Trill Taqueria Highlights Vegetables and Makes the Artisanal Accessible

Expect surprising choices and bold tacos at this Eastside food truck

Trill Taqueria Highlights Vegetables and Makes the Artisanal Accessible
Photo by John Anderson

Every morning, first-time business owner Nick Belloni nixtamalizes and grinds his corn by hand, smokes his meats at a nearby commissary, and ferments the whole spectrum of local chiles into bright hot sauces. Currently located in the Webberville Road lot between Fleet Coffee and the Lost Well, Trill Taqueria showcases Belloni's passion for real food and concentrated flavor via scratch masa and rich vegetarian tacos stuffed with unexpected treasures like scarlet turnips, kimchi, and pecan mole.

Formerly the executive chef of Eden East under Sonya Cote's guidance, Belloni learned to use farm-fresh produce (often grown only yards away) in his brunch and dinner specials, drawing inspiration for monthly menus from the whole ingredients themselves. He continues that spirit in his first solo venture, one housed in a tiny taco trailer he found on Craigslist at a serendipitous time. When Belloni and his partner, Collete Presley, became parents last summer, they brainstormed ways to support their small family and still have time together. "We wanted something where eventually, Mayla can be around," said Presley. "Cooking professionally, it is unavoidable to work 12-hour days. I like serving people, so this was a way we could involve the family," explained Belloni. Presley handles PR, advertising, and photography for the business, and Baby Belloni greets new customers as they approach the modest trailer.

Belloni's career began in Lafayette, his hometown, under local chef Justin Girouard. "He was my age at the time [30] and brought me from a chain restaurant cooking level to being able to [turn] being a chef [into] a career. We got James Beard attention all four years that I worked for him, with my brother involved, which was super cool, and I've spent 10 years basically chasing the high I felt working in that place. I was really impressionable, and that's when I dropped out of college," said Belloni. "I said, 'I'm going to do this chef thing for real.'"

After confronting the local demand for vegetarian tacos at Eden East, Belloni and Presley knew they'd fill a hole in Austin's food landscape by offering substantial, vegetable-forward tacos alongside the more traditional meaty options. Collard greens, rapini, Brussels sprouts, and tempura-fried fava leaves all stand out as taco fillings on the Trill Taqueria menu – subject to change with the seasons, of course.

Belloni takes pride in supporting local farms as he serves an artisanal taco for what he feels is a reasonable price point. "Part of our sacrifice – doing the whole two-person thing – is so that we can make the high-end stuff more street-accessible," he said. His personal connections with farmers and ranchers from his previous roles have carried over seamlessly to this business, translating to access to high-quality meats, eggs, and produce. "I'm definitely going to expand from this into other things," explains Belloni. "I have some ideas and a lot of friends I'd like to collaborate with – using friendships to build businesses for each other – like Ryan at Kingsbury Farm, and hoping that other restaurants see how good his produce is here and decide to use it at their places."

While the menu changes regularly to accommodate seasons and Belloni's wild ideas, expect to always find surprising produce choices treated for bold tacos, plus Trill's highly addictive fermented chile, habanero, and Peruvian aji pepper hot sauce in a signature squeeze bottle. Chef Nick welcomes and accommodates all types of eaters and would like for locals to know that his exclusive Kingsbury Farm eggs are the "best you can get."

Trill Taqueria

2421 Webberville Rd.

Wed.-Thu., noon-8pm; Fri.-Sat., noon-10pm; Sun., 11am-9pm; Mon.-Tue., closed

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