While everyone was away from Austin this summer, new restaurants and eateries opened left and right, offering students new culinary options to try. Some restaurants closed, such as the grungy but delicious Texadelphia on the Drag or the traditional South Congress burger joint Fran’s, but at least students can feast on these new eats between cramming for their first tests.
1. The Co-op Food Court
The closing of the SoCo food trucks was a bummer, but don’t despair, a new romp of trucks can be found right behind the UT Co-op. The Co-op Food Court opened just two weeks before classes started and offers four new trucks of assorted food. George H. Mitchell, president and CEO of the UT Co-op, said the Co-op Food Court will continue to grow. He is hoping to have ten food trucks by the middle of September. In addition to good food, Mitchell said the food court will offer entertainment as well. “Eventually we’re going to show football games by the food court, and we’re going to show movies, once it gets a little darker.” The best way to start fall? Football and food trucks.
Location: The parking lot behind the Co-op
This Mexican food restaurant is now all over the country. Uncle Julio’s describes their food as “authentic border style.” Serving traditional favorites such as quesadillas and enchiladas while offering more refined dishes such as their honey chipotle salmon, Uncle Julio’s boasts a large menu with options to satisfy any appetite.
Location: 301 Brazos St., Suite 150, corner of Third Street and San Jacinto
Conservative and romantic Romeo’s has closed on Barton Springs, and in its place a bold eatery has taken over. As playful and vibrant as the name suggests, Umami Mia Pizzeria has brightened the building with its colorful walls and bold flavors, offering pizza as well as sandwiches, pastas, a large drink menu and an entirely separate gluten-free menu. In addition, pizza can also be ordered by the slice for less than $5. Cheap and delicious.
Location: 1500 Barton Springs Road
4. P.O.D. Express
If you enjoy the P.O.D. Express, be sure to thank the Student Government for making it happen. The P.O.D. Express, or “provisions on demand,” was pitched by former UT student government members Kenton Wilson and Ugeo Williams to give the student body an on-campus eatery that stayed opened late in the night. Nick Parras, assistant director with the University Unions, said the P.O.D. Express is a standing kiosk that allows a quick option for students to buy healthy foods. Located in the Student Activity Center, the P.O.D Express will be open on weekdays until midnight, serving fresh fruit, salads, sandwiches and everyday items. And thanks to this new addition, there will be new seating in the SAC, which, let’s face it, there could always be more of. Don’t miss the grand opening of P.O.D Express on the first day of classes, Wednesday at 2 p.m.
Location: SAC, first floor, west wall, near the auditorium
Mettle’s cold yet posh interior looks like a metal box upon entering. The polished atmosphere of the East Austin bistro and upscale restaurant plays off the surprisingly casual menu, which offers southern charms as well as “kid at heart” favorites. Feeling daring? Order the beef tongue tacos or the duck liver mousse. For the more traditional, a grilled cheese, fried chicken or a French dip sandwich awaits.
Location: 507 Calles St.
Sometimes the hustle and bustle of living in a city can get overwhelming, so instead of eating fast food in the dorm again, Eden East is a reservation only, outdoor eating concept you can treat yourself to. Boasting the slogan, “Austin farm to table,” Eden East’s menu changes weekly in order to keep courses fresh and local. Despite being higher on the price range, the fresh food, beautiful outdoor eating and “cooked at home” feeling, make the eating experience well worth the splurge.
Location: 755 Springdale Road
If you’re planning a night on Sixth Street, Benji’s Cantina is a new eatery on the bustling street that you can hit before or after the night’s activities. Available only for dinner, the two-story restaurant opens at 4 p.m. and closes at 11 p.m. on weeknights and midnight on the weekend. The price range is a little higher, but if you want to go in for a quick bite to satisfy your hunger, the menu offers delicious appetizers such as the queso flamedo or the shrimp diablo — gulf shrimp stuffed with goat cheese and chilies wrapped in pecan-smoked bacon — for under $20.
Location: 716 W. Sixth St.
Quickie Pickie may sound familiar — it used to be a gas station — but it has been updated to a restaurant and grocery store over the summer. Savannah Mcanally, barista and bartender, said they have a full kitchen, serving breakfast tacos in the morning, sandwiches at lunch and salads at dinner. “Most of our food is made in house, from scratch, and we also have a wide craft and artisan beer selection,” Mcanally said. “On tap, we have 27 taps, 24 of which are beer, and we also have the grocery selections with frozen goods, every chip you can possibly imagine, chocolate, everything.” With a simple menu, and cheap breakfast tacos, Quickie Pickie can be a good destination for comfort food, whether eating in or taking out.
Location: 1208 E. 11th St.
Not everyone can afford to travel abroad, but if the wanderlust for exotic food strikes, Say laV offers a short menu of French and Mediterranean dishes, all in the small space of a food truck. The Say laV food truck is a temporary workspace for its restaurant, laV, which is being built in East Austin. Say LaV’s menu offers locally sourced ingredients and changes with the seasons. Order sweet potato donut holes, fried okra, old bay fries or, for a more
substantial meal, the goat kebab pita with pickled zucchini & arugula.
Location: 1501 E. Sixth St., inside Hotel Vegas and Volstead Lounge