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Austin Eats: Late Night



Interior of the Star Seeds Cafe. Photo credit: @StarSeedsCafe / Facebook

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:

24 Diner

24 Diner located at West 6th Street and Lamar, next to Waterloo Records. Photo credit: @thebeardapproves / Instagram

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.

Recommended: Chicken & Waffles, Meatloaf, Bacon Gorgonzola burger, vegan hash

888 Pan Asian Restaurant

888 Pan Asian Restaurant on East Oltorf. Photo credit: @888panasian / Facebook

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.

Recommended: Phở, Orange Chicken, Pineapple Fried Rice


Chinatown’s downtown location off West 5th Street. Photo credit: @chinatowndowntown / Facebook

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.

Recommended: Calamari, Crab puffs


Frank on Colorado Street, in the heart of the Warehouse District.

407 Colorado St / 512-494-6916
Open until 2 AM Fridays and Saturdays.

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

Kerbey Lane

The original Kerbey Lane Cafe opened in a small house on the eponymous street back in 1980. Photo credit: @KerbeyLaneCafe / Facebook

3003 South Lamar Blvd / 512-445-4451
2606 Guadalupe St / 512-477-5717
4301 West William Cannon Dr / 512-899-1500
Open 24 hours daily. Note: Original & Westlake locations are not open 24 hours.

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.

Recommended: Kerbey queso, daily pancake special, Kerbey Scramble

Magnolia Cafe

The Magnolia Cafe on South Congress has been feeding Austin since 1988. Photo credit: @magnoliaaustinsouth / Facebook

2304 Lake Austin Blvd / 512-478-8645
1920 South Congress Ave / 512-445-0000
Open 24 hours daily

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

La Mexicana Bakery

La Mexicana Bakery in South Austin, off South First Street. Photo credit: That Other Paper / Flickr

1924 South 1st St / 512-443-6369
Open 24 hours daily

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

More Home Slice

More Home Slice on South Congress. Photo credit: @homeslicepizza / Facebook

1421 South Congress Ave / 512-444-7437
Open until 3 AM on Fridays and Saturdays

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.

Recommended: Margherita pizza, Sausage pizza

Star Seeds Cafe

Star Seeds sits next door to the Days Inn, in the shadow of the I-35 upper deck. Photo credit: @StarSeedsCafe / Facebook

3101 IH-35 Frontage Rd / 512-478-7107
Open 24 hours daily

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.

Recommended: Eye Opener combo, chicken fried steak, chicken wrap

El Taquito

El Taquito’s Austin location on East Riverside Drive. Photo credit: El Taquito website

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


Teji’s Austin location on The Drag across from the University of Texas campus. Photo credit:

2100 Guadalupe St, Ste B / 512-215-0307
Open every day til 3 AM

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.

Texas Chili Parlor

The Texas Chili Parlor in the shadow of the Texas State Capitol building has been an Austin institution since 1976. Photo credit: Facebook

1409 Lavaca St / 512-472-2828
Open every day til 2 AM

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,

Chase is the founder and Creative Director of, former host and Executive Producer of OutCast Austin, an award-winning LGBT weekly radio program on KOOP 91.7 FM in Austin. In 2011, he was named the Critics Pick for 'Most Gaybiquitous' in the Austin Chronicle's Best of Austin. In 2012, CultureMap Austin named him one of Austin's Top LGBT bloggers and he received the AGLCC's Chamber Award for Social Media Diva.

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january 2022