The Morning Benders: Our Austin Favorites

Indie-pop quartet The Morning Benders are slowly making their way cross-country on their first headlining tour, following a sweet stint traveling the U.S. with The Kooks. The Berkeley, CA band made a pit stop in Austin for this year's South by Southwest, and the boys impressed us by being surprisingly savvy about this city of ours. Here, main man Chris Chu shares his personal insights on what places make Austin, Texas so badass; check out his picks for favorite gems around town.

Catch The Morning Benders all throughout SXSW music week; scheduled shows can be found at

Updated: May 17, 2010

The Morning Benders' Austin Faves

Whole Foods Market

525 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78703

"I feel like a kid in a candy store when I walk into a Whole Foods on tour. We pretty much route our tours around Whole Foods, because they are one of the few places that you can find good, healthy, organic food to eat, even in places where the only other options are fast food. On top of all that, this particular Whole Foods is incredible--the Whole Foods HQ! Their prepared food section alone is bigger than most of the other Whole Foods we visit. It's the perfect way to chill out and get away from all the craziness of SXSW."

Waterloo Records & Video

600A N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78703

"Kind of obvious for a band to pick a record store, but this is a really great record store. I remember pretty vividly getting 'Randy Newman' by Randy Newman here, while we were on one of our first tours. That's one of my favorite records now, so Waterloo has a really special place in my heart."

Home Slice Pizza

1415 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

"I wouldn't think of Austin for having a really great pizza place, but goddamn, Home Slice does it right. The first time we went to SXSW we played like 12 shows, and the last one was here at Home Slice. That was one of the best feelings--finishing everything and being able to rest, and at the same time, being completely starving from not eating for two days and eating an amazing pizza. The people who run this place are super-chill, too. God bless you Home Slice!"

Koriente Restaurant

621 E 7th St, Austin, TX 78701

"These Korean-ish rice bowls are sort of the perfect tour food, for me. I generally eat gluten-free at home, so places like this are a godsend on tour. You wouldn't believe how far we've driven for a rice bowl. I wasn't able to find many places like this in Austin, and you totally wouldn't expect to find this place right off 7th St, but we did find it, and now we are STOKED."

Enoteca Vespaio

1610 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

"So good. Brunch here is pretty key."

Central Presbyterian Church

200 E 8th St, Austin, TX 78701

"This was my favorite place to be at last year's SXSW. So many amazing bands played here and, on top of that, getting to see all those bands play in a Church?!?! Kind of amazing, and the perfect balance to seeing about 500 bands play in bars on all the other nights."