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Restauranting during SXSW

Good luck achieving barbecue consensus.  :-)

If history, tradition, atmosphere and experience mean nothing, then by all means, skip Lockhart.

We are fortunate to have some very good options in town these days, but "very good food at a trailer" is a much different experience than eating at a place where the same fire has been burning for generations. Just depends what you're looking for.

All three Lockhart joints are within a few minutes of each other, so if you're able to pace yourself - a skill I have yet to master - you could hit them all and make up your own mind.

(Just to be clear, there are other places with Black's in the name, but you want the original one in Lockhart. And neither it, nor any of the other places in this thread, "suck.")

Daniel Vaughn (bbqsnob) just published a quick overview of some barbecue day trips:

Mar 20, 2015
ampeg66 in Austin

Mutton BBQ. Where?

bbqsnob says:
Davis Grocery & BBQ in Taylor — James Davis offers the only mutton in town, and it’s a good one. So is his “come back sauce."

That's from his Central Texas Barbecue Tour story:

Mar 19, 2015
ampeg66 in Austin

Saturday Lunch

Feb 20, 2015
ampeg66 in Austin

So, I'm a Boston 'hound, our board here created some "best/must try/authentic" threads...

Tio Dan's is a traditional puffy taco: a corn tortilla fried until it puffs up, then filled with various taco stuff. This style is everywhere in San Antonio, less so here.

Angie's and Amaya's use thick, homemade corn tortillas that are fried until they're kinda crispy, kinda chewy, but not exactly puffy.

Both styles are a nice change from the standard crispy taco.

I haven't been to Tio Dan's, but it's on my list. Do you guys know if the tortillas are homemade? That makes a huge difference. In San Antonio, store-bought tortillas are a shootin' offense, but homemade ones are surprisingly rare in Austin, even at popular places.

I'll second Angie's carnitas. I've liked Amaya's chicken tacos, but the last couple times the shells were hard on the edges, seemed like they were cooked ahead (they should be fried to order for maximum effect).

Oh, here you go: Mike Sutter's Fed Man Walking blog has just started the 500 Tacos series. It's a great resource with a ton of other reviews as well.

Jan 23, 2015
ampeg66 in Austin

Your favorite burgers from 2014?

I like Bartlett's. Thick, juicy, house-ground patty, cooked to temperature, tastes of the oak fire it's grilled over. The classic burger is good, but I usually get the Hickory Burger: shredded cheddar, chopped onion, bbq sauce, shredded cabbage instead of lettuce...and a slice of Canadian bacon. Comes with hot, salty shoestrings. It's on the lunch menu, but they'll make it anytime.

Used to be $13, which seemed like an acceptable splurge, but it's gone up to $16 now (the whole menu seems to have taken a 25% jump). It hurts, but I guess it's not out of line with some of the other places.

Even at that price, I don't really understand why people prefer to wait in line at the place across the parking lot (Hopdoddy). Clearly high-quality ingredients, but no crust, no char, zero character seems to transfer from the grill to the meat.

Dec 30, 2014
ampeg66 in Austin

Two SF folks headed to Austin for 48 hours: Where should we eat?

If you hit Amaya's, their Village Tacos feature a thick, homemade corn tortilla, fried to order till it's kind of crispy, kind of chewy. Angie's has similar tortillas, good with their carnitas tacos.

Homemade tortillas (corn or flour) are oddly rare at many of the popular places. Compare that to San Antonio, where store-bought tortillas are nearly a jailable offense.

In the historical Tex-Mex category, Cisco's and El Patio are from the 1940s, El Gallo and Matt's from the 50s, Joe's and El Azteca from the 60s (I think Cisco's, El Patio, El Gallo and El Azteca are still in their original locations). These tend to lean toward the Tex side; they were often an Anglo's first introduction to this "exotic" food back in the day, and some might be considered a bit bland for modern tastes, but they're comforting if you grew up on that style.

Fonda San Miguel was one of the first local places to introduce a more Mex-influenced style back in the 70s, if that sounds interesting. 

Dec 03, 2014
ampeg66 in Austin

where can I buy beef kidney suet

Both are well-regarded artisan butcher shops here in Austin. Not sure if they'll have your suet, but worth a call.


Nov 07, 2014
ampeg66 in Austin

BBQ between San Antonio and Austin Airport

I thought that Railroad location closed a few months ago.

Oct 30, 2014
ampeg66 in Austin

Hard Hat XIII

Pretty sure it's Twisted Root.

Oct 07, 2014
ampeg66 in Austin

Beef jerky in austin or mail order

There's Whittington's in Johnson City (they do mail order).

Aug 10, 2014
ampeg66 in Austin


You might have better luck finding a shorter line at the Anderson Lane location.

The burgers are good, with interesting toppings, and you can tell it's high-quality beef. But for me, a top-tier burger needs either flame-broiled flavor or a caramelized crust from a hot flattop, and Hopdoddy doesn't do either of those.

Aug 07, 2014
ampeg66 in Austin


If you do go to Pieous, do not miss the excellent pastrami.

Jun 26, 2014
ampeg66 in Austin

Hard Hat XI

Pretty sure Sprouts carried that one too, but I never got around to trying it.

Jun 10, 2014
ampeg66 in Austin

What happened to the Texas Rib King

This week's Chronicle says the Slab BBQ truck is going brick and mortar in that space.

May 24, 2014
ampeg66 in Austin

My list of Less Than Famous Central TX BBQ - Which ones?

The "Luling City Market" in Houston initially had some tenuous connection to City Market in Luling, a former employee or something. At this point, it's deceptive at best.

Apr 22, 2014
ampeg66 in Austin

Onion Rings

These are very good. They seem to cook to order, they've been super hot and crunchy when we've had them.

Feb 20, 2014
ampeg66 in Austin

Hard Hat XI

Looks like she's building a small center to include the restaurant along with office/retail space. I remember reading about this, but the original story from 2012 made it sound like an addition or remodel, so I was also surprised to see it leveled.


Feb 09, 2014
ampeg66 in Austin

Hard Hat XI

I think it's this:

Dec 26, 2013
ampeg66 in Austin

Help for business dinner in Austin

Note that La Condesa is temporarily closed due to a kitchen fire. Not sure about their timeline for reopening.

Nov 13, 2013
ampeg66 in Austin

Private dining room for party of 13

Roaring Fork downtown has a room, I think we had a dozen or so people.

Aug 16, 2013
ampeg66 in Austin

A well researched (I hope) Trip Plan from Seattle

I don't know that the meat at JMMC is "much better," but it's certainly the real deal, right up there with Franklin. And if you've never had a Texas-style beef rib, that alone is worth the trip (and the money - the things are huge and sold by weight, so they can run ~$20). You'll still want to get to Mueller earlier rather than later, as popular items can sell out quickly. But not too early, cause John may run you off if you try to line up before 10:30.

Franklin does have beef ribs once a week; lucky for you, that day is Saturday if you decide to go. And you would then be able to say you've had the Franklin experience, so there's that. When I do food tourism, I want what I want, so I wouldn't try to talk you out of going if you've got your heart set on it.

Aug 14, 2013
ampeg66 in Austin

Trader Joe's Coming - Seaholm

The third store is slated for the former Saks location across from the Arboretum. No timeline yet that I'm aware of.


Aug 12, 2013
ampeg66 in Austin

Steaks, not downtown: Austin Land and Cattle vs Bartlett's vs Eddie V's (arboretum) vs. ???

I don't usually order marinated steaks, but that Hawaiian ribeye sure chars up nicely on the wood grill.

May 06, 2013
ampeg66 in Austin

Puffy tacos smothered with queso

I've had their queso that's served over a thick, homemade tortilla. But it's still a flat tortilla, so it's sort of a cousin of the puffed kind (unless I'm totally missing something on the menu). It would definitely do in a pinch, though. Might be close enough to please the OP.

Back when they only served crackers with the hot sauce, I'd order extra "chips," which were those whole, fried tortillas. Now I'm craving them, I'll have to get by there soon.

Nov 08, 2012
ampeg66 in Austin

Puffy tacos smothered with queso

I remember it being called a queso puff. it's just a corn tortilla fried till it puffs into a big, crispy balloon shape, then covered in queso. No taco filling or anything. I haven't seen one in a really long time, but I'd order it if I ever saw it on a menu.

Nov 06, 2012
ampeg66 in Austin

Bar Mirabeau/Restaurant Jezebel

Jacket required for Jezebel, not Mirabeau. Here's some info:



Oct 03, 2012
ampeg66 in Austin


Dale's has been around for quite a while. It's a fairly small menu, with nachos and fried apps, sandwiches, steaks and fish, and chicken-fried steak. We go for the burgers: thick patty, nicely caramelized on a flattop, with homemade potato chips. Schnitzel is the only German item on the menu; they have a variety of chalkboard specials, so there may be some occasional German items there. They have a biergarten and live music on weekends.

Sep 07, 2012
ampeg66 in Austin

Hill's Barbecue market - Early report

Just did a drive-by. From the signage, it looks like this is an offshoot of Hill's Cafe. Tuesday through Saturday, lunch only for now.

Aug 12, 2012
ampeg66 in Austin


Looks like Antonio's Tex-Mex is open at I-35 and Howard.

I knew the location at I-35 and 183 had closed a couple years ago. But I only recently realized that both the Round Rock and 183 (formerly Jollyville) locations have also closed.

Aug 08, 2012
ampeg66 in Austin

Hopdoddy's on Anderson Lane

That house salad with a combination of their Hot Bacon and Honey Mustard dressings is crave-worthy. It's our favorite combo in town.

To stay on topic, Hopdoddy is very good, but my comment has been the same every time: High-quality ingredients, very good burger...if only they'd cook it with fire. I love griddle burgers too, but meat of that quality would benefit greatly from a grill.

And that's why Bartlett's is our favorite burger in town: Ingredient quality PLUS the wood grill flavor.

The fact that they actually seem to train their wait staff (imagine that!) is just a nice bonus.

Aug 06, 2012
ampeg66 in Austin