The time has finally come. You’ve scored your tickets, slathered yourself in sunscreen (or perhaps donned your cutest rain gear), curated the list of your favorite bands’ showtimes and stages, and grabbed your vaccination card and mask. You’re ready to take on the Austin City Limits Music Festival with all the gusto of an extreme fan who has been denied the in-person famed event for too long.
But have you thought about what you’re going to eat and drink while you’re tripping around Zilker Park for hours on end each day if the fest? (Aside from lots and lots of water. Stay hydrated, people!) After all, a zealous live-music lover cannot subsist on rock ’n’ roll alone — even with a side of country and hip-hop.
From mini kiosks serving up big flavors to single stands and beefy double booths, ACL Eats offers literally dozens of dining and drink options, including plenty of longtime faves (Mighty Cone, JuiceLand, Torchy’s Tacos) and a tasty array of local newbies, which we’ve listed for you below. Head to the fest October 1-3 and 8-10 with an appetite, and dig in!
Yes, it may seem hard to believe that Austin’s beloved purveyor of all things baked and graze-worthy has never before graced the booths at ACL Eats. But there’s no time like the present to gobble up the Easy Tiger goods while celebrating the October music festival with the flavors of Oktoberfest. Easy Tiger’s ACL Fest menu includes vegetarian-friendly pretzel sticks served with house mustard and beer cheese (three sticks for $14), vegan-friendly Beyond Sausage served with house kraut and mustard ($12), carnivore-friendly signature sausages with house kraut and mustard or green chili sausages with sweet and spicy pickles ($12), and the indecision-friendly grazing box with a selection of Antonelli’s Cheeses ($20).
Four Brothers Venezuelan Kitchen
As a note to ACL Fest newbs (and a reminder to old stagers), often the best food choices at the festival are those you can easily eat while holding in one hand and booking it across the park to your next chosen performance. And Four Brothers’ perfectly portable chicken empanadas ($6) and cheese empanadas ($6), both served with a spectacular house-made garlic sauce, definitely fit that bill. The booth will also serve up pulled pork and cheddar arepas ($10), a packed chicken bowl ($13), a vegan bowl ($13), and must-have tequeños aka Venezuelan cheese sticks wrapped in delicate dough ($8).
Lick Honest Ice Creams
Here’s a tasty scoop for you: Joining ACL Eats at the fest this year is none other than wildly popular local artisanal ice cream shop Lick. Really, is there anything better than a cold, creamy scoop to get you through a scorching festival afternoon? We think not. Lick will serve up three varieties of its ice cream: vegan chocolate chocolate, Hill Country honey & vanilla bean, and coffee with cream, each for a pittance, just $6. For an extra buck, you can also add toppings like rainbow sprinkles, toasted Texas pecans, house-made chocolate sauce, or house-made brownie bites.
At some point during ACL Music Fest, maybe more than once, you will have an undeniable craving for tacos. Luckily, you won’t feel like you got bucked if you hit up Taco Bronco, which specializes in smoked meat tacos with a kick. Taco Bronco is rolling out to its first ACL Fest with a stacked menu that includes a chopped and ’que’d brisket taco ($6), a pit-smoked pork carnitas taco ($6), a smoky chicken tinga taco ($6), and Austinites’ bread and butter: deluxe chips and queso ($10 or $14 with meat added).
The Original Black’s Barbecue
Speaking of smoked meats, blazing into ACL Fest for the first time and with a double booth is local love The Original Black’s Barbecue, the ideal spot to get your baby back — ribs, that is. In addition to those porky bites ($14), the barbecue geniuses from Black’s will also serve up their chopped beef brisket sandwich ($11), a pulled pork sandwich ($11), smoked sausage on a stick ($11), and potato chips ($2).
Though this new Austin sandwich shop won’t be serving up your favorite daiquiris to go or providing its popular notary public services at the fest, the fare promises to be wicked good. Wicky’s Walkup’s ACL Eats menu includes the Okay, Boomer, a traditional and heavenly muffuletta ($14); the Beet It, Nerd, a sammie with citrus-marinated beets, Swiss, provolone, and olive tapenade ($12); the Elotes Tots, tater tots topped with roasted corn, queso fresco, crema, cilantro, and lime ($10); and voodoo or regular flavored Zapp’s Chips ($2).