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north Austin cheap eats or bar

Will be in town for the first time next week and staying around 9000 North IH-35 in what looks to be a dump of hotel. The folks Im traveling with love to eat at chain restaurants and dont really have much enthusiasm for trying anything "different". They do however like to eat at bars where the drinks are cheap. Im looking for either an independent local spot near there(9000 N 35) where I can get a decent evening meal and also a "locals" watering hole for my companions.
Im open to pretty much any cuisine as long as its not a mega chain.

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  1. http://www.dining512.com/Spinners.html

    Spinner's has lots of burgers & sandwiches and beers on tap.

    1. Do you have a car? Just quick thoughts around that area if so... go North a couple exits up on 35 and take Braker Ln, go west across the interstate and continue to Lamar. Take a left and go south a little while and you have "Chinatown," a huge shopping center with tons of cheap Asian food. Also further south on 35 a little closer to downtown, Star Seeds is a great little place for all night diner grub. Maybe that helps?

      Also up in that area, just west of 35 on 183 you'll find Din Ho Chinese BBQ and Sunflower Vietnamese, two great spots.

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      Star Seeds Cafe
      3101 N Interstate 35, Austin, TX 78722

      1 Reply
      1. re: popvulture

        My favorite thread on Star Seeds:

        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/3576...

        Includes this comment by scrumptiouschef:

        "Rarely have I had food as bad as my last two visits to Star Seeds,yep,they cleaned it up,painted it,powerwashed the parking lot what have you but please PLEASE,don't make the mistake of eating there.Deep frying sausage patties that were cooked the day before does not revive them in any way,Grits should not have a thick crust of mystery gunk straddling them,over medium fried eggs should not provoke a discussion as to what kind of creature they originally eminated from.In short,the worst food I've eaten in Austin.Ever."

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        Star Seeds Cafe
        3101 N Interstate 35, Austin, TX 78722

      2. I've only been for Sunday brunch, but you should look into the Nomad Bar. Its north austin off of 35, yelp reviews say they have good drink specials, and I recall the regular menu being interesting, but its been over a year since I went. Neighborhood bar with patio

        6 Replies
        1. re: NirvRush

          beau is a former co-worker of mine who now runs the traveling bistro, and does a great job with the brunch at nomad.

          http://www.travelingbistroaustin.com/...

          he usually posts menu updates on facebook, too.

          1. re: dinaofdoom

            they did a great job at brunch! i always work on sundays (except tomorrow, coincidentally) so i've never been able to make it back. i saw some posts on yelp that Traveling Bistro was no longer going to do brunch at the Nomad, but the link you posted doesn't seem to indicate that at first glance. do you know if they're keeping it going? (i guess i could always just drop an email...)

            1. re: NirvRush

              hrm, i have no clue! the nomad facebook page indicates its their 3 year anniversary today with freebies.
              maybe they are not doing brunch this weekend?

                1. re: dinaofdoom

                  i emailed him about the Nomad and received this response:

                  We are no longer at Nomad each Sunday. We are planning some great things this spring and summer. We continue to love and support Nomad and hope you do too. Please like us on facebook or follow us Twitter to look for some Traveling Bistro fun soon. Thanks so much for your support!

                  Cheers,

                  Beau Been
                  Traveling Bistro

                  1. re: NirvRush

                    iiiinteresting.
                    thanks for posting back!

          2. For restaurants:
            You're right down the street from Captain Benny's seafood which is on the South-bound access road of I-35. You can't miss it - it's shaped like a boat. Sit at the bar, have an inexpensive beer, some oysters, some gumbo, and some fried food. The people watching isn't bad, either.
            Look across the highway from Captain Benny's, and you can see a strip mall called Capital Plaza. There, you find Amaya's Taco Village, which I think has some of the better Tex-Mex in town. Bear in mind, this is not classic Mexican (I'm pretty sure the cheese is Velveeta), but rather 60s style Mexican. I recommend the crispy tacos.
            If you'd like to try some Salvadoran, go to Costa del Sol on E. 290. The pupusas are excellent, and they also serve Tex-Mex (though a little more Mex than Tex).
            For bars:
            Hit up the Carousel Lounge on E. 52nd. It's beer, wine and set-ups only, but it's certainly divey.
            Going west, you'll find the Poodle Dog Lounge on Burnet, and also Ginny's Longhorn, also on Burnet. The Poodle Dog scares me so I've never been, but at Ginny's you can enjoy country music and awful hot dogs. If you go on Sunday, you can participate in the chicken-shit bingo (exactly what it sounds like). There's also Lala's Little Nugget, which is on Justin just east of Burnet. Again, it definitely meets your requirements.

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            Amaya's Taco Village
            5405 N Interstate 35, Austin, TX 78723

            1 Reply
            1. re: gilintx

              If you're on this stretch of Burnet, stop off at Billy's on Burnet, and have the hotdog and fries ($4.25--and the 'dog is huge and the fries are awesome) and a beer. Great happy hour prices (4-5 is happiest hour) and Lone Star pints are $2.00-- always.

              If you are driving down that stretch of Burnet on Fri-Sun, stop off at MGM food (an Indian Market in a strip mall) for a 99 cent Samosa. Or three. They are fantastic.

            2. You know, you get what you pay for - don"t expect too much when you're looking for "cheap eats"....

              1 Reply
              1. re: marfaboy

                I think that Cap't Benney's was an excellent choice for the OP's request. It is a regional chain - mainly from Houston, and I don't think that it is franchised (correct me if I'm wrong). Sometimes you find yourself in a situation....."weird" asian stuff and strung-out hipppies are totally awsone for me, but the OP is saddled with relatives or some such that cannot handle anything different. They need to simply skirt their limits and have someting to remember - Amaya's and Cap'n Benny's could suffice. It really helps that they like to drink!