This was one of our toughest interviews. Not because Kelly isn’t incredibly friendly and fun to be around, because she is. It’s that Kelly is so much smarter about what’s going on and where to go in Austin, it makes us look bad. She taught us so much, we are even overlooking her terrible opinion on Torchy’s (love you Kelly!). If you want to know more about our fair city, spend a few minutes learning about Kelly Stocker.
EAA: How did you end up in Austin?
Kelly: I just followed the smell of tacos and barbecue. But really, I got a job at Dell (like everyone else) and moved to that booming metropolis known as Round Rock (which my realtor assured me was “just like Austin.”) After spending some time surrounded by big box stores and chain restaurants, I figured out the real deal and moved into the city proper.
EAA: What are you doing now to fill your days?
Kelly: A little bit of this, a little bit of that. Truly. I piece together a lot of things I love and then fit them together. I’m doing some creative consulting for local businesses. I write for Thrillist, Eater, TimeOut and CultureMap. I emcee special events at Alamo Drafthouse. I’m a radio DJ for KGSR. I do new restaurant and bar scouting for Zagat.
EAA: What advice do you have for people that are new to Austin?
Kelly: Austin has a special spirit, a vibe, a feel, a big beating heart. When you move here, help actively preserve that spirit. The new hip stuff is great and its likely what put us on the national radar but the OG stuff, that’s where you should spend your time.
EAA: Any warnings for newcomers? Anything that is overrated?
Kelly: Don’t go to Gueros or Oasis. Just don’t. They’re terrible. I’m always surprised at how busy it is. Also, Torchy’s is super super overrated. Bad flour tortillas and fried chicken? #nothanks. Go to a trailer slinging real street tacos. That’s where you’ll get the good stuff.
EAA: What’s on your Austin Bucket List?
Kelly: Here’s my Austin Bucket list. And the thing I have yet to do is the drive-in. And since they’ve just opened a new one down South, I have double the opportunity to see something great. This month, they’re doing a Bill Paxton tribute and more Harry Potter viewings.
EAA: Are there any hidden gems you would like to share?
Kelly: Dos Batos on Anderson has a bangin’ michelada and wood-fired Mexican food – it’s local but strangely polished branding. Buddys on Burnet is still BYOB and has the coldest beer in town. Dee Dee’s trailer on Cesar Chavez is a current Thai food darling.