These Austin restaurants, businesses are serving free meals this week
Austin businesses are working to get food to people who need it, as a battered city’s residents continue to face power outages, water outages and below-freezing temperatures.
Good Work Austin, a consortium of area restaurants formed during the coronavirus pandemic, is working to get free meals to people in need this week. Major local brands, including Deep Eddy Vodka, Kendra Scott and Bumble, along with the Austin Winter Storm Relief Fund, have made donations to area restaurants to provide free meals.
As roads become safer and more easily navigable, more restaurants are opening and offering free food either on their own dime or in partnership with various sponsors. There also are many restaurants delivering meals directly to frontline workers and warming centers throughout the city.
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Where the meals are
Here’s a list of spots to pick up a free meal, while supplies last and if it is safe to get to the location. Check social media accounts or contact the restaurant to verify supply.
UPDATED LIST FOR SATURDAY, FEB. 20:
Oakmont. 100 French toast fried chicken meals and 50 ham and cheese breakfast sandwiches starting at 11 a.m. Sponsored by RVShare and Austin Winter Storm Relief. 1106 W 38th St. oakmontfood.com.
Moody's. 300 burgers starting at 1 p.m. for University of Texas students (please show an ID). Sponsored by Deep Eddy. 2530 Guadalupe St. moodysaustin.com.
JP Pancake Co. 300 meals starting at 1:30 p.m. Sponsored by Austin Winter Storm Relief. 2512 Rio Grande St. jpspancakecompany.com.
Plow Burger at Buzz Mill. 100 burgers starting at 2 p.m. 1505 Town Creek Drive. Sponsored by Austin Winter Storm Relief. plowburger.com.
The Cavalier. 100 biscuits & gravy starting at 3 p.m. Sponsored by Austin Winter Storm Relief. 2400 Webberville Road, Suite A. thecavalieratx.com.
Burro Cheese Kitchen. 200 grilled cheese sandwiches starting at noon. Sponsored by Austin Winter Storm Relief. 80 Rainey St. burrocheesekitchen.com.
Sugar Mama's Bakeshop. Biscuits and gravy from 10 a.m. until they're gone. 1905 South First St.
The following meals are being provided by Whole Foods Market, Good Work Austin, Austin Food & Wine Alliance and Les Dames d'Escoffier Austin Chapter. All are first come, first served.
Buenos Aires Café. Meals from noon to 5 p.m. 1201 E. Sixth St., 512-382-1189.
Chareon Express. Meals from 4 to 7 p.m. (vegetarian options). 5610 N. I-35.
Contigo. Meals from 10 a.m. to noon and 4 to 6 p.m. (vegetarian options). 2027 Anchor Lane, 512-614-2260.
Salty Cargo. Meals from noon to 7 p.m. 1700 W. Parmer Lane, Suite 100, 737-465-1821.
Southside Flying Pizza. Meals from noon to 9 p.m. (vegetarian options). 2206 S. Congress Ave., 512-442-4246.
Also, some more charitable food news Saturday: Brooklyn Decker and Andy Roddick will donate 2000 tacos to Dell Children's. Austin Winter Storm Relief will donate 80 meals from V-Nam Bistro to Baylor Scott & White Round Rock, 500 meals from various restaurants to IDEA Public Schools warming centers and 50 meals to Dell Seton.
Also, Holy Cross Worship Center in Del Valle is offering boxes of food and milk, one per household, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday; 4972 Texas 71 East, Del Valle.
PREVIOUSLY ONFRIDAY, FEB. 19:
Emergency food and water distribution will be available Friday at Dove Springs Rec Center (1:30 p.m., 5801 Ainez Drive), Millennium Youth Center (2:30 p.m., 1156 Hargrave St.), Dailey Middle School (2 p.m., 14000 Westall St.) and Navarro High School (2:30 p.m., 1201 Payton Gin Road), according to City Council Member Natasha Harper-Madison.
The Alcove Cantina. 205 free hot meals beginning at 1 p.m. Sponsored by AffiniPay and Deep Eddy Vodka. 119 E. Main St., Round Rock. alcovecantina.com.
Buenos Aires Cafe. 200 meals of Milanesa and potatoes; spaghetti and meatballs; and stew beginning at 11 a.m. Sponsored by Pernod Ricard USA. 1201 E. Sixth St. buenosairescafe.com.
Chi’lantro. 400 bowls beginning at noon. Sponsored by Cotton Global Disaster Solutions. 11005 Burnet Road #108. chilantrobbq.com.
China Harbor. 300 meals of chicken fried rice or chicken lo mein beginning at 1 p.m. Sponsored by Austin Winter Storm Relief. 801 E. William Cannon Drive. chinaharboraustin.com.
First Chinese BBQ. Bento boxes with bbq pork, chicken or duck. Beginning at 1:30 p.m. until gone. In partnership with delivery service Chowbus, so mention Chowbus at pickup. 10901 N. Lamar Blvd. firstchinesebbq.com.
Justine's. To-go containers filled with spaghetti Bolognese, seafood chowder, French onion soup, ratatouille and more, beginning at 3 p.m. until supplies run out. Drive up, let them know how many people are in your family and they’ll bring the food out. 710 E. 5th St. justines1937.com.
Old Thousand. 100 meals at each location beginning at 2 p.m. Sponsored by Cotton Global Disaster Solutions. 4805 Burnet Road and 1000 E. 11th St. oldthousandatx.com.
La Pera. 200 el camaron crispy taco meals beginning at 3 p.m. Sponsored by Loreal Luciana. Pickup at East Austin Culinary Studio, 2100 Robert Browning St. laperaaustin.com.
New Fortune Chinese. Stir-fried beef flat noodle with sesame basil. Beginning at 5 p.m. until gone. In partnership with delivery service Chowbus, so mention Chowbus at pickup. 10901 N. Lamar Blvd. newfortunetx.com.
Nixta. Teaming with Dough Boys for 100 servings of penne Bolognese, beginning at 5 p.m. 2512 E. 12th St. nixtataqueria.com.
Phonatic. 400 chicken or beef pho served at two locations beginning at 2 p.m. when you mention “Koko.” Sponsored by Austin Winter Storm Relief. 2525 W. Anderson Lane and 200 University Blvd. in Round Rock. pho-natic.com.
Saigon le Vendeur. Giving away bánh mì while supplies last Friday and Saturday beginning at noon. Water came back on today at their sister restaurant, Le Bleu, and the team hopes to have meals available there, as well, soon. 2404 E. Seventh St. instagram.com/saigonlevendeur.
Schlotzsky's Northcross. 300 small sandwiches beginning at 11 a.m. Sponsored by Austin Winter Storm Relief. 2545 W. Anderson Lane. schlotzskys.com.
Tacodeli. 500 tacos each at two locations beginning at noon. Sponsored by Nutrabolt and C4. 7301 Burnet Rod and 12001. tacodeli.com.
Thai Fresh. 50 meals starting at 11 a.m. Sponsored by Austin Winter Storm Relief. 909 W. Mary St. thai-fresh.com.
Twin Lion. 200 meals beginning at noon. Sponsored by Austin Winter Storm Relief. 4815 W. Braker Lane. twinlionchineserestaurant.com.
PREVIOUSLY ON THURSDAY, FEB. 18:
• Chi’lantro. 200 free bowls, 12:30-2pm. Sponsored by Austin Winter Storm Relief Fund. 11005 Burnet Rd #108. chilantrobbq.com.
• CM Smokehouse. 275 meals; brisket or pork taco with chips, or duck or turkey wings starting at 3 p.m. Sponsored by Samantha Ushiro. 2027 S. Lamar Blvd.
• Dipping Springs Tender Co. 50 meals of chicken tenders and sides from 1 to 5 p.m. Sponsored by Austin Eastciders. 979 Springdale Road. dippingspringstender.com.
• Flyrite Chicken. 150 chicken sandwiches and tots as of noon until supplies run out. Sponsored by Karbach Brewing and Bev Wine. 2129 E. 7th St. flyritechicken.com.
• Hestia. 1200 total meals from 2 to 5 p.m. Sponsored by Spa Sway, Austin Winter Storm Relief Fund and more. 607 W. Third St. hestiaaustin.com.
• Juan in a Million. 1,000 free tacos starting at 11 a.m. Sponsored by former UT Longhorn star Michael Huff. 2300 E. Cesar Chavez St. juaninamillion.com.
• Lazarus Brewing Co. The brewery has reopened its doors and serving free tacos until supplies run out; you can also contact them to donate tacos to those who need them. 1902 E. Sixth St. lazarusbrewing.com.
• Lick It Up. Burrito, tostada and taco meals delivered to Austin Pets Alive staff at 11 a.m. Sponsored by Feathers Boutique. lickitupeats.com.
• Maggiore’s. 115 meals of 16” pizza, starting at 11:30 a.m. Sponsored by Affinipay. 1420 Cypress Creek Road, #1000. magstexas.com.
• Play. 150 meals (TBD) available at 5 p.m. Sponsored by Red Bull USA. 620 W. Sixth St.
• Rebel Cheese. 25 were available meals as of noon. Sponsored by Austin Eastciders. 2200 Aldrich St. rebelcheese.com.
• Sip Pho. 300 bowls of pho, sponsored by Austin Winter Storm Relief Fund. 512 W. 29th St. sippho.com.
• Thai Fresh. 200 meals beginning at 1:30 p.m. Text curbside 512-200-7423 and mention 365austin for one free meal per person. 909 Mary St. Sponsored by Austin Winter Storm Relief Fund. thai-fresh.com.
• Tommy Want Wingy. 125 10-piece wings and fries meals. 11 a.m. until all gone. Sponsored by Red Bull USA. 121 Pickle Road. tommywantwingy.com.
• Uncle Nicky’s. 200 meals, per two different locations; pasta bolognese or pasta with vegetarian red sauce from 2 to 6 p.m. Sponsored by Affinipay. 1123 E. 11th St. and 4222 Duval St. unclenickys.com.
• Vaquero Taquero. 125 meals of two tacos, 11am-3pm. Sponsored by Red Bull USA. 104 E 31st St. vaquerotaquero.com.
• Veracruz All Natural at The Line Hotel. 300 free tacos, beginning at 5 pm. Sponsored by Austin Winter Storm Relief Fund. 111 E. Cesar Chavez St. veracruzallnatural.com.
• The Well. 600 free bowls of pho beginning at noon. Sponsored by 2nd St District, Sway Spa and private sponsors. 440 W 2nd St. eatwellatx.com.
PREVIOUSLY ON WEDNESDAY, FEB. 17:
• OMG Squee (Instagram: @squeeclub), 4607 Bolm Road: As of 10 a.m., get two donuts and choice of hot coffee/tea/hot chocolate when you mention Deep Eddy Vodka.
• Chi'lantro (Instagram: @chilantro), 1201 Barbara Jordan Blvd., No. 1460: As of 12:30 pm, get soy glazed chicken bowls when you mention Deep Eddy Vodka.
Winter storm: Boil water notice issued for Southwest Austin, Lost Creek; other areas told to limit usage
• China Harbor (Instagram: @chinaharbor_austin), 801 E. William Cannon Drive: As of noon, get a veggie or chicken combo with rice and soup when you mention Deep Eddy Vodka.
• The Well (Instagram: @eatwellatx), 440 W. Second St.: As of noon, they’re serving 200 free hot stews and coffees when you mention Kendra Scott.
• Veracruz All Natural (Instagram: @VeracruzTacos) at the Line Hotel, 111 E. Cesar Chavez St.: Beginning at 3 p.m., they’re serving 200 free tacos at pickup window when you mention Kendra Scott.
• Burro (Instagram: @BurroCheeseKitchen), 80 Rainey St.: Beginning at 4 p.m., they’re serving 200 grilled cheese sandwiches and chips when you mention Kendra Scott.
• Southside Flying Pizza (Instagram: @SouthsideFlyingPizza) at 2702 E. Cesar Chavez St. and 11600 Menchaca Road: They’re serving free pizzas when you mention Deep Eddy Vodka.
• Hestia at 607 W. Third St., No. 105: Beginning at 3:30 p.m., they’ll have two meal options (400 total meals), with support from Bumble — vegetarian panzanella with roasted cauliflower, basil, onion and tomatoes, and also roasted chicken, sweet potatoes, smoky barbecue sauce and papas bravas.
• Nixta Taqueria (Instagram: @nixtataqueria) at 2512 E. 12th St.: Beginning at 3:30 p.m., they'll serve pozole and tacos for free.
• Kendra Scott also will be providing Southside Flying Pizza to nurses at Dell Seton.
Additionally, Good Work Austin was working Wednesday to provide meals at South Pro Lodge, Givens Recreation Center, Dittmar Recreation Center, Northwest Recreation Center, North Pro Lodge, Sunrise Food Pantry & Angel House, Palmer Event Center and Micah 6 Food Pantry, but meals had not yet been fulfilled for all locations as of Wednesday morning. Restaurants providing food include Easy Tiger, Black Star Co-op and L’Oca Do’Oro.
'Somewhat more hopeful'
Adam Orman, co-founder of L’Oca D’Oro and organizing force behind Good Work Austin, was on his way to drop off food Wednesday morning at one of the recreation centers before heading to other shelters and restaurants for food pick-up.
“This morning has been somewhat more hopeful,” Orman said. “The brands involved have been helpful for restaurant outreach. Today, we have more money than food, because so many restaurants are without deliveries, or are without power, or people can’t get into their restaurants. Today is a scramble to find enough restaurants to fill the city’s needs and the hospital’s needs."
Orman said it’s helpful to have more hands on deck in the middle of the week. Good Work Austin started having conversations with Austin Public Health on Friday, he said, because the organization has a regular contract with the city to provide meals for those in need.
“When things started to get really rough and they opened the shelters,” Orman said, his group mobilized Sunday to get the first round of meals out and figure out the plan for the coming days.
“Every day, we haven’t even known who was going to have power, who was going to be able to drive,” he said. “We should be able to get more food out today and by tomorrow ... It’s just a really slow process.”
Orman said he’s sticking to daylight hours to make food deliveries; at his own restaurant, L’Oca D’Oro, he thinks they’ll run out of food on Wednesday.
“Hopefully that’ll get backfilled by the folks who are just now able to get started,” he said, "and I’ll be able to stay at home and coordinate.”
Good Work Austin’s network of community-minded restaurants was not organized until last year, during the pandemic; Orman is grateful the connection with the city was already in place. The group will continue its efforts as long as they can during the emergency period.
“I think it makes the most sense to keep doing this a couple of days. It’s exhausting in the meantime," Orman said.
“I am grateful that there are so many local businesses that want to help and people that want to volunteer," he added. “We want to make sure the restaurants get paid, the volunteers get paid. Nobody should be driving out in this (expletive) for free.”
Donations are being accepted through Good Work Austin; go to GoodWorkAustin.org for more info. You can also make a donation through the Austin EMS Emergency Relief fund to help feed emergency workers.