24 Diner Spots:
24 Diner – 24 Diner is anything but a traditional greasy spoon. The menu is filled with American comfort staples like chicken and waffles, omelets, and biscuits and gravy, but every ingredient is locally sourced and seasonal and every dish is fresh, both in concept and flavor. The restaurant’s design reflects its concept; it is rooted in 50s Americana but with a modern and forward-thinking attitude. Breakfast standouts include huge frittatas filled with fresh vegetables and cheese and crispy chicken and waffles. Lunch and dinner options are just as fulfilling with delicious options ranging from deviled eggs to burgers to a salad of charred greens. Do yourself a favor and order 24 Diner’s veggie burger. 24 Diner’s veggie patty, served on freshly baked Easy Tiger bread, is hands down one of the best in town. 24 Diner is a great place to eat any time of day and most certainly the best around the clock spot in town.
24 Diner. 601 North Lamar, Austin, TX 78703 (Next to Waterloo Records)
Another top pick for anytime of day is 24-hour coffee shop Bennu Coffee located on Austin’s East Side. With its proximity to UT, downtown, and a number of hospitals, the coffee house attracts quite a crowd, but thankfully there are an ample number of outlets and large, eclectic collection of office chairs. The coffee shop serves plenty of Fair Trade cups of Joe to keep customers bright eyed and bushy tailed no matter the time of day. Bennu Coffee outsources its dining options to some of Austin’s very best local vendors, meaning customers have plenty options to cure those late night cravings. Choices include Taco More tacos, Russell’s Baked Goods, Fricano’s Deli sandwiches, and Hoboken Pie pizza slices. While Bennu’s coffee, snacks, and hours are all great, it’s Bennu’s casual, open atmosphere, created in no small way by the friendly staff and killer soundtrack, that keeps me coming back time and time again.
Bennu Coffee. 2001 E. MLK Blvd, Austin, TX 78702. 512.478.7800.
The Buzz Mill – Nestled by a Walgreens and rundown Dairy Queen on East Riverside, 24-hour joint The Buzz Mill is a very welcome addition to a part of Austin that’s general devoid of local options. The astutely named spot specializes in delivering its buzzes via coffee, craft beer, cider, and booze. The shop is housed in a log cabin, and this woodshed theme spills over to the eclectic décor of its interior. While the inside is on the small side, the backdoor opens up to an expansive outdoor area sprinkled with picnic tables. The Blue Ox BBQ & Pancake trailer serves up BBR three nights a week as well as an all you can eat pancake brunch on Sundays. Otherwise food options include baked goods such as Rockstar Bagels and brisket breakfast tacos in the morning. Future plans for the happening bar include live music.
The Buzz Mill – 1505 Town Creek Drive, Austin, TX 78741.
Whataburger – Always fresh, never frozen Whataburger is good any time of day, but somehow taste even better after a night on the town. Whether it’s a chicken honey biscuit, a taquito, or a Whataburger with cheese, a stop by the Texas chain is an excellent decision. Don’t forget to ask for extra packets of fancy ketchup to dip those addictively salty fries in!
Whataburger. Various locations; see site for details.
La Mexicana Bakery – Located on South First Street, La Mexicana Bakery is home to the most authentic Mexican baked goods in town. It’s also part food mart, part money mart, and part late night dining destination. There is something about a late night taco from La Mexicana that helps soften the blow of too many cerevas. I’m pretty sure that’s because grease is a key ingredient in these delicious and cheap delicacies.
La Mexicana Bakery. 1924 South First Street, Austin, TX 78704. (512) 443-6369.
Magnolia Café & Kerbey Lane Café – Magnolia Café and Kerbey Lane are two longstanding favorites for late night dining. One too many visits to both places during college left this little lady with a lifetime of fatigue. However, for those looking for a great spot to unwind at the end of a night, either place will fit the bill. Hopefully one day soon I can reinvegerate myself for a few return visits. No one can stay away from Magnolia Café’s Mag Mud Queso or Kerbey Lane’s famous pancakes for too long!
Magnolia Café. 2304 Lake Austin Blvd., Austin, TX, 78703 or 1920 South Congress Ave., Austin, TX 78704.
Late Night Eating Spots:
Homeslice Pizza – Homeslice serves the very best New York City style pizza in Austin. Hand tossed dough is sauced and topped before baking to perfection. The crust has a nice outer crunch yet still chewy inside. The popular spot is delicious anytime of day, but those slices tend to taste especially delicious after a long night on the town. Thankfully, Homeslice’s take out window is open until 3am to feed hoards of hungry customers leaving downtown. Late night slices include topping options such as pepperoni, cheese and margarita, with an occasional special type like sausage and pepper.
Homeslice Pizza. 1415 S Congress Ave., Austin, TX 78704-2434. (512) 444-7437.
Frank’s – What’s not to love about a place that specializes in hot dogs and cold beer? Throw in a fantastic coffee program and late night hours, and it’s really no wonder why Frank continues to be a popular downtown spot. Beginning at 10pm every night, Frank serves a late night menu that includes hot dogs like the mac ‘n cheese topped Notorious P.I.G. and chili cheese fries. Though this gut-check of a late night meal might call for a stop by CVS, these dogs are delicious enough to make it worth it.
Frank. 407 Colorado St. Austin, TX 78701. 512-494-6916. www.hotdogscoldbeer.com
Justine’s Brasserie – One of the best places to feast on traditional French food anytime of night is Justine’s Brasserie. With a kitchen open until 1:30am, late night fine dining is at its best when it includes a bowl of Justine’s outrageously delicious French onion soup ($6) or steak tartar ($16). Between its mouthwatering menu, reasonable prices, and right amount of French flair, it is one of the best romantic date spots in town. However, don’t let the romance in the air fool you; Justine’s is also a go to nightlife destination for Austin’s hippest residents. The East Side’s Parisian outpost only gets more lively and raucous into the witching hour, thanks in part to stellar libations such as Justine’s French 75s. Service can have its ups and downs, even more reflective of Justine’s authenticity, but hey, that’s just part of the charm! The vibe at Justine’s is raucous and lively, even more so as the night wears on. The main complaint I always hear about Justine’s is the location, set in far East Austin. True it is a destination, but everyone’s favorite East Side Parisian escape is definitely worth the drive.
Justine’s Brasserie. 4710 East 5th Street Austin, TX 78702. (512) 385-2900.
Max’s Wine Dive – Naturally one would expect a restaurant known for fried chicken and champagne would be game for late night dining. Max’s Wine Dive actually sweetens the deal with a reverse Happy Hour beginning during the last two hours of service Monday through Friday. Stop by Max’s en route from the bar to enjoy special prices on bar snacks like Mussels ($7) and Duck Nachos ($7). The wine bar’s famous fried chicken isn’t on the menu, but Max’s gourmet take on the Southern comfort food is still well worth the order.
Max’s Wine Dive. 207 San Jacinto, Austin, TX 78701. 512.904.0111.
Kebabalicious – Famous for their Turkish style wraps, Kebabalicious is a perfect place to ward off hunger pains while fighting for a taxi downtown. The falafel isn’t overly greasy and plenty flavorful. The house favorite is the beef and lamb kebab ($6.55 reg/$8.25 lrg). Soft pita bread is stuffed with mixed shwarma and topped with veggies and Kebabalicious’ secret spicy red sauce. Kebabalicious is a filling late night pick me up that is less of a gut check compared to other late night snacks. Kebabalicious has two locations downtown, but only one open late. Stop by the food truck on 7th & Trinity between 9pm-3am to get your late night fix.
The Best Wurst – One of Austin’s first and most famous food trailers, Best Wurst, was doling out late night eats on 6th street long before trailers and street food were considered Austin haute cuisine. Touting sauerkraut as a magical hangover cure all, The Best Wurst has garnered a loyal stream of followers over the years. Presumably most customers are more interested in a post beer snack than sauerkraut’s medicinal value, but regardless the reason for a visit there is no question The Best Wurst knows how to serve a good brat.
The Best Wurst. Corner of 6th & San Jacinto/Corner of 6th & Red River.