Second Helpings: Always -- or Almost Always -- Open
Consider these always-open or almost-always-open places the enablers in your life of depravity and self-abuse.
Katz's Deli and Bar618 W. Sixth, 472-2037
At this popular eatery, "Katz's Never Kloses" means you can get New York kosher-style deli food (like matzo-ball soup, blintzes, kasha, and latkes) for breakfast or whenever, not to mention omelets and other egg dishes, half-pound burgers, hot and cold deli sandwiches, soups, salad platters, and desserts.
Denny's/Denny's Classic Diner
Denny's still packs in the late-night crowd. The Moons Over My Hammy ham-and-egg sandwich is worth ordering just for the pleasure of saying it. Denny's lunch/dinner menu includes burgers, sandwiches, steaks, and a decadent fried appetizer basket that includes onion rings, chicken strips, and cheese sticks with marinara dipping sauce.
3704 Kerbey Ln., 451-1436
Kerbey Lane Cafe
2700 S. Lamar, 445-4451
12602 Research, 258-7757
2606 Guadalupe, 477-5717
If there is such a thing as Austin-style dining, Kerbey Lane has been instrumental in defining it. Their trademark gingerbread pancakes and migas pack in the Sunday brunch minions, while the after-club crowd chows down on enchiladas, burgers, sandwiches, and salads with locally grown produce. Kerbey Lane's black-bean-and-roasted-chicken tacos are a particularly hearty find for the budget-minded.
2304 Lake Austin Blvd., 478-8945
1920 S. Congress, 445-0000
This venerable Austin variation on the coffee shop serves great breakfast tacos, French toast, and omelets, along with fresh-squeezed orange juice and strong joe. The economical among us will appreciate Magnolia's wide selection of inexpensive grilled potato dishes and breakfast tacos. The menu also features a number of vegetarian items, including Magnolia Mud, a must for every visit.
International House of Pancakes
IHOP and Waffle House (the latter of which Austin sorely lacks) are two of the only national sit-down chain restaurants that don't make you feel like you've stumbled into some focus group-tested concept. IHOP's food is simple, but the pancakes are always good and the coffeepot is always bottomless. They make huge omelets, and who can resist ordering the Rooty Tooty Fresh and Fruity breakfast? If you're not in the mood for breakfast, IHOP also serves burgers, sandwiches, steaks, and pot roast.
807 Camino La Costa, 452-0450
Hwy. 183 at Burnet Road, 837-1119
Spicewood Springs at Hwy. 183, 250-9881
Hwy. 290 at Hwy. 71, Oak Hill, 288-2408
The funny-looking cowboy mascot on the welcome mat is the first sign that you've wandered into a regional coffee-shop chain whose aesthetic is permanently mired somewhere in Reagan's first term. Jim's breakfast fare (served anytime) includes most of the standards, along with decent breakfast tacos. For lunch or dinner, try the chiliburger with fries or the chicken-fried steak plate. That and several cups of coffee will have you feeling whole again.
3105 N. I-35, 478-7107
Star Seeds Cafe
Funky, dim, smoky, and spacey, this uniquely Austin-style diner with a galactic theme serves up cosmic egg dishes, tacos, burgers, and pancakes for night owls and early birds for cheap. In addition to standard truck-stop fare, there are numerous satisfying vegetarian dishes available.
1924 S. First, 443-6369
La Mexicana Bakery and Taqueria
This lively South Austin venue offers inexpensive pan dulces, empanadas, and a huge selection of Mexican-style cookies in rainbow colors. They also supply breakfast tacos, as well as tortas (sandwiches) and a variety of meat-filled tacos.
Al Pastor Restaurant and Taco Stand1911 E. Riverside, 442-8402
Taco stand hours: Friday-Saturday, 6pm-3:30am
Till late on weekend nights, hungry club patrons, restaurant workers, families, and neighbors line up at this rustic open-air stand all evening long, clamoring for tacos and other spicy dishes served on paper trays. The food is tasty and substantial, priced to please.
2000 E. 12th, 478-0378
This Eastside institution has long been an obligatory stop for hungry music fans after the clubs close. Sam's serves up wonderful slow-smoked brisket, chicken, mutton, and succulent hot sausage (made on the premises) topped with a spicy, tomato-based barbecue sauce.
2110 E. Riverside, 244-2446
This little spot is a popular place on East Riverside, buzzing with insomniacs, night shifters, and partiers after club-closing time. The menu features such homemade mix-n-match fillings as beef or chicken fajitas, beef brains, barbacoa, tongue, al pastor, and avocado stuffed inside a sope, taco, torta, or on top of a tostada.
"Second Helpings" offers tasty, bite-sized restaurant listings compiled from new and previous reviews, guides, and poll results. This week's entries were updated by Erin Mosow. For quick, reliable info about Austin eateries, check here.