Fueling ACL

It’s almost Friday of ACL ‘Dos’ (also known as Weekend Two). You are fresh-faced (unless you are like me and exhausted from five late nite shows, one taping, two concerts and three glorious days of dancing in a field) and giddy for the music. As you make your ACL plans, food is a priority.


If you need more convincing than that, well…I am guessing you are barely past the age of 21. But, I will explain in more depth. ACL is a marathon, and contrary to popular belief, food – not beer, is your fuel. You know the festers who are falling down, stumbling, bumping, screaming, crying and engaging in other related behaviors that ruin good festival vibes? They missed breakfast because they were hungover. Maybe they ate a banana for lunch because the hangover is making them both nauseous and late (Run the Jewels is on at 2 p.m., bro). Once inside the gates – probably after the KIND bar from yesterday was confiscated – they beeline for the bar.


Shortly, they are too drunk to eat dinner (or have taken some appetite-inhibiting substances). Then comes some combination of gibberish, napping, stumbling, incessant bathroom use, inevitable memory loss – you get the idea. You want this to be you? No? Then allow me to share where you should fuel your best dance moves on your walk to (and from) the fest. Keep in mind that waits will be long almost anywhere that serves food, but these should be a safer bet than the sit-downs along Barton Springs.

North of River


Counter Cafe

(Breakfast, Lunch)

counter-benedictCounter Cafe is an iconic diner serving throngs of devoted Austinites local, organic fare with global love. The beloved breakfast spot has been slinging hearty breakfast and one of Austins best burgers from behind the friendly counter since 2006. Located near Sixth and Lamar, the hearty plates will give you healthy, delicious fuel.

Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

626 N. Lamar Blvd., 7870 | (512) 708 – 8800

FresasFresas Chicken Al Carbon 

(Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Fresa’s serves up tasty breakfast tacos (even if they are a little overpriced) daily from 8 a.m. until noon. Lunch and dinner are served from 11 a.m. thru 10 p.m. (lunch service on Saturday and Sunday starts at noon). Grab a few tacos, a Topo and a refreshing hibiscus aqua fresca to fight off the hangover and fuel you for the day.


Hours: Daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

915 North Lamar, 78703

(512) 428–5077


Whole Foods Market  

(Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Whole FoodsYou can get everything you need at the Flagship including a few things to smuggle. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, maybe a beer for the road. Bonus, they have a coffee bar and you can get travel sized necessities like sunscreen and sanitizer.


525 N Lamar Blvd., 78703

(512) 476-1206

Hours: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Lucky's Puccias Hot Pistrami

Lucky’s Puccias Hot Pistrami

Luckys Puccias

(Lunch, Dinner)

In just a short walk across the bridge, Lucky’s Puccias is the perfect spot to grab a salad and split a pizza or sandwich made form their housemade dough. It’s quick, tasty, affordable.

Hours: Friday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sat/Sun 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

817 W 5th St., 78703

(512) 739-8785


Walton’s Fancy & Staple 

Walton's (Breakfast, Lunch)

Breakfast at Walton’s range from standard oatmeal to the open faced ham and egg sandwich. BONUS – you can get a bag of Aunt Liddys White Trash to try and smuggle in for treats later and even grab a coffee to go for the walk to the park.

Hours: Mon thru Sat 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

609 West 6th St., 78701

(512) 542 – 3380

Sweetish hillSweetish Hill Bakery 

(Breakfast, Lunch) Grab some coffee and pastry or a sandwich at Sweetish Hill. Perfect spot to grab and go or rest your legs for a bit before trekking onward to the fest. Lunch is served between 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. daily. Breakfast begins at 7:30 a.m. and runs through noon on both Saturday and Sunday.

Hours: Friday & Saturday 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday 6:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

1120 West Sixth St., 78703

(512) 472-1347



Photo by Hayden Walker

Clarks Oyster Bar 

(Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

With hearty lunch and brunch items, excellent drinks and a great atmosphere, Clark’s is a great stop on your way to the fest. It is hard to go to wrong on the menu with a winning combo for two could look something like six oysters, Red Snapper Ceviche, Clark’s Burger (as mentioned it is the best in town) and an order of Brussel sprouts or kale…unless you want the shells and cheese with lump crab.

Hours: Fri 11a.m. – 11 p.m.; Sat 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sun 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.; Brunch Sat and Sun 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

1200 W 6th St., 78703

(512) 297-2525



photo: The Hungry Girl Chronicles

Josephine House

(Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

The elegance of Josephine House in Clarksville is a sharp contrast to the crowds of the festival. They open for breakfast at 8 a.m. (served until 10:30 am), offering dishes like huevos rancheros, an egg sandwich and lighter fare like avocado toast and lemon ricotta pancakes. Indulge in the charm, resting up for the party ahead. Lunch service starts at 11 a.m. Brunch is offered Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and includes items like short rib hash, steak & egg and the infamous breakfast burger.

Hours: 8 a.m to 10 p.m.

1601 Waterston Ave., 78703

(512) 477-5584



South of River


Photo: Austin Chronicle

Photo: Austin Chronicle

El Alma 

(Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Brunch) El Alma has legit steak tacos. The duck emmoladas are also good. It also wont be as crowed as Chuys (though it will still be packed). Pro tip: call ahead for to go orders.

Hours: Fri 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sat 10 a.m. to 11p.m., Sun 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., brunch served 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends

1025 Barton Springs Rd., 78704

(512) 609 – 8923




South Austin Social Food Truck Park

(Breakfast, Lunch, Late Night Dinner)

A short walk from Zilkers Barton Springs entrance, the trucks at Social will be slinging breakfast, lunch and late night eats. Boca Spanish Fare will serve breakfast tacos starting at 8 a.m., and keep at it for lunch, dinner and late night bites. Beirut (named by Huffington Post as one of the 10 food trucks you must visit in Austin, serves Lebanese/Mediterranean food from 11 a.m. to midnight). Gibroni’s serves Italian-Mexican fusion bites like pasta and sandwiches until midnight. Gemma Love jams Jamaican breakfast, lunch and dinner plates like oxtail, jerk chicken and goat curry.  Unity Vegan Kitchen (opening at 11 a.m.). The park will be open until at least midnight.

409 Jessie St., 78704

The Picni (DO512)The Picnic

(Breakfast, Lunch, Late Night Dinner) The Picnic food truck park will be keeping similar hours and houses new truck, Brunch Haus, who serves delicious – you guessed it – brunch staples. Kebabalicious, a personal and crowd fave, (you want the spoiled brat and a falafel shot – and yes, you want it spicy) opens at 11 a.m. Daily Juice doles out actual nutrients – good for increasingly energy levels. Also housed at the Picnic are Turf ’n Surf and the award-winning sandwich truck, Hey…You Gonna Eat or What?. Parking is also an option ($30 per spot, first come-first parked, mind the road closures).

1720 Barton Springs Rd., 78704

Luke’s Inside Out

Lukes (gibson st bar)

photo by Gibson St. Bar

(Lunch, Dinner, Late Night, Brunch) Luke Bibby serves one of Austins best hamburger (tied for first place with Clarks) to Gibson Bars patrons from his little trailer that could. You want the burger, the Cow or the Rabbit with a side of at least one of Bibbys daily specials.

Hours: Fri 5 p.m. to midnight; Sat 1 p.m. to midnight, Sun brunch 11:30 am – 11 pm

109 S Lamar Blvd., 78704

(512) 589-8883