Let’s face it, the best part of a UT football game often happens before the Longhorns hit the field. We’re talking about tailgating, a tradition worth participating in even if you don’t bleed burnt orange. Sure, you can order a pizza and throw a few Lone Stars in a Yeti and call it a day, but you won’t score any points with the team. This year, play to win with ready-to-eat feasts from these Austin all-stars.
Antonelli’s Cheese Shop
Cheese plates may be more readily associated with countryside picnics than football feasts, but nothing pleases a hungry crowd more. This Hyde Park cheese shop scores with several sizes of trays decked out with plenty of extras like olives and cornichons. If you want something meatier, try a charcuterie platter or antipasto sampler with sliced salami.
Batch Craft Beer & Kolaches
It’s hard enough juggling Solo cups in a parking lot without having to reach for a fork and knife, so ditch the plastic cutlery and tailgate with Texas’ signature handheld treat. This Manor Road hot spot offers plenty of savory and sweet kolaches, filled with everything from brisket, Swiss, and pickles to chocolate, caramel, and pecans. As a bonus, the shop also has a great selection of bottled beer from local favorites and cult out-of-state breweries.
Confituras Little Kitchen
For morning kickoffs, try building a biscuit bar. Start with flaky treats from this charming South Austin shop, available either frozen or fresh by calling ahead. Then pick up a few jars of Confituras seasonal preserves, butter, local honey (Round Rock Honey’s orange cinnamon variety will do the trick), and ham. Presto, you have a game day spread worth cheering about.
Fresa’s Chicken al Carbon
If a party doesn’t have wings, is it really a tailgate? Fresa’s has some of the best in town, switching things up from the typical slather of Franks RedHot sauce to a subtly sweet glaze made with arbol chiles. Each half or full order of the seasonal specialty comes with poblano ranch and house salsa bruja for dipping, as well as slices of celery, carrots, and jicama for crunch. Grab a couple of orders of loaded queso while you're at it.
Quack’s 43rd Street Bakery
Put on your best game face with a selection of iced cookies from this Austin institution. The selection is always changing, but Quack’s regularly offers specialty shapes full of Texas pride. Fill your dessert buffet with a few monsters cupcakes, double chocolate brownies, and lemon bars, or get fancy with a burnt orange custom cake.
Wheatsville Food Co-Op
You’ll be the MVP at the next viewing party if you offer your vegan guests more than just a bowl of chips. This neighborhood grocery store is filled with great plant-based munchies like its famous buffalo popcorn tofu served with dairy-free blue cheese dressing. With 48 hours notice, Wheatsville can also build catering trays filled with fruit, veggies, pastries, or sandwich fixings.