After I walked back to downtown Austin, I caught up with Travis McFetridge, and he and his friend wanted to check out the rapper Danny Brown who was performing at the Red Bull Sound Select stage at The Belmont, so I agreed to go with them. I had heard of Danny Brown but never actually heard any of his music, and he wasn’t bad. I had fortunately gotten press credentials, so I was able to take some pictures of his performance, and the stage was outdoors in a courtyard, and was very cool indeed. We left about 2 AM and headed over to 24 Diner, which was a lot more crowded than I had expected. Getting our food took quite awhile, and I didn’t get back to the hotel room until 4 AM. But it was the best way to end my year at SXSW- a good breakfast with friends.
As I have said on previous occasions, during South By Southwest (SXSW) eveyone ends up at 24 Diner sooner or later. It’s strategically located for one thing, directly next to arguably Austin’s best record shop, Waterloo Records. For another, it never closes, the prices are reasonable and the food very good indeed. The 24 Diner is sort of a diner, and has American comfort food, as one would expect a diner to, but it presents its menu with a chef-inspired New America twist, and also has a wine list and craft beers. A visit to 24 Diner for breakfast is perhaps the best way to start a day at South By Southwest. Afterwards, stroll next door to Waterloo Records for an hour or more of record-hunting pleasure. New CD’s, used CD’s, vinyl, DVD’s, books, Waterloo has them all, with great selection even in the hard-to-find genres like avant-garde jazz. Nobody should leave Austin without at least one visit.
Directly beside Waterloo Records is the 24 Diner, a place that nearly everyone seems to walk into at some point or another during SXSW. With its strategic location next to the Waterloo Records day stages, 24 is a great place to start your conference day (or end it, since they never close). Of course the name “diner” brings up certain ideas and images, and 24 Diner is a diner-sort of. They do sell breakfast, as any good diner should, and they are open 24 hours a day, and they do offer American comfort foods, so they do resemble typical diners. But from the look of the establishment, to the menus, to the extra gourmet touches to the food, to the prices, 24 Diner is less of a typical diner and more of a new American gourmet bistro. Breakfasts are great, from omelettes and standard bacon-and-eggs to chicken and waffles, and there are non-breakfast offerings as well. Prices aren’t cheap, but neither are they as outrageous as the usual “new American” places that seem to open up every other month. Service is attentive, although the booming crowds during SXSW can cause delays. Be prepared to wait for a seat on weekends or during downtown events and conferences. But the wait is worth it, and if you’re fortunate enough to have grabbed a parking place in the lot, you can walk next door to Waterloo Records (or their stage during SXSW) for some great sounds to enjoy.
Eating breakfast at 24 Diner while the folks next door get the Waterloo Records stage ready has become a yearly tradition for me at SXSW. The breakfasts at 24 Diner are great, and there’s always great music on the Waterloo stage. March 14, 2012.
It seems that the 24 Diner is one of those places that everyone at SXSW ends up at sooner or later. The breakfasts are great, plus Waterloo Records and it’s fabulous stage are right next door. (Taken with Instagram at 24 Diner)