Book Festival Recommended Daytime Eats

A guide to keeping the appetite sated while engaging the intellect

In addition to the usual purveyors of carnival fare, the Texas Book Festival adds some high-quality local vendors to the on-site lineup.

• Ruby's BBQ, a five-time "Best of Austin" winner, will be serving its hormone-free chopped-beef sandwiches, sausage wraps, and pulled pork and cole slaw sandwiches.

Award-winning Torchy's Tacos will be serving green salsa pork, grilled chicken fajita, and bean and cheese tacos.

• O's Campus Cafe, "Best of Austin" winner for Best Dining on UT Campus, has gourmet grilled-cheese sandwiches and tomato soup.

For those who might want to hit a nearby restaurant on their way to or from the Book Festival, it's important to remember that many Downtown eateries are closed during the day on weekends. Here's a list of recommended Downtown restaurants that do keep weekend daytime hours.

Little City
Little City (Photo by John Anderson)

Little City

916 Congress, 476-CITY
Saturday, 9am-11pm; Sunday, 9am-10pm

Little City is a coffee shop until 11am, serving a full range of espresso drinks and a thoughtful selection of baked goods. From 11am to 5pm, salads, soup, and fancy sandwiches are served. Generous servings and superior quality.

Texas Chili Parlor

1409 Lavaca, 472-2828
Saturday, 11am-12mid; Sunday, 11am-11pm

An Austin institution serving up burgers, enchiladas, tacos, burritos, salads, and, of course, chili, in a classic Seventies-era cosmic cowboy atmosphere.


242 W. Second, 469-9003
Saturday-Sunday, 8am-10pm

Jo's makes some of the very best coffee in town, and the Second Street location has branched out to become a full-menu cafe. Breakfast is served from 8am to noon and features pancakes, French toast, omelets, and Mexican breakfasts; the lunch menu offers salads, burgers, and hot and cold sandwiches.


401 W. Second, 494-1500
Saturday, 11am-2:30pm & 5:30pm-11pm; Sunday, 11am-2pm & 5:30-10:30pm

Lamberts is a nationally renowned restaurant, with three acclaimed chefs, and although it's known for its fancy barbecue and reinvented Texas favorites, Lamberts does a terrific Sunday brunch, as well. Reservations recommended.


310 Congress, 472-7555
Saturday, 11am-11pm; Sunday, 9am-10pm

This Congress Avenue mainstay has been serving quality coastal and interior Mexican food for 25 years and has captured 20 Restaurant Poll and six "Best of Austin" awards, for both its cuisine and its excellent bar. Jazz brunch Sunday, 11am-2:30pm.

Thai Passion

620 Congress #105, 472-1244
Daily, 11am-3am

It won the coveted Best Thai award in the 2009 Restaurant Poll, and rightly so. The delectable menu and lovely atmosphere at this spot, its original location, combine to give patrons a relaxing, delightfully authentic Thai experience.

Scholz Garten

1607 San Jacinto, 474-1958
Saturday, 11am-10pm; Sunday, 11am-6pm

Scholz is the oldest business in the state of Texas, continually open since 1866, and a beloved Austin icon. The menu features burgers, barbecue, sandwiches, German specialties, and is kid-friendly, as well.

La Condesa

400-A W. Second, 499-0300
Saturday, 11am-11pm; Sunday, 11am-10pm

La Condesa serves Neo-Mexica­no, the trendiest Mexican cuisine to be found in Mexico City. Since its opening, La Condesa has enjoyed an enthusiastic response from the public and critics alike for both magnificent decor and stellar cuisine.


419 W. Second, 474-5323
Daily, 11am-4pm

Leaf serves big, fresh tossed salads. It won the Best Salad/Dressing award in the Restaurant Poll this year and has been a consistent critics' favorite as well.

Austin Java

301 W. Second #100, 481-9400
Saturday-Sunday, 8am-5pm

Austin Java serves breakfast, espresso drinks, and baked goods, as well as burgers, pasta, sandwiches, salads, and soups. Kid-friendly and affordable.

Hickory Street Bar & Grill

800 Congress, 477-8968
Saturday, 9am-11pm; Sunday, 9am-8pm

Hickory Street has been pleasing customers with burgers, chicken-fried steaks, tacos, sandwiches, meat loaf, and steaks for 25 years and has outlasted a lot of competition. Breakfast is available as well, Saturday from 9 to 11am and Sunday from 9am to 2pm.

Saturday Only:

Marakesh Cafe & Grill

906 Congress, 476-7735
Saturday, noon-10pm; Sunday, closed

Marakesh has been a Chronicle Restaurant Poll winner for its excellent and inexpensive Mediterranean food. Hummus, falafel, eggplant, chicken and beef wrap sandwiches, and plates are served, as well as daily specials.


407 Colorado, 494-6916
Saturday, 11am-10pm; Sunday, closed

Frank serves hot dogs and cold beer, though "artisan sausages" is probably a better description. Its excellent wursts, fries, and beer are real crowd-pleasers.

Annies Cafe & Bar

319 Congress, 472-1884
Saturday, 8am-2am; Sunday, closed

Annies has grown from a very popular lunch spot located in a bank basement to a large and still-growing concern. A bakery as well as a cafe, Annies features an array of baked goods as well as full breakfast and lunch menus.

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