South Congress Specialty
1822 S. Congress Ave., South Congress
There is a lot of awesome Tex-Mex in Austin but most people would agree that you have to go to Torchy’s at least once every time you find yourself in Austin. (If you're only making one trip, make it in the morning for a breakfast burrito.) Torchy’s, which started as a taco trailer in 2006 in the Bouldin Creek food truck mecca, now has several regular locations in Austin (in addition to the still-operating trailer), plus dozens of others around Texas and in a couple of other states. Sure, this makes Torchy’s seem less special, and many of the locations look no more remarkable than your average fast food joint—but the food here says otherwise.
1300 S. Congress Ave., South Congress
Tucked into the parking lot of the Hotel San Jose, Jo’s is a South Austin go-to for your morning coffee and breakfast tacos (this is Texas, after all). They’ve become social media famous for their signature #IcedTurbo, which is a delicious milky coffee with crushed ice. Another thing they’ve become famous for: “I love you so much” graffitied on the side of the building—reportedly a love note from musician Amy Cook to her then-girlfriend and Hotel San Jose owner Liz Lambert. There's a second location Downtown.
Stephen F. Frostin’
1603 S. Congress Ave., South Congress
This cleverly named truck (for out-of-towners, Stephen F. Austin was a founder of the state of Texas) operates out of the exceptionally cool South Congress Hotel, and all of the treats are creations of the hotel's Executive Pastry Chef, Amanda Rockman. The ice cream itself walks a perfect line between classic and a bit innovative—try the birthday cake flavor—and they make the prettiest paletas that are perfect for littles. On Sundays in the summer, they do ice cream socials with live music and drink specials in the hotel courtyard.