cool beans | Andrew Reiner
Food & Drink

A Truly Exhaustive Guide to Austin's Food Truck Parks

Published On 09/01/2017
Masala Medley

Pangea Lounge

East Sixth Street

This lot is where you’ll find Way South Philly’s cheesesteaks, Artessano’s Colombian arepas (which are similar to the Tex-Mex gordita), mom-and-pop Bua Loy Thai Cuisine’s classic dishes, Greek (Aimee’s Super Fantazmo), Indian (Masala Medley), and Halal Time's much-loved halal plates and wraps. On weekends, Pangea Lounge also bustles with live music and booths from local artisans. If you’re willing to look just beyond the park itself, Baton Creole and Via 313 are both a short walk away.

Must-try foods: The generously portioned falafel over rice plate ($7) at Halal Time includes six pieces of falafel served over basmati rice, with a side salad, chickpeas, pickles, red onion, tahini, house-made tzatziki, and hot sauce; Aimee’s Super Fantazo fries ($9.49), seasoned curly fries topped with feta cheese, cucumbers, tomato, olive, tzatziki sauce, chili garlic sauce, and gyro meat.

Micklethwait Craft Meats

East 11th/Rosewood Food Trucks

East 11th

Unlike some of the other spots listed below, here we’re referring to a handful of great trucks -- from Waller Street to Angelina Street -- rather than an actual park. The unique assortment of eateries includes Thai Kruefha, Wasota African Cuisine made personally by the Nigerian chef/owner, Wild Magnolias’ Cajun/Creole cooking, Tony’s Jamaican Food, Detroit-inspired Delray Cafe at Nickel City, breakfast joint Paperboy, Juana Taco, Micklethwait Craft Meats’ Texas-style BBQ, and Cedars Crepes for Lebanese crepes.

Must-try foods: Delray Cafe’s double slider ($3.93), with double meat and grilled onions on a steamed bun, and make sure to add cheese; Mickelthwait Craft Meats’ brisket Frito pie ($10), a pile of Fritos topped with chili con carne, spicy pickled vegetables, and a slice of brisket; chicken served with jollof rice, Benin sauce and fried plantains ($9) at Wasota African Cuisine.

Via 313

Rainey Street Food Trucks

Rainey Street

Ms P’s Electric Cock fries double-brined, local, free-range chicken until it’s perfectly moist on the inside and crispy on the outside; Four Brothers makes killer arepas; the always-popular Big Fat Greek Gyros turns out, you guessed it, gyros; and Asian food (from white girls) courtesy of White Girl Asian Food. Rainey has a good number of trucks beyond this lot worth visiting too -- we like Little Lucy’s Mini Donuts, Tommy Want Wingy, Via 313 (of course), and Taco Baby.

Must-try foods: Big Fat Greek Gyros’ big-enough-for-two Hercules gyro ($8.21), stuffed with tender & juicy lamb, beef, or chicken, romaine hearts, tomato, onion, green peppers, oregano, and French fries; Tommy Want Wingy’s five-piece, Mexican-inspired chile limon wings, or the super-spicy Ranch on Fire wings ($6.50); Little Lucy’s Mini Donuts’ Chow Chow donuts ($7), a set of 12 warm mini donuts coated in sugar and cinnamon.

Cool Beans

Spider House Food Trailers & Village

North Campus

You’ll find food trucks scattered throughout the Spider House property. Syriano Shawarma offers enormous portions of tasty kosher shawarma, falafel wraps, and vegan options, while 100% plant-based Mexican street food truck Cool Beans (tucked behind Spider House Cafe) has hands-down the best vegan tacos in Austin, all of which arrive on warm, homemade corn or flour tortillas. And then there’s Arlo’s: Whether you're vegan or not, Arlo’s stoner fare (in the form of burgers, taco, fries, and tots) is arguably some of the best-tasting vegan food you'll find anywhere.

Must-try foods: Arlo’s Bac'n Cheeze Burger ($8), house-made soy-free/gluten-free patty stacked with house-made seitan “bac'n”, melted “cheeze,” and all the standard veggies; Cool Beans’ plant-based Warrior taco ($3.75) with homemade “chorizo,” potatoes, pickled red onion, and cilantro on a warm homemade flour tortilla, and its sweet, organic street corn ($4), mixed with homemade vegan lime mayo, chilito spice, and a squeeze of lime.

Churro Co.

East Riverside Food Trucks

East Riverside South Shore District

Right around the corner from the sprawling South Shore residences, you’ll find Callejeros and Rosita’s Al Pastor both serving Mexican street food in the form of tacos, tortas, quesadillas, and burritos filled with flavorful asada, carnitas, al pastor, and more, topped with fresh salsas. Churro Co.’s highly photogenic churros are fried to crispy-on-the-outside-and-soft-on-the-inside perfection, and Cow Bells’ classic, homestyle burgers feature the perfect ratio of meat to crisp veggies.

Must-try foods: Cow Bells’ Archetype Burger ($6.25) dressed with mayo, lettuce, tomato, pickle, and onion; Churro Co.’s Campfire Churro ($4.50) tossed in graham cracker sugar, and topped with Mexican chocolate sauce, whipped cream, and torched marshmallows.

Neil Burger

The Picnic

Barton Springs

The Picnic is in close proximity to Barton Springs pool, home to popular trucks -- Kebabalicious, The Mighty Cone, Trudy’s, Hey Cupcake! -- AND has a BYOB policy! Explore resident trucks like Cajun Creole Gambino’s Gourmet Exchange from chef Kevin Gambino who worked in NOLA’s top eateries, from-scratch Italian truck Cannone Cucina Italiana, Brazilian-inspired Açaí Hut, and Steel City Pops’ fresh, gorgeous popsicles. Expect ample parking, lots of shade, and actual restrooms (instead of port-a-potty).

Must-try foods: Steel City Pops' coconut or blood orange popsicle ($3); Cannone’s rich spaghetti carbonara ($11.50); Kebabalicious’ Spoiled Brat ($10.16), with beef, lamb, chicken, falafel, and jalapeño hummus; Gambino’s Louisiana-style blackened chicken with dirty rice ($12). 

5000 Burnet Food Park

Burnet Road

A whopping 12 food trailers at 5000 Burnet means there’s something for every taste. To narrow the field a bit, decide between The Big Kahuna’s Hawaiian cuisine, Latino-inspired Jewish-American truck Jewboy Burgers, esteemed T-Loc’s Sonora Hot Dogs (a style made popular in Tucson), Budare’s Venezuelan Food, and The Grip Coffee Co. Better still, the entire park is BYOB and dog/kid friendly!

Must-try foods: Jewboy Burger’s chopped onion and garlic latkes ($3.75); T-Loc’s Sonoran hot dog “con todo” ($6), a bacon-wrapped hot dog topped with beans, tomato, jalapeño sauce, mustard, and mayo on a lightly sweet bun.

The Midway Food Park

The Midway Food Park

South Capital of Texas Hwy

West Austin’s Midway Food Park is one of the most modest in terms of selection, but it’s still a solid weekend option for friends and families (thanks to the on-site playground) to gather; the music lineup changes regularly, and you can bring your own beer, too. Grab a Maine-style lobster roll at Dock & Roll, vegan jackfruit tacos at Revolution Vegan Kitchen, or (our favorite) Lebanese fare like shawarma, kebabs, and falafel from Beirut.

Must-try foods: Beirut’s shawarma fries ($8), crispy fries topped with marinated beef, tomatoes, onions, pickles, parsley, and tahini sauce; Dock & Roll’s The Maine Event ($18), freshly-picked Maine lobster claw and knuckle meat served chilled with Dock & Roll’s special house mayo and chive served on a split-top roll. If you wanna get crazy, add Dock & Roll’s fiery habanero “truth” sauce.

Courtesy of Conscious Cravings

South Austin Trailer Park & Eatery

South First & Gibson

Located across the street from El Mercado, this food trailer park is where you’ll find Torchy’s OG trailer for creative tacos, Conscious Cravings for vegetarian food that doesn’t skimp on flavor (or portion size), and Holy Cacao for all things chocolate. BYOB is totally OK here, and there is plenty of indoor seating for when the heat is especially brutal (aka summer). If you’re up for a stroll, check out Mellizoz Tacos for delicious tempura shrimp tacos, and Regal Ravioli for brisket ravioli (limited availability) just a block south from this lot.

Must-try foods: Conscious Cravings’ best-selling baked rosemary fries ($2.79), and its huge, spicy chickpea wrap ($6.69) with chickpeas simmered in Indian spices, lettuce, onion, tomatoes, and green sauce all tucked into a tortilla; Torchy’s Trailer Park taco ($3.75), with fried chicken, green chilies, lettuce, pico de gallo, and cheese served on a flour tortilla with poblano sauce, and the chile queso and chips ($5.25), homemade chips with green chile queso topped off with guacamole, queso fresco, cilantro, and fiery “diablo” hot sauce.


Mueller Trailer Eats


The Mueller Trailer Eats food park is easy to find -- just look for the historic Browning Hangar, the structure that serves as a landmark for the former Robert Mueller Municipal Airport. One of Austin’s favorite trucks, mmmpanadas, can be found here serving fresh baked (sweet and savory) empanadas alongside The Stonehouse Woodfire Grill, which has a surprisingly extensive menu of grilled burgers, toasted sandwiches, pitas, and kebabs, as well as options for kiddos. Or, try Booty Locos’ authentic Mexican tinga tacos (shredded meat marinated in tomato sauce, chipotle, and spices), Conscious Cravings’ mouth-watering vegan wraps, or Gravy’s fluffy biscuits and (you guessed it) gravy.

Must-try foods: Gravy’s Deep South ($6.50), a buttermilk biscuit loaded with a plentiful (to say the least) half pound of pork sausage cream gravy; Booty Locos’ spicy beef tinga tacos (2 for $7.50) topped with red cabbage, peppers, crema, avocado, and queso fresco.

Co-Op Food Court

West Campus

Students flock to the food truck court found behind the Longhorn co-op for affordable and tasty offerings, including Taiwanese street food at Song La, sweet-and-savory egg rolls from Glory Roll, Ice Scrapers’ Thai ice cream, Jefe’s Street Tacos, and The Gypsy Kit ATX.

Must-try foods: Any of the rolled ice creams ($6) from Ice Scrapers, where you choose the base and mix-ins, the liquid is poured onto a cold surface and scraped into rolls and topped with your choice of cookies, candy, sprinkles, nuts, and fruit; Song La’s crispy Taiwanese-style chicken bites ($6) with Thai basil.

Jean-Baptiste THOUÉNON

South First Street Food Trucks

South First & West Gibson Street

Just a block north of the bumpin’ Torchy’s trailer you’ll find a quiet gravel lot that’s home to reliably great Little Thai Food, hard-to-pronounce French crêperie Saperlipopette, and Bombay Dhaba’s comforting Indian cuisine. Be forewarned: Little Thai Food is cash-only!

Must try food: Little Thai Food’s tom kha ($9), tangy, spicy coconut milk soup, and spicy panang curry ($9) served with white rice; Saperlipopette’s simple and elegant La Pompote ($6.50) crepe with caramelized apples, and a (not at all) optional scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Thicket Food Park

South First & W Dittmar

This collection of food trailers surrounded by shady trees also serves as a neighborhood gathering space, with community gardens, a stage for live events, and even the occasional outdoor yoga class. Level Up serves smoothies and juices from a refitted double-decker bus (with seating up top), My Granny's Kitchen plates stick-to-your-ribs soul food, Revolution Vegan Kitchen puts veggie spins on staples like burgers and tacos, SoCo Burgers gives can't-miss sandwiches an "Argentinian touch," Dragon Delights does killer dim sum, Atia's Kitchen serves authentic Pakistani fare, and Gyros Gr is your Greek go-to.

Must-try food: Beef tip with rice ($7) from My Granny's Kitchen; chicken & basil dumplings ($5 for four) from Dragon Delights; "al pastor" tacos  ($3.50) from Revolution Vegan Kitchen.

Bistro Vonish

North Loop Vegan Trailers

North Loop

This trio of trailers is small but essential to the veggie-inclined community. Bistro Vonish is known for its elevated vegetarian/vegan dishes, The Great Y’all for vegan Asian fusion bar food, and Bananarchy for its over-the-top dipped and coated frozen bananas.

Must try food: You can’t go wrong with the BBQ seitan sandwich ($9) or black garlic bruschetta ($7) from Bistro Vonish; or The Great Y’all’s rangoons ($7) filled with roasted red pepper, green onions, and cashew tofu “cream chz” and jackfruit roll-up ($8) Korean spiced and seared jackfruit with Sriracha sauce, fresh cabbage and carrots, rolled into a scallion pancake.

Veracruz All Natural

Aztec Food Trailer Park

East Cesar Chavez & Chicon

This corner has thinned out considerably due to the recent departure of la Barbecue -- which has taken up residence at Quickie Pickie’s Cesar Chavez store -- and temporary shuttering of Super Burrito East. However, let’s celebrate the fact that we still have Dee Dee Northern Thai, Toaster (on the Stay Gold patio) -- and while they’re not technically in the same park, Kerlin BBQ and Austin taco darling Veracruz All Natural are just a stone’s throw down East Cesar Chavez.

Must-try foods: Dee Dee’s pad kapow ($10), spicy stir-fried pork with Thai basil and steamed jasmine rice; Toaster’s cheesy The Baked Mac ($5) with added pepperoni for extra oomph; Veracruz All Natural’s migas taco ($3.50), which Alton Brown proclaimed to be his favorite breakfast taco of all time.

Cristina Fisher

East Side Food Park

East Cesar Chavez

100% plant-based Curcuma anchors this small East Side park, and its Ayurveda-inspired bowls, colorful elixirs, and treats, made with high-quality ingredients, are already Instagram darlings. Eastside Pita has a loyal following for their generous portions of shawarma, pita, hummus, tabouleh and other Mediterranean offerings while one-woman operation The Lucky Belly cooks up homestyle Thai favorites like pad Thai and pad see ew.

Must-try foods: Honestly, these trailers are all winners. Try Curcuma’s activated charcoal black lemonade ($4) or super matcha latte ($4), made with maca, spirulina, chlorella, and house-made organic activated cashew milk; Eastside Pita’s beef shawarma plate ($?) with hummus and pita; and The Lucky Belly’s drunken noodles ($9).

Lewchan Photography

South Congress Food Trucks #1

South Congress & Elizabeth Street

Hit up The Science Cream for liquid nitrogen ice cream (it ends up creamier with fewer ice crystals), PitaLicious for Mediterranean/Middle Eastern wraps, Hey Cupcake! for assorted sweets, Austin City Lemons for hand-crafted lemonade served out of a giant, very cute lemon trailer, and nearby Parisian Crepes for authentic French crepes with lots of savory breakfast and lunch options.

Must-try foods: Go for Austin City Lemons’ Cup of Happiness ($4.50), a classic lemonade with a dash of “lavender love” that’s the perfect cure for a hundred-degree day. Even if you aren’t a crepe enthusiast, you’ll love Parisian Crepes’ veggie breakfast crepe ($10) made with organic eggs, avocado, tomato, fresh basil, and goat cheese, and drizzled with homemade avocado dressing.

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Austin's Best New Restaurants of 2017

Published On 11/13/2017
T here were plenty of restaurant openings in Austin this year, but the best ones all had a few things in common: comforting, un-gimmicky foods, served in chic surroundings, by (unsurprisingly) the top culinary talent in the city. They may not be the places with 4-dollar-sign price points, or the ones with two-hour weekend waits, but each of the restaurants below quickly earned top spots on Austin’s “You’ve gotta eat here” board. Whether you start with pimento and peacocks on the patio of a historic Victorian home, or by submitting your naughtiest behavior into a confessional box after an order of fries and soft serve, you’ll enjoy eating your way through Austin’s best new restaurants of 2017.
Thomas Allison / Thrillist


Burnet Avenue

Casual-yet-refined French/American diner with classic cocktails
Chosen as one of Thrillist's Prime 13 best new restaurants of 2017, this French bistro/American diner mashup features the tinge of Asian flavors you’d expect from chef Philip Speer, former director of culinary operations at Uchi. Don’t expect to find any pretension here -- Bonhomie is approachable, casual, comforting, and yes, affordable! The double-meat burger is oozing with Dijonnaise and cheese, the pommes rosti are crispy potato birds’ nests with toppings like roasted mushrooms, caramelized onions, and spinach (our favorite), and the croque monsieur and French onion soup are so over-the-top-rich that you practically have to share them. There are no literally no wrong choices, except not dining here -- or drinking here, thanks to the full bar and fantastic cocktail list.

Robert Lerma

Holy Roller


Comfort food, cocktails, and kitsch from pastry chef Callie Speer
Callie Speer, former pastry chef of Swift’s Attic and Geraldine’s, opened punk rock diner Holy Roller as a labor of love, alongside an all-star team of women including beverage director Jen Keyser. The menu is full of comfort food, and each Texas classic is stamped with Callie Speer’s signature whimsy, like the addictive Trash Fries (gravy, sunny-side egg, sour cream, corn, lime, and cotija cheese) and the migas kolache (stuffed with queso, crispy potatoes, and jalapeño). Better still, Holy Roller caters to Austin’s brunch-obsessed masses by serving it all day on Sundays, including the Sunday School menu of pastries and tasty cocktails based off the Seven Deadly Sins. Drop a confession note in the box by the bathroom, and it might just get chosen as inspiration for Holy Roller’s next special cocktail.

Kemuri Tatsu-ya

East Austin

Mash-up of a Texas smokehouse and a Japanese gastropub
Describing Kemuri Tatsu-ya to the uninitiated gets convoluted: a Japanese izakaya in a former Eastside BBQ joint, with Texas influences and a killer Japanese whisky selection? Sure. The menu starts with bites like the uber-popular, Gouda-and-brisket-stuffed Hot Pocketz, and ends with ramen served with a thick dipping broth and fiery jalapeños, but not without a few twists and turns along the way. The “odd bits” menu offers tiny dishes of the (very) funky squid marinated in its own guts, as well as sweet and sour marinated jellyfish, while the yakitori offerings range from familiar chicken meatballs to challenging chicken hearts. And don’t even get us started on the cocktail program; arguably one of the best in Austin, the menu features fun, shareable portions served in kitschy vessels (like the Matcha Pain Killer, served in a cat-shaped cup). Think of Kemuri Tatsu-ya as a choose-your-own-adventure dining experience; stay in your comfort zone or get weird, it’s all up to you. Whatever you do, though, order a crisp Orion lager: it gives your go-to light beer a run for its money.

Nicolai McCrary


South Congress

Pan-Asian fusion served on the patio of a craft brewery
Soursop, the pan-Asian trailer serving bar food on the patio of St. Elmo Brewing Co. is a standout in the neighborhood, the food truck landscape, and Austin in general for a few reasons: inventive flavor profiles, the fact that St. Elmo’s beers magically pair with everything on the menu, and the culinary team’s (possibly tongue-in-cheek?) shrine to Guy Fieri. Menu offerings occasionally change, but our favorites don’t appear to be going anywhere -- namely the Water-Burger (a refreshing burger made with ground chuck and brisket, caramelized onion ranch, lettuce, marinated cucumber, garlic pepper, and toasted rice powder), and the huge, sticky sambal wings (jumbo whole wings, Thai chili, palm sugar, fish sauce, coconut vinegar, peanut, mint).

Charles Reagan

Native Hostel

East Austin

Upscale hostel and bar serving modern diner classics
Hip digs and a kitchen with generous hours add up to Austin’s newest hotspot for sleeping, eating, drinking, and checking out live music and DJs. The kitchen has everything an Austin guest (or resident) could want, comforting diner food, brunch and lots of vegetarian options. With picks like the fried chicken sandwich (pickle brined chicken, dill pickles, pickled peppers, mayo) and the meatless chilaquiles (veggie chorizo, corn tortilla chips, pickled peppers, tomato, avocado, queso and sunny-side-up egg), this is the sort of food that late dinners and (ahem, challenging) breakfasts require. Pro tip: Native serves brunch until 3pm on weekends.

El Chipirón

South Lamar

Spanish tapas and cocktails found on first floor of residential building
A new kid on the block, El Chipirón earns its stripes with Spanish tapas and pintxos in a modern Euro setting alongside a lovely cocktail menu with an emphasis on gin and tonics (like The Tejano, which involves lots of smoke and herbs). The menu is decked out with meat and cheese boards, small plates, and a couple of large options like the juicy lomo de vaca (44 Farms strip steak, Padrón pepper, LaFou demi-glace, tomato, potato); standouts include the squid ink (colored and flavored) black rice with squid, mussels and scallops and tabla de ibéricos loaded with Spanish chorizo, Iberian ham, salchichón, and accoutrements.

Laura Hajar

Pitchfork Pretty

East Cesar Chavez

Stylish eatery taking a chef-forward approach to modern Southern fare
Helmed by executive chef Max Snyder, Pitchfork Pretty appeared seemingly out of nowhere -- before anyone realized what happened, East Cesar Chavez was home to a design-forward, A-frame building with a mix of chef-y small plates and hearty fried chicken, and cocktails that satisfy both the cucumber margarita and whiskey crowds. The concept is hard to pin down but easy to fall in love with. Critics are rightly swooning over the pickled quail egg on crispy leeks -- a perfect bite consumed like you would an oyster -- and the gluten-free, chickpea flour-breaded fried chicken brined in a habanero vinegar.

bao'd up

Bao'd Up


Fast casual joint for steamed buns and bubble tea
Bao’d Up, Mueller’s new steamed-bun-dedicated restaurant from chef Ting Li, is making waves with its bite-size offerings made with the sticky, steamed bread in multiple forms: baozi, mantou, gua bao, and bao fries. We like the simple BBQ pork bao and Szechuan fries topped with spicy mayo, sesame, and green onion, and no trip to Bao’d Up is complete without a build-your-own bubble drink; the matcha and taro are favorites.

Nick Simonite


Bouldin Creek

Elevated Southern cuisine served among live oaks and peacocks
The former Green Pastures (which now refers solely to the event space), Mattie’s is the revamped new concept from Austin developer Greg Porter and La Corsha Hospitality -- which operates Second Bar + Kitchen and Boiler Nine. With its marble countertops, exquisite light fixtures, copper hardware, and textured wallpaper that begs to be touched, the new skin applied to the home’s old bones is incredibly gorgeous to behold. The menu is also just as impressive, whether you’re having dinner in one of the many dining rooms or on the lawn alongside the resident peacocks. Southern dishes sprinkled with French and Asian influence as well as untouched classics like pimento cheese and fried chicken eggs Benedict sparkle at Mattie’s... just as much as the dreamy surroundings.