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24 Hour Eats in Austin During SXSW

7 March 2010 15,118 views 47 Comments

Austin takes NYC’s place as “the city that never sleeps” for about ten days every year during SXSW. The three-in-one festival begins this Friday with SXSW film and interactive, followed by music on March 17 and through the weekend.

The activity is continuous but we all need to eat, right? Listed below are places you can grab a bite 24-hours-a-day — or at least into the wee hours of the morning.

24 diner

24 Diner at 6th and Lamar

24 Diner is the newest addition to the 24-hour diner scene in Austin, joining Magnolia and Kerbey Lane in the race to see who can help the masses sop up the most free booze and with deliciously rich and wonderful food.

coffee

How cool is their dish and silverware?

I visited for the first time a couple weeks ago with dear friends Steve and Josh F. Steve and Josh are the father and brother of my dear friend Rachel and when they were both in town and available to meet for breakfast one morning, I jumped at the chance to try it.

hash browns egg bacon sandwich

Fried egg sandwich on challah bun with bacon (so treyf)

What I love about 24 Diner is that they serve local eggs from humanely-raised chickens, they buy produce and meats from local farmers and producers when they can, and they aren’t afraid to spend a little money on quality ingredients.

french toast

French toast with vanilla marscapone and fresh blueberries

And, they passed the ultimate test of a great brunch place. I asked (as I always do) what kind of syrup they offer. Their answer: “100% Grade A Dark Amber Maple Syrup.”

Now you should know that IHOP, the International House of Pancakes does note even offer real maple syrup. If that doesn’t make you say WTF I don’t know what does. Other places in town default to the crappy Aunt Jemima corn syrupy kind but will bring maple for an extra $1.50. That’s fine with me and I always spring for the real deal. When places don’t have maple syrup, I’ll usually go with honey or powdered sugar instead. But I don’t like it.

So what I LOVED about 24 Diner was the fact that they offer real maple syrup and that is all. It costs them a pretty penny but to me shows that they respect and care about their customers. Rant over.

waffles poached eggs bacon

Waffle breakfast

Two more 24-hour options are Magnolia Cafe, and Kerbey Lane Cafe (and Star Seeds but I don’t recommend it). Both Magnolia and Kerbey Lane have multiple locations and Austinites usually have a favorite between the two. Mine has always been Magnolia since it was located down the street from my first apartment. My “regular” order there is a baked potato with bacon, butter, cheese, and chives on the side and then steamed broccoli too. Yum.

I recently tried Kerbey Lane — with my yoga class once for a late dinner, and for breakfast at the Sunday HOPE Farmer’s Market, where they have a stand.

fries

Sweet potato fries with chipotle mayo

Both Magnolia and Kerbey Lane are known for their pancakes, and Kerbey sells pancake mix that you can pick up when you’re in town visiting and take home to make breakfast for your kiddos.

pancake

blueberry pancakes (and fake syrup - ugh)

What I didn’t realize is the focus that Kerbey Lane puts on using ethically made and local ingredients. They even showcase a special seasonal menu.

Other 24 hour and/or late night eats near the bars and clubs downtown include:

  • Frietkot, a new food trailer serving french fries with various seasonings and dipping sauces at 6th and Neches,
  • Kebabalicious, a trailer serving middle eastern deliciousness until 3 a.m. on weekends (like frietkot).
  • Chilantro, a korean-mexican hybrid trailer at 5th and Colorado till 3 a.m.
  • El Sol y La Luna on 6th and Red River — serving Tex Mex until 2 a.m. on weekends.
  • Hoboken pie (pizza) on 7th and Red River open til 2:30 a.m.
  • The dozens of food trailers sprinkled throughout Austin that are sure to sprout up wherever the crowds are. For more on Austin’s Food Cart scene, check out my friend Mike’s web site.

The other evening, I had a late night myself with friends Rebecca G. and Jessica B. After an hour+ disco nap, we headed out on the town, stopping at Frietkot to try their delicious fries. Each fry cone comes with one dipping sauce but we wanted to try more so we invested the extra $.75 or so to give them a shot. We oohed and aahed over the bacon and the green chili aioli dipping sauces but didn’t much care for the curry ketchup. Maybe it just needed a little mayo mixed in.

Frietkot serves hand-cut fries and delicious dipping sauces to the drunk set

Frietkot serves hand-cut fries and delicious dipping sauces to the drunk set

From there, we headed to the Highball, a true playground for adults featuring bowling lanes, skee-ball, karaoke rooms, a full bar and dinner seating, and a back room for dance parties, live music, and public karaoke.

We were there to check out hip hop karaoke — a recommendation from my friend Jackie.

Things got kind of weird when this group got up to perform L.L. Cool J’s “Doin’ It”:

So yeah -- they were pretty close to "doin it" themselves

So yeah -- they were pretty close to "doin it" themselves

By the way, the Highball serves upscale diner/old-style vegas food every night until 2 a.m. I’ve yet to try it myself.

If you’re on S. Lamar after hours — and you might be if you are checking out a film at the Alamo Drafthouse, listening to live music at the Saxon Pub, or two-stepping at the historic Broken Spoke dance hall — stop off at Gourdough’s (pronounced gordos) for some fresh, fat, gourmet donuts.

happy pre donut

Rebecca G. and Jessica B. ordering

Delicious results of a ten or so minute wait at Gourdough’s (plan to share) include The Flying Pig:

Maple icing and strips of bacon = heaven

Maple icing and strips of bacon = heaven

And Granny’s Pie:

caramel, pecans, bananas, and graham crackers

caramel, pecans, bananas, and graham crackers

Gourdoughs is open until 2 a.m. and is located almost right across Lamar from the Highball and Alamo Drafthouse.

Bon Appetit, you drunks!

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  • marcoskirsch

    Kerbey Lane pancakes are special.

  • marcoskirsch

    Kerbey Lane pancakes are special.

  • http://austinappetite.wordpress.com/ Amber G.

    I definitely agree that Kerbey Lane Pancakes are delicious, especially the vegan mix. I recently posted about them on my group food blog for a class at UT and interviewed the head chef about it. Please read and let me know what you think!

  • http://twitter.com/rdmurphy Ryan Murphy

    This was wonderfully comprehensive. I have been passing by 24 Diner for a long time now, but it never clicked in my mind that it might be a place to rival Magnolia and Kerbey. I am volunteering next week for SXSW, so I'll be keeping all of these places in mind as a way to wow any new friends I make.

    Also, how does 24 Diner compare in price to the other two?

  • http://adamholzband.com Adam Holzband

    Great tips for a very important part of SXSW… keeping yourself fueled for the marathon. If you're on the eastside, Eastside King at Liberty Bar is also a great option. G'raj Mahal is another fun, tasty option that's near Rainey St.(right by the MACC if you'll be there for SXSWi) and will probably be open late during the fest.

    One other note: If you want to have an authentic middle eastern experience, get a kabob from kebabalicious and then run across the street to fill it up with fries from frietkot for a little crunch.

  • http://adamholzband.com Adam Holzband

    Great tips for a very important part of SXSW… keeping yourself fueled for the marathon. If you're on the eastside, Eastside King at Liberty Bar is also a great option. G'raj Mahal is another fun, tasty option that's near Rainey St.(right by the MACC if you'll be there for SXSWi) and will probably be open late during the fest.

    One other note: If you want to have an authentic middle eastern experience, get a kabob from kebabalicious and then run across the street to fill it up with fries from frietkot for a little crunch.

  • jodibart

    Hey Ryan — Thanks so much! 24 Diner is definitely a great place to try. I went again today and ordered fried chicken and waffles — ah-maz-ing. Definitely give it a shot. The price is more than the other two spots so be aware of that — brunch items will run you $10. One thing to note — they offer 1/2 price beers every Tuesday and 1/2 price wines every Wednesday from 5 p.m. – midnight so that would be a great special to try after a long day of volunteering.

  • Rebecca

    Chicken and waffles at 24 Diner were amazing – I'm still thinking about them! Thanks for taking me there….

  • Rebecca

    Chicken and waffles at 24 Diner were amazing – I'm still thinking about them! Thanks for taking me there….

  • FoodieIsTheNewForty

    I very nearly sprayed a mouthful of water all over my computer when I read your last line. Hilarious!

  • thecosmiccowgirl

    great post, jodi! i like the new mixed with the old established joints. i must get to 24 diner soon!

  • FoodieIsTheNewForty

    I very nearly sprayed a mouthful of water all over my computer when I read your last line. Hilarious!

  • http://www.TipsyTexan.com/ TipsyTexan

    DUDE you can't talk about SXSW and Late-night food and not mention Katz's, no matter how far it has gone downhill from the glory days. They invented late-night food in Austin! Especially for the downtown scene… before Austin's music & bar scene became a tourist attraction, late nights at Katz's were filled with club owners and musicians and all that crew. When I worked there in the mid-late ninteties, Clifford Antone would come in with his entourage late at night and sit in a screened off private dining area. It's still a great place to check out for late nite eats, even if your bubbe makes better matzoh balls.

  • http://www.TipsyTexan.com/ TipsyTexan

    DUDE you can't talk about SXSW and Late-night food and not mention Katz's, no matter how far it has gone downhill from the glory days. They invented late-night food in Austin! Especially for the downtown scene… before Austin's music & bar scene became a tourist attraction, late nights at Katz's were filled with club owners and musicians and all that crew. When I worked there in the mid-late ninteties, Clifford Antone would come in with his entourage late at night and sit in a screened off private dining area. It's still a great place to check out for late nite eats, even if your bubbe makes better matzoh balls.

  • lazysmurf

    I was so disappointed that 24 and the highball have no vegan options. Bennu Coffee is open 27/7 too.

  • jodibart

    Good call, Tex! However, since most of the folks are coming to town from cities like LA, Chicago, and New York, do we REALLY want to send them to a Jewish deli deep in the heart of Texas?

  • jodibart

    24 diner has a vegan burger on their menu (but that's for lunch). I haven't tried Highball yet. Bennu Coffee is great!

  • lazysmurf

    You know, I keep telling people they have no vegan option but they do have that burger! I just heard it wasn't very good! But I haven't even tried it so I guess I should keep my big mouth shut.

  • jodibart

    Good call, Tex! However, since most of the folks are coming to town from cities like LA, Chicago, and New York, do we REALLY want to send them to a Jewish deli deep in the heart of Texas?

  • jodibart

    24 diner has a vegan burger on their menu (but that's for lunch). I haven't tried Highball yet. Bennu Coffee is great!

  • lazysmurf

    You know, I keep telling people they have no vegan option but they do have that burger! I just heard it wasn't very good! But I haven't even tried it so I guess I should keep my big mouth shut about the whole issue lol!

  • william

    Jody, you gots to let the ppl know about Sams BBQ and las Cazuelas for late night eats. Both open til 3am, Cazuelas may be open later.

  • Mom

    Yummy breakfast places and great pictures. Your new camera is taking good pictures. Good suggestions, which I am sure many people will take advantage of. Love, mom

  • Mom

    Yummy breakfast places and great pictures. Your new camera is taking good pictures. Good suggestions, which I am sure many people will take advantage of. Love, mom

  • http://www.Rebeccammendations.com/ Rebeccammendations

    Fabulous ideas! How about La Mexicana Bakery on S. 1st?? I was amazed to find out they are open 24 hours!! Mexican pastries and authentic Mexican food! Such a secret find in my lovely neighborhood in South Austin!

  • http://www.Rebeccammendations.com/ Rebeccammendations

    Fabulous ideas! How about La Mexicana Bakery on S. 1st?? I was amazed to find out they are open 24 hours!! Mexican pastries and authentic Mexican food! Such a secret find in my lovely neighborhood in South Austin!

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  • jodibart

    Thank you for those, tips Willie! What do you get at Las Cazuelas? I've never been there before. Personally I'm not a huge fan of Sams BBQ but know lots of people who think it's the best BBQ in Austin and it's definitely an institution. I hope you and Angie are well!

  • jodibart

    Thanks, mom! Believe it or not, the 24 diner pics were taken with my iPhone. There is a lot of natural light there and the iPhone takes great shots when that is the case. The rest are from my new camera.

  • jodibart

    La Mexicana Bakery is a FABULOUS suggestion. Thank you for reminding me about it, Rebecca! Great for out of towners looking for an authentic food experience too.

  • william_mars

    Just some tacos. Nothing special but it's tasty especially for late night grub. You ever had the mutton at Sam's?

  • jodibart

    Thank you for those, tips Willie! What do you get at Las Cazuelas? I've never been there before. Personally I'm not a huge fan of Sams BBQ but know lots of people who think it's the best BBQ in Austin and it's definitely an institution. I hope you and Angie are well!

  • jodibart

    Thanks, mom! Believe it or not, the 24 diner pics were taken with my iPhone. There is a lot of natural light there and the iPhone takes great shots when that is the case. The rest are from my new camera.

  • jodibart

    La Mexicana Bakery is a FABULOUS suggestion. Thank you for reminding me about it, Rebecca! Great for out of towners looking for an authentic food experience too.

  • william_mars

    Just some tacos. Nothing special but it's tasty especially for late night grub. You ever had the mutton at Sam's?

  • http://pinksundrops.blogspot.com/ Pink Sun Drops

    I love Kerbey's focus on local food. They also made cinnamon sugar butter on request for my eight year old. A definite win in my book.

  • http://pinksundrops.blogspot.com/ Pink Sun Drops

    I love Kerbey's focus on local food. They also made cinnamon sugar butter on request for my eight year old. A definite win in my book.

  • http://pinksundrops.blogspot.com/ Pink Sun Drops

    I love Kerbey's focus on local food. They also made cinnamon sugar butter on request for my eight year old. A definite win in my book.

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  • Nathan Bernier

    Great post. I've been meaning to try 24 Diner for a while and I know what I'm going to order! I have always loved fried egg sandwiches but never had on a Challah bun. Sounds delicious!

  • jodibart

    Thanks, Nathan. For some reason your comment was caught in my spam filter so I'm just seeing it now — 3 months later! Have you had a chance to try the sandwich yet? It is delicious.

  • jodibart

    Thanks, Nathan. For some reason your comment was caught in my spam filter so I'm just seeing it now — 3 months later! Have you had a chance to try the sandwich yet? It is delicious.

  • jodibart

    Thanks, Nathan. For some reason your comment was caught in my spam filter so I'm just seeing it now — 3 months later! Have you had a chance to try the sandwich yet? It is delicious.

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