The early crowd has it so good: Happy Hours, short wait times, and patio seating as the sun goes down. But when you’re hungry after 10pm, it’s not always as easy. You start to wonder what’s still open, where you can find good food, and how much you’ll be glared at for wearing a Santa costume in February at 1:30am. It’s ok, we’ve all been there and Austin is full of 24-hour places, food trucks, and late night kitchens that won’t judge you. These are some of our favorites.
the late-night spots
Open Until: 3am Fri-Sat, 11pm Sun-Thurs
Home Slice is one of the fastest and easiest late night options in Austin. Their to-go window on South Congress stays open late with slices that are just as good at 2am as they are at 2pm (or maybe even a little better). Don’t question your decision to stop by on your way home from a bar hopping - it’s the same choice you’d make in broad daylight, except maybe you’d reconsider how loud you’re talking.
Open Until: 24 Hours
With two locations near downtown, this is your base camp for recovery after a late night out. The MagMud queso is one of the best things you can eat in town. Also, Obama personally endorsed their pancakes, and you get a short stack of them for an extra $3 when you order any omelette on the menu.
Open Until: 1am Fri-Sat, 10pm Sun-Thurs
Ramen Tatsu-ya on the East Side recognizes that if it’s going to live on a street full of bars, it needs to cater to its obvious clientele, which is why they serve ramen until 1am. If you’re up to the challenge, add a spicy bomb to your bowl, though future-you might not be super happy about it.
Open Until: 2am Wed-Sun, Closed Mon-Tues
In case late night ramen isn’t what you’re looking for, Domo Alley-Gato is Ramen Tatsu-ya’s bar next door. You can get things like katsu curry or a ban ban dog from the Kare Ban Ban food truck and you’ll likely have a hard time deciding what you’re more excited about - how good the food is or the giant cat shrine inside.
Open Until: 24 Hours Daily (Closed Wednesday 1am-6am)
As the name promises, 24 Diner is always open. And while the food is good any time of day, we usually end up here after midnight. It’s more expensive than it should be, and feels a little fancy for a 1am meal, but we’re just happy to have a place to go. The chicken and waffles are the best in town and getting a shake is never a bad idea either.
Open Until: 24 Hours
Kerbey Lane Cafe is a classic and they make some of the best pancakes and queso in town. Note - not all locations are open 24 hours, so if you need your 3am pancake fix, head to South Lamar or Guadalupe.
Open Until: 2:30am Thur-Sat, 10pm Mon-Wed, 3pm Sundays
You’d think that late night tacos would be a more common thing in Austin, but Pueblo Viejo is really one of the only places that has them. Their brick and mortar is located in the awkward space between Dirty Sixth and East 6th and is open until 2:30am. Get the Taco Bueno with chorizo, potato, egg, and cheese or the Pueblo Viejo with steak, mushrooms, and avocado.
Open Until: 1am Sat, 12am Sun-Fri
Gourdough’s uses sweet and savory doughnuts in sandwiches, burgers, entrees, and desserts, and feels like it was created by someone who watches Elf at least once a month. They also serve towers of beer and have a fantastic bar.
Open Until: 7:30pm-12pm Daily
Minus the iPad on the counter, stepping into Mrs. Johnson’s kind of feels like you’re traveling back to 1975 - their signage and equipment haven’t changed much since they opened, and every donut is $1 or less. Since they open around 7:30pm, the freshest donuts are available for the night owls and while they have plenty of flavors, the traditional glazed is by far the best. Don’t be afraid to order a dozen - you won’t have trouble finding people to help you with them.
Open Until: 2am Daily (Closed Tuesdays)
So you lost track of time during Happy Hour and forgot to eat dinner - blame that coworker who kept ordering another round. By the time you realize how hungry you are, most restaurants are closing for the night. Justine’s, however, is just getting started. You can get a table on the patio, or just grab a seat at the bar and eat some steak frites or a burger. They’re open until 2am and always have a fun crowd during the later hours.
Open Until: 1:45am Wed-Sat, 1am Sun-Tues
We love The Liberty - they’ve been able to maintain affordable prices and a divey scene while the rest of the street continues to change. And we especially love the fact that East Side King is in their backyard. Grab a picnic table for your group and order off their late-night menu - the chicken karaage and pork belly buns are two of the best options.
Open Until: 2am Thurs-Sat, 12am Sun-Wed
Sometimes you just want to eat some good food late at night without being surrounded by twenty-somethings arguing about a contentious game of beer pong. Gourmands is equal parts sandwich spot and bar, and always stays pretty relaxed, aka you won’t feel out of place posting up alone with a few beers and a sandwich before you head home.
Open Until: 1am Fri-Sun, 12am Mon-Thurs
It’s best not to get too attached to any food trucks on Rainey Street. Sometimes they’re gone after a week, sometimes they have incredibly long lines, and sometimes the whole trailer park gets replaced with a 20-story condo building. Tommy Want Wingy seems to be holding its ground at Lustre Pearl, though, and the wings and all their sauce options will please just about anyone.