Austin has plenty of good food to go around, yet sometimes we want the best meal without spending too much. Instead of cooking from home, try these affordable restaurants around town.
Here are 21 Austin restaurants for the best cheap eats in town.
Kebabalicious, 1311 E. 7th St.
Big eats for a small price. Kebabalicious offers Turkish style wraps with all organic ingredients. Lamb and beef lovers, vegetarians and sauce fanatics can get their kick for under $10 by ordering a kebab, hummus and so much more.
P. Terrys, multiple locations
The beloved Austin restaurant has more to offer than just local pride. What started as a burger stand on South Lamar and Barton Springs has ventured out to multiple locations around the greater Austin area still offering great burgers for low prices. With beef, chicken and vegetarian burgers, P. Terrys is the spot to hit for a cheap and quick pick me up.
Tyson's Tacos, 4905 Airport Blvd.
Austinites know finding the perfect taco stand is a big deal in a town full of options. Tyson's Tacos offers unique tacos for a cheap and delicious meal. For under $10, you can explore the menu and find any taco calling your name and fuel your taco dreams.
Teji's Indian Restaurant, multiple locations
Spice up your evening meal by trying affordable indian cuisine from Teji's Indian Restaurant. With different locations and menus around town, the restaurants offer single entrees for $10.99 and appetizers, drinks, desserts and more all under $10.
Thundercloud subs, multiple locations
Another Austin classic, Thundercloud Subs offers fresh subs and salads for a quick, cheap and refreshing meal for any time of day. With signature subs, salads, sides, and more, you can find yourself indulging in a full meal for less than $10.
Veracruz All Natural, multiple locations
For an authentic, homemade Mexican food experience, Veracruz All Natural is the place to hit. The local taco stand has taken Austin by storm with fresh ingredients and delicious tacos, salsas and juices. Make everyday taco Tuesday for less than $10 at this Austin joint.
You can find the Veracruz All Natural menu and order online here.
Snarf's sandwiches, multiple locations
What started in Boulder, Colorado as a sandwich shack is now bringing Austin fresh and delicious oven toasted sandwiches for an affordable price. The family-owned business offers made-to-order sandwiches, salads, soups and so much more, all under $10.
Gourdough’s Big Fat Donuts, 1503 S. 1st St.
Gordough's Big Fat Donuts offers an incredibly unique Austin menu of donuts for anyone looking to give into their sweet cravings. With different toppings and types of donuts, the food truck is your place to hit if you're looking for a delicious sweet snack under $10. You can also find donut sandwiches, burgers and so much more at Gourdough's Public House at 2700 S. Lamar Blvd.
Amy’s Ice Cream, multiple locations
Although not technically a restaurant, Amy's Ice Cream is an Austin favorite offering a delicious treat for all ice cream lovers. With over 350 flavors in rotation, the ice cream shop has all the flavors you can imagine for under $10, plus milkshakes, ice cream cakes and more.
Koriente, 621 E. 7th St.
Koriente offers healthy Asian inspired dishes at a low cost for a healthy, quick meal. With fresh ingredients, seafood, meat vegan and gluten-free options, this restaurant is the perfect takeout option under $10.
You can find the Koriente menu here.
Cenote, multiple locations
Not sure what you want to eat? Cenote has it all. From breakfast tacos and coffee to salads, sandwiches, burgers and drinks, the restaurant offers a great deal and even better food for a reasonable price.You can find the Cenote menu and order online here
East Side King, multiple locations
Japanese street food From Chefs Paul Qui and Moto Utsunomiya created East Side King during their time at beloved Uchi and Uchiko to create affordable Japanese street food for Austinites. The menu offers Asian inspired classics at an affordable cost and delicious meals for all food lovers.
You can find the menu and order online here.
Chi’lantro, multiple locations
With so many Asian inspired restaurants in Austin, it's hard to find our favorite. Chi'lantro, home of the Kimchi fries, is definitely at the top of the list. With rice, salads, noodles and rice bowls, wraps and fries for under $10, who can avoid the delicious temptation of this Korean barbecue inspired restaurant?
You can find the Chi'lantro menu and order online here
El Primo, 2011 S. 1st St.
Mexican food trucks aren't hard to find in Austin but if you haven't tried El Primo yet, add it to your list of places to try. With options of tacos, burritos and tortas for breakfast, lunch and dinner, El Primo offers a delicious meal for under $10.
Xian Sushi and Noodle, multiple locations
Lovers of food and cheap eats can appreciate Xian Sushi and Noodle for traditional, fresh Japanese and Chinese cuisine. With hand-pulled noodles, a long list of sushi rolls and so much more for under $10, this restaurant has it all for all foodies.
You can find the Xian Sushi and Noodle menu and order online here.
Biscuits + Groovy, multiple locations
Breakfast lovers can get their morning fix at Biscuits + Groovy for all under $10. With freshly baked buttermilk biscuits and different types of toppings, no morning will feel the same without these biscuit sandwiches.
Dirty Martin's Place, 2808 Guadalupe St.
These award winning burgers from Dirty Martin's Place have been giving Austinites their burger fix since 1926. The burger joint has extremely affordable options and shouldn't be mistaken for anything but delicious.
Bao’d Up, multiple locations
Bao'd Up offers authentic Chinese cuisine with a Texas twist for an ultimate food experience unlike any other. Offering signature baozi, oodles, boba tea and more, the steamed buns are a delicious pick me up for under $10.
Delray Cafe, 1133 E. 11th St.
This Austin food truck offers Detroit style coneys, sliders, wings and more that fit the $10 budget. From original style coney dogs to Texas-inspired ones, Delray Cafe has all types of delicious hot dogs for an affordable price located outside of Nickel City.
You can find the Delray Cafe menu here.
Jewboy Burgers, 511 Airport Blvd.
Jewboy Burgers offers Austinites burgers unlike any other. With a mixture of U.S, Mexico and Jewish inspired dishes, the killer menu options from Jewboy Burgers features burgers, burritos and latkes for a unique food experience.
La Tunita 512, 2400 Burleson Road
If you've never tried birria tacos, La Tunita 512 is the place to hit. With fried tortillas and covered in a traditional slow cooked Mexican beef stew, birria tacos have taken the food world by storm. The food truck offers birria and queso tacos, mulitas, consome and birria tortas.
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It's been a few weeks since a viral TikTok revealed poor working conditions at the Montopolis Dollar Tree in southeast Austin, and employee Maggie Lopez is still feeling its effects.
Lopez was filmed working alone at the location May 1 in a since-deleted video that saw 2.9 million views and over 450,000 likes.
In the video, stacked boxes littered the floor, shelves were left unstocked and a leaky, broken air conditioning unit welcomed customers into the understaffed storefront.
@trishmartinez32#x_bazan06#fyp#fypシ#tiktok#friends#like#comment#4upage#4u#share#viralvideo#trending#wow#4upageシ♬ original sound - Patricia Martinez
Lopez, who now works at the dollar store's Springdale location, says she was left with the aftermath of a 90-hour workweek, lost wages and a mystery illness after the store closed a few days later.
"Nobody ever told me... that there was no air conditioning. They didn't tell me there was danger of getting robbed," Lopez told Austonia. "Nobody said anything... they didn't care."
The location didn't shut its doors because of the TikTok exposure: instead, an AC unit specialist doing routine maintenance found employees working in extreme heat and said it was too hot for employees to continue working.
"To operate a business, you have to have your temperature within a certain parameter," Ikaika, the specialist who didn't disclose his full name to protect his job, told Austonia. "As soon as you walk in, you start sweating... it's not good at all."
Lopez said working in 90+ degree heat became the norm in her two months at the location as air conditioning units remained broken for months before the closure. She added some employees, including her former manager and several customers, passed out in the store due to the heat. But she said company leadership remained unresponsive.
Lopez said she sent her district manager, Veronica Oyervides, screenshots of 90+ degree temperatures inside the store. (Maggie Lopez)
Four days after the air conditioning repairman told employees they should no longer keep working at the store, Lopez said her district manager, Veronica Oyervides, was asking her to come back in to prep the location for reopening. Lopez worked May 8 in the shuttered store prepping it for a reopening, which has yet to happen. Oyervides has declined to comment.
Ever since she started working in the deteriorating Dollar Tree, Lopez said she often wakes up with nosebleeds. She said she's constantly thirsty, her hands shake, and she's experiencing headaches and mood swings—symptoms she believes are due to long-term exposure to mold.
Former assistant manager Linnea Bradley told Austonia she has been hospitalized with symptoms linked to heat and stress after working at the store.
"We are sick and corporate does not give a shit," Lopez said. "What kind of damage did these stupid units do to our bodies?"
Lopez hasn't sought care for her symptoms. She says she makes $13.50 an hour and doesn't have health insurance.
Former employees have more complaints than just the heat: Lopez said that personal safety became a concern in the understaffed store. Catherine, a former employee who wished to only reveal her first name, said she's witnessed large-scale theft and instances of mismanagement in her months as a stocker at the location.
"They have no security, no cameras... they don't want you to have anything in writing," Catherine told Austonia. "It's just complete chaos."
Catherine said that she and other hourly employees were given zero hours for weeks on end as managers, who work on salary, were left to run the store alone from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day. She said some managers became so desperate they were hiring homeless people to help stock shelves in exchange for a drink and a bite to eat.
While Catherine (top, middle) often had zero-hour weekly schedules, Martinez, who was paid on salary, worked back-to-back 90-hour workweeks. (Catherine) (Claire Partain)
"They actually did have people willing to work, they just refused to give them hours," Catherine said. "I'm not understanding whether Dollar Tree wants to go under... are they doing this as a tax break?"
Other Austin Dollar Tree locations have reported similar issues. Former manager Jonathan Martinez, who says he was supposed to work 45 hours a week, says he was racking up 90+ hour workweeks and sleeping in the store as he shouldered both the Montopolis and William Cannon locations while his newborn baby was in the ICU in March.
Martinez kept extra clothes in this office after working seven-day weeks at two Dollar Tree locations. (Claire Partain)
Martinez said he slept on boxes as he juggled the job and visiting his newborn in the ICU. (Claire Partain)
Martinez said he slept on boxes as he juggled the job and visiting his newborn in the ICU. (Claire Partain)
"As long as the store stays open, there are corporate people getting bonuses," Martinez, who quit last week after receiving a $100 annual bonus, told Austonia. "Six months ago, when corporate people had a shitload of bonuses, that's when they upped the price (of everything in the store from $1 to $1.25)."
In the six months since Dollar Tree hiked its prices to $1.25, it's gained plenty of mostly negative national attention. In February, the Food and Drug Administration shut down an Arkansas distribution plant due to a massive rodent infestation, and several lawsuits have ensued. The company has also come under fire for selling allegedly expired over-the-counter medicine and its worker shortage at locations across the country.
One employee, who still works for Dollar Tree and wished to remain anonymous, said that they've seen or heard that many area locations are near their breaking point.
"I've seen the good, the bad, the bad to worse," they said. "And it's always a rinse repeat kind of thing... How many more (stores) will go? And what about the employees?"
"Every time I would tell (Oyervides) 'I'm just going to close, I can't stand it anymore,' she would say, 'No, no, no,'" Lopez said. "And I'd be so upset because why? They have my paycheck. It's just been mortifying... the most horrible year of my life."
Dollar Tree's regional director did not respond to requests for comment from Austonia.
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A group of environmentalists and other activist groups are calling on the city to withhold permits Tesla has requested, including for a battery cathode facility by the company’s headquarters near the Colorado River.
In a letter to Mayor Steve Adler and the rest of council, the groups say the manufacturing process will require a substantial amount of water and chemicals, and that as a result, a hazardous waste stream will form.
“Where will the toxic waste end up? How will Austin ensure that it doesn’t pollute the water?” the letter asks.
The groups, which include East Austin group PODER, the Texas Anti-Poverty Project, Hornsby Bend Alliance and others, demand that the city wait on permit approval until the company makes commitments to engage the community and protect the environment.
While building its own batteries could mean a significant reduction in production costs for the automaker, the groups say materials and processes involved in battery production have dangers. They pointed to Piedmont Lithium, a supplier for the facility, saying caution should be taken with battery production products to “avoid contamination of surface, ground and sewerage waters."
Last year, PODER launched an initiative known as the Colorado River Conservancy to protect the character of the river corridor. Paul DiFiore, manager of the initiative, talked about its aims to put protections in place for the riverfront neighborhoods. "That was the goal that Tesla maybe brought that to another level of urgency," DiFiore told Austonia.
The company has faced controversy with its environmental action before. Earlier this year, the company was fined $275,000 by the Environmental Protection Agency for high priority violations of pollution regulations at its Fremont, California plant.
The letter from environmental groups comes just as Tesla was booted from the E.S.G. index, which ranks companies for how they follow environmental, social and governance principles.
Yesterday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk pushed back against the index, calling it a “clear case of wacktivism.”
Exxon is rated top ten best in world for environment, social & governance (ESG) by S&P 500, while Tesla didn\u2019t make the list!\n\nESG is a scam. It has been weaponized by phony social justice warriors.— Elon Musk (@Elon Musk) 1652890157
Along with action on the cathode facility’s permits, the groups are also calling for collaborative work to remedy inequities in water access.
The letter describes how Tesla receives service from Austin Water, though the gigafactory is outside the boundaries of the service area. That’s because the Public Utility Commission granted Tesla a release from South West Water’s service, allowing them to instead turn to Austin Water for service.
Meanwhile, others in the surrounding area, like those in the Garden Valley neighborhood, rely on Aqua Texas Inc.—which has rates more than double that of Austin Water—for retail service. The neighborhood can receive wholesale service from Austin Water, however.
The groups point to this, along with other developments at the gigafactory—clearing large swaths of trees, filling in ponds and pouring acres of concrete for the factory—as a reason to enforce standards requiring companies to operate with social and environmental responsibility.
“If we do not raise the bar for the increasing number of corporations who wish to relocate to Austin or expand their presence, we risk losing precisely that which attracts people to live here in the first place: the clean, beautiful environment that is the foundation of our collective quality of life,” the letter states.
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