Have you been out for a late night … you know … when you tell yourself, “one more drink” and the next thing you know, you hear them calling last call? Or maybe you catch a show at Bass or the Paramount and after the third curtain you come out to realize it’s been four hours. Or, my favorite, when your musician friend tells you to come check out his band and you find out they don’t go on for another two hours.
Chances are at some point you will want to get something to eat. But what if you’re not in the mood for IHOP and ***gasp*** don’t want to wait in the drive-thru line for Whataburger? Luckily, Austin has enough late night dining options so you can avoid the Rooty Tooty Fresh ‘N Fruity or decide between the fries and onion rings with your burger (but if you have to, always go with the rings).
We’ve collect a few of our favorite options below:
600 N. Lamar Blvd. / 512-472-5400 Open 24 hours daily, except Wednesdays when it’s closed from 1 – 6 AM
Located next door to Waterloo Records at the corner of 6th Street and Lamar, this mid-century mod design hotspot is on homage to the classic diners of the ’50s with a uniquely Austin flavor. Serving chef-inspired farm-to-table, comfort food with seasonal organic produce. Breakfast served all day. Gluten-free menu available.
2400 E Oltorf St #1A / 512-448-4722 Open until 2 AM every day, except Sunday when it closes at 11:30 PM.
Located in the Willow Creek shopping center, off Oltorf, 888 Pan Asian has, as its name implies, a bit of many things Asian — Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese. It’s located in a strip mall, so don’t expect a high-class dining experience. There’s an extensive menu, it’s relatively cheap, and it’s your best, if not only, option if you’re craving a bowl of phở after 10 PM. Vegetarian options available.
107 W 5th St / 512-637-8888 Open until 2 AM Fridays and Saturdays.
Chinatown’s downtown location is a staple of late night dining in Austin … especially being just a block from 4th Street. Food and service can be hit or miss, depending on your experience and expectations, but as long as you can tolerate karaoke with your meal, Chinatown can help you with your late night Chinese fix.
Located in the heart of the Warehouse District, Frank has an offering of hot dogs and artisan sausages that will satisfy just about any carnivorous craving … and enough of a gluten-free and vegan offering that you can bring that non-meat eater along. Be sure to try the new specials each week. Gluten-free and vegan menu available.
Recommended: The Notorious P.I.G., chili cheese waffle fries, Frank Frito pie, Lil Smokie corn dog bites, chocolate covered bacon
While the original location on the eponymous street, along with the location in Westlake, are not open 24 hours, there are four other Kerbey Lane locations in Austin to choose from if you want to get your fix for Kerbey queso. For those not familiar with Kerbey Lane, think old-school diner with an Austin flavor. Get your breakfast basics with the Kerbey Lane Combo — two eggs, two half size pancakes, fruit, bacon & all-natural sausage. Got a craving for comfort foods? Try the bacon-wrapped meatloaf or the Chicken fried steak. Breakfast served all day. Gluten-free and vegan menu available.
Magnolia Cafe is an Austin institution. It started out as Omelettry West at its Lake Austin Blvd location back in 1979 and was rebranded Magnolia Cafe in 1987. In 1988, it expanded to its location on South Congress Avenue. Both locations get really busy, especially after last call on the weekends as the bar crowd begins the mass exodus from downtown. Just put your name on the list and wait. Serving sizes are larger than most and the pancakes are HUGE, so order accordingly. Breakfast served all day. Gluten-free and vegan menu available.
Recommended: Mag mud, Eggscape, Eggs Zapatino (Eggs Benedict, but covered in queso!), T. Rex or Popeye omlette, Magna Cristo sandwich
This unassuming spot off South First Street features a panaderia that serves up breakfast tacos — all day, all night long. Grab a few to go or order from the menu and take a seat if you’re looking for a heartier meal — huevos rancheros or migas. After your meal, grab a few pastries from the case for the next morning … or maybe just later that night.
Recommended: breakfast tacos, tres leches cake, empanadas
If you’re craving pizza after a night out, head down to SOCO, aka South Congress, for Home Slice’s take-out place, More Home Slice. Located in the building next door to their dine-in location (next to Stag), you can grab a slice of pizza until 3 AM on the weekends. There is a limited selection … usually cheese, pepperoni, Margherita and two specialty pizzas … but these are their best sellers and after one bite, you’ll understand why.
While the infamous list of things you shouldn’t do is gone, Star Seeds Cafe, albeit a few changes in management and a remodel later, is still around as vague reminder of the Austin of times long gone. A favorite hot spot for locals and visitors in the know, Star Seeds can be a bit intimidating, especially at night … given its location in the shadow of the I-35 upper deck. Don’t expect anything fancy, but it’s a solid option when you’re craving a chicken fried steak or cheese burger at 4 AM. Late night, you’ll most likely run in to service industry folks coming off their shifts downtown and students with its proximity to the UT campus.
1713 East Riverside Dr / 512-851-8226 Open Mondays til 2 AM, Tuesdays-Thursdays til 3 AM, and Fridays-Sundays til 4 AM
Austinites love their tacos and El Taquito is one reason why. Located off East Riverside, this place is open late … like really late … 2-3 AM during the weekdays and til 4 AM on weekends. So after you’re done downtown, head on over to Riverside Drive. It can be hard to find at night, especially if you’re not familiar with the area. Coming from I-35, turn right on to Old East Riverside Drive across from Baby Acapulco’s, just past the intersection for Lakeshore Drive. Saturday nights get pretty busy after last call, so expect a wait, but it will be worth satisfying that taco craving.
Recommended: Al Pastor tacos (add pineapple), bistek tacos, queso fundido
What do you do if it’s 1 AM and you’re craving Indian food? Head down to campus and the Austin location of Teji’s. Located on the south end of The Drag, it fills in the Indian niche in the cluster of Asian restaurants between MLK and 21st Street. And given it’s location across from the University of Texas campus, most customers tend to be students. Prices are very reasonable given the large portions. Give yourself more time if you order anything from the tandoor, especially if it’s busy. Vegetarian options available.
Recommended: naan (any/all of them), chicken tikka masala (especially if you’re new to Indian food or don’t like spicy food), tandoori chicken, chicken biryani.
Located just a couple blocks away from the capitol building, the Texas Chili Parlor has been serving Austin since 1976. And there’s a reason why it’s endured for so long. During the day, it can get pretty busy, as it fills up with state workers from the Capitol Complex, and even more so when the legislature is in session. While it’s pretty much your only late-night option in the area … service can be hit-or-miss … their chili is pretty spot on.
Recommended: XX chili, Frito pie,
open 24 hours
open late nights
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