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BrandStorm, Austin, TX: where to eat, what to see, and—of course—stores to check

This year’s BrandStorm is a little different than last year, where Mary and I toured Austin’s famous murals.

Are you ready for BrandStorm?

Most people know I live in Austin, TX, the host city for United Fresh’s BrandStorm conference this year. I’ve gotten quite a few requests for must-see or must-eat recommendations, so here you go.


Bear in mind, I eat like a local with small kids when I’m home, so I don’t get out to many fine dining establishments. I save all of that for when I’m on business. (Don’t we all?) So, I asked some local friends of mine who have more active social lives than I do where they like to eat and came up with this handy map. I tried to stick close to downtown and the UT campus where BrandStorm is taking place, but there are a few outliers, like Ramen Tatsu-Ya. Seriously. Guys. Get the green bomb.

I also don’t have much of an opinion on BBQ because my Kansas City-born mother lives with me and mannnnnn, nobody makes better barbeque than my mama.

(click on the top left of the map to expand/collapse lists)

  • The Peached Tortilla CLOSED on Mondays – I recommend a reservation on other days. They also have a limited menu at the airport. Get the cauliflower and sweet potato breakfast tacos on your way home, if you have an early flight.
  • Sala and Betty – simple but good.
  • Second Bar + Kitchen
  • Moonshine Grill
  • Home Slice Pizza – Really good hipster pizza, great atmosphere
  • Ramen Tatsuya – nationally rated, get the green bomb!
  • Texas Chili Parlor – If you want to see a classic “Texas” kind of place, this is it.
  • Maudie’s Tex-Mex – Standard Tex-Mex
  • Mauel’s – Hipster Tex-Mex
  • El Arroyo – the place where all of those sign memes come from!
  • Torchy’s Tacos – Winner of the United Fresh Foodservice Award. Get the off-menu Matador (brisket, grilled jalapenos, pickled onions, avocado double decker crunchy and soft taco).
  • Koriente – VERY small place. Not very fancy, but you’ll feel like you knew a guy for finding it.
  • Easy Tiger – Beer garden with great atmosphere.
  • Fareground – Food hall with lots of options, from Israeli street food to ramen, etc.
  • Lambert’s – Fancy BBQ, doesn’t disappoint
  • Stiles Switch BBQ – Traditional paper towels on the table BBQ.
  • Max’s Wine Dive- Good food, good wine.
  • Tumble22 – Nashville style hot chicken – a top food trend for 2020! Eat here if you want to love what you’re eating but probably hate yourself the next day.



I mean, c’mon. If you know me you know I love store checks. If you haven’t caught my video with Anne-Marie Roerink of 210 Analytics, The Ultimate Austin Grocery Tour, you should check it out. It lists most of these stores and shows some examples of what you’ll see. I put two standard H-E-B stores on the list on the recommendation of an insider, plus Central Market. And yes, H-E-B is worth three different stops.



Austin’s becoming known for its iconic murals. Here’s a list of the most common ones you’ll see out there on Instagram, from the Jo’s Coffee “I love you so much” to the “Hi How Are You?” “frog” (the actual name is Jeremiah the Innocent by artist Daniel Johnston, who passed away in September.) There’s a cool project based on the frog. Check it out here.


Do you have your BrandStorm plan ready? Check out the schedule and speakers here.

Pamela Riemenschneider is the Retail Editor for Blue Book Services.