Ate Days a Week

How much more food and music can you ask for in this town around this time and after?

Artz Rib House
Artz Rib House (Photo By John Anderson)

Everybody Eats When They Come to My House: American, Pub, Barbecue, Down-Home

Artz Rib House

2330 S. Lamar, 442-8283

Monday-Saturday, 11am-10pm; Sunday, noon-9pm

Though the ramshackle wood-frame building on South Lamar might not look like much from the outside, Artz is the Austin headquarters where lovers of great barbecue and bluegrass converge. On Sunday afternoons, Artz plays host to the Central Texas Bluegrass Association jam, where anyone can come and play a little, eat a little, hear a little live music, or do a little of all three. Most nights the restaurant features live folk, country, or bluegrass bands starting at around 7:30. Upcoming acts include the Seiker Band, Sarah Elizabeth Campbell, and the Grazmatics. But there's more to Artz than music: Their thick country-style pork ribs are almost legendary. Brined, smoked, and practically falling off the bone, these meaty ribs are some of the best in Texas. Excellent baby-back ribs, barbecued chicken, creamy potato salad, and peppery ranch-style beans will make you weep. This friendly, inexpensive spot is perfect for a casual late afternoon lunch or a family dinner. – R.F.

D&L's Texas Music Cafe

1321 S. Congress, 445-4441

Tuesday-Friday, 11am-11pm; Saturday, 9am-11pm, Sunday, 9am-10pm

This SoCo restaurant hosts live music Thursday through Sunday in their cute, oak-shaded patio in the back, with music usually running from 8 to 10pm. The patio has plenty of room, and customers can have dinner or snacks while listening to such "dinner-friendly" music as jazz, acoustic, and bluegrass. The bar is also out on the patio, so people can sit and have a cold beer, a cocktail, or a glass of wine and enjoy some of their Southwestern-style appetizers: Crispy Fried Oysters With Chipotle Cream Sauce ($7.25) or the Shrimp-Stuffed Jalape–os With Lime-Infused Sour Cream ($7.25). Their weekend brunch, served from 12-3pm, is excellent. I loved their eggs Ponchartrain ($8.95) served atop Cajun-spiced crabmeat and topped with chipotle bernaise, and their Bloody Mary – properly garnished with pickled okra and olives – is dynamite. This spring, they will also add live music in the patio during brunch. For the month of March they have music booked every night of the week that they are open, beginning at 7pm on weekends, and they will also host a special "South by South Austin" all-day, free music series March 16-20, with $5 food specials. – C.A.

Waterloo Ice House

600 N. Lamar, 472-5400

Hill's Cafe
Hill's Cafe (Photo By John Anderson)

Monday-Sunday, 11am-10pm; Friday-Saturday, music till 2am

Happy Hour: Monday-Friday, 4-7pm

Waterloo Ice House has been serving up good grub and good live music for a good long time now: to be precise, ever since the original location opened on Congress Avenue in 1976. The Dixie Chicks played here regularly before they hit the big time, as well as Lyle Lovett, Toni Price, and Bob Schneider, among many others. For the musically nostalgic, myriad photos of past glory days deck the walls. Once simply a bastion of beer, burgers, fries, and onion rings, Waterloo's four locations around town have expanded the fare to include hearty breakfasts of omelets, pancakes, and migas, and dinners and lunches that include fajitas, ribs, catfish, and chicken-fried steak. Casual to a fault, you order at the counter, grab your beer, and enjoy your meal at the nearest table. The North Lamar location hosts live music three nights a week: For the past five years, popular acoustic folk-rock group the Hudsons has been performing every Thursday night from 6 to 9pm. On Fridays and Saturdays from 9:30pm-2am, you can catch a wide variety of local and visiting acoustic bands. During SXSW, the North Lamar Waterloo showcases a full complement of 16 bands between Wednesday and Sunday. The Waterloo sibling location at 1106 W. 38th also hosts live music on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday nights. – MM.P.

Poodie's Hilltop Bar & Grill

22308 Hwy. 71 W. in Spicewood, 512/264-0318

Monday-Saturday, 11am-2am; Sundays, noon-2am

Poodie Locke is Willie's road manager, and rumor has it that, despite the appearance of being an Austin old-time slacker, he's a formidable power in the realm of getting things his boss wants accomplished. The rest of us can be glad that he has fashioned a minor miracle out in Spicewood, bringing back the ghosts of the original Saxon Pub, Soap Creek, and the Checkered Flag and rolling them all into one casual music venue. Besides high-quality local talents like Pauline Reese, Ray Benson, and Billy Joe Shaver, you never know who's going to show up. Merle Haggard and Toby Keith have been known to stop by, and Poodie's list of favors has allowed him to entice big names like Leon Russell to play his cozy venue. Poodie's has also been the home of some powerful emotions. Like the night Shaver was scheduled to play Poodie's on New Year's Eve, 2000. When Billy Joe's son, Eddy, died earlier that day of a heroin overdose, Willie talked Billy Joe into going on with the show, and the two of them did a guitar pull into the wee hours of the morning. People who were present still can't talk about it without tearing up. If all that music mojo isn't enough to attract you, how about the Hill Country's best burger? For $4.50, you'll taste a little bit of beef bliss, and most of the beers only cost $2. I'm glad Poodie decided to build his place in Spicewood. Any closer to Austin, and we'd have to stand in line to get in. – Wes Marshall

Hill's Austin Cafe

4700 S. Congress, 851-9300

Monday-Thursday, 11am-10pm; Friday-Saturday, 11am-10:30pm; Sunday, 11am-9pm

Hill's Austin Cafe has a definite side benefit to being owned by KVET radio personality Bob Cole: Some pretty good musicians are happy to step out on the back patio and play to much smaller audiences than they normally would. In 2004, during the warm-weather Thursday-night KVET Texas Music Series, you could have heard Jack Ingram, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Charlie Robison, Dale Watson, Jason Allen, Johnny Bush, Cory Morrow, Gary P. Nunn, Bruce Robison, Kelly Willis, or Rick Trevino, all sitting under the oaks with a delightful evening breeze. Add to that some damn fine food, good prices on beer, and an honest respect for keeping both smokers and nonsmokers happily separate, and you've got a winning combination that's better than you'd expect. Highly recommended dishes include the Smoke House Burger ($8.59) and the self-proclaimed Legendary Chicken Fried Steak ($9.99). – W.M.

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