Eat Like an Austin Movie Star

Your guide to local restaurants featured in famous films

Austin knows two things: food and movies. Put them together, and there's a long list of diners, BBQ joints, and restaurants that have had their moment on the silver screen. So if you're going to pack on that freshman 15, why not do it where Hollywood's elites already went through the menu?

And if you make it to one of these locations, take a snap, post it on social media, and don't forget to tag us:


Oh, and don't miss our list of five filming locations to make you feel like a star.

Office Space

Mike Judge’s classic about the working blues used fictional grim chain restaurant Chotchkie’s as an escape for Peter (Ron Livingston), the archetypical white-collar drone, and the place where he meets cute with waitress Joanna (Jennifer Aniston). At the time, it was the real Cajun-themed Alligator Grill; now it’s the Austin branch of the anglophile Baker Street chain. They may not have Chotchkie’s blackened chicken special, but there are always the shepherd's pie bites.
Baker Street Pub & Grill, 3003 S. Lamar.

Dazed and Confused

Photo by John Anderson

Craving a charcoal hamburger or fried chicken and shrimp, but don’t want to get out of your car? Or just a big fan of Richard Linklater's love-hate letter to high school? Well, Top Notch is the place for you. Yes, the drive-in burger joint that was retro when Tony (Anthony Rapp) was handing out jalapeño burgers and fries while Wooderson (Matthew McConaughey) was hitting on Cynthia (Marissa Ribisi) is still there, absolutely unchanged. Opened in 1971 as a throwback to the golden age of cruising in the 1950s, it’s now become a classic car hangout and occasionally screens movies, drive-in style. Plus, don’t miss the annual Dazed and Confused celebration on April 20. And, yes, the jalapeño burger is the on the menu (just ask for a No. 76).
Top Notch Hamburgers, 7525 Burnet Rd.

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

No Texas Chain Saw Massacre, no Texas film industry, and while it’s an Austin movie, most of the locations are a drive away. So hop in the car and head to what was the famous gas station, which was a real gas station and is now the Gas Station, a horror museum, hotel, and (natch) BBQ joint. If you’re really up for a drive, then head west to Kingsland in Llano County. The house of the cannibal family was originally north of Austin in Round Rock, but in 1998 the rundown Queen Anne-style cottage was dismantled, trucked to Kingsland, rebuilt, and renovated. Now it’s a white tablecloth restaurant, specializing in American bistro food.
The Gas Station, 1073 SH 304, Bastrop.
Grand Central Cafe, 1010 King Court, Kingsland.


Photo by John Anderson

When Jon Favreau’s disgraced chef takes to the open road in a food truck to sample the best regional delicacies, of course he stops at Aaron Franklin’s near-legendary slice of slow-smoked heaven. Be warned, don’t expect to walk straight in and get four whole briskets to go – that’s the ultimate Hollywood fantasy.
Franklin Barbecue, 900 E. 11th.

Death Proof

King of the hangout movies as much as he is a specialist in quotable dialogue and viciously stylish violence, Quentin Tarantino loves his diner sequences. His half of the Grindhouse double-bill with Robert Rodriguez’s Planet Terror kicks off with brunch at the South Congress taqueria, but its most memorable scenes take place in the Texas Chili Parlor. For decades it’s been a hangout for lawmakers and lobbyists, but it has earned silver screen immortality for Vanessa Ferlito’s dance moves (just don’t ask to sit on the back patio).
Güero's Taco Bar, 1412 S. Congress.
Texas Chili Parlor, 1409 Lavaca

Miss Congeniality

Photo by John Anderson

Sadly, the Starbucks at Sixth and Congress where Sandra Bullock pulls a handbrake turn to flash her FBI badge and grab her order is closing Aug. 21, but that doesn’t mean you can’t follow in the film’s culinary footsteps. Walk across the road to the historic Driskill Hotel and make a reservation at the Driskill Grill, where Michael Caine rolled his eyes at the idea of transforming an undercover agent into a pageant winner. Currently closed for renovations, so you’ve got plenty of time to get stylish.
Driskill Hotel, 604 Brazos.

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