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Sustainable By Southwest: Where to Eat Local in Austin
If you’re a musician, filmmaker, or tech nerd, chances are you’re headed to Austin, TX this week for South By Southwest (SXSW). The conference/festival/juggernaut runs from March 9th to March 18th and will draw more than 20,000 people to Austin for 10 days of innovative technology, indie music and film, networking, parties, and breakfast tacos.
Do not forget about the breakfast tacos! In addition to being a great place to meet people in your field, launch new products, stand next to Kanye at a concert, and totally sell out to pay off your film school loans, Austin is a heck of a food town. If you’re headed to the Heart of Texas, here’s the inside scoop on the best places to eat local food just a stone’s throw from the Austin Convention Center. Because while SXSW is about tech, music, and film, it’s really about knowing about the best stuff before everyone else does. Race you to the next venue!
- 24 Diner has a key element for a SXSW pick: it’s open 24 hours. Take a short walk from the convention center and nosh on house-made pork and veggie sausages, all-natural Texas chicken, and classic diner breakfasts made with cage-free eggs. Can’t do gluten? They have an entire menu for you! There’s coffee for early mornings and beer and cocktails for late nights, and happy hour runs from 7am to 7pm.
- Sticking with the diner theme, Counter Café serves new school diner food in an old school diner building. Try the biscuits and gravy or the super popular burger, and sit at the counter for a chance to chat with the chef.
- Texas is known for its Mexican food, and at La Condesa you can get Mexico City-inspired specialties made with Texas ingredients. In addition to fresh fish dishes, they also make four kinds of guacamole. Sodas are all cane sugar sweetened, and you can get sparkling water free of charge, which is perfect for washing down tacos and ceviche.
- If you’re coming from the frozen northland and are looking forward to temperatures in the 70s, grab an outdoor seat at Bess Bistro. The kitchen is in an old bank vault, and the menu is a mix of French and Southern inspirations. You can order both fried green tomatoes and a Croque Madame. Welcome to Austin.
- Want to get a bit classy? Someone else paying your travel expenses? Check out Trace at the W Hotel. For breakfast, have candied Texas pecans with your Golden Malted Waffles. At lunch, try the Crispy Texas Shrimp salad. Their version of happy hour is called SIP (“Social Interactive Playtime”) and runs 3:00-6:30pm daily, all day on Mondays. Sounds perfect for the freelancers who’ve spent the last four weeks working feverishly at their laptops to prepare for SXSW. Or, go for the massive Sunday Brunch buffet at Trio at the Four Seasons, where for $48 you get made-to-order omelets, charcuterie, sushi, and champagne. Or go at night and see if they’ll let you make s’mores outside. We hear that happens!
- If you aren’t operating off of an expense account, there are plenty of cheaper options. For fast food that isn’t “fast food”, find a location of P. Terry’s Burger Stand, where the meat is Happy Meat, the tomatoes are always local, and nothing costs more than $7.00.
If you’re willing to go a bit further afield, Austin has even more amazing local food to offer. Check out the options before you leave, and let us know if you eat something delicious and local!