SXSW is upon us and if you have a badge you’re probably already working on the schedule of events you want to attend. Odds are that badge-holders will end up at a party with free food and drinks, but what if you’re planning on just rolling the dice without a badge?
Here’s a few spots you can get a cheap meal with no reservations during the breaks you will inevitably have in your quest to cash in on free stuff.
515 Congress Avenue | This Austin burger joint is the holy grail if you’re anywhere near Dirty 6th (Yes, that’s East 6th street between Congress and I-35 for all you non-Austinites). A cheeseburger combo with drinks and fries will run you just $7.20, which is cheaper than what you’re going to have to hand the door guy to let you into some of the tech parties. Real ones know that you should customize your burger with some grilled onions and jalapenos.
110 San Antonio St #120 | Torchy’s is known for its little devil mascot and is one of the original Austin taco shops. Their tacos are pretty filling and their green chile queso is some of the best in town. This location is in the second street district and has plenty of seating. They also have plenty of options for anyone who may have dietary restrictions. Tacos run about $5 -$6 each but two should do the trick. I opt in for the democrat and the baja shrimp ones when I stop by.
301 Congress Ave. | This is another great taco place in Austin. Taco Deli prides themselves on their breakfast tacos like their migas and their vaquero tacos. They’re so popular that you can fin them in Royal Blue Groceries and other spots in the morning. Their lunch and dinner tacos are just as delicious. I love the frontera fundido sirloin which has grilled sirloin, jack cheese glaze and sauteed poblano and onion rajas. Their pollo en mole and akushi picadillo tacos are also high on my list. They have lots of options for vegans and vegetarians as well.
303 Colorado St. #100 and 823 Congress Avenue | Anyone that has visited SXSW in the last 10 years will likely be familiar with Chilantro. They really blew up during the tech part of town catering countless parties from their food trucks, now they’ve expanded to Houston and have 10 restaurants in Austin. Their popular kimchi fries will run you about $10 and their Korean fried chicken wings are some of the best in town. I like getting the noodle bowl with the beef bulgogi, all the veggies, magic sauce and a fried egg on top.
110 East 2nd St | You can’t miss this restaurant if you’re walking around Congress avenue. It’s on the side of the JW Marriot Hotel and has a walk up bar for those that are in a big rush. You’ll want to get the 100% Wagyu beef cheeseburger, which at $13.50 for the combo including drinks and fries is a great deal. Treat yourself to one of their chocolate, vanilla or Oreo shakes that run $5.75 each.
414 E 6th St. | This one may be a little controversial, but I’m going to run with it. Yes, Roppolo’s is on Dirty 6th and I’ve been drinking for most of my visits, but this pizza by the slice haven will do you right. A slice will run you about $6 and they’re pretty decent for a place in the middle of al the action. WARNING: This is not gourmet or one of the best pizzas in Austin by any stretch of the imagination, but it will do the job and do it well. Be ready with what kind of slice you want as soon as you walk in because they stay busy. I like to go with some of the ones with most toppings to get the most out of my $6 and load it up with red pepper flakes, parmesan and garlic powder.
211 Walter Seaholm Sr LR 115 | If you find yourself near the Seaholm District you’ll want to hit up Malibu Poke. It’s right next to Trader Joe’s so just ask anyone to point you in that direction. Their build-your-own bowl will run you $16 but their ingredients are quality. They have some super fresh seafood and some awesome sauces you can try on different parts of your bowl. Not as cheap as burgers or tacos, but this place doesn’t have servers so you’ll save on a tip and you can grab and go or grab a picnic table outside.
If you have a restaurant that deserves to be on this list message me on Instagram at @thetaniaortega!