Since the weather’s trending hotter and hotter – oh, stop denying it – this silvery Manor Road trailer dispensing mouthwatering marvels of falafel and shawarma, of heavenly hummus and mint lemonade, of birthday-worthy baklava, will only become more indispensable as time goes by.
2101 Manor Rd.
Seducing folks with his samosas (grass-fed halal beef or turmeric potato), magical green sauce, and daily scratch tea and lemonade, chef Sajjad of Atia’s Kitchen is setting a new standard for food truck hospitality. Anybody, including vegans, can find something comforting and aromatic on the unpretentious Pakistani menu.
1106 E. 11th
That’s what you call it when a Thunderbird – the coffeeshop run by Brian Batch and Ryan McElroy – gives birth to a concept that’s made biscuit believers out of bagel heathens and taco turncoats: golden brown and buttery goodness stuffed with chicken, with eggs, with gravy, with jammy perfection all day long.
2701 Manor Rd.
The tiny red trailer parked in the Monarch Food Mart lot next door to Cherrywood Coffeehouse is slinging some of the tastiest breakfast tacos in town. Norma Flores makes both flour and corn tortillas by hand every morning, and by the 7am opening, there’s a line. Don’t worry: Her tacos fly out of the sugar-skull-decorated window faster than the Frost Bank Tower’s resident peregrine falcon. Be sure to use every drop of that secret recipe green salsa.
Dynamic offerings have defined this homey, eclectic, and spacious neighborhood favorite since 2009. Known for their filling brunch (great value on more-hippie-than-not breakfast tacos), quality baked goods (pie options!), and specialty coffees – not to mention a build-your-own smoothie menu – Cherrywood also features diverse daily programming, from morning yoga classes to open mic comedy to kid-friendly shows.
1400 E. 38th½
No, Country Boyz Fixins isn’t a rap/country crossover group that won America’s Got Talent – it’s a soul food restaurant in East Austin. Come here for oxtails, smothered pork chops, and peach cobbler. Eating at Country Boyz is just proper self-care.
4140 E. 12th
There’s something refreshing about a business that only offers a single product. Not only do we love Xose Velasco’s exaltation of his family recipe – based in a Chihuahuan regional cooking technique – but the tyranny of choice (read: FOMO) for us is also eliminated. Besides, these tacos contain multitudes.
Austin’s first Dominican food trailer offers a regional twist on classic Latin fare and an Austin staple: empanadas. Chef Melvin Mendez whips up crowd-favorite beef picadillo, shredded chicken, and vegan ratatouille empanadas in addition to tostones and quipes (beef and bulgur rolls stuffed with ground beef and raisins).
1112 E. 11th
Ethiopian fare is a great excuse to get hands-on with your food – scoop up an array of flavorful wots with torn-off hunks of the slightly sour, delightfully spongy injera. The aromatic spices alone will be enough to tempt a reach across the table. (Good thing it’s family-style.) Definitely order the lentil sambusas and doro tibs.
6019 N. I-35
You: It’s too early to start drinking. Friends: Yeah, but think of the SAVINGS. That’s essentially what happy hour is, and Hank’s has a good one – solid bar banter, draft frosé and palomas, and if you sit there long enough, reverse happy hour. Washing down a couple of drinks with baked ricotta, braised meatballs, and PEI mussels with fresh sourdough bread is always a good idea.
5811 Berkman #100
Renowned chef Otto Phan opened a widely acclaimed Chicago restaurant, but reopened his beloved Mueller omakase spot under the helm of chef Sarah Cook. As with any omakase experience, you are asked to put your complete trust in the chef, who will guide you through roughly 20 different dishes centered around sublimely fresh fish. Kyˉoten is a ride, and the message of the experience is clear: Be in the moment. Kyˉoten Sushiko is in a class all its own.
Chef Fiore Tedesco – half rock & roll, half rigatoni ragù – wants to cook you up some unpretentious but downright luxurious Italian cuisine based on local and sustainable produce and meats. He wants to serve it to you with wine, in his elegant Mueller-based dining rooms, all the while making admirable waves in progressive hospitality. Suggestion: Let him.
Pastrami sandwiches just got a colorful upgrade with bright slaws and pickled vegetables layered atop pastrami so good that it’ll make you question why putting this quintessential deli meat in the hands of Texans who love to smoke low and slow wasn’t done long before.
Perhaps the name says it all: Referencing Chinese slang for “clever/wily,” this modern Chinese brasserie could be disguising itself as a standard take-out spot. But there’s nothing run-of-the-mill about it, what with the dim sum cart (and brunch!), hip-hop always on blast, and brisket fried rice. An eatery serving #dopechinese is what the next generation of American Chinese food looks (and tastes) like.
1000 E. 11th #150
Serving next-level breakfast and brunch fare since 2015, Paperboy continues on with two trailers and a brick-and-mortar restaurant on the way. When a place can crank out crave-worthy concoctions like a breakfast sandwich with bacon, egg, and pimento cheese, the more the merrier.
1112 E. 12th
You think this truck-based Italian joint in the Vortex yard, this extension of Nic and Matt Patrizi’s grandfather’s culinary legacy, features some of the best pasta-forward noms in our embiggening metroplex? Just wait ’til you check out their upcoming brick-and-mortar next to Dai Due.
2307 Manor Rd.
After less than a year on the highly competitive Austin restaurant scene, Sassy’s has proven you can serve up all the comforts of soul food without meat and from a food trailer. Owned by local blues singer Andrea Dawson, Sassy’s is an homage to Black Southern food culture – from fried cabbage and cornbread to Dawson’s special Chicon N Waffles, a vegan dish that has even the carnivores raving.
1819 E. 12th
When Odd Duck and Barley Swine are just too heavy a lift, now Bryce Gilmore offers up super casual snacky American cuisine with a bake shop and bar, and a bonus outdoor seating area perfect for family outings.
1814 E. MLK
Uroko works as three different concepts – a counter service temaki (hand roll) bar, a sushi class space, and, on the weekends, a 45-minute sushi omakase. Omakase has made serious gains in popularity, and it’s paying off. Trust your chef.
1023 Springdale, Bldg. 1, Ste. C
Peruvian cuisine (itself quite multicultural) as seen through the eyes of a Bolivian American chef? Not the most obvious concept, to be sure, but Maribel Rivero’s vision has already led to a James Beard semifinalist nomination. From cebiches to lomo saltado, the kitchen’s work is always good and often great, giving locals an ongoing education on one of the world’s most exciting culinary styles.
Pull up a chair and savor the moment with strangers. At Blue Dahlia, tables are arranged so that diners brush elbows while they enjoy a midmorning tartine or fill up on French classics like ratatouille. The idea is to create community around a baguette. After all, that’s what breaking bread is all about. Inducted in 2018.
There once was a little house on Manor Road that served the best artichoke manicotti in all the land, but carrot pasta and sun-dried tomato cream sauce were only the beginning of the story. It’s a tale with plenty of romance (those sparkling limosas) and some very deep drama (the chocolate almond torte), perfect for all our happily-ever-afters. Inducted in 2017.
We’ve been loving those brisket burnt ends since Aaron Franklin’s trailer was located not far from the Chron offices near I-35, way back in 2009. The smoke signals at the now Eastside restaurant are nationally recognized – an Obama fist bump, a James Beard award, and even bad boy Bourdain’s unabashed obsession. Even the notorious hours-long lines can’t deter the steady cult following. But when it comes down to it, Franklin Barbecue has earned its crown because the food comes first, and it’s always delicious. Inducted in 2018.
900 E. 11th
It’s the chicken-fried chicken, y’all. Many of the Southern comfort food pleasures on the menu at Hoover’s Cooking, a two-decades-and-counting Manor Road eatery, have made it an icon: their enormous and delicious pepper-fire soaked and smoked chicken wings, sweet potato coffee, banana pudding, and a side of broccoli that looks like one of the tree people from Lord of the Rings (yeah, we know, they’re called Ents). While the Smokehouse options (Jamaican jerk ribs!) compete with the best of ’em, it’s that chicken-fried chicken, paired with mashed potatoes and a side of jalapeño creamed spinach, that offers something equivalent to the culinary version of a long hug from an old friend. Inducted in 2019.
2002 Manor Rd.
Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin. Support the Chronicle