The CHOW Guide to Eating and Drinking in Austin, SXSW edition


$ = Under $10, $$ = $10-$25, $$$ = Over $25

Baby Greens
2316 S. First St., 512-462-1697
Mon.–Thurs., 11 a.m.–9 p.m.; Fri.–Sat., 11 a.m.–6 p.m.

Healthy fast food isn’t an oxymoron at this burger-drive-through-turned-salad-drive- through. Choose from a handful of standard options (like the Southwest, featuring black beans and chicken; grilled veggie; or Greek), say whether you want it as a salad or “salad wrap,” and choose from ten homemade dressings. Homemade soups are also on the menu. (South Austin)

El Regio Pollo al Carbon
730 W. Stassney Lane, 512-442-3095; Mon.–Thurs., 10 a.m.–10 p.m.; Fri.–Sat., 10 a.m.–11 p.m.

La Michoacana Mercado
512 W. Stassney Lane, 512-916-9938; Mon.–Fri., 8 a.m.–9 p.m.; Sat.–Sun., 7 a.m.–9 p.m.

A mesquite-grilled-chicken shack in an old drive-through burger kiosk, and a Mexican supermarket across the street from it, El Regio and La Michoacana are ideally enjoyed simultaneously. Here’s how: First go get beer. We recommend the Whip In (1950 S. I-35, 512-442-5337)—it’s got the best beer selection in town. Then send one person to La Mich to get their amazing carnitas (pork fried in lard), gorditas (deep-fried tortillas with beans, meat, and cheese), or pork in green sauce. Send the other to El Regio for a whole or half chicken that’s been soaked in a citrus-chile-achiote marinade and roasted over a mesquite fire. (Chickens come with a whole grilled sweet onion and frijoles a la charra—soupy pinto beans with bacon, onion, chiles, cilantro, and epazote.) Set up camp at the picnic tables on the patio of El Regio. (South Austin, highway drive)

Home Slice Pizza
1415 S. Congress, 512-444-PIES (444-7737)
Mon., Wed., Thurs., 11:30 a.m.–11 p.m.; Fri.–Sat., 11:30 a.m.–midnight; Sun., noon–10 p.m.; slices served 11:30 a.m.–6:30 p.m. and 9:30–11 p.m. (until 3 a.m. Fri.–Sat.)

New York–style thin-crust pizza, subs, and calzones with high-quality ingredients bring lots of locals every night. Try the sausage pizza (mostly ricotta cheese with a little bit of mozzarella, lots of roasted red bell pepper strips, and good Italian sausage with plenty of fennel) or the clam pizza with béchamel sauce. Not the best pizza you’ve ever had, but better than in most cities that aren’t New York. Dine in, or grab a slice and window-shop South Congress’s boutiques, antiques, and garden shops. (South Austin)

Taco Xpress
2529 S. Lamar Blvd., 512-444-0261
Mon., 7 a.m.–3 p.m.; Tues.–Fri., 7 a.m.–9 p.m.; Sat., 8 a.m.–9 p.m.

Popular cook/proprietor Maria Corbalan started out serving her crowd-pleasing tacos in a trailer. Now she’s got a full-fledged casual restaurant and sometime music venue with a larger-than-life-sized statue of herself with outstretched arms on top. You can’t beat the 10 (cheap) options for breakfast tacos (see Local Lingo); vegans will be happy about the multivegetable options. (South Austin)

Torchy’s Tacos
1207 S. First St., 512-366-0537
Daily, 7 a.m.–11 p.m.

This taco trailer set up on an empty lot in South Austin is the property of cook Michael Rypka, a multiyear winner of the Austin Chronicle’s annual hot-sauce competition before he went pro. It offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner taco options, including standout pork and green chile tacos, and a fried avocado taco that’s a vegan favorite. Eat at the picnic table under an oak tree, or if you’re in the downtown or South of Congress Street area, call and get it delivered via Torchy’s fleet of Vespa motor scooters. (South Austin)

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