For those of you who have been faithful readers of the blog, you may remember the first installment of my “Best Places to Eat” series. This is part 2.
In a city like Austin, where there is so much good food readily available, it can become overwhelming to decide where to consume your next meal. As a seasoned eater in Austin, I have experienced this firsthand. As a student or faculty/staff member of the University of Texas, you live near one of the biggest food hotspots in the entire U.S.
In the last article, I covered Pinch Urban Food Truck, MoZZo, Cava, Potbelly, and Coco’s Cafe. This time I will provide five more great food options for you hungry Longhorns. (Again, in no particular order.) This will close out my 10 best places to Eat series.
You may be familiar with Roppolo’s because of your late nights and early mornings on 6th street…Roppolo’s has been serving their famous Sicilian-style pizza on 6th street for over 25 years. There is a great family history behind this pizza joint, but anyway — they have JUST recently opened up their second location after many years and awards later…on the drag! it is located right next to Kerbey Lane Cafe (which, we will get to). Wonderfully, you can buy pizza by the slice, which is very convenient and budget-friendly (starting at $3.75) or you can get a whole pie (starting at $14.95)! They also have yummy calzones for as little as $7.95.
Their dough is freshly made and they have raving reviews on Yelp! It’s a very casual atmosphere which is great for a late-night date or dining out with friends.
While Asian cuisine has been booming in West Campus recently with a new Pho place around every corner, Raku Sushi is a top contender. It has gained popularity in the past few years as many fraternities have held rush events here, particularly for their Sake bombs. If you’re not familiar with what a Sake bomb is, watch this short video.
Raku is in the retail complex located at 23rd/Rio Grande right next to Pluckers. They’re open for lunch and dinner from 11:30am-10pm throughout the week for you to enjoy their specialty rolls, yakisoba dishes, and fried rice.
Unless you live under a rock, I know you have heard of Torchy’s Tacos. And I mean that literally. You can hear the crowd of people gathering outside the small restaurant on 28th and Guadalupe from around 11 am to 3 pm any day of the week, any week of the year.
Tex-Mex is king in Austin, and no place is more locally famous than Torchy’s Tacos—Austin’s very own, homegrown trailer park tacos. Whether you’re in the mood for tasty breakfast tacos (around the clock), or a delicious Green Chile Pork taco (my favorite), Torchy’s will have what you are looking for.
Don’t forget to get your tacos “trashy” if you want them coated with delicious Queso. And don’t forget to wash them down with a Mexican coke or a Dublin Dr. Pepper!
(Side note: the Queso at Torchy’s is the best in the city. Get it and you won’t regret it.)
Fricano’s has been in the little business complex on Nueces and 24th since 2011, which we know — if they can afford that rent after all these years, they must be doing something special. Their quaint shop is very cozy with all sorts of eclectic wall art and music albums. They serve sandwiches, soups, salads and other little sides such as pasta salad. They have lunch combos that’ll save you a buck or two, perfect for the average student, not to mention their massive sandwich portions.
Fricano’s has a daily special every day of the week for only $7.95, so no one will make fun of you for going there everyday. They have limited hours though, so make sure to organize your day so that you can pop-in between 11am-5pm.
10. Kerbey Lane Cafe
Almost all of the food I have listed up until now been fairly easy to categorize: sandwiches, tacos, burgers, Mediterranean food, etc. Breaking away from this tradition, my last inclusion to the “10 best places to eat lunch at UT” series is a little more ambiguous.
At first glance, Kerbey Lane looks like a typical breakfast diner. (Somewhat akin to an IHOP or a Waffle House.) But that could not be further from the truth. Unlike those other, inferior, eating establishments, Kerbey Lane specializes in different kinds of food around the clock.
If you want delicious breakfast, you’ve got it; the pancakes from Kerbey Lane are fantastic. And the breakfast tacos and omelets aren’t half-bad either.
If you want lunch, no worries! Kerbey offers a range of burgers, paninis, tacos, soups, salads—you name it!
But what Kerbey Lane is perhaps most well-known for is their famous Kerbey Queso. (Second in my heart only to Torchy’s.) Indeed, it is the promise of the delicious Queso with guacamole and pico de gallo that brings in drunk college students in hordes to the doors of Kerbey Lane at 2 in the morning.
If you show up during the day, I guarantee you will avoid the drunken mobs. And you can enjoy the delicious food all the same. (Believe it or not, you are allowed to eat here sober. And I recommend you try it sometime.)
Did I mention that they offer $2 mimosas? They do that too.