Food & Drink

Austin's off-menu secrets, revealed

Published On 09/13/2013 Published On 09/13/2013
P. Terry's burger on the grill
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1. Torchy's Tacos 1311 S 1st St, Austin, TX 78704

The sign says “Torchy’s Damn Good Tacos,” President Obama stopped his motorcade for them, and Torchy’s has gone from a lone food truck in Austin to 30 locations across Texas and Colorado in a decade. Believe the hype, Torchy’s tacos really are damn good. Breakfast tacos are served all day (the Migas is objectively the best, just saying), and lunch tacos are outside the realm of your standard taco joint, with unexpected ingredients and flavor combinations, like the Trailer Park with fried chicken, green chiles, and poblano sauce (get it “trashy” with queso). Do as the locals do and wait in line, it’s worth it… don’t trust me, trust President Obama.

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2. Yellow Jacket Social Club 1704 E 5th St, Austin, TX 78702

This high school mascot-inspired bar has a late-night patio with plenty of ambiance, booze, and not-so-bar-like snacks. Locally soured ingredients make their handmade paninis and apps as tempting as that second drink.

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3. P. Terry's 404 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704

This little walk-up window and drive-thru shack on South Lamar has a classic 1950s vine and a diner-style menu to match. The choice is simple: a beef, chicken, or veggie burger with or without cheese (or an egg burger is you show up in time for breakfast), a side of french fries and a milkshake (they've got the regulars plus caramel and root beer flavors) -- a true American classic. You're better off ordering from your car 'cause there's no seating outside by the walk-up window.

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4. Frank 407 Colorado St, Austin, TX 78701

Although Frank is known for its creative hot dogs and sausage sandwiches made with nontraditional meats like antelope, venison, and kangaroo, it also boasts an extensive selection of fries, including chili cheese and Reuben waffle fries. Its cold beer menu includes gluten-free ales, rare craft beers, and ciders.

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5. Tacodeli 4200 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78756

This Austin taco hotspot prides itself on using local and organic ingredients and creating lasting relationships with its suppliers, which is all in the service of creating a healthier and closer-knit community (with tacos!) The family-run business makes freshness a priority, constantly changing and updating the menu with the best of what's available and making room for new inventions from the kitchen. Breakfast tacos, vegetarian and vegan tacos, and an entirely gluten-free menu mark Tacodeli's commitment to giving their customers what they want, and still making delicious food while they do it.