The city of Austin is known for more than just the saying, “Keep Austin Weird,” the live music that blasts through the thick, concrete walls that make up the bars on the 6th Street and the hectic, celebrity-filled SXSW Music, Film and Interactive Conference and Festival.
Other than the loud entertainment life, Austin is also known for the addicting and unique food trailers that are scattered all throughout the city with a huge concentration in downtown Austin, South Congress and with a few in the West Campus area.
“[Food trailers] increase the uniqueness of Austin. They give Austin a bit of flavor and allow [people] to try random foods at really great prices,” sophomore government major Amanda Esparza said. “Because of all their choices, [people] can literally find any type of food at the trailers.”
Sophomore computer science and biology major Leah Hudson said that food trailers are an important aspect in Austin culture. Her favorite food trailer happens to be the Short Bus Subs located on 26th Street and Rio Grande.
“I just wanted a sandwich so the first time I went it was near the beginning of this semester. I ordered ‘the Bully Sandwich,” said Hudson. “I really liked [the sandwich] because it seemed to have all the stuff I like in a sandwich.”
The ‘Bully’ sandwich contains Genoa salami, pepperoni, ham capocolla, provolone, lettuce, tomato, oregano, pepperoncini, oil and vinegar between two pieces of bread.
The Short Bus Subs is the perfect example of creativity done right. Instead of a normal trailer like other food trailers, the Short Bus follows an educational theme using an actual yellow short bus to sell their sandwiches. Even the sandwich names are education themed with names such as ‘the Principal,’ ‘Class Clown’ and ‘Summer Vacation.’
“I think people should try the subs because they always seem to have just the sandwich you are craving and the options are unique and delicious. The Short Bus Subs is special because it gives you options that you wouldn’t normally get in a sandwich and presents them in great and affordable packages,” said Hudson.
Each sandwich has many different ingredients that do not seem to work together. The sandwiches are stuffed to it’s maximum potential with many ordinary and unique tastes.
Undeclared freshman Karla Pulido prefers to treat her sweet buds over her stomach which is why she endures a long bus ride to eat at her favorite food trailer, Gordough’s, which is located on south 1st Street. Gordough’s makes doughnuts with many different topings.
“The first time I went to Gordough’s was [this past January]. I ordered a ‘Naughty and Nice’ with cinnamon sugar. The doughnut was delicious. [It’s] super fluffy, warm and crispy all at the same time. My favorite though is the PB&J,” said Pulido.
Gordough’s is not an average doughnut establishment. Instead of the average jelly-filled doughnuts that can be found in usual doughnut and bread markets, Gordough’s majors in innovatively delicious mixtures that include doughnuts and random ingredients. From the sweet-sounding ‘Sound of a Peach’ that has peach filling, cinnamon, sugar and cake batter to the ‘Flying Pig’ that has bacon and maple syrup icing, Gordough’s is not an average doughnut shop.
Esparza prefers simple traditions to crazy concoctions. Her favorite food trailer is Hey Cupcake!, which is located in the center of South Congress, a popular tourist area. Other locations are at Burnet Road, Ranch Road and Research Boulevard. Esparza’s first visit was last December when she ordered a six-pack of cupcakes that had two ‘Red Velvet’ cupcakes, two ‘Sweetberry’ cupcakes and two ‘Double Dose’ cupcakes.
“I try to go as often as I can. My favorite is the red velvet. I love Hey Cupcake! because they serve amazing cupcakes,” said Esparza.
Food trailer operations have seen a huge increase in the past few years. Travis County had 648 permitted mobile food vendors, according to the Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department. In 2012, the Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department had a food trailer count of 1,200.
“The food trailers in Austin are special because they’re a part of what makes Austin weird. They aren’t just your average burger joints,” junior Radio-television-Film major Cecilia Bergstedt said. “You have places like Mighty Cone, Wurst-Tex, Old School Bus and Hey Cupcake and they reflect the character of the city and the eccentric people who live here. That’s what makes people want to eat at food trailers.”
For more popular food trucks, locations vary from South Congress, downtown Austin, Rainey Street and West Campus by the University of Texas campus.