El Arroyo ("The Ditch") is a personal Tex-Mex favorite. Owner Clay McPhail has operated the original 5th Street location since 1987.
There are two locations (see maps below):
5th Street Location
1624 W 5TH ST (78703)
Hours: Sun-Thurs 11am-10:00pm, Fri-Sat 11am-11pm
Far West Location
7032 WOOD HOLLOW (78731)
I find the food to be significantly better than some other populuar Austin Tex-Mex restaurants. In fact, shortly after I moved to Austin in 1997, I started eating out here more than anywhere else. The food was good, the atmosphere cool, the wait staff great, and I lived fairly close.
The restaurant also offers catering, live music Sunday brunches from 12:00 - 2:30 pm, live accoustic music on "Good Weather Thursdays," and a popular happy hour that's hard to miss during the week (2pm-7pm). And be sure to check out (responsibly) the wide selection of margaritas.
And then there's that laid back Austin charm and humor: indoor/outdoor seating, chandeliers hanging from the trees, a catchy if somewhat subjective slogan ("Cultural Center of the Universe"), and, of course, the famous letterboard sign at the W 5th Street location.
The sign changes daily, its messages primarily the brainchildren of McPhail. The messages are witty, topical, sometimes controversial, and frequently self-deprecating. El Arroyo even has a Twitter account now for the signs.
Finally, check out this Austin restaurant's website above to hear a clip from country singer Pat Green's song Carry On that references the restaurant.
1624 W 5th ST
Austin, TX 78703
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7032 Wood Hollow DR
Austin, TX 78731
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