Best Places For Chili In Austin, Texas

Austin, Texas is a city that knows a thing or two about embracing bold flavors. While the central Texan city may be known more for barbecue and breakfast tacos, when it comes to chili, Austin truly stands out. From fiery bowls of chili con carne to delicious vegetarian creations, Austin has a chili scene that will make your taste buds sing. And it's no surprise: chili (probably) originated near the city, with historians theorizing it was first made in the Texas-Mexico border region. So grab your spoon and get ready to dig into a mouthwatering bowl of Texas red as we uncover the best places for chili in Austin.

We have to start by recommending an Austin institution: Texas Chili Parlor. It opened in 1976 and is featured in the Guy Clark song "Dublin Blues," in which he sings about drinking "Mad Dog margaritas" there. Redditors in the r/austinfood forum suggest getting the habanero heat level, though user ShellInTheGhost says it's their "kryptonite" in terms of spice. Fair warning!

Veggie chili and cook-offs

We know: Texas chili is traditionally made with beef. But vegetarians out there won't be disappointed by a visit to Austin either. Users in the r/austinfood forum love the veggie version at Billy's on Burnet, though chili with meat is also delicious there. User saltporksuit writes, "Billy's is underrated," and touts the veggie chili dog as something to look out for. Arlo's also gets a shoutout in the same Reddit forum for their vegetarian chili.

Other Reddit users favor going to a chili cook-off. Here, you can try many different chilis from people competing to be the best in the area, so it's a great place to get your chops around some top-quality Texas red (and a ton of other types of chili). Users endorse Jo's Annual Chili Cook-off; it happens every February, so if you're around, drop in.

Frito pie

While Frito pie isn't chili in its purest form, it does come highly recommended by Austin's chili connoisseurs on Reddit. This Tex-Mex casserole has a chili-like base and is topped with cheese and, yup, Fritos. It's off-the-charts comfort food and perfect for a chilly (!) day in Austin. Two Frito pies, in particular, are raved about by locals. First and foremost is the one at LeRoy and Lewis Barbecue, recommended by TriAgainATX on Reddit, among other users. They source their meats from local ranches and focus on making inventive barbecue, so if you've had your fill of chili, try the indulgent brisket.

Another top pick is the Turbo T-Man at Bert's Bar-B-Q, which Reddit user AgentAlinaPark says "everyone needs to experience." The Turbo T-Man is a mix of their signature T-Man (chunks of beef and sausage) and their Frito pie. It's not for the faint-hearted or small-stomached, but it's a standout.