Most University of Texas (UT) students are looking for good food fast, and they appreciate eateries that keep the same (odd) hours they do. Here are a few of the best options on the Drag or within walking distance of the campus.
A campus-area institution since 1977, Trudy’s is known for strong Mexican martinis and spicy migas. At dinnertime, the stuffed avocado is hard to beat. You might be hard pressed to spot the actual avocado since it’s covered in cheese, but it’s in there—and it’s delicious.
On weekend mornings, the wait can be long, but you can grab a coffee and hang out in the laid-back downstairs bar. 409 West 30th Street; (512) 477-2935
2. Clay Pit
The Clay Pit occupies a nice middle ground for students or those on a student-like budget. The prices are reasonable, and the ambiance is nice enough for a casual date. Unlike many Indian restaurants, Clay Pit has several meat-based dishes, including a Tandoori ribeye and rack of lamb. And don’t miss the Chicken Tikedar, a mildly spicy chicken breast with a yogurt-masala sauce. 1601 Guadalupe; (512) 322-5131
Seating can sometimes be hard to find in the busy shop, but you’ll understand why when you get your overstuffed sandwich. The Italian grilled cheese on sourdough bread is a thing of beauty. The spicy Reuben with pepper jack cheese is a slight twist on the standard Reuben, but it’s also a reliable crowd pleaser.
Adventurous types can go for the Ainsworth, which is a sandwich creation made on the spot with that day’s best available ingredients. 2405 Nueces Street, Suite G; (512) 482-3322
4. Taco Joint
UT students flock here for low-priced breakfast tacos on freshly made flour tortillas. The most popular lunch item is the Street Taco, made with avocado, cilantro, queso fresco, onions and grilled sirloin.
Another lunch favorite is the Crockett taco, with Gouda cheese, beef strips and peppers. Vegetarians appreciate El Tree Hugger, a taco made from a veggie burger, onions and peppers. 2807 San Jacinto Boulevard; (512) 473-8223
Located inside the Dobie Mall food court, the Burrito Factory won’t win any awards for decor, but the burritos are top-notch. The huge Burrito Suizo could serve as a meal for two; your choice of meats comes wrapped with onions, cilantro, cheese and avocado. Also highly recommended is the Torta Supreme with ham, steak and Mexican sausage (not for timid stomachs). 2025 Guadalupe Street; (512) 227-5060
Part of a local chain of 24-hour restaurants, Kerbey Lane on the Drag is beloved for their pumpkin pancakes, decadent Kerbey Queso and spicy migas. At lunch, the portobello panini makes for a hearty vegetarian meal. Meat lovers rave about the bison Frito pie, which consists of corn chips, black beans, bison and pork smothered in cheese and sour cream. 2606 Guadalupe Street; (512) 477-5717
Overstuffed pita pockets are the specialty here, and the lamb/beef combo is the most popular. It's actually possible to have a healthy, filling meal here for around $10.
The meal-sized salads are also an excellent value. Sauces range from creamy yogurt to spicy garlic. The sweet potato fries make a tasty side dish. 2530 Guadalupe Street; (512) 215-9589
8. Mary’s Cafe
Located just north of campus, Mary’s Café is primarily known for its selection of satisfying breakfast sandwiches such as the Austin Bat, which consists of eggs, avocado, tomato, light mayo and bacon on toasted ciabatta bread. For lunch, try The Mary, a sandwich stuffed with chicken salad, toasted walnuts and grapes. The restaurant also offers a small selection of smoothies, including The Olsen, a decadently rich blend of bananas, soy milk, chocolate sauce and peanut butter. 3209 Red River Street; (512) 334-9460