7 spots near Zilker Park to tackle pre- and post-ACL munchies
Whoever coined the expression, “it’s a marathon, not a sprint,” surely wasn’t talking about the Austin City Limits (ACL) Festival. Veterans know it’s a mad dash to see the dozens of artists crowding the schedule. Try as they might to take full advantage of the curated food offerings, hardcore music fans often add a few stomach grumbles to the clamor at Zilker Park.
While being hangry might be apropos for Alanis Morissette’s angst, pros know that every race requires some fuel. By all means, revelers should visit the new “Sweets” section should they find a lull between acts. But for those who can’t stop the music, knowing all the nearby spots to go before and after the show is essential.
Better Half Coffee & Cocktails
Few local breakfast dishes stick to the ribs like this all-day café’s chicken biscuit. Grab one to eat while queuing for the festival entrance. Or better yet, steal a moment for a repast before heading across the river.
This downtown seafood joint is launching its brunch service on October 7, just in time for the ACL rush. The menu is filled with New Orleans classics, including Bananas Foster French toast, shrimp and grits, and a crabcake Benedict, though we won’t cast aspersions on those who make a feast out of Champagne and fries.
One of the closest restaurants to the festival grounds, this stylish diner is convenient for the pre-game and post-show. The kitchen opens at 7 am for a power meal of an egg sandwich or avocado toast. After Kendrick Lamar rampages the stage, head back again for cocktails and snacks until midnight.
The swanky South Lamar haunt has extended ACL weekend hours for those who need to cool down after the show. Enjoy light-night bites until 11 pm while sipping a Let’s Go Girls, a cowboy hat-topped tequila homage to Shania Twain. Men’s shirts and short skirts are optional.
This whimsical newcomer recently introduced brunch service, offering a leisurely start to the madness. Linger over innovative dishes like chicken and waffles topped with kimchi maple syrup, and a scramble with salsa macha.
Save the grain bowls for mid-afternoon. Late nights are made for junk food. Yes, NADC’s smash burger, served until midnight, is made with Texas Wagyu. It still delivers 10 ccs of that fast food dopamine rush.
Super Thai Cuisine
Share your ACL highlight reel while enjoying a spread of vegetarian spring rolls, chicken and shrimp shumai, and street-style dumplings. This popular Thai eatery is now open until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.