Given that the already-stressful election cycle of 2020 has a global pandemic as the cherry on top, people of Austin are turning to comfort food this Election Day. Luckily, the city has plenty of options for different styles of comfort food, from warming ramen and chili to rich chocolate cakes.
Whether celebrating casting a ballot or choosing something to eat while watching the results roll in, keep in mind that many Austin restaurants are closing early or closing entirely to let employees vote. Here are some of Eater Austin’s picks for takeout on Election Day.
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A vote for Tex-Mex is a vote for melty cheese, savory seasoned meat, and creamy beans. Lovers of both flour and corn tortillas can put aside their differences for the day, and agree that Tex-Mex is excellent comfort food.
Mi Madre’s: From burritos to fajitas to enchiladas, Mi Madre’s serves up classic, comforting Tex-Mex. Don’t forget a margarita or horchata to go. (2201 Manor Road, Cherrywood)
Torchy’s Tacos: The local taco chain axed the Republican and Independent tacos earlier this year (Torchy’s swears this was based on sales, not politically motivated), but the Republican has made a return. Choose between the Democrat (barbacoa, cotija cheese, avocado) and Republican (grilled jalapeño sausage and cheddar jack cheese), or go for the golden queso, fried avocado taco, and many more. (Multiple locations)
Texas Chili Parlor: Feeling patriotic? Get a warming, meaty bowl of the state dish of Texas to-go from the 44-year downtown institution. (1409 Lavaca Street, Downtown)
Cheese and bread are two critical components of comfort food for many. However, this is not a night for thin and crispy pizzas. Find substantial, indulgent, and deliciously greasy pies at these Austin spots.
Via 313: Election night calls for maximum calories, which makes Detroit-style pizzeria Via 313 a solid choice. The Austin pizzeria boasts thick, crispy crust, melty ropes of cheese, and plentiful toppings. Order online. (Multiple locations)
Little Deli & Pizzeria: The New Jersey-style pizzeria offers comically large pies, often without a long wait. There are also calzones, hot sandwiches, and lots of desserts. Order online. (7101 Woodrow Avenue, Crestview; 1804 Briarcliff Boulevard, Windsor Park)
Burgers are a classic for good reason: meat, bread, and easy to eat, which comes in handy while watching the returns.
Salt & Time: The East Austin butcher shop understandably has excellent, well-seasoned burgers. The crispy beef fat fries are a treat, as well, and the bolognese is a hidden gem. Order online. (1912 East 7th Street, East Seventh)
Better Half: Cauliflower tots with beet ketchup make most things better, including Better Half’s burger with ground beef, Dijonnaise, and American cheese. Adding some of their award-winning queso isn’t a bad idea, either. (406 Walsh Street, Clarksville)
Nothing says comfort food in Texas more than Southern cuisine.
Hoover’s Cooking: The longtime Manor Road has Southern comfort classics like chicken fried steak, pork chops, meatloaf, and more. Don’t miss the excellent selection of desserts. (2002 Manor Road, Manor)
Carb-loading during Election Night is also a good call.
ArtiPasta: Get all the carbs at this Italian-owned food truck in South Austin. From rich carbonara to meaty lasagne to pillows of gnocchi, there are lots of great options to try. Don’t skip dessert, either. Call to order or order online for delivery. (7800 South First Street, Far South Austin)
The essential Japanese dish combines two necessary comfort food items: noodles and hot soup.
Smoked meats is another one of those essential Texas foods. While most barbecue spots are only open during daytime hours, luckily Austin has a great evening option.
Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew: Pile on the smoked meats (ribs, brisket, sausage, and more) and sides at this Brentwood barbecue spot. Plus, Tuesday is brisket enchilada night. Order online. (6610 North Lamar Boulevard, Brentwood)
Sugar, cream, butter, and chocolate are obvious choices to feel better about the world at large. From fruity pies to decadent cakes to creamy ice cream, Austin has many options to add some sweetness to Election Night.
Chez Zee: Home of towering layer cakes, fluffy meringue pies, and rich cheesecakes, Chez Zee has been serving some of the best desserts in Austin for over 30 years. Pro-tip: Order a sampler with three slices of their most popular desserts. Order online. (5406 Balcones Drive, Ridge Oak Park)
Tiny’s Milk and Cookies: The pastry-centric offshoot of Houston-based restaurant Tiny Boxwoods is known for its gooey chocolate chip cookies, but it also serves brookies (a brownie-cookie combination), ice cream, and more. (1515 West 35th Street, Old West Austin)
Gati: Those following a vegan or gluten-free diet can still indulge. The new ice cream shop from Thai Fresh owner Jam Santichat has many flavors of coconut milk ice cream, as well as gluten-free pastries and treats. (1512 Holly Street, East Cesar Chavez)
No explanation needed here. Drink responsibly and hydrate.
Eater Austin is part of Vox Media. Find more coverage of the 2020 election across its other 13 networks: how to vote, in-depth analysis, and how policies will affect you, your state and the country over the next four years and beyond.