The CHOW Guide to Eating and Drinking in Austin, SXSW edition

EAST AUSTIN

$ = Under $10, $$ = $10-$25, $$$ = Over $25

Hoover’s Cooking
2002 Manor Road, 512-479-5006
Mon.–Fri., 11 a.m.–10 p.m.; Sat.–Sun., 8 a.m.–10 p.m.
$–$$

Part of the newly gentrified Manor Road restaurant row, this comfy soul-food joint features owner Hoover Alexander’s southern Louisiana influences in a simple, informal atmosphere. Big platters of ham steak with jezebel sauce, jerk chicken, and chicken-fried steak are served up with more than a dozen rotating vegetable sides, like Moroccan-inspired carrots with orange juice, mashed potatoes with roasted garlic, and creamed spinach with jalapeños. Come for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and enjoy a cocktail too—drinks are nice and strong. Lots of high-backed booths for dining in, or get it to go. (East Austin)

El Gringo
1917 Manor Road, 512-391-9500
Mon.–Thurs., 11 a.m.–9 p.m.; Fri., 11 a.m.–10 p.m.; Sat., 5 p.m.–10 p.m.
$–$$

A new restaurant, instantly popular for its creative interpretations of regional classics (posole made with duck, fried oysters in a cracker-crumb crust with Tabasco aioli and lemon sauce, chicken-fried rib-eye steak with pepper-cream gravy) at affordable prices ($8 to $11 for any of the above). This large, relatively posh spot gets crowded and noisy. But the good news is that on the pecan tree–shaded back patio next to a raging fire pit, the owners renovated a former storage shed into a bar. Called the Red House Lounge, it quenches your thirst if you’re waiting for a table inside, and stays open when El Gringo closes at night. The same folks own neighboring El Chile and El Chilito, also good if you’re looking for nearby alternatives. (East Austin)