Chew on This: Your Guide to the Good-Eatin’ at SXSW

by: Chase Whale
March 10th, 2011

Erik Davis from Cinematical invited us to take part in a really fun editorial series: the [insert something really awesome here] Guide to SXSW. Six of your favorite movies sites banded together to give all of our readers the ultimate badass what-to-do/what-to-see/where-to-eat articles while attending SXSW.

When asked what our section would be about, we (GATW) all knew where our hearts lay: food. One thing's for sure for GATW, we are fatties at heart. So, Kate, BK, J.C., and I picked out some of the best restaurants and on-the-g0 places around the Austin Convention Center and theaters for that growling tummy of yours. Check out our picks after the break!

PIZZA-BY-THE-SLICE - Chase Whale

HOEK'S DEATH  METAL PIZZA - 511 E. 6th Steet
There's nothing better than saying, "I'm going to eat Death Metal pizza, I'll be right back." When I was assigned to cover pizza-by-the-slice, only one place immediately popped in my mind: Hoek's Death Metal Pizza. This just happened to be the first place I ate pizza in Austin two years ago when covering SXSW. Located at 511 E. 6th street, Death Metal Pizza offers the largest, most greasiest slices of pizza I have ever seen. When walking in to order, your ears will bleed to the loudest death metal ever, and THE MATRIX will most likely be playing on the background TVs. Death Metal Pizza opens at 5PM and closes at 3AM, so it's perfect for all the late night moviegoers or the after-party drunken fourth meal.

BBQ - Kate Erbland
Texas knows BBQ. And, for a bright-eyed girl from Los Angeles, the BBQ possibilities of Texas seem overwhelming – so overwhelming, in fact, that I won’t even presume to say that this list is in any way whatsoever a complete compendium of BBQ joints in Austin that you may want to hit during SXSW. Rather, this list will give you a quick and dirty rundown of the BBQ joints you will hear about most often, as you stumble around downtown. Good luck.

THE SALT LICK BBQ – 18300 FM 1826, Driftwood, TX 78619
When you ask an Austinite about their favorite BBQ joint, most of the time, you’re going to hear about The Salt Lick. Not in Austin proper, the original Salt Lick is located in Driftwood, a quick drive from the city. What’s good at Salt Lick? Everything. Fine - in particular? Brisket and cole slaw, lots of white bread on the side. Go hungry and get Family Style, which includes “a heaping helping” of just about anything you’d want (beef, sausage, pork ribs, potato salad, cole slaw, beans, bread, pickles, and onions). Can’t make it out to Driftwood? It’s okay – they ship meats and sauces, and they even have an outpost at the airport.

IRON WORKS – 100 Red River St., 78701
Iron Works pulls a lot of people in for SXSW because it’s essentially on the back side of the Convention Center, making it the closest and quickest BBQ joint fest-goers can get to when they are dying for some BBQ. A pay-by-the-pound joint, grab a tray, get it loaded, and go. Fans of Iron Works love the ribs and the potato salad. The hardest part? Waiting in line during high mealtimes – go on an off hour for best results.

FRANKLIN BARBEQUE  – 900 E. 11th Street
Just in time for SXSW, Franklin Barbeque is moving its little-food-stand-that-could to a new, brick and mortar location. Franklin will now be operating just over the 35 from downtown, mere blocks from Stubb’s. Devotees of Franklin love its friendly service and beef brisket in equal amounts and, boy, do these people love this brisket.

STUBB’S – 801 Red River St., 78701
A busy pick for SXSW, as Stubb’s also serves up piping hot music during the festival. Stubb’s is so busy that I’ve actually never even been there for food, but I’d be remiss to not mention it as a very popular option in downtown Austin. Stubb’s is more of a destination because of its popularity, not because the food is any great shakes, but people who love it sing the praises of its pulled pork sandwiches, BBQ sauce, and spinach side.

GREEN MESQUITE – 1400 Barton Springs Road, 78704
For a multitude of reasons, Green Mesquite was the first BBQ place I hit in Austin. Located on Barton Springs, GM may not be part of the downtown bustle, but it is on the way from the Convention Center to the Alamo Drafthouse on Lamar. Slide in for a bite between screenings, and you may actually find yourself surrounded by locals, not another pack of badge-wearers toting free Gowalla tee shirts. The menu is vast, with a bevy of sides, chili picks, sandwich choices, and even an all-you-can-eat option. I recommend the fried okra and the brisket.

ASIAN - Brian Kelley
Asian cuisine is my favorite on Earth, from the most extravagant Japanese meals to the most expensive sushi to take-out Chinese. When I say take-out Chinese I don't mean any of that "gourmet Chinese" food, I'm talking the stuff that comes in Styrofoam or cardboard. Unfortunately, downtown Austin doesn't offer anything like that, but there is a wide assortment of delicious and affordable Asian options nonetheless.

A few blocks Northeast from the Austin Convention center is KORIENTE, a laid-back, health-conscious Korean food cafe at 7th and Sabine. I recommend the Mixmix Bibimbap with tofu and a free-range egg. They have plenty of vegetarian, vegan, and meat-lovers options. On 5th St. between Colorado and Congress is CHINATOWN, a more upscale restaurant with a fantastic happy hour. I'd suggest trying the Moo Goo Gai Pein. For your Vietnamese and Thai fix try MEKONG RIVER on 6th St between San Jacinto and Brazos. They have excellent Pho, noodle bowls, and traditional Thai fare. Try the Skirts on Fire! THAI PASSION on 7th between Colorado and Congress is a downtown Austin Thai food staple. Their Passion Rolls are to die for!

Sushi options are plentiful. SILHOUETTE is the restaurant most SXSW attendees will find themselves close to, it's at 8th and Congress, across the street from the Paramount and State theaters. Their sunomono dishes are just as delicious as their rolls and there is karaoke upstairs! PIRANHA KILLER SUSHI, on San Jacinto between 3rd and 2nd, has one of my favorite rolls downtown, the Birthday Roll! For on the go sushi, try one of Austin's famous food trailers. On Congress between 2nd and 3rd, there is a trailer park and nestled within is THE SUSHI BOX. They have prepared sushi and make rolls on demand. Yes, it's safe, I eat lunch there all the time! Finally, my new favorite downtown Asian cuisine stop is BARCHI on Colorado between 3rd and 2nd. Incredible rolls, great signature drinks and a classy vibe make this a great place to hang out just on the outskirts of the main SXSW activity. You'll find your best deals at lunch at BarChi.

CHILANTRO BBQ - J.C. De Leon

Chilantro BBQ - food trailer all around A
SXSW is a plethora of amazing food, and all at amazing prices. This week at SXSW from 6PM to midnight, there won’t be a cheaper, more amazing place to eat than a Chilantro BBQ food trailer. Run by the incredibly personable and friendly Jae Kim, Chilantro has taken the Austin food trailer market by storm having been featured nationally on outlets such as GQ.com and The Food Network. This week, Chilantro has partnered with Intuit, the makers of such programs like Quicken and Quickbooks to offer $.25 tacos. You can bet that I will be physically (and fiscally) surviving on these all week, and if you’d like a recommendation you can’t go wrong with the spicy pork tacos, my absolute favorite thing to eat in the city, just ask Jae (owner) how often I’m at their trailer. The trailer will be at various places throughout downtown - follow their schedule on chilantrobbq.com

Here's the rest of the SXSW guide-to series:

Cinematical's Ultimate SXSW Guide: Everything You Need to Know About the Venues

JoBlo's After Midnight: Your Guide to The Best Late Night Screenings at SXSW

UGO's Must-See Panels at SXSW 2011

Film School Rejects' A Quick and Dirty Guide to Choosing a Movie at SXSW 2011

AICN's Geektastic Austin Spots for All SXSW Attendees

Badass Digest's [coming soon...maybe]

Hit Fix's [coming soon...maybe]

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