Interstate 35 is a primary north/south artery in the central U.S., running from Laredo, Texas (near the Mexican/American border), all the way up to Duluth, Minnesota (nearly to the Canadian/American border). Along its Texas route, I-35 connects Fort Worth, Waco, Temple, Georgetown, Austin, San Marcos and San Antonio.
Given its impressive presence in Texas, venues off I-35 tend to work as wonderfully convenient meeting and event locations. We’ve rounded up a few great restaurant recommendations that are perfect for meetings, as they all include dedicated event spaces. These restaurants range in style and cuisine, so your group is sure to find something right up its alley—and right off I-35!
The Cellar at Pignetti’s
LOCATION: 14 South Second Street (located just over a mile from I-35, off Adams Avenue and adjacent to its mother restaurant, Pignetti’s)
MEETING SPACE: The Cellar at Pignetti’s is a private event hall that caters to parties of up to 90 guests. It offers three types of service: full plated, buffet-style and family-style.
HIGHLIGHTS: Pignetti’s offers Italian fare complemented by an impressive 2,000-selection wine list which has made the restaurant one of the top 1,000 places in the world to enjoy a glass of wine, according to Wine Spectator magazine. The restaurant offers Italian favorites such as linguini and clams, chicken parmesan and veal portofino, but also more unique items like rib eye lasagna and crawfish and crab cakes.
Bob’s Steak & Chop House at Omni Dallas Hotel
LOCATION: Within the Omni Dallas Hotel at 555 South Lamar Street (less than a mile off I-35)
MEETING SPACE: Collectively, the Omni Dallas Hotel features more than 142,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space. The small private dining room in Bob’s can seat up to 32 guests, and the large, semiprivate dining room in the restaurant can set up to 64.
HIGHLIGHTS: At Bob’s Steak & Chop House, “the steaks are prime, the portions are big and the wines are fine.” Bob’s is a nationally renowned steak house (this is one of 15 locations in the U.S.) specializing in Midwestern prime beef. It’s classic steakhouse food prepared and presented in a manner that Bon Appétit calls, “the kind of fare you’ll want to go back for again and again.” Menu highlights include jumbo shrimp cocktail, prime filet mignon and Maryland-style crab cakes.
LOCATION: 2111 South Valley Mills Drive (on the southwest corner of I-35 and South Valley Mills Road)
MEETING SPACE: 760 square feet
HIGHLIGHTS: El Chico serves up traditional Tex-Mex favorites, including specialty enchiladas, fajitas and margaritas. Its known as “the enchilada experts,” so that menu item comes highly recommended. The restaurant is conveniently located close to the Baylor University campus, and its semiprivate meeting space is free to use with the purchase of meals. For groups, El Chico offers a buffet option or guests can order off the menu.
LOCATION: 1925 Speight Avenue (exit at Williams Drive and take the loop around to head southbound on I-35 Frontage Road)
MEETING SPACE: The semiprivate meeting space can accommodate 50-60 guests.
HIGHLIGHTS: George’s has been around for eight decades, starting off as Harry B’s (named after owner Harry Urmeister). In 1966, George Etros purchased the restaurant and changed its name to George’s. George’s is known for its famous drink, the Big O (18 ounces of frosty cold beer), and boasts a huge menu including sandwiches, pasta, Tex-Mex, wings and steak (not to mention droolworthy desserts)
The Waco Hippodrome
LOCATION: 724 Austin Avenue (five minutes from 1-35, exit I-35)
MEETING SPACE: Both the bar and dining room can be reserved for private events for groups up to 100 people. The theater can be rented for presentations, events and meetings for up to 330 people.
HIGHLIGHTS: The historic Waco Hippodrome Theatre opened in 1914 and was home to vaudeville acts from around the country. After a change in ownership in 2012, the theater was brought to life once again with a complete restoration and the addition of a restaurant. The restaurant is located on the second floor of the historic theater. Visitors can dine while watching the latest movie blockbuster, or visit the venue’s restaurant and full bar. The Hippodrome’s dining room boasts delicious movie-themed menu items (like Nacho Libre as an appetizer item and Edward Scissor Hands on the salad menu). In the heart of Downtown Waco, the Hippodrome provides a beautiful, historic, and spacious area for meetings of various sizes.
Brix and Ale
LOCATION: Located within the Sheraton Georgetown Texas Hotel and Conference Center at 1101 Woodlawn Avenue (about two minutes off I-35)
MEETING SPACE: The square footage of the semiprivate area is 884 square feet and can accommodate up to 45 people.
HIGHLIGHTS: Brix and Ale is a contemporary bar and grill offering breakfast, lunch and dinner options. Its menu boasts items that are a fresh spin on classic American comfort foods, as well as an impressive wine and beer list. Menu highlights include house-smoked brisket flatbread, striped bass a la plancha, and filet or beef. The space is modern with an upscale Texasinspired design that incorporates local elements and overlooks the nearby Rivery Park and San Gabriel River.
LOCATION: 812 South Austin Avenue (take exit 261 onto University Avenue/Highway 29)
MEETING SPACE: The meeting space— which can accommodate up to 42 guests— is isolated from the rest of the restaurant and includes a private entrance, which is a bonus for group events.
HIGHLIGHTS: Wildfire’s rather eclectic menu features offerings that include elk, ostrich and bison alongside classics like prime rib (Mondays only), burgers, and chicken and dumplings. The restaurant is on the site of the former City Hotel, which was built in 1898 and served as the home of Peasley’s Meat Market, Roebuck & Company, and a women’s clothing store before redefining itself as Wildfire in 1997.
LOCATION: 301 East Sixth Street, on the corner of East Sixth Street and San Jacinto Boulevard (less than a mile from I-35, take exit 234B and turn onto East 6th Street)
MEETING SPACE: There is a second-floor event space with an exclusive private banquet room, bar and rooftop patio for up to 100 seated guests or up to 200 cocktail-style guests. The space also has a private dining room (divided by curtains for a semiprivate dining experience which can accommodate up to 40 seated guests), and restaurant buyout, which gives guests access to both the first and second floors of the restaurant and can accommodate up to 250 seated guests or up to 400 guests for a cocktail-style event.
HIGHLIGHTS: Parkside, Shawn Cirkiel’s flagship restaurant, opened on Austin’s historic Sixth Street in 2008 and first introduced the farm-to-table concept long before it became a well-known concept in the city. The restaurant quickly became a major influence in Austin’s growing culinary landscape as the city’s first gastropub and set the standard for local, sustainable dining. Parkside’s seasonally changing menu offers classic American fare, elevated with the highest quality, locally sourced and sustainably grown products. Parkside is also known for its extensive raw bar and superior selection of oysters from all over the country. The 8,387-square foot restaurant can accommodate private groups both large and small for seated dinners, dinner buffets and cocktail parties.
Kent Black’s BBQ
LOCATION: 510 Hull Street (located just five minutes off I-35; heading North on I-35, take exit 204 toward San Marcos/ Seguin/TX-82 Loop W/TX-123 Loop S.; turn left onto South Guadalupe Street; in a half mile, turn left onto West Grove Street; the restaurant is located at the end of the block)
MEETING SPACE: 644 square feet of private meeting space which can seat up to 60 people. The restaurant is flexible when it comes to group events. A completely private space with access to a buffet line can be arranged, or guests can order their meat like they would in an old-fashioned meat market.
HIGHLIGHTS: Kent Black is a third-generation pitmaster whose family has been serving BBQ for more than 85 years. The building the restaurant is housed in is an old cotton gin warehouse with many of its original finishes. There is a large patio and a full bar, and the highlight of the menu is the Certified Angus Beef Brisket, which is slow smoked for 10-15 hours until it is perfectly tender.
La Margarita Restaurant & Oyster Bar
LOCATION: 120 Produce Row (in the popular three-block Market Square outdoor plaza)
MEETING SPACE: Terraza Room (which can fit up to 175 guests) and Piñata Room (which can fit up to 65 guests)
HIGHLIGHTS: La Margarita offers excellent Tex-Mex food and to-die-for margaritas in a charming, Old World setting. Part of the La Familia Cortez Restaurants, which are beloved for their high-quality food, authentic culture, and sincere hospitality, La Margarita boasts menu highlights such as fajitas, par - rilladas (family-style mixed grill), and sea - food specialties. For groups, La Margarita can offer menus catered toward breakfast/ brunch, lunch, hors d’oeuvres, dinner, buf - fets and desserts (with a bar menu included, too, so your guests can enjoy those killer margaritas).
Alamo Beer Company
LOCATION: 415 Burnet Street (from I-35 South take exit 158C)
MEETING SPACE: full buyout of the brew - ery (which includes one tour per guest and can include a signature pint glass for each guest made especially for your event), par - tial rental (for parties of 50 people or fewer which includes a semiprivate dining area and allows for outside catering to be brought in), or VIP Tasting with a tour
HIGHLIGHTS: Named one of the top ten craft breweries in the United States by Timeout – New York, the Alamo Beer Brew Hall makes for a unique event venue. While not a working restaurant, a variety of food trucks and caterers can be utilized to provide food service for private events and groups. This space provides a fun, relaxed environ - ment for groups, and the option to include a custom pint glass can make the experience extra memorable and personalized.