South by Southwest, the interactive festival that brings people from around the country to descend on Austin, begins this weekend and runs through March 19. The festival features speakers, concerts, exhibitions of gaming systems, and more.
We selected our favorite diners, sandwich shops, and taco stands to help you energize and power through this year’s SXSW.
Franklin BBQ: The most famous — and busiest — spot in town. You’ll probably miss a couple events while waiting in this line.
Tacos & Tex-Mex
Torchy's Tacos: With more than a dozen locations, you’re sure to find one without a line.
Hula Hut: A lakefront tiki-themed taco stand is perfect for relaxing.
Juan In A Million: A taco institution, but known mainly for its Don Juan taco with potato, eggs, bacon, and cheese.
Matt's Famous El Rancho: We suggest trying each of these taco spots so you can decide your favorite. This one has margaritas.
Trudy's: Belly up to overflowing plates of Tex-Mex at this joint that has been slinging food for 30 years.
Churro Co.: Take your pick of any of these fully loaded churros. You can’t go wrong.
Lick Honest Ice Creams: Because ice cream tastes better when it’s made locally.
Amy's Ice Cream: Founded in Austin, this growing ice cream empire has flourished based on the quality of its product.
Voodoo Doughnut: Yes, this is the same company that operates in Portland; no, that shouldn’t stop you from eating a doughnut.
Mozart's Coffee Roasters: Come by in the morning for your cup of joe but return later for live music and desserts.
Easy Tiger: Stop by first thing in the day for breakfast; return later for beer.
Magnolia Café: Originally just a breakfast spot, this restaurant has expanded into the ultimate 24-hour diner. Breakfast is served all day, of course.
Lunch or Dinner
Chi'lantro: This food truck turned restaurant has developed a cult following. You’ll want to join in.
ThunderCloud Subs: A quick and easy sandwich shop, perfect to grab and go.
Foodheads: Located in a converted home, this casual joint is an ideal place to sit outside with a sandwich and a soda.
Ramen Tatsu-Ya: A build-it-yourself ramen spot perfect for unwinding.
Juiceland: Ideal for recovering from last night or for lighter lunch fare.
Gourdough's Public House: Honestly, we weren’t sure which meal to classify this under — there are doughnuts for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, and entrees and beer for dinner. Maybe stay all day?
Hillside Farmacy: This upscale but casual spot will serve pared-down menus for breakfast, lunch, and dinner to help the staff manage the SXSW crowds, but the wine, oysters, and food still hold up.
Launderette: Classic American grub in a cooler-than-you atmosphere — perfect for SXSW. Save room for dessert from the shop’s James Beard Award-winning pastry chef.
Threadgill's: Every town these days needs a favorite spot that serves fried chicken, mac ‘n’ cheese, and other Southern comfort foods; this is Austin’s.
24 Diner: Diner favorites in a more elegant setting. And yes, it is open all day and night.
Home Slice Pizza: If you want a late-night slice, this is where you go. If you want a whole pie, this is where you go.
South Congress Café: Brunch every day? Of course.