If you’re heading to SXSW this weekend and you want to know what’s what, here’s a rundown of the best spots in town.
3/VIA 313 AT CRAFT PRIDE
8/EAST SIDE KING AT WHISLER’S
9/VERACRUZ ALL NATURAL
11/MUELLER MEAT CO.
Because Austin’s first ramen joint has just opened a second location on S. Lamar, which is a big win. Tatsu Aikawa and Takuya Matsumoto are self-described chef-DJs, so now you know what’s happening here. Ol’ Skool ramen with soft boiled egg and extra garlic all day long—lunch and dinner to be precise, but only until 10 PM. // Zilker. Walk-in only.
Because here’s the one that the fooderati are tripping over themselves for. The narrative is, Bryce Gilmore buys trailer, adds kitchen, calls it Odd Duck, sets up shop, lines form, food sells out; Bryce Gilmore opens Barley Swine, in 2010, and the people swoon; Bryce Gilmore opens Odd Duck the actual restaurant, in 2014, and the people swoon more. Riot-causing tip: They’re now service a burger. Downtown views here, too. // Zilker, 512-433-6521
3/Via 313 at Craft Pride
Because do you want to be in the mix, like really in the mix? How about Detroit style pizza from a truck at a bar that only serves Texas craft beers. Howdy, partner. // Zilker, 512-609-9405
Because you want a real proper grown-up restaurant from time to time—farro and beet salad, yellow edge grouper, leek spaetzle. Plus an investment in an elegant design, driven by dark, earthy tones. But, really the wine program is the show here. Protip: Great bar menu here, too. // East Austin, 512-391-1888
Because this is the Uchi team’s new pizzeria and bakery. It’s too far away, but here it is anyway. There is a tri-tip steak sandwich and the St. Philip pizza (fresh ricotta, garlic, bacon jam and arugula) is a mother effen grand slam. // Sunset Valley, 512-358-7445
Because this is a proper Southern restaurant in a proper Southern house, with just the slightest quotient of Austin swagger mixed in. Produce is from growers no farther than 200 miles away. But, also, get the biscuits. // Downtown Austin, 512-474-2796.
Because the point of this one is really nice pizza and really nice wine. And, that, at some point this week, will be the exact right move. Waits can be punishing. // East Austin, 512-524-2523
8/East Side at Whisler’s
Because if you want to understand the idea of truck culture in these parts, might as well start with the one run by Paul Qui and his merry band of hipster chefs. East Side King has four locations, including this one, the new hotness. Whisler’s also has Mezcaleria Tobala upstairs, so you win three times. // East Austin, 512-480-0781
9/Veracruz All Natural
Because breakfast tacos. Tacos especiales. Tacos al pastor. Aguas frescas. When in Austin.// East Austin, 512-981-1760.
Because not everyday is for reinventing the wheel. Franklin is a put-Austin-on-the-map type place, complete, even, with tons of people who say it’s overrated. That’s ok, though. Great barbecue is meant to be devoured, not overthought. NB Open for lunch only until it sells out. If you’re not in line by 8 AM, you aren’t getting yours. // East Austin, 512-653-1187
11/Mueller Meat Co.
Because maybe you want to get some proper Texas barbecue, but you don’t want have to get in line at 8 AM. Their website says, “We will be open on Memorial Day!” You know what that means? It means screw the website, they’re running a smokehouse. // East Austin, 512-524-0559
Because heavily seasonal, a father-son backstory, beets, fermented potato bread, Japanese pumpkin, brassicas. Opened mid 2014, so it’s now settled into itself, too. // East Austin, 512-354-1480
Because here we have a bonafide Austin classic, known especially for the tiny digs and major league burger. NB There’s a new location on the East Side, a little bit bigger, a little bit shinier. There’s another nostalgia play and it’s 24 Diner and it’s good, but sometimes history wins. // Downtown, 512-708-8800.
Because a month-old transformed launderette run by the former chefs of La Condesa and Sway. Yahtzee. East Austin, 512-382-1599