Eating Austin | Frito Pie

While in Austin a few weeks back we popped into Lamberts for a quick bite and a break from the chaos that is SXSW. The intention was to saddle up to the bar and dine on some of the tasty food that Lamberts has become known for. While tempted by the aromas of the slow smoked meats, we instead veered slightly off course and selected the Frito Pie, a decision that will reverberate for years to come in the form of cravings for a dish in a far away city.

The Frito Pie is normally a more simple affair that consists of Fritos, cheese and chilli. Often you will find it served in an actual Fritos bag during occasions like the Texas State Fair. The recipe at Lamberts is slightly more refined, and in our book more delicious. Lamberts takes a bag of Fritos and adds in a heap of cheddar cheese, some chopped-up brisket, goat cheese, queso fresco and then heats it up in the oven to melt the cheese. Once melted, everything is plated in a pool of bar-b-que sauce, covered with more melted queso and then topped with a bit of pico de gallo. The flavors, while very cheese-centric, mix perfectly with the crunch of the Fritos and will really make you want to shake the chef’s hand. Outside of the cardiac damage suffered at the hand of Lamberts, the only thing we regret is the fact that we don’t live closer to this Frito goodness.

Comments on “Eating Austin | Frito Pie

    nick on April 12, 2011 12:21 PM:

    amazing. i have a good story about frito pie, but i am too lazy to type it. i am not, however, too lazy to offer a useless comment.

    Jessica Define on April 12, 2011 1:30 PM:

    still haven’t been to lamberts, but now i’m anxious to have my austin friends take me. i will be eating this, fa sho.

    Makaga on April 12, 2011 1:38 PM:

    Ahh, Frito Pie takes me back to growing up in Santa Fe. We would sell Frito Pies at school to raise money – like how kids have bake sales these days.
    Thanks for the headsup to this more refined version.

    John R on April 12, 2011 2:02 PM:

    I highly recommend Lambert’s Wild Boar Ribs appetizer as well.

    jay on April 12, 2011 3:25 PM:

    Lamberts rules. my buddy Tom Yaps loves the boar ribs. They taste like chicken wings. no bull.

    Frito pies are best left in the bag of Fritos like Cowgirl in the west village, but lamberts is a touch classier.

    VM on April 12, 2011 3:27 PM:

    Next trip for sure.

    Ray Hull on April 12, 2011 4:50 PM:

    I think you meant “sidle” up to the bar, but then again, you were in TX… Will be in El Paso in early May for a J.B. Hill boot fitting; hope I can have as much good dining luck.

    aquariumdrunkard on April 12, 2011 10:21 PM:

    good joint. in addition to the eats, upstairs they have a live music room I rented out for a sxsw event few years back. cozy + great sound + said eats downstairs post dranks.

    Tommy on April 12, 2011 10:53 PM:

    The best thing about Lambert’s is the way that it SMELLS!!! It’s like sitting in a meat smoker. Wonderful place.

    TMH on April 12, 2011 11:30 PM:

    Reckon I gotta try that

    Leland Witter on April 13, 2011 8:55 AM:

    In Raleigh, NC there is a great Frito-based appetizer at Player’s Retreat, a bar and burger joint, that has been there for 60-odd (and I mean odd) years. It’s called Mimi’s Sausage Dip and it is basically a slightly cheesy sausage gravy served in a bowl with Frito’s for dipping. Fantastic!

    If you’re ever in town, it is a must-stop place. Their meat is cut and ground in house, so their burgers are out of this world. It’s hard to describe the dichotomy between how the place looks and how good the food is – you just have to experience it.

    Billy on April 13, 2011 1:12 PM:

    yep, I’d eat that.

    karen on April 13, 2011 3:37 PM:

    i almost (but not quite) hate being one of those people, but for proper frito pie there are far better places to go. i’m fine with fancy newfangled takes on standards and much of the food at lambert’s is quite good. but frito pie is supposed to be salt of the earth, regular people, white trashy food and it should be eaten at gas stations and county fairs or at the very least a slightly more modest establishment than fancypants lambert’s.

    that being said, it’s nice to see a non-texan extol the virtues of a lovely food.

    R4L on April 13, 2011 3:57 PM:

    I have not had Fritos in a bag since I left Texas!! Thanks for mentionning this!!!

    MR Mister on April 13, 2011 8:09 PM:

    Ugh, I hate Frito pie and always have. My (young, divorced, and poor) mama would make it for me when I was a kid in Arkansas and I could barely stomach it. Y-U-C-K!

    Kristen on April 17, 2011 10:31 AM:

    Ray Hull,
    El Paso is home to several “homey” joints – you’ll have to dig around. Your best bet is to go for some serious Mexican food, stock up on some German pastries and take the trip out for a steak at Cattleman’s ranch.
    Good luck with the boot fitting.

    A on April 17, 2011 4:03 PM:

    Texas Chili Parlor is a personal favorite.

    Doug S on April 17, 2011 6:58 PM:

    I did the exact same thing during SXSW – saw a show at Lambert’s upstairs and couldn’t resist the temptation of the delicious smells from their kitchen. The Frito pie was everything I hoped it would be.

    Austin Food Journal on April 19, 2011 9:06 PM:

    Nice to see sites that i follow come to my town and partake in things I enjoy.

    OhioHead on April 28, 2011 8:36 AM:

    ACL – thanks for the recommendation!

    I was in Austin this week speaking at event on Tuesday, had the “pie” on Monday and again Tuesday w/ my colleagues. Agree the “pie” is county fair/gas station type food, I love when a restaurant takes a classic and makes it even better.

    My colleague from TX was “holy sh#t, this is unbelievable!”

Comments are closed.