Monday, November 20, 2017

How to Eat Like a Texan, Part 2: Restaurants near our hotel

Last week our friend Sheryl gave you the scoop on distinctive Austin restaurants for foodies and those who want to eat like locals do, some within walking distance of our official hotel and others just a ride-share or cab ride away. Today, we're sharing restaurants right around the hotel, within a walk of a few blocks in any direction.

What meals do I need to cover?

You'll be on your own for dinner only one night, Friday, May 4th. Otherwise we have you pretty well covered with appetizers at the welcome reception on May 3rd (you may wish to grab a light bite afterward if you still have an empty spot), our banquet dinner on May 5th, and a BBQ Bash on May 6th. We will also feed you lunch on our tour days, May 4-6. So in total, you'll be on your own for breakfasts, dinner on May 4, and maybe a quick dinner on May 3 after the welcome reception. 

I don't want to eat alone!

Some bloggers arrange a dinner with friends before they get to the Fling, making a reservation in advance for their party so that they don't have to worry about figuring that out when they get here. That's a great way to catch up with old friends -- if you know anyone, of course. But if you're a newbie or relatively new to the Fling, don't worry. You need not eat alone, and you have lots of friends here -- you just haven't met them yet! We're planning to organize a Friday dinner reservation for anyone who's new and would like to meet other newbies, so stay tuned as we get closer to the event for more info about that. 

Where to get good grub

Here are our suggestions for restaurants near the hotel. There are plenty of others, but this will get you started. And by the way, it doesn't seem to matter how many restaurants Austin has: we love eating out, and there are often long waits. So put the Open Table app on your phone and make a reservation in mid- or late April. Or just wing it -- lots of Austinites do -- and be cool with relaxing on the patio with a drink while you wait for a table. We're all about our patios here! 


1886 Cafe & Bakery
604 Brazos Street
.3 mile / 7-min. walk
Classic American breakfast, with table service, in the iconic Driskill Hotel; also has a counter bakery
Opens 6:30 AM

Easy Tiger Bake Shop & Beer Garden
709 E. 6th Street
.4 mile / 8-min. walk
Coffee, tea, and bakery breads/pastries in the AM; ultimate Austin-casual hangout with good bar food and sandwiches in the PM
Opens 7 AM

301 Congress Avenue #105, in center of the building
.2 mile / 5-min. walk
Breakfast bowls, bagels, breakfast tacos
M-F: opens 7 am

Houndstooth Coffee
401 Congress Avenue
.2 mile / 5-min. walk
Coffee, tea, pastries
M-F: opens 6:30 AM
Sat/Sun: opens 8 AM

300 E 4th Street - located in our hotel, Courtyard Marriott
Bakery, breakfast sandwiches, granola
Opens 6 AM

Taco Shack
402 Brazos Street
.2 mile / 3-min. walk
Counter-service breakfast tacos
M-F: opens 6:30 AM
Sat: opens 7 AM
Sun: opens 8 AM


1886 Cafe & Bakery
604 Brazos Street
.3 mile / 7-min. walk
Classic American fare in the iconic Driskill Hotel

The Backspace
507 San Jacinto Boulevard
.2 mile / 3-min. walk
Neapolitan pizza, antipasti, and Italian wine in an intimate space. Reservations recommended.

Chez Nous
510 Neches Street
.2 mile / 5-min. walk
Neighborhood French bistro and beloved Austin classic

The Driskill Grill
604 Brazos Street
.3 mile / 7-min. walk
New American fare with a seasonal Texas twist in the cattle baron-era Driskill Hotel

El Naranjo
85 Rainey Street
.9 mile / 17-min. walk
Interior Mexican food, Oaxacan-style (not Tex-Mex)

Emmer & Rye
51 Rainey Street
.8 mile / 15-min. walk
Farm-to-table in the lively Rainey Street district

605 Davis Street
.5 mile / 10-min. walk
Modern Southern-inspired fare; located on 4th floor in Hotel Van Zandt

Holy Roller 
509 Rio Grande Street
.7 mile / 14-min. walk
Diner fare with a punk-rock twist

123 West 6th Street
.5 mile / 10-min. walk
Italian farm-to-table

Le Politique
110 San Antonio Street
.7 mile / 14-min. walk
French brasserie

310 Congress Avenue
.2 mile / 5-min. walk
Regional Mexican dishes at this longtime Austin favorite

Moonshine Grill
303 Red River Street 
.2 mile / 5-min. walk
Upscale Southern comfort food

301 East 6th Street
.2 mile / 4-min. walk
Gastropub with seasonal fare and raw bar

Roaring Fork
701 Congress Avenue

.4 mile / 8-min. walk
American Western bistro

Second Bar + Kitchen
200 Congress Avenue

.3 mile / 6-min. walk
Small plates for sharing plus salads, pizza, and other entrees

Stubb's BBQ
801 Red River Street
.5 mile / 10-min. walk
Austin classic BBQ joint, with a live-music venue out back

Swift's Attic
315 Congress Avenue
.2 mile / 5-min. walk
Eclectic small plates in a stylish space

A note about safety in downtown Austin

Downtown Austin is generally a safe place to walk around, especially during the day and at the dinner hour. But later at night, particularly on weekends, it can get rowdier thanks to bar-hopping crowds along 6th Street. Also, like many large cities, Austin has a large homeless population downtown, and panhandling is common. Don't let any of that scare you; just be alert at night and walk with a friend. Also, we don't recommend crossing under I-35 on foot (the big elevated highway located 4 blocks east of our hotel); instead, take a cab, pedicab, or ride-share if you want to explore up-and-coming hot spots in East Austin. If you're driving and parking in a public spot, don't leave anything valuable -- or tempting, like a shopping bag -- visible; hide it beforehand in the trunk, and always lock your car. Stay in well-lit areas with plenty of activity, and you'll have a great time exploring our lively city!

Also, with regard to Austin's famous 6th Street, which is lined with bars and live-music venues, it's both loved and hated by locals. Of course you must see it while you're here, so go -- after 10 pm for best people-watching and live shows -- and check out this Guide to Dirty Sixth Street by for their take on what to see and do.