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 Best Barbecue in Austin story from 2014, click here.)
(Click here for my complete SXSW Dining Guide.)
Brown’s Bar-B-Que. 1901 S. Lamar Blvd. 512-517-8520, facebook.com/brownsbarbque. This South Lamar trailer smokes some of the best chicken and pork ribs in town.
Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que. 217 Congress Ave. 512-474-4227, coopersbbqaustin.com. Now you don’t have to drive to Llano to get this renowned barbecue. Available at lunch and dinner.
Franklin Barbecue. 900 E. 11th St. 512-653-1187, franklinbarbecue.com. Maybe you’ve heard of this place. What makes it so popular? World-class brisket, a ceaselessly joyful chef and a line culture unlike any place in Texas.
Iron Works BBQ. 100 Red River St. 512-478-4855, ironworksbbq.com. If you can tolerate the line at this joint next to the Convention Center, get some sausage and chicken.
J. Mueller Meat Co. 2500 E. Sixth St. Old-school barbecue cook John Mueller’s brisket bark is as fierce as his half-joking snarl.
La Barbecue. 1906 E. Cesar Chavez St. 512-605-9696, labarbecue.com. Some of the best barbecue in Central Texas. Start with the brisket and go from there.
Lamberts Downtown Barbecue. 401 W. Second St. 512-494-1500, lambertsaustin.com. The fanciest barbecue spot in town, Lamberts smokes traditional meats such as pork shoulder and beef brisket and also has a touch with more delicate items like a smoked trout salad. Will likely be overwhelmed with SXSW activity.
Micklethwait Craft Meats. 1309 Rosewood Ave. 512-791-5961, craftmeats.com. Tom Micklethwait’s East Austin trailer specializes in inventive and flavorful sausage and makes very good desserts like buttermilk pie. The chef got the Internet’s attention earlier this year when he recreated the dishes from ZZ Top’s “Tres Hombres” album art. And ate it.
Smokey Denmark. 3505 E. Fifth St. 512-385-0718, smokeydenmark.com. Tender ribs (get the babybacks if they’re on special) and some of the best sausages in town, from boudin to jalapeno-cheese, at this truck outside the longtime sausage makers in East Austin.
Terry Black’s Barbecue. 1003 Barton Springs Road. 512-394-5899, terryblacksbbq.com. Grandsons of one of the scions of Lockhart barbecue are bringing an old-school approach at lunch and dinner just south of the river.