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San Antonio Restaurant/Dining Suggestions 2015

PurpleSkyPurpleSky Registered User regular
edited September 2014 in PAX South
**
Update: Link to a spreadsheet with suggestions that people have mentioned so far can be found here:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8J2zaWDtgGpZTlnWVd4VUozTzQ/edit?usp=sharing

This will be periodically updated over time as more suggestions are made.
**

This thread was a helpful one over on the Prime and East forums so I wanted to get one started for SA. Since so many of us will be new to SA (myself included) I'm hoping this will be quite useful. I will have a Google doc detailing everything that is posted in this OP soon. Also when making a suggestion please give specific restaurants, not just general areas. For now I will start this off with what was posted by gunadic in the FAQ thread.

Whataburger: Open 24 Hours. Late night(after 11)/breakfast? Get the Honeybutter Chicken Biscuit.
- River Center Food Court: Your typical mall food court. On the Riverwalk, great for people watching and listening to Pan Pipes.
- Alamo Street Eat Bar: Food Truck park, good beer selection, 10 minute walk from the convention center
- Tre Trattoria: Some of the best Italian/Pasta in the city.
- The Monterrey: American Gastropub in Southtown, great outdoor seating area.
- Fritte: Belgian Food, also in Southtown.
- Hot Joy: Hipster Asian Fusion. Really, really good.
- The Beethoven: A side of San Antonio most people never see, or even think about. Old school German beer garden in Southtown.

Further afield:
- The Pearl Brewery: Walk up the riverwalk towards the Museum Reach. Big new complex that has a number of restaurants: La Glora (Mexican Streetfood), The Granary (Micro-brewery and modern BBQ), Green (Vegetarian, closed Saturdays) and more places I haven't had a chance to try. Also has a Farmers Market on Saturdays if you're into that.
- Taco Taco Cafe: Local institution on Hildebrand. Parking is a bit of a pain, but they've got my favorite breakfast tacos in the city (I'm a Trinity kid, so sue me.)
- Central Market: Upscale Grocery store with great prepared foods. Prices for normal grocery stuff also fairly reasonable.

PurpleSky on
gunadic
«134

Posts

  • AlleykatdenAlleykatden Registered User regular
    Mi Tierra Cafe y Panaderia - a little over a mile from the convention center. It's very touristy mexican food, it isn't cheap, but we make it a general rule to bring out of town guests there for dinner at least once because its an experience in and of itself to go there. Food is really good too so that helps.

    TimDisaster
  • helen0rzhelen0rz Registered User regular
    I would like to add the the jalapeño cheddar biscuit at whataburger is delicious!! Also if you're someone who's never had sweet tea the good old southern way, do try!

    i2hUuzS.png
    TimDisaster
  • KylsixKylsix The Redneck Gamer San Antonio, TXRegistered User new member
    I would add Zinc to that list. It's a bit of a walk, but still downtown and you can get pretty good food for around $10.

  • WuShockWuShock Lawful Good South BrownbackistanRegistered User regular
    I know it's a chain, and I know it's pricey, but there's a Fogo de Chao literally across the street from the Convention Center. When you just gotta get your grilled meats on en masse, there are few places better.

    (Oh, and protip: you get the exact same spread for lunch as you do for dinner, and it's half the price.)

    Twixxo wrote:
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    He is the very bestest
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  • TofystedethTofystedeth veni, veneri, vamoosi Registered User regular
    God I haven't eaten at a Whatburger in like 15 years. Every time we pass by one when driving to Dallas I keep telling my wife we've gotta hit one up some time so she can get the true Texas experience. Maybe a con grub run will be the perfect time.

    Thanks for this thread, since I've been to SA once with my family when I was in middle school, and remember pretty much nothing about it except we somehow managed to not go to the Alamo.

    steam_sig.png
  • gunadicgunadic Registered User regular
    Mi Tierra Cafe y Panaderia - a little over a mile from the convention center. It's very touristy mexican food, it isn't cheap, but we make it a general rule to bring out of town guests there for dinner at least once because its an experience in and of itself to go there. Food is really good too so that helps.

    Mi Tierra is good for tourists, but I'd take Rosario's over them any day.

  • KoToKoTo Monterrey, MéxicoRegistered User regular
    gunadic wrote: »
    Mi Tierra Cafe y Panaderia - a little over a mile from the convention center. It's very touristy mexican food, it isn't cheap, but we make it a general rule to bring out of town guests there for dinner at least once because its an experience in and of itself to go there. Food is really good too so that helps.

    Mi Tierra is good for tourists, but I'd take Rosario's over them any day.

    I'm coming from Mexico, and I've been pretty curious to know what is "Mexican food" in the US (to see if it is somewhat true to the mexican roots or just tryhards). However is Rosario's near the downtown or where is it located??

    GarcMatt
  • helen0rzhelen0rz Registered User regular
    KoTo wrote: »
    gunadic wrote: »
    Mi Tierra Cafe y Panaderia - a little over a mile from the convention center. It's very touristy mexican food, it isn't cheap, but we make it a general rule to bring out of town guests there for dinner at least once because its an experience in and of itself to go there. Food is really good too so that helps.

    Mi Tierra is good for tourists, but I'd take Rosario's over them any day.

    I'm coming from Mexico, and I've been pretty curious to know what is "Mexican food" in the US (to see if it is somewhat true to the mexican roots or just tryhards). However is Rosario's near the downtown or where is it located??

    Dallas here. Just letting you know that there are Mexican food here that you're probably used to, but at restaurants you're going to see Tex-Mex, which is quite different from traditional Mexican food. A difference I think would be the tacos that you're used to would be considered as "street tacos" here I think, and it's different from a tex-mex taco (flour tortillas, meat, cheese, pico, and lettuce; I think those are the basic ingredients). I would say give Tex-Mex a shot though! still good, just different!

    Everyone else, feel free to correct me if I'm wrong with the above statement

    i2hUuzS.png
  • BlargdonBlargdon Deadly Handsome Man houstonRegistered User regular
    edited July 2014
    helen0rz wrote: »
    I would say give Tex-Mex a shot though! still good, just different!

    Everyone else, feel free to correct me if I'm wrong with the above statement

    Understatement.

    "Oh, you are used to using dial-up. Now they have this gigabit thing. Still good, just different." :smiley:

    zerzhul on
  • YoungFreyYoungFrey Registered User regular
    edited July 2014
    KoTo wrote: »
    I'm coming from Mexico, and I've been pretty curious to know what is "Mexican food" in the US (to see if it is somewhat true to the mexican roots or just tryhards). However is Rosario's near the downtown or where is it located??

    Where in Mexico? The food you get in the US tends to be strongly influenced by the state it's closest too. Arizona will resemble Sonoran food while New Mexico is more like Chihuahua. I can only speak for Tucson (and even that I'm no expert), and the range of Mexican food varies wildly.

    YoungFrey on
  • DifinitusDifinitus Austin, TXRegistered User regular
    If you have never been to Texas, please experience Whataburger. Also, everything at the Riverwalk is going to be mildly expensive because it's a popular tourist destination, so prepare to bring a little bit of extra cash to eat.

    If you want more traditional Mexican food instead of Tex Mex and located downtown: Rosario's.

    Surprised no one has mentioned the Tower of Americas restaurant yet. Spoiler... You're paying for the view.

    My First PAX: Prime 2014
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  • gunadicgunadic Registered User regular
    KoTo wrote: »
    I'm coming from Mexico, and I've been pretty curious to know what is "Mexican food" in the US (to see if it is somewhat true to the mexican roots or just tryhards). However is Rosario's near the downtown or where is it located??

    Rosario's is pretty close to downtown, maybe a 10 minute walk each way. There is a lot of really good food along Alamo and S. St. Marys St just south of Downtown. The entire Southtown neighborhood is worth a stroll, I think. Lots of old big houses and giant trees. Used to be a big German neighborhood back in the day.

    Hmm, well "Mexican Food" in Texas tends to be either Tex-Mex or Norteño food. Theres a lot of money from Tamualipas and Nuevo Leon all over South Texas (although those influences are more prevalent further south towards the Valley). So the barbacoa tends to be Beef, and you'll find cabrito on the menu in a couple of places. Of course, the restaurants run the gamut from hole-in-the wall taco joints to more high-end small plates places.

  • helen0rzhelen0rz Registered User regular
    Blargdon wrote: »
    helen0rz wrote: »
    I would say give Tex-Mex a shot though! still good, just different!

    Everyone else, feel free to correct me if I'm wrong with the above statement

    Understatement.

    "Oh, you are used to using dial-up. Now they have this gigabit thing. Still good, just different." :smiley:

    Well, I meant like it's not a bad thing, still worth the try if they've never tried it. It's like I'm Asian, and while I don't prefer Americanized Chinese food, I would still eat it/have people try it if say my relatives from other country have never tried it.

    It was just a suggestion, while it's terrible analogy, I think it's quite interesting how "mexican" food here in the states vary state to state and what not.

    i2hUuzS.png
  • JensunamiJensunami Registered User regular
    I live here so I feel like for foodies with cars or willing to take taxi's I can offer a few rec's.

    Near PAX: The Esquire Tavern is my go-to place to eat downtown. I haven't been to Luke's yet but Ive heard it is pretty good.

    The Pearl has lots of great places, The Granary and Cured being my two favorite. Green is a great vegetarian place but they are closed on Saturdays so plan accordingly.

    TimDisaster
  • GhostDanGhostDan Registered User regular
    There's also a ruth's chris right there. Excellent steak, although pricey and more 'upclass' atmosphere (I'm basing this off the ones local to me)


  • ShionShion Queen of the Whiteboard Markers Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited July 2014
    This will be my first time in Texas, coming from Seattle, WA. I was wondering if any locals happen to know of a good place for BBQ within walking or busing distance from the convention center. It would be a shame to go to Texas and not eat some good BBQd meat!

    Also, whats do the laws look like for drinking establishments? Do you have to be 21 to enter (like in Washington) or do you only have to be 21 to order a drink (like in California)?

    Shion on
    KoTo
  • joshofalltradesjoshofalltrades 地獄のようにかわいい あなたは嫉妬深いかRegistered User regular
    Going to go against the flow here and say that Whataburger is not really as amazing as advertised. If you have a choice between Dairy Queen or Whataburger, DQ every time because Blizzards.

    ジェイムズ・ブラウンの好きな色は何ですか?
    青!
    zerzhulPineappleChuck
  • orthancstoneorthancstone TexasRegistered User regular
    Well, DQ folks like to sleep so that's one knock against it :(

    PAX South 2018 - Jan 12-14!
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  • KoToKoTo Monterrey, MéxicoRegistered User regular
    gunadic wrote: »
    KoTo wrote: »
    I'm coming from Mexico, and I've been pretty curious to know what is "Mexican food" in the US (to see if it is somewhat true to the mexican roots or just tryhards). However is Rosario's near the downtown or where is it located??

    Rosario's is pretty close to downtown, maybe a 10 minute walk each way. There is a lot of really good food along Alamo and S. St. Marys St just south of Downtown. The entire Southtown neighborhood is worth a stroll, I think. Lots of old big houses and giant trees. Used to be a big German neighborhood back in the day.

    Hmm, well "Mexican Food" in Texas tends to be either Tex-Mex or Norteño food. Theres a lot of money from Tamualipas and Nuevo Leon all over South Texas (although those influences are more prevalent further south towards the Valley). So the barbacoa tends to be Beef, and you'll find cabrito on the menu in a couple of places. Of course, the restaurants run the gamut from hole-in-the wall taco joints to more high-end small plates places.

    Well I'm from Nuevo León so from what you say I can expect something similar to what you can find here, but it'd be awesome if they have something more centric. Anyways!
    Going to go against the flow here and say that Whataburger is not really as amazing as advertised. If you have a choice between Dairy Queen or Whataburger, DQ every time because Blizzards.

    Why not both? Eat a burger, then go to DQ for a dessert!

    joshofalltrades
  • joshofalltradesjoshofalltrades 地獄のようにかわいい あなたは嫉妬深いかRegistered User regular
    KoTo wrote: »
    Going to go against the flow here and say that Whataburger is not really as amazing as advertised. If you have a choice between Dairy Queen or Whataburger, DQ every time because Blizzards.

    Why not both? Eat a burger, then go to DQ for a dessert!

    We can be friends.

    ジェイムズ・ブラウンの好きな色は何ですか?
    青!
    PineappleChuck
  • BlargdonBlargdon Deadly Handsome Man houstonRegistered User regular
    Shion wrote: »
    This will be my first time in Texas, coming from Seattle, WA. I was wondering if any locals happen to know of a good place for BBQ within walking or busing distance from the convention center. It would be a shame to go to Texas and not eat some good BBQd meat!

    I'd just like to say that BBQ in Texas is like wine. Everyone has preferences and there are numerous styles and influences. So, not only would it be a shame to come to SA and not eat BBQ, it would also be a shame to only eat at one place. I suggest trying several places and figuring out what types of BBQ you like best.

    Shion
  • ShionShion Queen of the Whiteboard Markers Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    Blargdon wrote: »
    Shion wrote: »
    This will be my first time in Texas, coming from Seattle, WA. I was wondering if any locals happen to know of a good place for BBQ within walking or busing distance from the convention center. It would be a shame to go to Texas and not eat some good BBQd meat!

    I'd just like to say that BBQ in Texas is like wine. Everyone has preferences and there are numerous styles and influences. So, not only would it be a shame to come to SA and not eat BBQ, it would also be a shame to only eat at one place. I suggest trying several places and figuring out what types of BBQ you like best.

    Thank you for your honest response! If it were up to me I would probably eat 3 meals a day of nothing but BBQ from Thursday evening to Sunday morning, gain 60lbs, and raise my cholesterol, but I think the people I'm bringing with me would complain eating that much delicious meat. I guess I'm wondering if there is one "you-have-to-go-here-and-eat-this" BBQ place.

  • orthancstoneorthancstone TexasRegistered User regular
    The life-altering stuff is not in SA :(

    Additionally, you'll kill an entire morning trying to get Franklin.

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  • Psychotic OnePsychotic One The Lord of No Pants Parts UnknownRegistered User regular
    KoTo wrote: »
    Going to go against the flow here and say that Whataburger is not really as amazing as advertised. If you have a choice between Dairy Queen or Whataburger, DQ every time because Blizzards.

    Why not both? Eat a burger, then go to DQ for a dessert!

    We can be friends.

    It really is the best of both worlds. I'm in AZ and have the option of Whataburger and such. But I also got 5 Guys and In and Out so its not the best burger in town. But damn if you want something fast and 24 hour. Its definitely the better choice.

  • YoungFreyYoungFrey Registered User regular
    KoTo wrote: »
    Going to go against the flow here and say that Whataburger is not really as amazing as advertised. If you have a choice between Dairy Queen or Whataburger, DQ every time because Blizzards.

    Why not both? Eat a burger, then go to DQ for a dessert!

    We can be friends.

    It really is the best of both worlds. I'm in AZ and have the option of Whataburger and such. But I also got 5 Guys and In and Out so its not the best burger in town. But damn if you want something fast and 24 hour. Its definitely the better choice.
    In-N-Out is putting in a branch in San Antonio. But it's not open yet. Fortunately PAX is months away, so it might be by then.

  • Jonbo298Jonbo298 IowaRegistered User new member
    YoungFrey wrote: »
    KoTo wrote: »
    Going to go against the flow here and say that Whataburger is not really as amazing as advertised. If you have a choice between Dairy Queen or Whataburger, DQ every time because Blizzards.

    Why not both? Eat a burger, then go to DQ for a dessert!

    We can be friends.

    It really is the best of both worlds. I'm in AZ and have the option of Whataburger and such. But I also got 5 Guys and In and Out so its not the best burger in town. But damn if you want something fast and 24 hour. Its definitely the better choice.
    In-N-Out is putting in a branch in San Antonio. But it's not open yet. Fortunately PAX is months away, so it might be by then.

    According to this they hope to be open by October 22nd. Never had In N Out but hearing all the glorious reviews makes me with they'd get to Iowa.

    http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local/communities/northeast/article/Demolition-begins-to-clear-land-for-new-In-N-Out-5556560.php

  • TimDisasterTimDisaster San AntonioRegistered User regular
    I'm going to spend some time getting a good list of places in the area.

    I agree with most of recommendations listed.

    Barbarao, Luxury and Granary are definitely my go to places in t he downtown area.

    Twitter: TimDisaster PSN: TimDisaster XBL: xTimDISASTERx
    Wickersham
  • JensunamiJensunami Registered User regular
    The only BBQ place downtown I can think of is County Line which is just eh. The drive to Austin and the half a day wait at Franklin is fine if you have time for it but be ready to get your butt up super early. And everyone disagrees where the best BBQ in town is. My current place is The Big Bib

    I will say that Uber recently came to SA and while they are still fighting with the local cab companies, they might be a good option to check out places that are not near the convention center.

  • t3hasiant3hasian HoustonRegistered User new member
    gunadic wrote: »
    Mi Tierra Cafe y Panaderia - a little over a mile from the convention center. It's very touristy mexican food, it isn't cheap, but we make it a general rule to bring out of town guests there for dinner at least once because its an experience in and of itself to go there. Food is really good too so that helps.

    Mi Tierra is good for tourists, but I'd take Rosario's over them any day.

    Mi Tierra's has an hour+ wait during prime hours. Though I would like to point out to our "tourist" friends that they are a 24-hour establishment so if you get really late night munchies, hit them up! (never been to Rosario's I'll add that to my list)

  • WuShockWuShock Lawful Good South BrownbackistanRegistered User regular
    KoTo wrote: »
    gunadic wrote: »
    KoTo wrote: »
    I'm coming from Mexico, and I've been pretty curious to know what is "Mexican food" in the US (to see if it is somewhat true to the mexican roots or just tryhards). However is Rosario's near the downtown or where is it located??

    Rosario's is pretty close to downtown, maybe a 10 minute walk each way. There is a lot of really good food along Alamo and S. St. Marys St just south of Downtown. The entire Southtown neighborhood is worth a stroll, I think. Lots of old big houses and giant trees. Used to be a big German neighborhood back in the day.

    Hmm, well "Mexican Food" in Texas tends to be either Tex-Mex or Norteño food. Theres a lot of money from Tamualipas and Nuevo Leon all over South Texas (although those influences are more prevalent further south towards the Valley). So the barbacoa tends to be Beef, and you'll find cabrito on the menu in a couple of places. Of course, the restaurants run the gamut from hole-in-the wall taco joints to more high-end small plates places.

    Well I'm from Nuevo León so from what you say I can expect something similar to what you can find here, but it'd be awesome if they have something more centric. Anyways!
    Going to go against the flow here and say that Whataburger is not really as amazing as advertised. If you have a choice between Dairy Queen or Whataburger, DQ every time because Blizzards.

    Why not both? Eat a burger, then go to Freddy's for a dessert!

    Fixed that for ya. ;)

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    He is the very bestest
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  • YoungFreyYoungFrey Registered User regular
    edited July 2014
    I took all the previously posted food places and put them in a Google Docs. I'll try to keep up with new places as people post them. (https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1AOPhRoONqSO39ER4yBlcUud5CEPcMVqbmxAw-2buhFM/edit?usp=sharing)

    I don't live in San Antonio and have eaten at zero of these places, so I'm just organizing info other people provide in a way I thought people might find useful both before and during PAX. Also I couldn't find information on a couple places so they are blank.

    YoungFrey on
  • DifinitusDifinitus Austin, TXRegistered User regular
    Honestly, if we all really wanted Franklin's we could make it happen.

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  • orthancstoneorthancstone TexasRegistered User regular
    All this BBQ talk makes me think I should stop by Pecan Lodge (in Dallas) on the way down. :D

    I could easily pack a cooler full of meat.

    (No, I'm not sharing :P .)

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  • WickershamWickersham Registered User regular
    This is an expanded version of the write-up I did for the main thread.Priority has been given to venues that offer a unique experience. Entries in bold lie within a short walk or car ride of the convention. It may be assumed that anything not near the con that still gets listed, is worth a special trip.

    Where’s the best place to eat if:

    I hitchhiked here and I’m sleeping on an abandoned sofa in an alley? (>$10)
    Taco Haven, Whataburger, Taco Cabana, Taco Taco Cafe

    I’m budget-conscious, but I have money to spend? ($10-$25)
    Mi Tierra, Alamo Street Eat Bar, La Gloria, Chris Madrid’s

    Come on, it’s PAX, I’m willing to splurge a little! ($25-$75)
    The Boiler House, Stella Public House, The Monterey, The Granary (Dinner), Barbaro

    I want to pull out all the stops. Money is no object. ($75+)
    Restaurant Gwendolyn, Bohanan’s

    This is Texas. Where’s the barbecue I hear so much about?
    The Granary (lunch), Two Bros. BBQ, Smoke Shack.
    (However, if you’re coming to San Antonio a day or two before PAX, or if you’re staying a day or two after, I strongly recommend driving to Austin and hitting up Franklin’s Barbecue. It’s the best in Texas [and therefore the world] by a long shot. Between the drive, the wait, and actually eating your food you’re looking at a half-day commitment, but it’s well worth it.)

    Are there any other local delicacies?
    New York has the bagel, New Orleans has the beignet, and San Antonio has the breakfast taco. Taquerias are everywhere, and as with a lot of ethnic foods, there is zero correlation between how good a place looks and how good the food is. I recommend Taco Haven and, if you’re willing to leave the convention area, Taco Taco.

    Alright, the con’s over for the day and I’m ready to tie one on. Where can I find:

    A cheap-ass beer?
    Leapin Lizards, Durty Nelly’s, Bar America

    A good glass of wine?
    The Monterey, The Boiler House, Zinc Bistro

    A quality microbrew?
    Stella Public House, The Monterey, Freetail Brewing, Big Hops Growler Station

    A kickass cocktail?
    1919, The Brooklynite, The Esquire Tavern, TBA (not to be announced, the name of the actual bar is TBA)

    A geek bar?
    Slackers

    A good happy hour?
    Luke, Liberty Bar, Cured

    A laid-back Ice House?
    La Tuna, The Friendly Spot

    Dear God, I overdid it last night. Where can I nurse this hangover?
    The Guenther House, Taco Haven, The Fruteria, El Milagrito

    On the subject of drinks, I want to mention that the weekend before the convention is the San Antonio Cocktail Conference. There are a ton of events to suit all budgets, but the crown jewel in my opinion is the tasting room on Saturday. It's an enormous ballroom filled to capacity with distillers, all of whom are giving out free samples (if not entire cocktails) and swag. The best part is admission is free if you purchased a ticket to any other conference event. If you're able to make it for both weekends, I highly recommend it.

    BlargdonLexiconGrrlPineappleChuckpeetsnack
  • WickershamWickersham Registered User regular
    Jensunami wrote: »
    The only BBQ place downtown I can think of is County Line which is just eh. The drive to Austin and the half a day wait at Franklin is fine if you have time for it but be ready to get your butt up super early. And everyone disagrees where the best BBQ in town is. My current place is The Big Bib

    The Granary gets my vote. It's in the Pearl, relatively close to the con.

  • orthancstoneorthancstone TexasRegistered User regular
    Wickersham wrote: »
    A quality microbrew?
    Stella Public House, The Monterey, Freetail Brewing, Big Hops Growler Station

    I haven't kept up on it, but I know Freetail was hoping to have their new location open this year. It will be much more accessible than the Outer Loop.

    Blue Star is also very accessible.

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  • xaldin87xaldin87 Gaymer SaTxRegistered User regular
    There is also Green for those who are vegetarian. They have a great breakfast menu on sundays, and I am a carnivore.
    Also, Mad Hatters as well.

    San Antonio truly is an underated city when it comes to food. We have so many options.

    The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don't always soften the bad things, but vice-versa, the bad things don't necessarily spoil the good things and make them unimportant.

  • BrokeTVBrokeTV Registered User new member
    edited July 2014
    If you're not willing to wait in line for 8 hours for Franklin's in Austin, there is also amazing BBQ in Lockhart. Black's BBQ is my personal favorite.

    And, Rosarios over Mi Tierra (overpriced) any day.

    BrokeTV on
  • jmb83jmb83 Registered User regular
    I don't know what's good, but I do know that I will stay away from that McDonald's in the area. Apparently, according to reviews, they have had stabbings and drug use on the second floor of that establishment. So parents, if your kids demand McDonald's, go to a further location or grab the food and go back to your hotel room to eat.

  • docpndadocpnda Registered User new member
    Y'all forgot Taco Cabana.

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