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.
If you ask an Austinite where to eat vegan food, 99.9% of the time, the immediate response is, “Arlo’s!” Plant-based but designed with carnivores in mind, the menu caters to late-night cravings, and they’ve absolutely mastered the art of meatless cheeseburgers with their famous Bac’n Cheezeburger. That Frito pie ain’t nothing to sneeze at either, friends. To really let you in on how special their trio of curbside eateries is, consider this: Arlo’s is the very first food trailer and only the second plant-based kitchen inducted into our First Plates Hall of Fame. Austin’s plant-based comfort food baby is all grown up now. Inducted in 2019.
900 Red River
Ugo and Annamaria serve straightforward scratch pasta inspired by their home city of Mantova. Featuring local produce and offering lasagna, gnocchi, maccheroni, casarecce, tagliatelle, and – of course – spaghetti alla carbonara, they’ve carved out a distinct family-friendly niche in the pasta truck scene (as Italians offering Italian food, the focus is on pasta as a course of its own, not proteins or sides). Check out their buzzworthy tiramisu.
7800 S. First
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
No matter where this truck goes, hungry Austinites follow in search of smoky baba ghanoush and sumac-topped falafel spreads. This Lebanese trailer is a delight for both vegetarians and carnivores, and there’s always a delicious twist on the classics (love the rose-flavored lemonade).
3225 Amy Donovan Plaza
The owners don’t have to boast about their island flavor or aloha spirit – patrons insist that the freshness and large portion size of the ahi tuna poke and popcorn shrimp will make an instant convert out of you. That, plus the vibrancy and presentation of the sides, will make you forget you’re dining in a parking lot.
1309 W. 45th
Brazilian street food at its finest, this bright yellow neon sign of a food truck serves up tasty yuca fries and empanadas. But the pièce de résistance is probably the picanha grelhada with sirloin steak, rice, beans, and a fried egg.
1209 E. Sixth
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.
1402 E. 38th 1/2
There are many Thai joints in Austin, but none have made quite the splash that this plucky little food truck did when it popped up on the Eastside a few years back and started racking up accolades almost immediately for its Northern Thai street food, including pork skewers, spicy papaya salad, and cooling mango & sticky rice.
4204 Menchaca Rd.
Their slogan sums it up: “Go ahead, get addicted.” Serving up flavors of Southeast Asia, DFG doesn’t have just any old menu – they have a “menu of goodness.” From chicken nuggets marinated overnight in “DFG Magic Sauce,” to the Empress, a creamy coconut-curry stew delight, you’ll be daydreaming about your next flavor fix from this award-winning food truck.
Check website for location
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
Peruvian food ain’t just ceviche, and chef Kati Luedecke will gladly introduce you to the wide range of bright flavors and bold ingredients Lima is known for. The aji amarillos, ubiquitous in Peru, are bountiful here, too, sliding perfect amounts of flavor and heat into this inspired, must-try Peruvian-Texan menu.
Having recently upgraded her trailer and completed a culinary degree, chef Nahika Hillery impresses customers with Haitian fare that is difficult to find in Texas. Griot (fried pork shoulder), mayi moulin (Haitian grits), soup joumou (traditional Haitian beef and pumpkin soup), fresh guava punch, and fried sweet plantains stand out, but the rice and beans alone are enough to keep folks coming back.
Yes, this food truck’s slogan boasts “New school barbecue and old school service,” but don’t let that first part scare you: It’s traditional ’cue done even better, with alternative cuts of meat and modern twists on side dish classics that keep winning awards year after year.
121 Pickle Rd.
When this vegetarian pizza trailer ditched the dairy for an all-vegan menu last fall, Austin vegans rejoiced. But herbivore or not, their house-made vegan mozzarella is unparalleled, as are pies like the Meat Out (who knew beeteroni was so satisfyingly delicious?) and VBR (verde bianco rosso) with balsamic glaze, roasted garlic, and fresh arugula.
440 E. St. Elmo Rd., A1
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.
Even nonvegans rave about Plow Burger, which now boasts two food trailer locations (at Buzz Mill Coffee and the Flag Store of Hyde Park). With Beyond Meat patties, gooey vegan cheese, chef Isaac Mogannam’s version of special sauce, and weekly specials often featuring local makers, it’s finger-lickin’ vegan junk food for the masses.
1505 Town Creek Dr.
So, you’re by a pool … and you want a burger? If you’re near Deep Eddy, you’re in luck: This part-permanently-parked-Airstream/part-cinderblock-and-jukebox hang zone sits between the popular spring-fed pond and Deep Eddy Cabaret. It’s best you add crinkle-cut fries to your choice of tasty buns and Wagyu beef patties, along with tiki drinks, craft beer, and more. So. Very. Austin.
2315 Lake Austin Blvd.
Donuts by day, burgers by night? Republic Diner pulls off the Two-Face look nicely. Starting at 5am, you can get fresh, marvelous donuts like bourbon vanilla glaze and peach cake. Then at night, the place flips and serves a delightful smashed burger on a potato roll. Republic is the trailer Gotham deserves.
1401 E. Seventh
Baja cuisine in an office park might be a surprise, but Rosarito brings ocean cuisine to various parts of Austin every day. Items like the ahi tuna tostada and tempura-fried fish taco satisfy a certain craving, but the chile relleno taco is Mexican vegetarian done right.
“It’s the best al pastor, ain’t it, Sheriff?” “If it ain’t, it’ll do ’til the best gets here.” Rosita’s has more than seasoned pork on a spit, but even if it didn’t, it would still be worth a visit to Riverside. Sometimes, the best is enough.
1911 E. Riverside
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
This truck boosts small-batch, artisan saucemakers by showcasing their low-heat sauces (pepper, BBQ, and salsas) at their sauce bar, complete with free tours. In the same shady space, guests can mix-and-match their way through a chef-driven, snacky menu created to be a canvas for the sauces. Rotisserie chicken and root vegetables are the big draws here, as well as a daily “world nacho” option. No matter what, don’t skip the foamy tea.
Yes, we’re shameless hams for Soursop. We write about ’em every year and dammit, you’re gonna hear about ’em again this year, too. Soursop’s overall generalities haven’t changed – they still operate out of the backyard of St. Elmo, they still sling the city’s best pan-Asian fare, and they still pair best with a Carl Kolsch – but it is the culinary minutiae that keep it all fresh, dynamic, and interesting. From the Pho-Tine 2.0 tater tots (grade A drunk food, please believe) to the SopBurger with Swiss cheese and onions roasted in bacon fat, we just can’t stop ourselves from being annually impressed.
440 E. St. Elmo, Bldg. G-2
Spicy Boys, parked at Zilker Brewing, is the second endeavor from the team behind Soursop. If that alone isn’t enough of an endorsement that you immediately need a pint of Marco IPA and whatever delicious commodities Spicy Boys are pushing (spicy fried chicken!), then how about some iron law suggestions from us: sambal jumbo wings, a leg quarter of fried chicken, a hot gai sandwich, and (listen up, this is critical) a side of roti and a Zilker seasonal to cool you off between bites. That should hold you over until breakfast.
1701 E. Sixth
Chef Nick Belloni, former executive chef of Eden East, gives guests a one-man show from open to close. Featuring organic, house-nixtamalized corn tortillas; smoked local meats; and an innovative lineup and layering of lesser-known, local farm veggies (collard greens, rapini, tempura-fried fava leaves) with fermented hot sauces that have vegetarians rushing to bring their friends. And yes, you can put an egg on it.
2421 Webberville Rd.
When a food truck can take the Tex, add it to the Mex, and slather the whole thing in barbecue goodness, that’s a magical thing. Now, with Valentina’s set to move into a proper restaurant, the culinary wizardry is guaranteed to continue. May the serving of brisket tacos never cease.
11500 Menchaca Rd.
Van’s Báhn Mì is a slice of Vietnamese comfort food located in the heart of North Loop. With daily fresh-baked bread and meats flame-grilled to order, this little trailer serves up three different kinds of Vietnamese sandwiches, along with mouthwatering egg rolls and vermicelli plates for non-sandwich folks. Now all you have to decide is whether to order them with pork, shrimp, chicken, or vegetables.
201 E. 53rd
Vaquero Taquero brings their version of taco traditionalism to Austin by way of the Rio Grande and Monterrey, and North Campus has been the prime beneficiary. Their Hyde Park truck has since been joined by a restaurant on East 31st. More al pastor, por favor.
Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin. Support the Chronicle