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HornFans Restaurant Reviews

Finally, HornFans answers a burning question of our time - where do we eat? Our Austin-area restaurant reviews are written with the "weekend warrior" in mind . . . someone who's in town for a game, whether single or married, young or old, with family in tow, on a boys/girls-only weekend, whatever. So we probably shafted the upscale places, but have included a few just in case you're interested. The best feature is that these reviews are interactive. Just click on the link at the bottom of each review to agree, disagree, add your favorite menu items, or update/correct our review (especially the prices section, since those were sometimes just written from recent memory). And if we've left off one of your favorites, send us your review in the format you see below and we'll add it to the list. Happy Eating and Hook Em'!

Price key:
Cheap: less than $7 per entree
Moderate: $7-14
Expensive: $15 and above
Really Expensive: Most entrees over $20

MEXICAN
Angie's Mexican Restaurant
900 E. 7th Street * (512) 476-5413
Hours: 7:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.; Friday till 9:00 p.m.; closed on Tuesday
Distance from Royal-Memorial: less than 10 minutes
Prices: Cheap

Great for homesick Texans home for a weekend or anyone looking for a Tex-Mex food fix. Homemade corn tortillas are mighty special.

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Chuy's
3 locations, original at 1728 Barton Springs * (512) 474-4452
Hours: Sun- Thur: 11:00 a.m.- 10:30 p.m., Fri-Sat: 11:00 a.m.- 11:30 p.m.
Distance from Royal-Memorial:10 minutes
Prices: Cheap to Moderate (high for Mexican food)

Chuy's Tex-Mex has been around forever. I had my first frozen margarita there when I was a freshman at UT. If you've never been to Chuy's, it's worth checking out for the Elvis shrine, the hubcap room, and the margaritas. A wide variety of cool t-shirts if you're looking for an Austin souvenir that doesn't have a bat or the Capitol on it. Menu favorites include the Chuychanga (HUGE), the big-as-yo-face burritos and anything they make during the Green Hatch Chile weeks (seasonal). Folks sometimes complain about Chuy's being over-rated, but everyone must end up there anyway because it's always crowded. Find a seat in the bar and warm up for dinner with a margarita and some queso.

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Curra's Grill
614 E. Oltorf, (512)444-0012
Sun-Thur, 7a.m. - 10 p.m.m, Fri-Sat, 7 a.m. - 11 p.m.
Prices: Cheap to Moderate

Located in the old Guero's spot, Curra's is a great place to go when you know there will be a wait anywhere else.

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Cisco's Restaurant, Bakery & Bar
1511 E. 6th Street * (512) 478-2420
Hours:
Distance from Royal-Memorial: less than 10 minutes
Prices: Cheap

"Miga and fajita." With lime. Perfect thing to eat when you are hungover. Also has delicious biscuits and breakfast tacos. Get yourself out of downtown and over to the east side for some really good food. Anyone on this board who was a "Cisco's Kid" should please post and tell the rest of us what that really meant.

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Matt's El Rancho
2613 S. Lamar * (512) 462-9333
Hours: Mon, Wed, Thur & Sun: 11:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.; Fri - Sat til 11:00, closed on Tuesday
Distance from Royal-Memorial: 15-20 minutes
Prices: Moderate

A standby - one of the oldest Mexican restaurants in town. Very traditional menu. Opinions on this place vary wildly, but all can agree that it's a great place to go with a family or large group, and you can't beat the free sherbet at the end of the meal - great retro touch.

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El Arroyo
3 locations, original on 5th Street just east of Mopac * (512) 310-1992
Mon-Thur, 11 a.m. - 10 p.m., Fri., 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.,
Sat, 10 a.m. -11 p.m., Sun, 10 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Distance from Royal-Memorial: 10 minutes
Prices: Cheap to Moderate

Owned by a former Texas football player, the successful "Ditch" has expanded to several locations in Austin and Dallas. Not even a 1998 fire that gutted the kitchen could stop the place - it was up and running in a couple of months with a new deck. Happy hour brings you 99-cent margaritas and the spinach queso is irresistable - just don't even try to say no. Menu favorites include the barbeque chicken enchiladas and oddly, the seafood items such as Mexican Crab Rolls (deep-fried mini-chimichangas with crab, cheese, and who knows what else) and the Enchiladas Del Mar. An excellent kickoff place for a "dangerous" evening on the town with friends. Kids like it too, especially if you sneak them a sip of your 'rita (just kidding!).

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El Azteca
2600 E. 7th Street * (512) 477-4701

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El Patio
2938 Guadalupe * (512) 476-5955

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El Sol y La Luna
1224 S. Congress Avenue * (512)444-7770

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Evita's Botanitas Mexican Restaurant
6400 S. 1st Street * (512)441-2424
Hours:
Distance from Royal-Memorial: about 20 minutes
Prices: Moderate

Evita's is a small but creative spot in the heart of the South First Mexican Restaurant Row. Five different salsas with your chips. Pickled veggies on the table. Try the chicken chipotle enchiladas, shrimp diablo or carne guisada. Borracho beans instead of refried is the way to go here.

HornFans Reviews
Fonda San Miguel
2330 W. North Loop Blvd. * (512) 459-4121
Hours: Sun-Thur., 5:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m., Fri-Sat. 5:30 p.m. - 10:30 p.m.
Distance from Royal-Memorial: 10-15 minutes
Prices: Moderate to Expensive

If you are looking for something a little different from the standard cheese enchilada/taco plate, Fonda San Miguel is the place. More "interior" Mexican than Tex-Mex, the menu includes more seafood than typical Mexican restaurants. Beautiful setting.

HornFans Reviews
Guero's
1412 S. Congress Ave. (near Continental Club and all those antique stores) * (512) 707-8232
Hours: Mon-Fri, 11 a.m. - 11 p.m., Sat-Sun 8 a.m.-11 p.m.
Distance from Royal Memorial: about four miles south-west, 10-15 minutes max with traffic
Prices: Moderate

Formerly located on Oltorf (where Curra's is now), Guero's food is Tex-Mex extreme- a large and varied menu with more of an interior influence than you are used to (example: Tacos al Pastor, which is shredded pork with pinapple). Prices are a little higher than you're used to, as well, but I've never had a bad meal there. Notorious margaritas and Carne Guisada. Famous people eat there. Has been hurt in the ratings by recent trendification but the food still rocks. Go expecting a long wait, made less painful by the good margaritas and large bar where you can order appetizers (you may not need dinner after all).

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Jovita's
1619 S. First Street * (512) 447-7825
Hours:
Distance from Royal-Memorial: 20 minutes
Prices: Moderate

Live music at night. Don Walser plays on Tuesdays.

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La Reyna
1816 S. First * (512) 447-1280
Hours: Breakfast, lunch and dinner Sun - Thur.
Distance from Royal-Memorial: 20 minutes
Prices: Cheap-Moderate

Formerly a bakery as well as restaurant, La Reyna has been in operation for over 25 years. Serves the main staples of Tex-Mex cooking, including fajitas, chicken quesadillas, beans, rice, enchiladas. Consistently good.

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Maudie's

Cheese enchiladas are the menu favorite.

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Ninfa's

Okay, so it's a chain, but the green sauce is remarkable (tomatillos, avocado, etc.) and the food and service is above average. Spacious dining rooms make it a great choice for a large group. Otherwise it's your typical "higher end" Tex-Mex, with good fajitas and dangerous margaritas. The atmosphere is more upscale than you'd expect (especially if you've been to the original in Houston's industrial area) because before Ninfa's arrived, the location was home to two super-trendy southwestern restaurants (both of which failed within two years).

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Nuevo Leon

Frightening margaritas. Don't have more than one if you've got a long night ahead of you, or more than two under any circumstances. Looks scary from the outside, which should tip you off as to exactly how great it is.

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Jaime's

(One of) the oldest mexican restaurant(s) in town - great margaritas and queso. You can order margaritas by the pitcher (recommended). Food is marginal, but who cares after the third margarita, anyway.

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Trudy's

Delicious and potent margaritas. Great place to go if people in your group are disagreeing about type of food because in addition to typical Tex-Mex, Trudy's serves hamburgers and southern-style cooking, as well as a veggie plate for the dieters. The bar downstairs serves a limited version of the upstairs menu (burgers, salads, appetizers), and the outdoor patio is a wonderful place to waste an afternoon. Migas and other breakfast items are outstanding. Must be a graduation requirement that every UT student bring his or her parents here at some point, so don't even go near it on parents' weekend.

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Serrano's

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El Gallo
2910 S Congress Ave 78704
Hours: 11:00 am-10:30pm Tues-Sun.(I think)
Distance from DKR Memorial 10-15 minutes
Price: Moderate

My family and I have been eating at El Gallo since 74. The food has not always been as good as it is now, but few Tex Mex places in town are as good as it is now. Great Tex Mex menu. Margaritas are powerful, but the food is even better. Cheese enchiladas and fajitas are the best. For a real treat, order the Kinedy Nachos with sliced Avocado. A perfect example of how Nachos are suppossed to be made. If you don't like real Tex Mex don't bother.

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AMERICAN/DOWN HOME
Broken Spoke
3201 S. Lamar Blvd. * (512) 442-6189
Tues - Thur, 10:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m., Fri-Sat, 10:30 a.m. - 11:30 p.m.
(Dance hall open 'til 1:00 a.m. Friday and Saturday)
Distance from Royal-Memorial: 20 minutes south
Prices: Cheap to Moderate

Can't really comment on the entire menu because everyone we know has only ever eaten the chicken fried steak, which is delicious. Try getting there around 8:00 for dinner, then sticking around to dance and/or see a good country band. If you are from out of state, haven't been home to Texas in a while, or have a passle of Japanese tourists with ya', this is the place to get the Texan experience for food-beer-music, all in one stop. No cheese on the dance floor - and no "AC/DC interludes", either. Perfect place to teach your 10-year-old kid to two-step.

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Threadgill's
2 locations: Barton Springs, original on South Lamar * (512) 472-9304
Hours: Mon-Sun, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Distance from Royal-Memorial: either one's about 15 minutes
Prices: Moderate

An Austin original, Threadgill's still promotes local music (ol' Janis started her rise to stardom here). Check ahead for listings. My mom likes the fried chicken livers, which I will never touch. Your personal favorite is probably on the home style menu. The veggie plate is a great deal (5 selections from their huge list of choices for $5.95, or 3 for $4.95, free seconds) and the cajun style offerings aren't too bad. The Barton Springs location suffers a little from the newness, corporate-looking design and contrived decor but the food is the same as ever. Great family place.

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Shady Grove (run by Chuy's)
1624 Barton Springs * (512) 474-9991
Hours:
Distance from Royal-Memorial: 10 minutes
Prices: Moderate

Shady Grove is located in a former trailer park and is a great place to eat outdoors. The shade/fans for hot days and heaters for cool nights make it comfortable even when you might think twice about the weather. Gets crowded early on weekends, but you can hang out on the lawn. Some people even bring blankets and order food out there. The food is tough to describe - American, predominately, but with "trailer park" influences (it's the theme - the outdoor bathrooms are in an Airstream) like Frito pie, and Mexican/Southwestern items like tortilla-fried catfish, even a Thai chicken salad. Good burgers, cheese fries and healthy sandwiches/salads. Free acoustic concerts on Thursday nights during the spring/summer months.

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Texas Chili Parlor
1409 Lavaca * (512) 472-2828
Hours: Mon - Thur: 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 a.m.;Fri-Sat: 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 a.m. (kitchen closes at midnight); Sun: 12:00 p.m. - 12:00 a.m.
Distance from Royal-Memorial: 5 minutes, not a bad walk
Prices: Cheap to Moderate

So much more than chili (which ain't bad - dare you to try the XXX!), the Texas Chili Parlor makes great burgers. No fries though. The crowd is as mixed as they come, with politicos and Texas Monthly staffers, frat boys (former and current) and music types, rednecks and hippies, oh, you get the idea. In Austin people don't agree on much, but everyone likes a good burger and bowl of red. Good late-night place.

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Hyde Park Bar & Grill
4206 Duval St. * (512) 458-3168
Hours: Mon-Sun, 11 a.m.-12 a.m.
Distance from Royal-Memorial: 20 blocks due north on San Jacinto/Duval

With its giant fork art out front, Hyde Park is an Austin classic. The ever-expanding menu keeps the oldies but goodies like chicken fried steak and rotisserie chicken and adds new things as they come up with them. Brunch is an all-round great experience, but Hyde Park is famous for its buttermilk-soaked, batter-coated french fries. Try the Wom Kim's Peach Pudding for dessert, or walk next door to Dolce Vita for gelato/sorbet (WARNING: slightly pretentious staff at Dolce Vita). I've been a fan since college and have fond memories of spending my last $5 there to split a fried egg sandwich with a friend.

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Kerbey Lane

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Magnolia Cafe

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The Tavern

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Steakhouses
Dan McKlusky's
301 E. Sixth St. * (512) 473-8924
Hours:Mon-Sun, 5 p.m. - 10:30 p.m.
Distance from Royal-Memorial: less than 10 minutes, but parking's a problem unless you valet it
Prices: Expensive

Great steaks, been around a long time. Not as fancy as Sullivan's or Ruth's Chris, but you can still drop a ton of cash in here without trying too hard.

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Sullivan's
300 Colorado Street * (512) 495-6504
Hours: Mon-Sat, 5:30-11 p.m. (bar open til 1 a.m.), CLOSED Sunday
Distance from Royal-Memorial: 10 minutes, plus parking hassle (valet available)
Prices: Expensive. Expect to drop well over $100 for a couple (if you drink)

Expensive and somewhat pretentious, Sullivan's is a 90's version of the Ruth Chris/Morton's style steakhouse. The bar is always full and the bartenders' talent is obvious. The staff will overwhelm you with their service and the side dishes are as impressive as the steaks. You can spend an entire evening here (as well as an entire paycheck) drinking before dinner at the bar, having a long dinner, and then stepping to the "Ringside" bar attached next door for a little live jazz. Many "wanna bes" hanging out in the bar, as well as the real deal (Michael Jordan ate here). The bar rivals Mezzaluna's for playing the "I Spot a High Class Call Girl" game.

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Ray's Steakhouse
3010 Guadalupe * (512)
Hours:
Distance from Royal-Memorial: 5 minutes
Prices: Expensive

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Ruth Chris Steakhouse

As good as any other Ruth's Chris, the relocated Austin branch of this successful chain caters to the downtown business expense account crowd. The spacious, comfortable lounge is a great place to have a martini, even if you aren't staying for dinner; if you are staying, hanging out in the lounge makes the wait pleasant - attentive cocktail waitresses make you feel like the CEO of a dot com that just had its IPO, even if you're just one of the minions. Classic steakhouse menu with great side dishes and aged beef. Virtually impossible to have a bad meal here. Oddly, the dining room atmosphere isn't nearly as nice as the lounge, but who cares when you're face down in a plate of butter-broiled meat.

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ITALIAN/PIZZA
Mezzaluna
2 locations, original on Colorado between 3rd and 4th * (512) 372-8030
Hours: Mon-Fri. 11 a.m -2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m -10 p.m., Fri-Sat 5 p.m -11 p.m., CLOSED Sunday
Distance from Royal-Memorial: 10 minutes, plus parking hassle
Prices: Entrees $9-22

One of the first restaurants in the warehouse district, Mezzaluna opened its first location in 1989 to rave reviews, especially about its wine list, which is expansive. Not much has changed at this nouveau-styled, fancified-Italian hot spot, except the wait's a little shorter now (probably due to development in the area, not decline in quality). If you want some status with your insalata caprese, this is the place to go. Their calamari is great and there's always something creative on the menu. People at the bar trying way too hard to look stylish make for some fun people-watching. Don't have more than one bellini or you won't remember your dinner.

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Romeo's
1500 Barton Springs Road * (512) 476-1090
Hours:
Distance from Royal-Memorial: 10-15 minutes
Prices: Moderate

Consistently voted "Best Place to Take a Date" or something similar in the Austin Chronicle's annual reader poll, Romeo's is a welcome break from the trendy upscale Italian restaurants found downtown and in the northwest area. Too funky to accurately be described as homestyle (it is in Austin, after all), the menu nonetheless reflects a more traditional approach to Italian dining than what you'll see around town. Lasagna, angel hair pommodoro, bruschetta, pizzas . . . all are consistently delicious.

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Vespaio
1610 S. Congress * (512) 441-6100
Hours: 5:00 bar opens, restaurant open from 5:30 p.m - 11:00, closed on Monday
Distance from Royal-Memorial: 10 -15 minutes
Prices: Expensive

Like nowhere else in Austin, this upscale Italian restaurant on the South Congress funky mile represents both the good and bad in Austin's boom. Good: incredible food, creative and large menu, talented bartenders, excellent service, not as pretentious as you'd expect. Bad: a three hour wait in a crowded bar, which means you are too drunk and too cranky to maximally enjoy the eye (and stomach)-popping dinner offerings. Not kidding about the wait, honest. The problem is the size of the dining room, which (guesstimate) has about 12-15 tables. The staff is nice and apologetic about the wait, but that doesn't help when you are chewing your own arm off from frustration and hunger. Advice - try it on an off night, have appetizers in the bar, or get there at 5:00 when the bar opens so you can be in the first seating. Polenta with mushroom appetizer is fancy comfort food. If you are a seafood fan, the Cioppino (homey seafood stew in a powerful tomato-based broth) is spectacular.

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Brick Oven

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Mangia

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HAMBURGERS/SANDWICHES
Hut's

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Dirty's

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Hillbert's

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Texadelphia
3 locations, original on the Drag * (512) 480-0107
Hours: Mon-Sun, 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Distance from Royal-Memorial: long walk (west) directly across campus
Prices: Cheap, nothing more than $6

Cheesesteaks. Texadelphia serves other items, quite tasty, probably. . . but except for queso, I don't know anyone who's ever eaten anything other than a cheesesteak in one of its various forms. Some people love this place so much that when they come back to town for a visit, they eat there every day until they leave. Yes, it's really that good.

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Austin Java Co.
1206 Parkway, another location at 13376 Research
(512)322-0051
24 hours, 7 days a week

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Freebird's World Burrito
1000 E.41st Street (Hancock Center, where the HEB is) * (512) 451-5514
Sun-Thur, 11 a.m. - 10:30 p.m., Fri-Sat. 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
Distance from Royal-Memorial: 20 blocks due north
Prices: Impossible to spend more than $7 per person, no alcohol served

Long known as the only decent place to eat in College Station, the Freebird's crew opened its Austin doors in early 1999 and the line hasn't gotten shorter since. The place to go if you are both very hungry and strapped for cash. Not really "burritos", the wraps are prepared right in front of you (ala Subway) and are delicious. Don't be discouraged by the long line, it moves quickly and gives you time to contemplate the vast choices you'll be required to make instantly once it's your turn.

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Mike's Pub

Located on the northeast corner of 7th and Congress, Mike's Pub is probably the best burger joint in town. As one makes the short climb up the spiral staircase leading to the entrance, the distinct scent instantaneously sends one's olfactory senses into high gear. The place is a narrow bar-type place that serves only your basic foods. Burgers, chili, dogs, an occassional "special" of philly cheesesteaks, and beer. But the place is famous for its burgers. You get 'em served greasy, hot, and downright delicious. All burgers come open faced, and a small salad-bar type thing is set up with all the fixins. Ketchup, mustard, and mayo can be squeezed out of big plastic containers, fresh from the store. Nothing at Mike's Pub is shined up or put out to impress the customers. Here, the only emphasis is great tasting food. The place is inexpensive (cheap) and IMO ranks as the number one burger joint (even over Hut's). And, if you're lucky, you may even sit next to Earl Campbell at lunch. I did. :-)

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BBQ
Longhorn Girlie and Orangeblood's tailgate party
Football: Parking lot at San Jac and MLK 19th, green Jeep, two Longhorn flags, white tent
Baseball: Parking lot west of the field
Hours: at least 4 hours before any home game, anytime after the game
Distance from Royal-Memorial: just a short walk, even closer for baseball
Prices: a handshake

Revered by Longhorn faithful as THE place to smell, view and eat smoked meat and all the fixins, (including beer) the HornFans tailgate is a required stopover for anyone on their way to a Texas home football game. Katy and Robert have hosted their tailgate (along with many friends) for over 9 years. Stop by and say hello. Opposing team fans welcome if willing to shake hands and endure good-natured ribbing about how we're going to kick your butts. Occasional famous guest, but no bongos or bongo-players so far.

Note from LonghornGirlie: The service sucks, but the price is right.

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Earl's Restaurant on 6th

Okay, the food is only slightly above-average (except for the sausage - mmmmm!) and there is that 6th Street parking hassle, but Earl's barbeque place is a must-stop-in for any Texas fan, or any real football fan for that matter. Yes, the Heisman is there, as well as a wall full of amazing photos, jerseys and other memorabilia. The car-sized painting of Earl riding on the back of a Longhorn at the head of a cattle stampede is enough to give your Aggie friends nightmares for weeks.

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Salt Lick

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Iron Works

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Crosstown BBQ

Make this short drive to Elgin, and you won't regret it. Possibly the state's finest BBQ joint, Crosstown is located off Hwy. 290 in Elgin. Follow the road that runs parallel to the RR tracks, and you'll hit Crosstown. For those who are directionally challenged, head left off 290E after you cross over the overpass. Follow until you hit the 2nd stop sign. Take a left, and take another left at the street right before you get to the RR tracks. Voila, pure heaven awaits on the left.

The place is a dump. It's definitely not a place to impress dates, or relatives. But, if you're looking to eat great BBQ at a very low price, then you've found the place. The sausage is simply the best. Elgin hot sausage to the nth degree. The brisquet is also extremely good, so tender, you can cut it with a fork. Ribs have the meat falling off the bone, and you can occasionally get some mutton when they have it. The sauce is a liquid-type red sauce with plenty of flavor. Two-meat plates run around $6.50 or so; three-meat plates about $7.00.

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Rudy's
11570 Research Blvd. * (512) 418-9898 (2 miles north of Arboretum)
2451 Capital of Texas Hwy South * (512) 329-5554 (1 mile north of Barton Creek Mall)
Prices: cheap

The Dog loves this place! Massive quantities of awesome slow-cooked meat served on butcher paper! The sauce is incredible. Beans are great as well. It's the Dog's first stop once he arrives in Austin. It passes the top two tests for the Dog's rating: good and in large quantities. Only drawback is that it's in a gas station, but some people like that ambience. Best enjoyed outside on a nice spring day like you only have in Austin! Dog's Rating: three paws (out of five)

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Miscellaneous
Louie's 106
106 E. 6th Street (next to Driskill Hotel) *
Hours:
Distance from Royal-Memorial: 5-10 minutes, plus parking (valet available)
Prices: Entrees between $9.00 -22.00, all tapas well under $10

One of the few upscale restaurants that made this list, Louie's is a warm and comfortable mediterranean restaurant with an enormous appetizer and tapa menu and an expansive wine list. At busy times the service can be slow but is otherwise right on (attentive but not annoying). Louie's opened in the early 90's and has been going like gangbusters ever since, with good reason. Perfect for every occasion from first date to engagement, business meeting to reunion of old friends (there's a large room in the basement that can accommodate groups of 30 or so). Everyone will find something they like on the menu here, except maybe kids under 12, unless they are the kind of kids who say things like "Daddy, there's no langostinos in my paella . . . send it back!".

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Hula Hut (run by Chuy's)
3826 Lake Austin Blvd. * (512) 458-3168
Hours: sun-Thur, 11 a.m.-10p.m., Fri-Sat, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
Distance from Royal-Memorial: 10 minutes southwest
Prices: Entrees between $6-14

Hula Hut food is nothing spectacular but it's not bad either, and the outdoor deck can be a fun place to sit and enjoy the lake atmosphere (water, boats, bikinis, etc.). The food is like if your Northern Mexican cousin moved to Hawai'i and opened up a theme restaurant catering to hungry mainland Americans. Huge portions, lots of cheese, weird concepts like Mango Quesadillas, and if you like Chuy's margaritas, you'll love these. Try the regular lime margarita with a "dot" or "swirl" of mango. ¡Muy refrescante, haole boy!

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Z Tejas
2 locations, original on W. 6th St. just west of Lamar * (512)346-3506
Hours: Mon-Thur, 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri, 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-11 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
Distance from Royal-Memorial: 10-15 minutes
Prices: Entrees from $8-19

Sort-of-don't-know-what-else-to-call-it-so-we'll-say-southwestern cuisine includes margaritas, which are very good here. Expect a wait, but you can order appetizers at the new bar attached next door (opened in 1999). Catfish beignets are delicious. Specials are always unique - it's a good place to try something new. Outdoor patio is pleasant most times of the year in the evening (they have heaters), but don't even think about it in July and August until the sun is GONE.

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Eastside Café
2113 Manor Road (on the East Side of I-35) * (512) 476-5858
Hours: Mon-Thur 11 a.m. - 10 p.m., Fri. 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Sat-Sun. 10 a.m.-11 p.m.
Distance from Royal-Memorial: about two miles due east out of the east side parking lot
Prices: Moderate/Upper Moderate

Great brunch, some southwestern entrees, grow their own herbs and veggies. Menu varies with the season. Somewhat fancified but the food is tasty. Good place to take the inlaws OR a date, and kids will enjoy wandering through the garden during the inevitable hour-long wait on weekends. Call ahead for reservations if you can get your act together in time (we never can).

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