2 Lunches Midtown Needs from Austin, TX

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I spent the past two days in Austin, TX and thanks to some great recommendations from Midtown Lunch’ers I had two lunches that I think Midtown desperately needs to incorporate into its repertoire: down home Texas BBQ and good Tex-Mex. Sure, we have the Daisy May’s cart… and I like the Daisy May’s cart. But for the price of a pulled pork sandwich at Daisy May’s, I had plate of BBQ that put anything you’ll get in NYC to shame. And I’m sure you can find Tex-Mex in NYC too, but nothing like the breakfast tacos I got in Austin.

Check both lunches out, after the jump…

So, like I said, you can get BBQ from Daisy May’s, but wouldn’t you rather have your BBQ come from a place that looks like this:

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Sam’s was recommended to me by lunch’er Jeff on Twitter, and for $8.50 I got brisket, sausage, potato salad, beans, and bread. (They were out of ribs because somebody came in that morning and bought them all up.)

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Sweet tea (with free refills) and some of the best banana pudding of all time put me over the $10 limit… but whatever, it was worth it. Most locals will tell you there is no good BBQ in downtown Austin, and some will even go so far as to say you have to drive 45 minutes to Lockhart if you really want the best Texas ‘cue. But for $6, my five minute cab ride to Sam’s was worth every penny. Was the brisket the best I’ve ever eaten? Maybe not. But the atmosphere can’t be beat… and I can’t imagine anybody going and being disappointed.

I almost went back the next day for ribs, and to try their mutton (which is supposed to be amazing) but I had a date with some breakfast tacos from Juan in a Million (recommended to me by a few lunchers in the comments.)

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Another $6 cab ride from downtown was worth every penny to get far away from the craptastic tourist traps of Downtown Austin. I was tempted to try their famous “taco grande” (potato, egg, bacon and cheese), but two other creations were a bit more intriguing:

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(On the right) The Migas, which is tortilla chips with eggs, onion, tomato & cheese. (On the left) The Machacado, which was shredded beef, with egg, tomato, onion and jalapeño. Both were amazing, and with the free chips and unbelievable good salsa, my lunch was under $6. Amazing. (And before you call me out on only ordering two tacos, it’s only because a couple hours earlier I had already had two just ok breakfast tacos from the Taco Shack downtown.)

All in all it was two good days of eatin’, and I will definitely be returning to Austin again… although between now and then, it would be nice to get some of this stuff in Midtown.

Sam’s Barbecue, 2000 E 12th St, 512-478-0378
Juan in a Million, 2300 Cesar Chavez Street, 512-472-3872

25 Comments

  • I had a great meal at Sam’s until my friends and I found ourselves smack in the middle of a knife fight between drug addicts. I’m not kidding.

  • @morgan – i know you’re not kidding… it seemed like that kind of neighborhood. i guess that’s another drawback. :-)

  • Were you in Austin for the same reason that the Amateur Gourmet was? Seems like everyone was in Juan in a Million recently :P (and by “everyone” I mean “Midtown Lunch and Amateur Gourmet & Co.)

  • Great call on Juan in a Million (but it’s not exactly Tex Mex).
    I love their Huevos Rancheros there.

    But there’s definitely better BBQ than Sam’s.

    And Hill Country is a disgrace to TX BBQ, not to mention overpriced. Good attempt, but no where close to the quality/taste you get in TX.

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