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2014 Trailer Treat Roundup

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Ringing in the new, out with the old and what to ask if you want a food truck for your next event.

By Tiffany Harelik

2014 Highlight Reel


Mobile Food Throwdown: Peached Tortilla versus Chi’Lantro

The first food-truck event of the year was a Mobile Food Throwdown hosted by Food Trailers Austin. In February, FTA founder Tony Yamanaka brought food-truck kings Eric Silverstein of The Peached Tortilla and Jae Kim of Chi’Lantro together to find out once and for all which would be the best Asian fusion truck. On an event recap, Yamanaka reported, “Two hundred fifty-six ballots were cast, and the trucks were separated by only 10 votes! In the end, there could only be one fan favorite. And that fan favorite was Chi’Lantro.” Both Chi’Lantro and The Peached Tortilla continued to be the media darlings of food-truck reviewers throughout 2014, receiving widespread national recognition for their excellent food and leadership in the industry. Both are slated for expansion into brick-and-mortar restaurants by year’s end.


Home Made Austin spent an entire month making food-truck recipes from {Trailer Food Diaries Cookbook, Austin Edition: Volume 3}.

From pecan pesto (Regal Ravioli) and minted limeade (Guac N Roll), to chicken kabobs (Wholly Kabob), Slammin’ Banana French Toast (Greengo’s) and Big Chewy Coconut Cookies (Little Big Mike’s), local food and craft blogger Krystal Mullins used {Trailer Food Diaries, Austin Edition: Volume 3} as inspiration to cook her way through the month of March with recipes from local food trucks. Here is an excerpt from her post about making Regal Ravioli’s pecan pesto: “It was perfectly comforting and not too heavy and was so easy to put together. The longest step in the recipe is waiting for the water to boil! The recipe does call for roasted garlic (which I adore in anything), which can take a few minutes, but I roasted a head on Sunday night, stored it in the fridge ’til we were ready to use and it came out great. I also love that the recipe featured one of my favorite foods as a Texan: pecans! We used nuts from my parents trees and they added a lot to the unique flavor of this pesto.”


Trailer Food Tuesdays presented by Real Ale launched its third season

Now in its third season, 2014 saw an incredible lineup of food trucks from the curators of Trailer Food Tuesdays. Featuring free live music and a dozen trucks every last Tuesday of the month April through October, this event continues to bring Austinites together all in the name of celebrating good local food.


Food truck combo: La Barbecue and Garbo’s Fresh Maine Lobster

In August, food and photographer blogger Jeff Amador concocted what he deems an “absolutely ridiculous food-truck combo meal” when two of his favorite food trucks became neighbors. He used brisket from La Barbecue and lobster from Garbo’s Fresh Maine Lobster, and the “El Garbo Loco,” an homage to both trucks, was born. We hope this surf-and-turf sandwich creation is one of many to come from food enthusiast Amador.

Who’s expanding:

Chi’Lantro: With five trucks in its empire (three in Austin, two in Houston), Chi’Lantro is further expanding with a brick-and-mortar location at Ninth Street and Congress Avenue in the near future. I asked owner Jae Kim about the Houston food-truck scene too. He said, “Houston remains a good market. We’ve been growing a lot. We are looking for a restaurant face there too. It’s just a matter of time.”

Hey! You Gonna Eat or What?: These guys are living the food-truck dream! They celebrated their third anniversary as a food truck, had a second kiddo and bought a second trailer this year.

Burro Cheese: These entrepreneurs opened up a food truck in January, augmenting physical location.

Dock & Roll Diner: Known for their lobster roll, Dock & Roll added a food truck to their fleet.

Regal Ravioli: The proprietors bought a second trailer for special events. Their lot on South First Street and Elizabeth Street expanded to include 40 North Pizza (a new Neapolitan-style wood-fired pizza trailer). “We want to keep developing the property and combine our efforts to create an Italian-themed atmosphere,” says Zach Adams of Regal Ravioli. “When I opened the small trailer, I also took on a business partner. We are also scouting locations for a brick-and-mortar concept that is differentiated from Regal Ravioli.”

The Peached Tortilla: In addition to two trucks and a booming full-service catering business, The Peached Tortilla opened a restaurant location in December at 5520 Burnet Road. Rumor has it that Owner Eric Silverstein also has a book coming out in the near future.

We welcomed these trucks to the food-truck community:

Although it seems inevitable to see closures (Velveteen Coffee and Gonzo Juice, among a few others), the food-truck scene continued to grow in 2014. Here are some trucks we recently welcomed to the Austin food-truck community:

  • Chaat Shop
  • Angry Egg Roll
  • Oyama
  • Rosarito’s
  • Uncle Louie G’s
  • Candy Cart
  • Taco Baby
  • Sno Labs
  • Korean Komfort
  • Aunt Fanny’s
  • Ginger Armadillo
  • Smokey Denmark
  • Nutter Buster
  • Foodapalooza
  • Travassa
  • Gregorio’s
  • Kyoten
  • Red Star Southern
  • Chico & the Fox
  • Brownie’s BBQ
  • Wunder Pig Barbecue Co.
  • 40 North Pizza

Food-truck courts

We’ve seen food-truck courts opening in “non-traditional” food-truck areas as of late. This list is not comprehensive, but here are some of our major food courts in Austin:

  • The Midway
  • The Picnic
  • GoodLife Food Park
  • East 7th Eats
  • East 6th Eats
  • Rad Radam Food Court
  • Rancho Rio Eatery
  • Co-op Food Court
  • South First Food Court
  • South Austin Trailer Park and Eatery

Need a food truck for an event?

Although most food trucks would appreciate a catering opportunity, rarely will you find a food truck that is looking for an opportunity to just come sell food at an event. Why? They have established locations with regular clientele. To ask them to move their business with no guarantee of sales and an unsure amount of attendees is risky business. Here is a quick checklist for you to get your ducks in a row before reaching out for quotes for a food truck to come to your event:

  • Are you charging the food truck to come to your event? If so, how much?
  • How many other food trucks will be allowed at the event? Will you allow two trucks of the same genre to participate?
  • How many eaters will the event attract?
  • How many guaranteed sales will you promise the food-truck vendor? (They need to prepare food and hire staff well in advance. Many will want a guaranteed sale of $1,000 per event to consider coming.)
  • Are you paying the food truck to hand out free samples at your event? If so, how many samples for how many hours?
  • What are the hours, location with directions, and onsite contact person for your event?
  • Does your event provide electricity, or does the food truck need to bring a generator?
  • Can the food truck sell drinks?
  • Do you require a specialized or reduced menu to facilitate quicker lines, or can the food truck sell its entire range of menu items?
  • How will the food truck be compensated? Is wireless Internet available for credit card sales?
  • How will the event be marketed?

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