelerya

                              For more cheap beer several places serve dollar Lone Stars at Happy Hour. The place that first comes to mind is Threadgill's. Also, haven't been lately but Lovejoy's used to always have the most bang for your buck in terms of beer with their homebrews (super cheap both at happy hour and the rest of the night). Because they brew themselves, they're stronger than your average beer and usually well crafted.

                              1. re: ashes

                                Ashes, you sound like me - "Lovejoy's used to....." We don't get out as much as we used to any more!

                                The great thing about Lovejoy's is that they always (used to) have something to pull from the cask. I'm sure that they still do. What a bargain.

                                1. re: rudeboy

                                  After the threat of closure about a year or so ago, the beer went a little down hill. But, at the time I remained devoted. Now that they are under new management things are slightly different. They ripped out the booths near the front and put in a "stage." We went on a Saturday and things were not what they used to be. The space is simply too small for live music. Plus, I never went there for music. We couldn't sit and talk, which was what I always loved about the place. For this reason...and when I actually do go downtown...we opt for Sidebar or Gingerman, depending on our mood. But, I must admit I do miss a good Lovejoy's draft.

                                  1. re: ashes

                                    Ashes,looking for a good quality hang in the Lovejoys region?Head over to Creekside Lounge next to Sidebar,grab a cold beer and head out back to the patio overlooking Waller Creek....watch a few drug deals go down,maybe see a fistfight or two and listen to the Butthole Surfers on the jukebox...ahhhh....a little of old Austin

                                    1. re: scrumptiouschef

                                      Thanks for the suggestion! Lately I've either been a homebody or going out closer to home. I've frequented The Hideout (owned by the same folks as Mug Shots and Barfly's) near btw. Parmer and Braker/Duval off Mopac. The Hideout also features a really fabulous burger that people should try. The patty is perfectly grilled and thick and juicy and they use a bun that is slightly sweet and soft. I'm a fan of the Blue Burger, as I have a hard time resisting anything with blue cheese. It's become my pick for a quick burger in North Austin. The rest of the food is classic bar fare and nothing phenomenal, but the burgers are a cut above any other option in the area.

                            2. My fav happy hour deal in town (4pm-6:30pm Tuesday/Thursday and 4pm-10pm Sunday and Monday) is at McCormick and Schmicks located in the first floor of the Frost Bank Building at 4th and Congress. For $1.95 (yes- you read that right) you can get your choice of a 1/2 pound cheeseburger and fries, baja fish tacos, 3-cheese quesadillas, buffalo chicken wings, oyster shooters, spinach and artichoke dip, and steamed mussels, only at the bar. For sheer filled-up satisfaction, I'd go with the cheeseburger. Anything else is pretty pricy (my friend ordered a dozen oysters on the half-shell, which were rung up at $2/each for a whopping $24 bill) but I laughed all the way to the bank with my cheeseburger and glass of pinot noir.

                              Another favorite of mine is El Chilito on Manor Road in east-central Austin...no table service, but a great screened in patio, and for $3.80 you can get a huge stuffed taco (I get the cochinita pibil) black beans and rice. for $1.50 you get a pint of Lone Star (hey I grew up in Texas stealing my Dad's Lone Star so you get used to it eventually, trust)