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La Condesa's Rick Lopez and Sway's Alexis Chong Map South First

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Alexis Chong and Rick Lopez were both recently promoted to Executive Chef at sister restaurants Sway and La Condesa respectively, after previously working in the kitchens under departed chefs Rene Ortiz and Laura Sawicki. Lopez and Chong are clearly friends: Lopez often stops by Sway on his way home, while Chong says she "stops by Condesa to drop something off, but really it's an excuse to see Rick," a visit which Lopez calls "a good surprise." Both value having the other as a coworker as well as a resource to "vent to," and they're "excited" to take the helm and build up "good teams" in the kitchen.

Both chefs live off of South First, and they recently chatted with Eater about their top picks along one of Austin's classic restaurant strips. Chong's favorite breakfast tacos come from El Primo, while Lopez loves the carne guisada at Polvos. Both are big fans of Elizabeth Street Cafe, and they meet for weekly breakfasts at Bouldin Creek, despite Chong's "preconceived ideas about vegans."


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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. El Mercado

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1302 S 1st St
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 447-7445
Alexis likes to sit at the bar with a PBR tall boy after work, a choice she calls "classy."

[Photo:Daniel B./Yelp]

2. La Barbecue Cuisine Texicana

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1502 S 1st St
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 605-9696
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Alexis's order: their brisket with a "mean smoke" on it. She adds, "When I leave work, they're loading the meat in. I can't live that life."

[Photo: Deane M./Yelp]

3. Elizabeth St. Café

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1501 S 1st St
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 291-2881
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Rick hits up Elizabeth Street two times a week. His order: the fried chicken banh mi and the octopus salad.

Alexis craves their singapore noodles "all the time" and worries she will "start to hate them, and then there will be nothing good in my life."

[Photo: Thomas C./Yelp]

4. Bouldin Creek Café

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1900 S 1st St
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 416-1601
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The two meet up for breakfast at "chill" Bouldin Creek once a week to plan and "vent to someone who understands." Alexis was "afraid" to go in when she first moved to town because of "preconceived notions about vegans," and she likes their "omelets and coffee."

[Photo:Lydia L./Yelp]

5. La Mexicana Bakery

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1924 S 1st St
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 443-6369
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Rick is a fan of the tacos and sweet breads at this 24-hour panaderia.

[Photo: Dan G./Yelp]

6. Polvos Mexican Restaurant

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2004 S 1st St
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 441-5446
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Rick's order: chips and salsa, the carne guisada plate, and/or the pork tips with green salsa.

Alexis's order: the pulled pork tacos, because they're "interactive."

[Photo: Sara S./Yelp]

7. El Primo Taco Truck

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2101 S 1st St
Austin, TX 78704
Alexis's order: the chorizo, potato, and egg taco, because it's "warm and delicious and I don't have to cook it."

[Photo: Ben L./Yelp]

8. El Tacorrido

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2316 S 1st St
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 912-1939
Alexis's order: the El Equinox, which is iced horchata with a shot of espresso, because it's "too delicious to pass up."

[Photo: Melanie M./Yelp]

9. Habanero Mexican Cafe

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501 W Oltorf St
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 416-0443
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Rick's order: enchiladas, carne guisada, and fresh lemonade at this "packed" lunch spot

[Photo: chappy s.]

1. El Mercado

1302 S 1st St, Austin, TX 78704
Alexis likes to sit at the bar with a PBR tall boy after work, a choice she calls "classy."

[Photo:Daniel B./Yelp]

1302 S 1st St
Austin, TX 78704

2. La Barbecue Cuisine Texicana

1502 S 1st St, Austin, TX 78704
Alexis's order: their brisket with a "mean smoke" on it. She adds, "When I leave work, they're loading the meat in. I can't live that life."

[Photo: Deane M./Yelp]

1502 S 1st St
Austin, TX 78704

3. Elizabeth St. Café

1501 S 1st St, Austin, TX 78704
Rick hits up Elizabeth Street two times a week. His order: the fried chicken banh mi and the octopus salad.

Alexis craves their singapore noodles "all the time" and worries she will "start to hate them, and then there will be nothing good in my life."

[Photo: Thomas C./Yelp]

1501 S 1st St
Austin, TX 78704

4. Bouldin Creek Café

1900 S 1st St, Austin, TX 78704
The two meet up for breakfast at "chill" Bouldin Creek once a week to plan and "vent to someone who understands." Alexis was "afraid" to go in when she first moved to town because of "preconceived notions about vegans," and she likes their "omelets and coffee."

[Photo:Lydia L./Yelp]

1900 S 1st St
Austin, TX 78704

5. La Mexicana Bakery

1924 S 1st St, Austin, TX 78704
Rick is a fan of the tacos and sweet breads at this 24-hour panaderia.

[Photo: Dan G./Yelp]

1924 S 1st St
Austin, TX 78704

6. Polvos Mexican Restaurant

2004 S 1st St, Austin, TX 78704
Rick's order: chips and salsa, the carne guisada plate, and/or the pork tips with green salsa.

Alexis's order: the pulled pork tacos, because they're "interactive."

[Photo: Sara S./Yelp]

2004 S 1st St
Austin, TX 78704

7. El Primo Taco Truck

2101 S 1st St, Austin, TX 78704
Alexis's order: the chorizo, potato, and egg taco, because it's "warm and delicious and I don't have to cook it."

[Photo: Ben L./Yelp]

2101 S 1st St
Austin, TX 78704

8. El Tacorrido

2316 S 1st St, Austin, TX 78704
Alexis's order: the El Equinox, which is iced horchata with a shot of espresso, because it's "too delicious to pass up."

[Photo: Melanie M./Yelp]

2316 S 1st St
Austin, TX 78704

9. Habanero Mexican Cafe

501 W Oltorf St, Austin, TX 78704
Rick's order: enchiladas, carne guisada, and fresh lemonade at this "packed" lunch spot

[Photo: chappy s.]

501 W Oltorf St
Austin, TX 78704

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