The 85th Texas Legislature is now in full swing, and the representatives have a lot on their plate—sometimes literally. Though most are probably too busy to leave the office or seek out private clubs, here are some of the more popular locations for legislator-spotting when they have time to enjoy the flavors of the capital city.
Only served on Fridays, lunch at this premier steakhouse is packed with tons of diners clamoring for their famous slow-smoked pork chop—legislators are no exception to this dining ritual. Just a few blocks from the Capitol, Perry's offers hefty portions and top-notch service in a dark, elegant interior, making this eatery an attractive indulgence. If you don't spot representatives in the main dining area, don't be disappointed—they're most likely hidden away in one of many private rooms. 114 W. Seventh St., 512-474-6300
With a unique "South Texas Ice House" focus, this West Sixth destination boasts a large, open-air patio and kitschy decor for a fun, overall enjoyable dining experience that legislators are also drawn to. Here, you can't miss the crispy gulf oysters, Frito pie burger, and—if you’re not on the clock—one of their many creative margaritas. 616 Nueces St., 512-479-7616
The smell of wood-fired steaks wafts through this Southwestern grill, which also happens to be conveniently located within four blocks from the Capitol. We can't blame legislators for stopping by frequently, especially when hearty favorites reign the menu, like the queso con puerco and cedar-planked salmon. When you combine that with Roaring Fork's decidely Texan interior, don't be surpised when you suddenly discover your inner cowboy. 701 Congress Ave., 512-583-0000
Offering approachable, rustic Italian dishes, Italic excels at business lunches. The farm-to-table fare includes crisp pizzas and classic pastas, including a heavenly bolognese (penne rigate bolognese to be exact) that bring customers (including our Texas legislators) back for more. For those who don't have the time to savor the bright, airy space, there's also a cafe to take things to-go. 123 W. Sixth St. 512-660-5390
Even legislators crave tamales once in a while. Austin Representative Eddie Rodriguez and his staff are apparently "big fans" of this fourth-generation Tex Mex favorite on East Sixth, where famed tamales or migas keep diners happy. Try them on their shaded patio for the ultimate experience. 1707 E. Sixth St., 512-495-9504