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Best "fast" food in Central/South Austin?

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I often find myself needing to grab a quick bite to eat in the evenings, without wanting to wait a long time, either for the food to be prepared, or to stand in a long line to order (sorry, Torchy's). I'm talking about the kind of place you can pretty consistently walk in and place your order and get your food quickly. I'm interested in either eat-in or to-go places. I've specified Central/South because that's where I live, but I'm interested in places downtown, South Austin, East Austin, and central Austin up about as far as 45th St., as those are places that I can get to relatively quickly. I'd prefer if the places were open in the evenings (sorry, Habanero), because that's the meal I most often want to eat out. What are your standbys? Any great food fast?

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  1. I've been waiting for other posts, but how about Pollo Regal(?) on Riverside? Quick cheap and delicious and to go.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Passadumkeg

      Pollo Regio, yes. I think it's some of the best fast-service/takeaway food on my area Riverside and Oltorf east of I35. There's also one a little further south, but I never went (Stassney, perhaps?).

      Lately any attempt we've made to get some food in the area has resulted in regrets that we didn't just go to Pollo Regio or Java Noodles. Hai Ky on Oltorf is great, too, and fairly quick.

      You may/probably know all those places, but given the topic and your parameters, I thought I'd put them in this thread (for posterity).

      1. re: renz

        Thanks, I couldn't remember the precise name.

        1. re: renz

          I tried Hai Ky a month or so ago, and yeah, they def'y meet the fast criteria. Spring rolls were also well put together and tasted good'n'fresh.

          I tried the bun bo nuong (vermicelli w/ grilled beef), which is chock full of veggies and probably a relatively healthy dish:

          http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3012/2...

          http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3168/2...

          I kinda wish the beef wasn't soaked in a diabetes-inducing brown sauce, but the addition of copious amounts of chili sauce and fish sauce made it palatable.

          I've stopped by a coupla times since then for an iced coffee when in the nabe, but haven't felt the urge to go another round with the grub, though if I do, I might take others' suggestions to try their tofu dishes.

      2. This may be sacrilege on Chowhound but you may consider some of the buffets in town like Cannoli Joe's, Golden Corral, Buffet Palace, Furr's, Whole Foods, Bombay Grill, Hickory Street...

        If you can manage your expectations you can find satisfaction at these venues for a modest price.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Paul Silver

          I actually often end up eating at the Bowie Street BBQ counter at Whole Foods. I think their chopped beef sandwich is excellent, even though I am a person who doesn't usually use sauce. I think their sauce is great, and it complements their meat perfectly. Furr's, however...really? I haven't been to Furr's since after-church family trips in junior high, but I must say I don't have fond memories.

          1. re: angusb

            I used to write off all buffets until I decided to increase the proportion of vegetables in my diet and found buffets often offered a more interesting selection than single serving dining.

            It is an adventure to revisit discarded venues with new eyes. In particular I have rediscovered liver and onions at Furr's along with their other protein Entrees, which I feel are a bargain. Same with Luby's, but they are not a buffet.

        2. Changos, Mr. Natural, First China, the new veitnamese stand on South Lamar and Oltorf, Rudy's BBQ, and Thundercloud and Madam Mams if you call ahead will be ready.

          1 Reply
          1. re: lazysmurf

            Some of my recent favorites in SE are La Moreliana and Mi Ranchito on WCannon. They both keep long hours and LM is quick. I love their deshrebada(during the week)and carnitas,tamales(weekends only). MR is in the back of a convenience store w/tables. They serve whole meals and everything I've had is very good.
            There are 2 more on Bluff Springs Rd. from WC. One is a trailer on a trailer park that is open nights and weekends. The other truck is south on BSR at the convenience store. I still haven't figured out his hours but I had some good tinga chicken(hot)there last week.

          2. My first Hill-Bert Burger experience was great. Grilled quarter pounder with cheese on a very tasty whole wheat bun (better than their regular bun) and a chocolate shake (made with real "butter fat" ice cream). It's a "fine fast food" place - old burger shack, looks a bit decrepit, where you can order burgers, fries, shakes, wings, and a couple other fried things like mozz sticks. I ate at the restaurant and have since discovered their food is best when fresh like this. Good way to start off a the night before going to drink stiff house-brewed beer at the Draught House a few blocks away on Medical.

            Also, Koriente is usually very speedy as far as getting your food to you. They serve preposterously clean and healthy pan-Asian food. I think I read once that they even use honey or natural fruit juice in place of white sugar in their recipes. One day I'll start eating here four times a day and quickly become the healthiest man in Austin.

            Know before you go - they are not a Korean restaurant. No restaurant that serves a hummus summer roll can claim to be a Korean restaurant. It's a restaurant that borrows from and healthily updates central and eastern Asian recipes.

            EDIT: Website wouldn't let me add a second restaurant location, so I'll do it manually.

            Koriente
            www.koriente.com
            621 E 7th St., Austin, TX, 78701
            (On 7th street between Red River and I-35

            )

            -----
            Hill-Bert's Burgers
            3303 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX

            1. I like Wok on Fire in Sunset Valley's World Market/Linen's and Things strip mall (east side of Brodie at Jones Rd). There's a loty fo combinations to choose from, and it's one of the only places in South Austin you can get a decent chow fun noodle dish (that I know of).

              Order at the counter, grab your own drink, find a seat, and in 5 minutes you'll have your dish.

              -sw

              1. The gourmet smoothie place next to Castle Hill Fitness at 12th and Lamar if you want something healthy. Their smoothies are expensive but good and they have nice take out tubs for more healthy options like quinoa salad.

                1. I can't believe no one has mentioned P. Terry's on South Lamar and Barton Springs! This is a great, cheap burger shack that only serves organic meats/veggies. There is a small deck to sit and eat (couldn't fit more than 20 people or so), and they have drive through as well. I will say that the place is very popular and can get backed up after the sun goes down, but I've never had to wait more than 10-15 minutes for my order. An order of their tasty shoestring fries can feed too, though sometimes I wish their burgers were slightly bigger (though at their prices, ordering two won't kill your wallet).

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: ealive

                    PTerry's is my favorite burger in town and always a satisfying experience. I get the dbl. cheeseburger. The staff is friendly and the fries are always hot.

                    1. re: crippstom

                      I do eat at P Terry's sometimes, and I do enjoy the burgers. I can only eat so many burgers, though. Still, P Terry's is a place that I think of sometimes when I want something quick. I have NEVER driven through that line, though. I always get out and walk up to the window. It has never taken more than 8 minutes or so to get my food, usually faster. I like the operation, but I also wish the burgers were a little bit bigger (but only a little). I don't want or need to eat a sandwich as big as a football.

                      I appreciate all the other suggestions. I have never tried Koriente, I'll have to check that out.

                  2. When in a rush, I like to hit Central Market's "Cafe on the Run" I can always find something
                    good, quality ingredients, some times hot, but usually cold, to heat at work, or home.

                    1. i live off of 45th/lamar: here are a few places: ez's, phoenicia's deli, sarah's mediterranean market, places at the new triangle such as mandola's, and the aussie pie place on guadalupe (good fast savory pies)

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: hungryfoodie

                        pizza by the slice at the walk-up window at Home Slice

                        1. re: tim irvine

                          The problem with Home Slice is their stupid no-slices-between-6:30-and-9:30 policy, right when most people want to eat dinner. Otherwise, I would agree with you.