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Mar 8, 2009 03:13 PM

sxsw help please!

my husband will be staying in downtown austin for sxsw festival for 9 days. he will have a car but probably won't want to drive too far.
can you give some suggestions for:

southern fare
burger joints

anything else that is quintessentially austin.


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  1. I started a similar thread last fall regarding the Austin Film Festival; so I copied the downtown suggestions over to this thread as The SXSW Film Festival shares some of the same venues. My thread was specifically about cheap eats. These were suggestions from. Don_ya, micksgirl, yummygirl8, and budgethound:

    Try Dona Emilia's @ San Jacinto & Cesar Chavez for breakfast or lunch. A lot of items under $8.

    You can get the $1.99 burger and fries from 4-6:30, and then again after 9, at McCormick & Schmick's on 4th & Congress. There is a $2.50 minimum drink order.

    There's a new mobile food truck at 5th and Brazos, and OMG they have the best empanadas since grandma. It's big, it's red, it's quick, it's cheap and I think it's called mmmpanadas. Their hours on the weekends are 10pm on, so best pick one up after a film. You can even buy a few extra for breakfast. I recommend Green Chile Chicken, Spinach mushroom--it has pine nuts+goat cheese, or Pumpkin.

    near CONGRESS AVENUE (Paramount; Hideout)
    Marakesh Café & Grill
    Mediterranean; mezze is pretty good
    906 Congress Ave
    Frank & Angie's
    Fellini on foccacia, hold the lettuce ($6.25)
    508 West Ave [about 7 blocks west of Congress]
    near SIXTH STREET (Driskill; Ritz)
    Asian fusion
    621 E 7th St

    If you’re not on a budget. I recommend the 1886 Café at The Driskill Hotel for breakfast. I very much like their Paris, Texas Benedict. L.B.J. and Lady Bird had one of there first dates there.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Helind

      thanks. not really looking for cheap eats as he will be with a client. hoping to find a bunch of good local places.

      1. re: woofer

        hmmm, i think taking a client to breakfast/lunch/dinner is a bit different than your regular SXSW suggestions (seeing as lots of people will do bar & street food).

        maybe some more information like what type of client/business would get you better suggestions.
        are they looking for some more upscale, business-type places?

        a lot of the "quintessentially austin" is low brow or low price (but not all, of course).

        1. re: dinaofdoom

          just looking for the best of:

          southern fare
          burger joints

          doesn't have to be expensive, just not looking for taco trucks.

          1. re: woofer

            let me think about the rest but...
            here are some downtownish/not-too-far of a drive reqs.
            most of your requests are hot topics (bbq in particular)!
            i can't think of any non-chain steakhouses, which explains why i can't remember the last time i went to one...

            eddie v's (especially love the tuna tartare and the oysters. on the posher side)
            uchi (sushi focus, but not all they have. one of the best places in austin-- wish i could afford to go more often)

            southern fare:
            moonshine (great sunday brunch but pretty much everything is rich and delish)
            lambert's ("fancy bbq", but many would not recommend the bbq. go for the rest)
            threadgill's (can't get more southern than the fried chicken liver app)
            chez zee (their menu leaves me so indecisive)

            if budget or super casual dining is not a need, i would also recommend:
            zoot (local ingredients, tasting menus)
            wink (same)
            restaurant jezebel (chef's labor of love)

            other austiny places include:
            parkside (they have a raw bar so might be considered seafood, depending on what your interests are)
            green pastures
            downtown z'tejas
            downtown manuel's

            some other websites that might be a good resource for you are foodhawk (restaurant nabes & menus) and dishola (dish-specific, which is a really great way to find a new restaurant).

            1. re: woofer

              Close or in downtown area:

              BBQ -- Sam's (a hole in the wall but about the best bbq downtown)
              Breakfasts -- lots of choices here. Besides recs others might give I'd add Angie's, Sunday brunch at Fonda San Miguel, Blue Dahlia
              Burgers -- Casino El Camino, Five Guys (no alcohol there, though)
              Southern -- Galloway's, Hoover's

              1. re: zebcook

                A note on Sam's BBQ:

                I just have to say that I went here this week on a brief trip to Austin at 1am on a Tuesday night.

                I love BBQ and have been to a bunch of places while visiting.
                This place is gross.
                -First of all the BBQ is not very good. It has a metallic funky taste to it like it's been sitting around all day in a chafing dish. I was not impressed.
                -The place has crack whores hanging out in front and people coming in trying to sell fenced goods.
                -The owner starting talking about circumcision to the regulars while I was eating and why all men should be circumcised.

                I would not recommend this place to anyone unless they like really mediocre bbq and alot of atmosphere.

                The owner was nice though I have to give him credit.
                Am I missing something?

      2. Downtown has tons of everthing.
        Check out Opal Divines it is kinda southern and kinda burger joint.
        Iron Catus tex-mex
        Seafood & steak: McCormick & shmicks
        I have heard the Driskell is good for brunch, but i have never tried it
        BBQ: Green Mesquite

        Check out for address and more ideas!

        1 Reply
        1. re: Sumstar524

          Iron Cactus Fish Tacos are the best in the world! I had them 3 times in 1 week :-)

          Iron Cactus
          13420 Galleria Circle, Bee Caves, TX 78738

        2. Here's a list of places to eat that I wrote up with some friends and the help of CH last year:

          It's aimed more at cheap, tasty, fast, and within walking distance of the Convention Center, though.

          But I do second the suggestions for Moonshine if you want something a little more upscale. Beer battered asparagus! Mac and cheese! Yum.

          5 Replies
          1. re: kathryn

            Thanks for the list kathryn. It's awsome.

            1. re: Helind

              Oh, I forgot to mention, while the Roaring Fork looks like an upscale restaurant, they have a really nice bar with happy hour specials on food and drink. I've only eaten in the bar but the food is very good, and I'd imagine that the formal dining area is good, too.

            2. re: kathryn

              moonsione's brunch buffet is gut-bustingly delicious.
              i took a friend there who hates brunch buffets and even he loved it.

              1. re: dinaofdoom

                I second the Moonshine Buffet. A lot of buffets suck due to food getting dried out, overdone-theirs does not. Smaller pans, and replaced frequently, and a lot of good stuff!

                1. re: barleybob9

                  mmmm those cornflake-coated chicken tenders...

            3. The original comment has been removed
              1. woofer,
                here's the only thing I'm qualified to respond to. It's what I know, inside and out. I won't waste your time on the other categories because I know that personal preference is not what you're looking for. What follows is fact, not preference.
                Ruby's BBQ (29th & Guadalupe) will impress, satisfy, and help you avoid tourist traps/austin cliches.
                Not RUDY'S (cheap gas station, chain garbage)
                Ruby's is one of a kind. It's not quite a dive, but it's close. Plenty of seating, great food, great atmosphere, real Austin old school BBQ (they just celebrated 20 years), favorite of touring bands in the know (the old Antone's was next door for a decade until it moved a while back), Here's the best part: Hormone free meats, all sides (EVERYTHING) made from scratch there on site where they smoke their meats overnight. No Sysco b.s., no pre-made anything. As far as I know, no one else can say that.
                Anyways, it's amazing.
                Nothing better in Austin, no matter what you read here. Even Salt Lick (which someone is bound to recommend) isn't as good. Their meats are good at Salt Lick, sure, but the rest is prepackaged shite.
                have a fun stay.

                3 Replies
                1. re: mif

                  thanks. he's been so busy that the only places of note he's reported back to me on were: ironworks bbq, he said it was solid but the sauce was bland.
                  eddie v's, he liked very much and commented on the excellent personal service and presentation.

                  1. re: mif

                    thank you for the ruby's rec. my husband went tonight and he said it blew ironworks out of the water. he LOVED it.

                    1. re: woofer

                      my pleasure. glad to hear that he liked it.