2020 NASPA Annual Conference

Food Scene: Where Austinites Eat

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Welcome to Austin, Texas!

The one thing, I know for sure is that you have to work hard to go hungry in this city! You are surrounded by so many good local eateries that will satisfy the different palates and accommodate your price points.

To tackle this list, I thought it was best to categorize them by areas of town. Austin has so many restaurants, you could eat out three times a day for an entire year and never eat at the same place twice. I hope that you can get out of the Convention Center and venture around the city because you will find some really good food!

Downtown Area

If you do not want to go too far from the Convention Center or your hotel, here are a few places that you can walk to:

24 Diner

Amy’s Ice Cream

Bangers Sausage House & Beer Garden

Café Blue - My favorite restaurant near the convention center! Classic seafood & Oyster bar - I also believe they have one of the best French onion soups in the city!

Casino El Camino - American traditional

Clay Pit - Indian

El Mercado - Mexican

Fareground At One Eleven - Austin’s first food hall with 6 different local vendors!

G’raj Mahal and Food Trailers on Rainey Street

Gus’s Fried Chicken

Hut’s Hamburgers

Jim Jim’s Water Ice - Italian Water-Ice and Premium Ice Cream

La Condesa - Mexican

Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill - Innovative classic American comfort food

Salvation Pizza

Sans Bar - Austin’s first alcohol-free bar

Stubb’s Bar-B-Q - The BBQ is great, but if you can attend the Gospel Brunch on Sundays at 10:30 AM or 12:30 PM, you will not be disappointed.

Trader Joe’s

True Food Kitchen - Vegan; Vegetarian

Whole Foods Market

Voodoo Doughnuts

East of Downtown

El Chile Café Y Cantina - Mexican

El Chilito - Mexican

Counter Culture - Vegan; Vegetarian

Blue Dahlia Bistro - European

Hillside Farmacy - American

Franklin’s BBQ - World famous! Yes, it is excellent, but super long line. Try la Barbecue instead.

Hoover’s Cooking - Southern

Salty Sow - American Gastropub

Buenos Aires Café- Este - Argentine

Tamale House East - Mexican

Juan in a Million - Mexican

Cisco’s Restaurant Bakery & Bar

North Austin

Gusto Italian Kitchen + Wine Bar

Lucy’s Fried Chicken

Monkey’s Nest Coffee

Tarka Indian Kitchen

The Domain - Dining and Shopping

Tiny Pies

Thunderbird Café & Tap Room

Top Notch - Burgers

Uchiko - Sushi

Upper Crust Bakery


South of Downtown

Bouldin Creek Café - Vegetarian; Vegan

Casa de Luz - Vegan

Chi’lantro - Asian Fusion

Chuy’s - Mexican

Enoteca Vespaio/ Vespaio Ristorante - Italian

Habaneros - Mexican (cash only)

Home Slice Pizza

Magnolia Café - Traditional American

Perla’s - Seafood

Shady Grove - American

Sway - Thai

Terry Black’s BBQ

Uchi - Sushi

Wine Belly  - Tapas Bar

UT Area

Cabo Bob's  - Mexican

El Patio - Mexican

Hyde Park Bar & Grill - American

Hopdoddy Burger Bar

Kerbey Lane Café  - Traditional American

Mother’s Café & Garden - Vegetarian; Vegan

Mandola’s Italian Kitchen

Pluckers Wing Bar

Quack’s 43rd Street Bakery

Trudy’s - Mexican

West- On the River

Hula Hut - Polynesian; Mexican

Mozart’s Coffee Roasters 

Quick Tacos and Queso around Town


Torchy’s Tacos

Quick Burgers around Town


P. Terry’s Burger Stand


Large Groups

If transportation is a concern for your big group, no worries. There are a few close restaurants within walking distance to the Convention Center that can accommodate large groups. I recommend:

Bangers Sausage House & Beer Garden

Café Blue

Fareground At One Eleven

Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill

Stubb’s  Bar-B-Q

Final Thoughts

When I was in Los Angeles, I did a “hotdog crawl” with some family and we had a blast exploring the city. If you really want to get adventurous and explore Austin, I suggest you and your new NASPA friends try a “taco crawl” or “queso crawl.” There are so many great places to find both!

Eat, Be Merry, and Keep Austin Weird!

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