You don't need to have attended SXSW wearing only a serape made from human hair and VHS tapes to understand that the city of Austin is far and away one of the best places to party in our fair nation. And it goes without saying that where there are a bunch of people getting absolutely shitfaced into the wee hours of the morning, there are going to be some killer food spots catering to said inebriated night owls.
Austin is by no means the exception.Whether you're looking for a bakery that magically transforms itself each night into one of the best beer halls around or some smoked antelope sausage and a cup of coffee, the city of ATX has all your late-night eating needs soundly covered.Luckily for you, we here at MUNCHIES have tirelessly scoured the inky depths of Austin's late-night eateries and put together a comprehensive list of the best on offer after dark. For more tips on where to go and what to eat while in Bat City, check out the complete MUNCHIES Guide to Austin.
Kerbey Lane: Kerbey Lane is one of Austin's original 24-hour diners and the reason you'll see "Kerbey Queso" bumper stickers on cars around town. Attention vegans: there's a queso version for you here. This spot is also known for having some of the best pancakes around, with buttermilk, gingerbread, blueberry, and apple-whole-wheat, to name a few.
Irene's: Irene's is a welcome oasis among the throngs of bro bars nearby. Their all-day menu transitions seamlessly into late night snacks, toasts, and "dirty shells and cheese" (with house-made andouille sausage) through 2 AM. You can sit outside on their patio on Shoal Creek, sip a "Good Night Irene" cocktail, or dip into a jug of Trinidad rum punch. The good news for the true weekend warriors is that Irene's Counter Window opens bright and early at 7 AM for their signature coffee with butterscotch-almond cream. Also, good intel: You can order a shot of whiskey and a pack of cigarettes with that cup of joe to take the edge off.
Justine's: Justine's hasn't changed much since they opened on the far, far east side, and it remains one of the most festive and fun atmospheres Austin has to offer. The French menu is reliable, the drinks are strong, and by the end of the night, you'll find yourself lost in their box of mirrors or underneath a lit pagoda in the backyard.
Gourdough's: Gourdough's is known for their "Big.Fat.Donuts." So, if you're onboard for a particularly indulgent evening, this would be a good place to end up late at night. The fresh yeast donuts run both sweet and savory; the "Mother Clucker" is topped with a fried chicken strip and honey butter; and the "Fat Elvis" is smothered in grilled bananas, bacon, peanut butter icing, and honey. If none of their combos strike your fancy, you can also design your own. Or, if you really want to kill yourself, get a donut burger. Open until 3 AM in some locations.
G'Raj Mahal: G'Raj Mahal was one of the first trailers set up on Rainey Street that was a harbinger of things to come (Rainey Street now being one of Austin's most boisterous nightlife destinations). Now that it has moved into a brick-and-mortar, it's a great for bar hopping, as well as sitting out on the patio while digging into some curries, tikkas, and naan. While it used to be BYOB back in the day, it now has a beer and wine list to make sure you keep that Rainey Street buzz going.
Sam's BBQ: This spot has been on the east side since the 1940s. Local lore says Stevie Ray Vaughan was a regular, and it's still a go-to spot for their ribs and chicken since they stay open until 3 AM on Friday and Saturday. Look for "You Don't Need No Teeth To Eat My Beef" scrawled on the side of the house.
More Home Slice: Home Slice has been slinging pies on South Congress for years, but their little sister restaurant next door, More Home Slice, keeps the throngs of late night revelers full of NY slices and heros until midnight. You can also order beer and wine (and one very excellent rice krispie treat).
Via 313: Via 313 is another one of Austin's food-trailer-to-brick-and-mortar stories. With locations around the city, the spot has gotten Austinites hooked on Detroit-style pizza. Also, Via 313 has smartly kept their original trailers open on Rainey Street (open until 1 AM) and on East 6th Street outside Violet Social Club (open until 2 AM) to feed the hungry masses who may need to sop up a bit of booze after a long night.
Easy Tiger Bake Shop & Beer Garden: Easy Tiger seamlessly transitions from one of Austin's best bakeries in the morning to one of its best beer halls at night. Order a draft and chow down on their Muffuletta, or order one of their many "Easy Boards" filled with meats, cheeses, and house-baked pretzels. Food is best enjoyed while sitting creekside.
Frank: Frank is famous for their house-made hot dogs, which are the complete opposite of the run-of-the-mill dogs you mind find at a stand. The Jackalope is a smoked antelope, rabbit, and pork sausage with cranberry compote, Sriracha aioli, and cheddar, and there are kangaroo and alligator versions, as well. If you're boring, you can order a pork and veggie dog. Regardless of what you're getting, make sure to order their waffle fries with their ten dipping sauces (or queso). Go back in the morning for their stellar coffee.
Casino El Camino: Casino El Camino is the original late-night bar food destination. It's been off of 6th street for ages, and it's rare to meet a local who hasn't tried one of their famous burgers at some point in their life. The Amarillo burger with roasted serrano chiles, jalapeño jack cheese, and cilantro mayo is a good place to start. Their jukebox is one of the best in the city.
The Best Wurst: If you happen to find yourself drunk and starving at 2 AM, look no further than the Best Wurst cart you will inevitably stumble into. For over 20 years, the Best Wurst carts have been filling the stomachs of drunkards with Bratwursts and smoked pork Italian sausages smothered in grilled onions and mustard. The clientele may not look pretty at 3 AM, but the food always hits the spot.
The Magnolia Cafe: Magnolia is one of Austin's most beloved late-night greasy spoons. The neon "Sorry, we're open sign" is always on at this 24-hour spot that's open "8 days a week." Their Sloppy Burger is a double beef, bacon, grilled onion, and queso-topped creation that's available on their late night menu. The spot is a favorite among touring bands looking for a post-show dinner.
Mrs. Johnson's Bakery: Opening nightly at 8 PM and staying open until noon the next day, Mrs. Johnson's Donuts is a beacon for those with a late-night sweet tooth. The hot glazed rings come fresh off the press and require minimal effort to attain, as you can grab them via their drive thru.
Bufalina: Open until 11:30 PM Wednesdays through Sundays, Bufalina can go toe-to-toe with any New York Neapolitan pizzeria. Their fresh mozzarella, pizzas, and pastas are impeccable—a definite must if coming to Austin.
June's All Day: Open at 8 AM for breakfast and open until midnight, when the food transitions into bistro fare, June's is named after June Rodil, a master sommelier whose wine program is the real draw. Her well-curated picks pair well with the eclectic menu items, like Spanish matzo ball soup and fried chicken sandwiches.For our complete list of cool shit to do while you're in Austin, check out the MUNCHIES Guide to Austin.