We’ve seen countless Top 10, Top 25 Top ## Lists clouding your feeds for SXSW. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with these lists and the awareness that they bring to kick ass establishments, we feel it’s only right to rattle the cage a bit.
Instead of a Top 10 List, we present you with A Dozen #1 Food Trucks and Trailers Depending Who You Ask. That’s right, we opened to floor to some of Austin’s most active (and willing) writers and eaters! This was their chance to think through and pitch the very difficult task of submitting their #1 food truck to hawk during SXSW.
If you’re planning on visiting any of these, be sure to use #SXSWTrailer to tag the location and the food. Without further adieu here is the list!
#1 Gourdough’s | @Gourdough
JANE KO, A TASTE OF KOKO
Prepare to have your mind blown. Gourdough’s serves up fried chicken + deep fried doughnuts. Order the Mother Clucker (hand battered fried chicken breasts & honey butter) at the trailer and the Ron Burgundy (not to be confused with Ron Jeremy) at the restaurant.
This legendary donut burger (I’ve only had it twice) includes angus beef cooked to order, bacon, fried egg, two slices of American cheese, cilantro, guacamole, sliced tomato & mayonnaise.
Cow Tipping Creamery epitomizes a family-run small business. You’ll find at least one family member in the truck at any time making you the most delicious ice cream you’ve ever tasted. Nearly everything on the menu is homemade and the combinations are showstoppingly great. For example, just one menu item has homemade ice cream, homemade hot fudge, homemade peanut butter sauce, AND homemade Ritz crunch. It’s called “At The Ritz” and you should definitely get one. But take it from me — who’s eaten every item on the menu — there’s nothing here that won’t make you say “wow!”. And that’s exactly the reason this is the best food truck in Austin and should be at the very top of your list.
#1 LA Barbecue “Cuisine Texicana” | @La_barbecue
MAGGIE PERKINS, NOTES FROM MAGGIE’S FARM
Queueing up for ‘cue is a uniquely Austin experience, but to get to my favorite barbecue in Austin, feel free to sleep in a bit and avoid the notorious line up the street in favor of a lighter, and just as enthusiastic crowd at this little smoker of a spot on the corner of Cesar Chavez.
Now don’t wait too late as the word is out and barbecue aficionados, beginners, and out-of-towners, alike do line up before lunch, just not so early, for some of the best barbecue in Central Texas.
Hanging out downtown? You’re just a walk away from mouthwatering ribs so tender the meat falls from the bone, brisket lovingly prepared by Pitmaster John Lewis (formerly of that spot up the road) yielding that sought-after bark and pretty as pink smoke ring, and smoked sausage, my favorite in town, made in house with a hint of coriander and the signature “crack” of a perfectly prepared link. Also serving smoked turkey, pulled pork, chopped beef, and both pork and beef ribs, with the usual, yet thoughtfully rendered sides. GQ Magazine recently named LA Barbecue one of the 25 Best New Restaurants in America. Don’t miss an opportunity to taste for yourself!
#1 Via 313 | @via313pizza
ANDY POTTER, AUSTIN EATS FOOD TOURS
In true Detroit hustle fashion, brothers Brandon & Zane of Via 313 came to me asking why they weren’t on our food tours. All it took was one bite of their top-selling Detroiter pizza; and I was hooked. Now 150 tours and 550 pizzas later they are now a mainstay on our weekly food tours! What is Detroit Style Pizza? Think light and airy mid thickness dough baked in rectangle industrial steel pans. The combination of the baked caramelized cheese edge, fresh tomato sauce and dough make this an amazing unique pizza! You can find Via 313 at Craft Pride Bar on Rainey Street and also at Violet Crown Social Club on East 6th. So many awesome flavors to choose from but I’m partial to the “Detroiter” & “Cadillac”. Lines can be long so plan on grabbing a beer and taking a load off. Their accolades are more numerous than Jay Z’s grammys. Speaking of Jay Z- last SXSW he ordered 18 Via 313 pizzas post show! These guys are the real deal, a definite must on your SXSW culinary agenda!
SUZANNA COLE, SOUTH AUSTIN FOODIE
If you’re looking for flavorful food that’s a little bit different and off the beaten path, come south of the river/downtown to the Flying Carpet, and their unique Moroccan fare. Owners Abdu, who hails from Morocco, and his native-Austinite wife Maria make sandwich wraps with fresh local pita bread — the Moroccan is spiced beef kefta, egg, and an aromatic tomato sauce; add French fries in the wrap and their famous tangy L’Afrique sauce and you’ve got a Big Abdu. For vegetarians and vegans, they make a mean grilled eggplant and falafel wrap. What also makes this trailer distinct is their small blue house on the lot, where diners can go sit inside, eat, and enjoy the Moroccan decor. You can also rent the space for a private function, and have TFC cater it with some of their amazing tajines, couscous or vegetable plates. And don’t forget to finish the meal with a Moroccan kiss: dates stuffed with tahini almond butter, with a dusting of sea salt. This is a true mom and pop establishment with foods made to order, and of course with love.
#1 CHI’LANTRO | @ChilantroBBQ
MIKE MCKIM, FOUNDER & CEO @CUVEE COFFEE
Selecting one food truck was not quite as easy as I thought, but I made a few stops over the weekend and when I hit up Chi’lantro I was reminded why I love it so much. Two words; KIMCHI FRIES! I am pretty sure that I could easily eat my body weight in this Korean Barbecue Fusion deliciousness. Layers of flavors keep me anticipating the next mouth full. You can order them with meat or tofu. My personal fav is the spicy pork. As an added bonus, you can visit their brick and mortar on South Lamar. I suggest the K-Pops (think chicken lollipops) with Gangnam sauce, and wash it all down with a pint of craft beer. OK, so maybe the decision wasn’t all that tough after all.
JAROD NEECE, TACO JOURNALISM / SXSW FILM
Pronounced “Poo-chas”, Puccias are hot italian sandwiches made from homemade dough, baked minutes before it hits your lips, and filled with delicious meats and cheeses and oil concoctions. The owner, Lucky, is a man on a mission and he strives to use the highest quality & freshest ingredients possible. Order a Hot Pastrami or Classica (Ham) Sandwich and add a bag of Zapps Voodoo Potato Chips and wash it all down with a cold drink from Tiniest Bar in Texas next door. You can also visit Lucky as his new brick-and-mortar on W. 5th St where he serves his delicious pizzas!
STEPHANIE BOGDANICH, LAZY SMURF’S GUIDE
Austin probably has more tacos than any other city in the USA but my favorite is the Vegan Nom. Even though I live way down in South Austin I make the pilgrimage up to this little blue trailer on North Loop regularly to get my fix, passing hundreds of other vegan taco places on the way. Their menu is filled with Texas style breakfast tacos and vegan takes on classic favorites. They also have rotating specials like this months “Tender-juicy smoked house-made seitan brisket, jalapeño mac’n cheese topped off with fresh cabbage, house-made BBQ sauce and champagne vinaigrette” and it is one of my all time favorites. I absolutely love the migas taco (though I take mine with no sprouts) and it might be my favorite. But then the Del Ray, which has lemon pepper mock fish, cabbage, avocado, and lima cream is sometimes my favorite too. Then there’s the Maple Miso Sweet Potato which I could eat every day…. it really is hard to chose. Plus they have bomb nachos with the best vegan queso and all the other trimmings. It’s one of my number one places to bring people from out of town, especially if they are suspicious of vegan food, because everyone loves the Vegan Nom. Everyone. Just remember that it’s cash only and they close early at 4.
KATIE COOK, AUSTIN CONVENTION AND VISITORS BUREAU, VISIT AUSTIN TEXAS
One of the most common questions we receive from visitors is which barbecue restaurants they should try while they are in Austin. While there are so many great ones in the area, when we recommend barbecue from a food truck, John Mueller Meat is a favorite!
A third-generation Texas meat master, John Mueller brings the happy masses his world-famous brisket, ribs, pork shoulder and other smoked meats. There are barbecue sandwiches on the menu and sides that include amazingly cheesy baked squash, baked beans and potato salad. Make sure you bring cash! After ordering your food, grab a picnic table seat next to fellow barbecue aficionados and enjoy your Texas barbecue.
BRITTANY HIGHLAND, EDITOR, AUSTINOT.COM
Lynett Oliver, @Writenett
Quality on wheels is more than a play on words here. It’s the way they do business, bringing Austin the freshest seafood and serving it up in a friendly, unpretentious manner. The truck, which is parked out in front of the market on weekday mornings, offers a menu sure to convince even the biggest skeptic that seafood is great for breakfast.
Menu items include breakfast tacos – it is Austin after all – migas, scrambles, wraps, and biscuits all with seafood twists like house-cured Gravlax, smoked trout, alligator pork sausage, and crawfish. I’m trying to work my way through them all but the life-altering Smoked Trout Scramble calls my name every time. But I have also tried and loved the Crawfish Migas (also available with shrimp). The Croque Monsieur is another stand-out.
There’s no one else in town doing seafood like this from a truck, much less for breakfast. And it’s from the people who know seafood better than anyone in Austin – they supply most of the city’s restaurants. Call ahead if you’re in a hurry and Charlie will have it hot and ready when you arrive. If SXSW’s late nights keep you from making it out for breakfast, you can also catch the truck for dinner at Draught House on Tuesday nights.
Mando Rayo – TacoJournalism, Co-Author of Austin Breakfast Tacos @elmundodemando
El Primo is definitely one of South Austin’s favorite taco trailers. It’s my go to place for real legit Mexican tacos and I always order dos de todo from the handwritten menu (in Taco Font of course!) on the side of the trailer. They bring the goodness and consistency that most trailers wished they had broughten (yeah I went there) and they’ve been doing it way before tacos and trailers were all the rage. From their basic and yummy chorizo con huevo to their al pastor and their bistek tortas to their blazin’ chile de arbol salsa; I’m just gonna hashtag this #QueRico! There’s no experience like eating freshly made tacos, Austin style (at $2 each yo!) while you wait for Jose Luis Perez, El Primo himself to cook up some taco magic! #QueRico #Tacos #Austin
A Dozen #1 Trucks & Trailers Mapped Out
Think these guys got it wrong? Missing a truck or trailer you think is #1? Write in your suggestion! A few rules 🙂 They must be in Austin city limits. Your suggestion must be 100-300 words in length. Comment below.