Once a novelty in Austin, food trailers have exploded onto the scene, cropping up in parking lots and behind bars all over town. With the plethora of new trailers opening every week, it’s often hard to keep up with it all. We’ve run down a list of our favorites to visit.
What was once a desert for really great brisket and sides—save for Franklin and a few scattered, older restaurants—Austin proper has now become a barbecue haven, largely in part of two food trailers known as Micklethwait Craft Meats and La barbecue.
1. Micklethwait Craft Meats
At 1309 Rosewood in the heart of East Austin, Micklethwait is notable for—beyond its juicy brisket—twists on classics (brisket frito pie with escabeche) and unusual smoked meats (pulled goat, available some Saturdays).
2. la Barbecue
Now settled in its fourth spot in town at Aztec Food Park on Cesar Chavez, la Barbecue is also serving some of the best barbecue in Central Texas. Meat plates are an obvious favorite, but I also recommend some of the sandwiches, including La Frito Loco, featuring a medley of pulled pork, chopped beef, jalapeños, cheese, chipotle slaw, and black beans.
3. Via 313
Austin isn’t known for its pizza, but some of the tastiest pies I’ve ever had are made at VIA 313, a growing, Detroit-style pizza parlor with multiple locations in the city. It got its start as a food trailer in front of The Violet Crown bar on East Sixth Street, and is still the primo place to grab a pie or a couple of slices. Try the Detroiter, featuring two different kinds of pepperoni, and wash it down with an ice-cold Vernor’s, a classic Detroit ginger ale.
4. Veracruz All Natural
Whether you stop by the original location on Cesar Chavez, the one at Radio Coffee & Beer in South Austin, or the one in Round Rock, Veracruz All Natural is one of the best taco trucks in town. Opened by two sisters from Veracruz, Mexico, the food is some of the freshest you’ll find, and the tortillas and chips are handmade. The al pastor is my favorite offering, with just a touch of the fresh green salsa on top. It’s spicy, but delicious.
5. Violet Taco
More of a hybrid but still delicious taco experience is Violet Taco, a trailer at 600 West Sixth Street downtown. Featuring barbecue from its sister restaurant, the East Side’s Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ, huevos rancheros tacos and the like are the vibe here, with tons of ingredients for hungry eaters. The Ultimate Bean and Cheese Taco is a twist on the simple classic, except this one has bacon and a choice of smoked brisket or pulled pork—three items that make any food order markedly tastier.
6. Burro Cheese Kitchen
Grilled cheese is the ultimate comfort food: It’s hearty, easy, and reminds us of a time when we were younger. At Burro Cheese Kitchen at 1221 South Congress Avenue, it’s that formula except on steroids. First you pick your bread, and we’re not talking wimpy Wonderbread here. You can choose from sourdough made at Easy Tiger, a Hawaiian bun, or a gluten-free option. Next, of course, is the cheese, and while an aged cheddar is on the menu, more adventurous eaters will find Danish Havarti, manchego, and aged blue cheese from Oregon. Then you get a sauce, with offerings like spicy maple bacon and balsamic apricot fig, plus veggies, smoked meats, and even a fried egg.
7. Hey! You Gonna Eat or What?
Similarly, Hey!…You Gonna Eat or What? subverts the classic sandwich into something even better. The Lonestar BLT features thick-cut applewood bacon, fried green tomatoes, and homemade poblano aioli on a ciabatta baguette. And their version of the monte cristo is beer-battered in Shiner Bock and comes with homemade cherry and fig jelly.