Second Helpings: American Cafes, Part II

Cain & Abel's

2313 Rio Grande, 476-3201 Daily, 11am-2am
This longtime UT Greek hangout in West Campus is best known as a watering hole but could soon be the neighborhood hot spot for casual dinners and late-night dining. Courtesy of Star Seeds, an impressive array of omelets, breakfast tacos, and pancake plates will surely draw crowds of hungry students after a night of studying or indulging in trash-can punch. Their new menu still offers American-style pub grub and burgers but also appetizers like calamari and shrimp cocktail, 17 different sandwiches, various salads, and pasta entrées. Some things never change though – long live Tuesday-night $1 longnecks!

Hickory Street Bar & Grille

800 Congress, 477-8968 Monday-Friday, 6:30am-10pm; Saturday-Sunday, 11am-10pm
With hungry-student prices and a central business-district location, Hickory Street Bar & Grille is jam-packed come lunchtime. The quantity-minded will want to partake of the food-bar combo, which includes unlimited trips to the soup, salad, baked potato, and ice cream bars. Hickory Street also serves above-average hamburgers and a New Orleans-style breakfast menu. If you've spent a mint scoring front-row seats at the Paramount, a preshow dinner here will put you on the road back to solvency.

Bennigan's

7604 N. I-35, 451-7953 Daily, 11am-2am 301 Barton Springs Rd., 472-7902 Daily, 11am-2am 2500 Hoppe Trail, Round Rock, 512/671-1500 Monday-Saturday, 11am-12mid; Sunday, 11am-11pm
You know a food trend has become ubiquitous when it shows up at Bennigan's, now serving "Bunless" hamburgers and grilled chicken Caesar salads for all the Atkins fanatics. The Irish-themed grill and tavern has a lengthy menu with something for just about everyone, including Fajita Chicken Quesadillas, the Monte Cristo, Chicken Fettucini Alfredo, and "Oh, Baby" Back Ribs. The health-conscious can stick to Bennigan's Health Club Stir-Fry and the Pacific Rim Pasta Salad. Wash it all down with an Irish coffee drink for dessert.
Second Helpings

Hill's Cafe

4700 S. Congress, 851-9300 Monday-Thursday, 11am-10pm; Friday-Saturday, 11am-10:30pm; Sunday, 11am-9pm
Hill's Cafe has been around off and on since 1947, and the current incarnation is operated by local radio personality "BBQ Bob Cole." They're well-known for their chicken-fried steak, and you won't leave hungry after partaking in the fried appetizers, sirloins, and barbecue.

TGI Friday's

10000 Research (at the Arboretum), 345-6410 Daily, 11am-2am (kitchen open until 1am) 111 E. Cesar Chavez at the Radisson, 478-2991

Daily, 6:30am-2am
TGI Friday's is a good place to take a large group of clients from out of town if your expense account can't handle Steak and Ale. Their extensive menu reads like War and Peace, so everyone should find something to their liking. Half-pound burgers, chicken, pasta, steaks, fajitas, wraps, and seafood are just a few of the items that could arrive at your table, adequately prepared with no surprises whatsoever.

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