Fantastic Fest 2011: Top 5 Places to Stuff Your Face Near The Festival

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One of the joys of Fantastic Fest is that its attendees come from near and far to do essentially the same thing they’d be doing at home: watch kickass genre flicks and sit in a dark room in their underwear eating fried food. Okay, well, maybe not the underwear part. But say it’s day six and you can’t possibly stomach the thought of another basket of fried pickles. Or maybe you’re still a little shaken by the awkward encounter with the fanboy seated next to you when you ordered a shake?

No sir you do not need to know what a five-dollar milk shake tastes like! 

Well I encourage anyone looking to mix things up a bit to explore some of the great dining options Austin has to offer. And here are five surefire restaurant choices located within Austin’s happenin’ 78704 (which is where the Draft House is located for the uninitiated) for those willing to venture out from the safety of the theater. 

Home Slice Pizza 

Alamo pizzas are a staple of any Fantastic Fest diet (try the “Wild at Artichoke Hearts” named for one of my least favorite films by one of my favorite directors). But once you’ve exhausted those options head on down to Home Slice. 

Home Slice, one of Austin’s most beloved pizza kitchens, has been a hit since it opened in 2005. Situated on a busy stretch of South Congress (also known as SoCo) the restaurant faithfully serves New York style pizza to hungry Austinites and homesick New Yorkers. And, as an added bonus the servers are generally more chipper than their NY counterparts. 

Home Slice Pizza

1415 South Congress Avenue
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 444-7437

Kerbey Lane 

Ah yes, the old standby. Around since the 80s and open 24 hours a day, Kerbey Lane (Kerbey for short) has been my go-to late night eatery since I was old enough to sneak out of the house. Their gingerbread pancakes are a popular menu item and a perfect food to soak up your tears after you’ve been booed off the stage at the Chaos Reigns Karaoke Party for not knowing the words to The Proclaimer’s 500 Miles. Mmm, good song . . . good pancakes. 

Tip: The tomato pie, available now on the seasonal menu is an annual favorite. 

2700 South Lamar Boulevard

Austin, TX 78704

(512) 445-4451  


odd duck FARM TO TRAILER is not your regular food trailer. Parked in an open lot next to Gourdough’s doughnut trailer(also delicious) and Austin Brevita coffee stand, odd duck is a shining example of Austin’s vibrant and thriving food trailer scene. As the name would suggest, odd duck FARM TO TRAILER is a farm-to-table, or in this case farm-to-trailer, dining experience. All the food is purchased daily and locally sourced by owner and chef Bryce Gilmore.

The food is rich, rustic, full of big bold flavors. The portions, however, are more diminutive. Plan on ordering more than one thing if you go hungry. $20 dollars should net you 2-3 items. The menu revolves daily so be adventurous and enjoy.

Tip: Get there early if you want to choose from the full menu. Once they’re out of a menu item that’s it for the day.

1219 South Lamar Boulevard
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 695-6922

Torchy’s Tacos

Someone once told me that Austin runs on breakfast tacos and I’m inclined to believe them. No matter where you are in Austin you’re never more than a block from a restaurant, taqueria, or trailer selling tacos. You know that joke about the Starbucks across from another Starbucks? Well it’s like that in Austin . . . but with tacos.

Torchy’s emerges at the top of the pack among Austin’s best taco joints. Their Fried Avocado Taco has become something of a legend around town. (It helps to note that in Texas we fry everything; ask the right carny at the State Fair and even deep fried butteris possible.)

Their green chile queso is another winner on the menu. In fact, I’d argue it’s one of the best items on it. Add to that the new Maine Root soda fountains with Dublin Doctor Pepper and cream soda on tap and you’ve got a hit.

1311 South 1st Street

Austin, TX 78704

(512) 366-0537


Trying to impress the cute girl with acne scars you met at the screening of the latest tokusatsu epic? Well if money is no object, head on over Uchi and enjoy a Shag roll while you discuss your favorite kaiju. (By the way, if she says Gigan you have a winner on your hands.)

Serving contemporary Japanese and seafood shipped daily from Tokyo, Uchi is the premier sushi restaurant in Austin. Consistently rated number one in the Chronicle’s readers poll, the restaurant has received write-ups in the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post among others. Executive chef Tyson Cole was recently awarded Best Chef Southwest at the 2011 James Beard Awards, and if you’re a Top Chef fan you’ll know that’s no small feat.


801 South Lamar Boulevard
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 916-4808

FantsticFest runs from September 22nd – 29th – visit their official website.

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