Here's what you'll be eating and drinking at Austin FC's Q2 Stadium
From the time you catch your first glimpse of Gary Clark Jr. shredding on artist Chris Rogers’ mural just outside the entrance of Q2 Stadium, you know you’re at an Austin venue.
The local flair continues inside the gates of the new stadium and pours throughout the dazzling home of Austin FC, who play their first home match of the year June 19. You see it in the artwork, and you taste it in the food and beverage choices on offer at the stadium, which has approximately 20,000 seats.
A quick pass through the open-air western concourse finds food stalls from T-Loc’s, purveyors of bacon-wrapped, Sonoran-style hot dogs who operate a food trailer a few miles south of the stadium on Burnet Road; 34-year-old Mexican mainstay Casa Chapala of North Austin; and Easy Tiger, which serves its pretzels at multiple locations in the stadium.
The trio represents part of the goal of the culinary team led by Sam Boisjoly, executive chef of 512 Food Co., the official Q2 Stadium hospitality team.
Boisjoly said he thought about the stadium selection with a simple guiding criteria: If he had a friend who had a three-hour layover in Austin, a perusal of the culinary selection at the chef’s grand new office would give his guest a comprehensive taste of the town.
Anyone on a three-hour layover in Austin would almost certainly need to try some queso, and Q2 checks that box with a quintessentially Austin Queso Fountain, which serves a trio of dips, including a queso verde created by Austinite Laura Morales, who won a public competition held by Austin FC.
The Tex-Mex theme continues throughout Q2, with tacos from Austin restaurants One Taco, Tacodeli and Taco Flats, as well as the masa creations of Tamale Addiction and savory baked empanadas from Mmmpanadas.
The No. 10 of the stadium culinary experience, meaning the star player, for those deficient in fútbol parlance, is Miguel Vidal of Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ. It’s fitting that a version of his exceptional South Austin barbecue trailer sits in the east corner of the stadium. The San Antonio native is a lifelong soccer fan and played at St. Edward’s University and for the now defunct Austin Lightning minor league soccer team.
“I went and popped some champagne,” Vidal said of being offered the chance to serve his South Texas-style smoked meats garnished with accoutrements associated with Mexican food. “For Austin to have a professional soccer team and for someone who has grown up in Texas to be able to support someone who is local and in my town, it’s amazing.”
Vidal won’t be the only notable chef operating at the eastern end of the stadium. Valentina’s will be set up next to the Austin Table, a concession space that will feature rotating chefs and restaurants throughout the season. Restaurants and trailers like Chennai Café, Botanero, SXSE Food Co., Peached Tortilla, Nixta, Otoko and Sugar Pine will highlight the breadth of Austin’s diverse scene. For those looking for a consistent change-of-pace, Bao’d Up will be a Q2 regular, serving its lithe stuffed Chinese buns.
The flavors of Austin extend to Q2’s beverage program. The Beer Hall, which sits on a level above the main concourse, features a draft wall with selections from stadium neighbors Circle Brewing Co. and 4th Tap Brewing alongside fellow Austinites Thirsty Brewing Planet and Austin Eastciders, as well as Houston’s Karbach Brewing Co. The Beer Hall features shuffleboard, foosball and a big screen viewing experience, and opens four hours before matches and stays open 90 minutes after the final whistle.
You’ll find more local beer back on the main level, with the grab-and-go ATX Markets selling snacks and canned suds from Zilker Brewing Co., Real Ale Brewing Company and Adelbert’s Brewing. Lovers of bigger name beers will also find domestic and international selections at the ATX Market, and those beers are served on tap throughout the stadium.
512 Food Co. operates food stalls throughout the stadium, serving barbecue, chili dogs and burgers, with Double Dave’s Pizzaworks and Plucker’s complementing the traditional stadium offerings while keeping things uniquely Austin.