East Sixth Street and downtown grab most of the haute cuisine headlines in Austin, but those aren’t the city's only restaurant rows. East Riverside Drive may not have any fancy destination eateries, but it's overflowing with affordable and diverse options. Whether you live in the neighborhood or are pre-gaming for an Emo’s show, these are the essential places to check out.
This friendly trailer is located right in front of Austin Bingo, a stone’s throw from Emo’s and the legendary Rosita’s Al Pastor. The menu is small but mighty with shawarma meats shaved off a vertical spit, crunchy falafel wraps, and a rich, garlicky hummus. Be warned that the tin-roofed awning doesn’t do much to deter the summer heat. Luckily, it stays open late nights, long after the sun goes down.
The Buzz Mill
There’s a lot to try at this woodsy 24/7 spot, which hosts a mini food truck park on its back patio. Start at the counter for tea, locally roasted coffee, Texas craft beer, or a cocktail made from house infused liquors. Then head outside to feast at 1776 Cheesesteak Co., plant-based Plow Burger, or vegan pizza-slingers Li’l Nonna’s.
Is there a better snack than Chi’Lantro signature kimchi fries? Nope. But that doesn’t mean it’s the only thing worth ordering at this Austin original. Chi’Lantro also makes killer Korean barbecue bowls with options like soy glazed chicken, marinated tofu, or pork. The sweet and spicy wings are just as good — especially when dipped in ranch.
This cheery taqueria has been serving night owls and early birds alike for almost 25 years. Not much has changed in that time. For breakfast, don’t miss the chilaquiles taco, served with a choice of three salsas. For dinner or a midnight snack, go for street tacos like al pastor, mini taquitos, or the beef Los Originales, served Northern Mexico-style with queso fresco and slice avocado.
Frazier’s Long & Low
This bar from the owners of East Austin’s The White Horse gets the high-low balance right with a considered drink program and fun bar food. Get going with craft cocktails like Uncle Frankie’s Old Fashioned or the gin-centric French Canadia with maple syrup. Diners can also grab corn dogs, wings, patty melts, and other pub grub. The $5 Vinny’s Chopped Cheese with chopped hamburger and Russian dressing is a surefire hangover cure.
Jackalope’s huge South Shore location offers fun around every corner. There’s inside and outside seating for chatting, multiple TVs, games, and, of course, the famous jackalope sculpture for photos. Food options include juicy burgers, wings, and seasoned waffle fries, and the bar offers something for everyone — beer, handcrafted and draft cocktails, wine, and bubbles.
A steaming bowl of soup may not be the first choice for a hot weather meal, but a few minutes in the air conditioning might change opinions. Besides, this casual restaurant offers plenty of dishes suited for Austin’s subtropical climate like vegan vermicelli, pork belly bao, banh mi, and fresh rice paper rolls. Stop by for a lychee green tea for a quick refresher.