Austin Guide for Quiltcon, Part II: Food Near the Convention Center

Quiltcon-goers may not have the time to pursue an Essential Austin Experience, but you’ll certainly be wandering about near the Convention Center looking to eat at some point. Here are your choices that will get you back to your workshop on time.

Cafe Crepe - Crepes. GOOOOOD.

easy tiger

Easy Tiger, by Jon Tintin Jordan on Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons 2.0 }

Easy Tiger - Bakery/deli by morning/lunch, beer garden by night and a great gathering spot. Highly acclaimed, though I’ve never been there. Tell you what, I’ll go tomorrow, for research.

Fogo de Chao - Brazilian meat-fest! Wonderful for a splurge. I love it and I’m a vegetarian. Men in ascots bring a beautiful array of carbohydrates to the table — fried polenta, popover-y cheese rolls, mashed potatoes, and plantains. There is also an extensive, high-quality salad bar. I can’t speak to the meat but it is plentiful, tempting, and cut right onto your plate.

Food Carts - Whatever you want to eat, it comes in food cart form somewhere in Austin. Search the site and/or download the app. As you can see from the map they are mostly concentrated downtown. Duck under I-35 for a bunch on E. Sixth Street, or wander up Red River, along 7th Street, or on Congress to see what you can find. Note that most are only open for dinner/party time (Congress Ave. would be your best bet for finding an open cart serving lunch).


Frank Artisan Sausages

{ Frank by Paul Lowry on Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons 2.0 }

Frank - a bit more of a walk (a couple blocks west of Congress). Hipster hot dogs, veggie dogs, things wrapped in bacon, frito pies, exotic sausages, booze, and a good place for coffee too.

Royal Blue Grocery - The Congress Avenue location is closest to the CC. It’s a fancy convenience store/grocery with lots of to-go choices, including East Side Pies pizza by the slice. If you’re there on Wednesday, at lunch they have a woman making Thai food.

Bakerman’s Bakery - A great little place for quiche, sandwiches, soup, and salad, treats, and breakfast. Not much room for sitting, though.

Franklin Barbecue - World-famous superhyped barbecue, not too far from the CC area. They are only open for lunch (starting at 11am) and close when they sell out. Line up early.

Iron Works BBQ - Right next to the convention center, has been there forever, though I don’t know any more detail than that. Get you some meat!

Mai Thai - Good, fresh Thai food.

Manuel’s - Congress Ave., very good interior Mexican food. Happy hour 4-7 has half-price appetizers, which can serve as dinner.

Max’s Wine Dive - Wine and upscale comfort food.


Moonshine bar & grill

{ Moonshine Bar & Grill by Adactio on Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons 2.0 }

Moonshine Patio & Grill - I have tried to go there for brunch twice but there has always been a huge long wait. I hear it’s great, though.

PF Chang’s - You know. Oh, maybe you’re from Australia though, somewhere that doesn’t have one, and don’t know! It’s a Chinese food chain, crowd-pleaser. Heck, I’ll eat there with you!

Rainey Street – this is a street that used to be a bunch of decaying rentals, houses that were some of Austin’s most legendary college/post-college dwellings/party houses back in the day. Now it’s mostly been converted into bars and restaurants and is a really nice place to go at night for dining and/or barhopping. There are a few well-reviewed food trucks and I’ve heard good things about the interior Mexican restaurant El Naranjo, though I haven’t eaten there yet myself. Lustre Pearl is my pick for a group happy hour / gathering spot .

Locals, please add your picks for convention-center restaurants and happy hour/party spots in the comments! Next in the series: Food Further Out.


  1. Emmie says:

    This is so helpful. Thank you!!

  2. susan b. says:

    Yay! I can’t wait… thanks so much, Kim!

  3. Beth says:

    Swift’s Attic! Second Bar and Kitchen! Peche, Landrys, La Condesa. All in the Congress area. Salty Sow has an excellent happy hour. As does Contigo (both on the east side). And for the love of hamburgers, go to Hopdoddy’s on South Congress! El Alma on Barton Springs has some great interior Mexican good and an amazing avocado margarita (and a good happy hour as well). There is way too much good food in Austin.

  4. Lisa says:

    I am looking forward to my visit even more now! Thanks so much. Will there be a “where to find some good music” post?

  5. gina pina says:

    I really love East Side King trailer behind the Liberty bar on East 6th near Chalmers. Amazing brussels sprouts, fried beets & pork belly steam bun MMMM! Just go in through the bar and out to the back patio.
    AVOID at all cost the pizza slices you see in windows on 6th street! This is bad pizza for drunk people that flood 6th st at night. Sorry to sound negative, but trust me. You don’t want nothin’ to do with this pizza.

  6. Casey says:

    Bookmarking this! Thanks so much, Kim, for all the inside info–it’s always nice to have a local guide to a new city :)