Amongst the sounds, stages, and people-watching, there’s a piece of the Austin City Limits Festival puzzle that should not be overlooked. Good eats! Whether you’re rocking a day pass or in it for a long weekend, keeping yourself energized is vital for ACL Fest survival.
And with nearly 40 local vendors slinging everything from shawarma to donuts to fancy bananas, there’s something for every taste bud. To make life easy, here’s our recommended meal plan for three days of music and mayhem. Frequent trips to the water station are not included.
NOTE: I highly recommend eating on off hours. Lines get insane around traditional mealtimes. I’m there from beginning to end every day, so for me, it’s light lunch at noon, dinner at 4:00, and snacky dessert around 7:00.
ANOTHER NOTE: Recommendations made are based on their standard menu, not what’s available at the festival. That information was not available as of writing this article.
YET ANOTHER NOTE: Don’t expect full menus at any of these stands. Yes, that should be obvious but you never know. This is the internet, after all.
ACL 2022 Food Plan – Friday
Call me a creature of habit, but kimchi fries from Chi’lantro are an ACL Fest tradition for me. It’s smaller than a burger or pizza, shareable with others, and delicious. And if you think the quality dips because it’s served at a festival booth, prepare to be amazed. Still fantastic and always will be.
Where: 303 Colorado St #100, Austin, TX 78702
Operating Hours: Monday – Friday 10:30 am – 2:00 pm | Saturday – Sunday CLOSED
When late afternoon hits, you’ll be roasting. Cool off with the delightfully different Bananarchy. If available, my personal recommendation would be the S’more. Chocolate-dipped frozen banana rolled in graham crackers and drizzled with marshmallow cream. And more chocolate. Second place goes to the yummy Texas Two Step and the Cookie Crumble. Decadent and refreshing,
Where: 2420 Guadalupe St, Austin, TX 78705
Operating Hours: Monday – Thursday 3:15 pm – 10:00 pm | Friday – Saturday 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm | Sunday CLOSED
Dinner: Shawarma Point
If they have a falafel wrap, I’m all in. And if not, a lamb gyro will work just fine. One of my pro-tips for the busy after 6:00 crowd rush is to eat one-handed. Dashing from stage to stage with a plate of brisket in hand is a recipe for disaster and frustration. One of Shawarma Point’s handheld delights is exactly what a hungry festival goer needs to fuel the last few hours of fun.
Where: 519 E 7th St, Austin, TX 78701
Operating Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Sunday CLOSED | Tuesday, Thursday – Saturday 8:00 pm – 3:00 am
ACL 2022 Food Plan – Saturday
Lunch: The Mighty Cone
Another ACL favorite of mine, Mighty Cone, satisfies a number of requirements. It’s delicious, it’s relatively lightweight for lunch, and it’s portable. The Chicken Cone is where it’s at. Breaded and sautéed chicken in a cone-like tortilla seasoned with mango-jalapeño slaw and drizzled with Ancho-Chili Aioli. Wonderful!
Where: 1720 Barton Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78704
Operating Hours: Sunday – Thursday 11:00 am – 8:00 pm | Friday – Saturday 11:00 am – 9:00 pm
As stated, mid-day Zilker Park can (and likely will) be a scorcher. From their humble beginnings at farmers’ markets in 2009 to supermarkets everywhere, Goodpops delivers refreshing natural flavors in a small tasty package. All of the flavors are spot on, so pick one and enjoy.
Where: at Whole Foods Market, 901 E 5th St., Austin, TX 78702
Operating Hours: Whole Foods Market is open daily 8:00 am – 9:00 pm
Notice a theme here? Handheld, perfect portion, utterly scrumptious. While I don’t have the ACL menu, my everyday favorites include the Argentinian-style beef, the Vegan Samosa, and the Asparagus Prosciutto. But anything you try will be amazing. A perfect option for dashing from headliner to headliner in the dimming light of an ACL Fest Saturday night.
Where: mmmpanadas, Austin TX
Operating Hours: Monday – Friday 9:00 am – 3:00 pm | Saturday – Sunday CLOSED
ACL 2022 Food Plan – Sunday
Lunch: Micklethwait Barbecue
After a long weekend of listening to incredible music, an equally incredible meal is a must. Enter barbecue. Micklethwait Barbecue to be exact. From my past experience, sandwiches are the name of the game, but however you ingest their world-class brisket, do so. Grub you’d normally wait an hour for on a weekend, available at the scan of a wristband.
Where: 1309 Rosewood Ave., Austin, TX 78702
Operating Hours: Thursday – Sunday 11:00 am – until sold out
Yes, I’m aware lunch was on the heavier side. So, why not refresh with the amazing fruit stuff of Juiceland? While it’s impossible to guess which of their amazing smoothies or juices will be on offer, what I can guarantee is that it’ll be the perfect fuel for the final ACL Fest push.
Where: 2828 Guadalupe Street, Austin, Texas 78705
Operating Hours: Monday – Saturday 7:00 am – 9:00 pm | Sunday 8:00 am – 9:00 pm
Dinner: Burro Cheese Kitchen
Close out your ACL Fest experience with the amazing flavors of one of Austin’s classic eateries, Burro Cheese Kitchen. I’m not sure if I need to elaborate. It’s Sunday. You’ve been partying all weekend. Grilled cheese is a no-brainer salve for all your wobbly-headed woes and will catapult you to the headliners. And if you need a recommendation, if they have it, the Waylon & Willie is where it’s at.
Where: 75 Rainey Street, Austin, TX, 78701
Operating Hours: Monday – Tuesday CLOSED | Wednesday – Thursday 5:00 pm – 12:00 am | Friday – Saturday 12:00 pm – 3:00 am | Sunday 12:00 pm – 12:00 am
ACL 2022 Food Plan – All Day, Every Day
At the risk of sounding like your dad, water is vital for ACL survival. ACL allows empty water carriers through the gate, and believe me, you’ll need them. Water fill stations are scattered throughout the park and I’ve never once seen them run out or have a crazy queue, even in the heart of the day. And I’ve seen far too many people carted off to medical tents due to dehydration. Don’t be that person. Hydrate!
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