Simply put, Austin, Texas, is Food Truck Heaven.
Recently it was estimated that there are more than 4000 mobile food vendors are in Austin. And the numbers are growing by more than 600 percent annually. According to the Economist Austin has the fastest-growing food truck industry in the United States and is second in food truck catering per capita to Portland.
Food Truck Statistics
- Starting a food truck business costs around $55,000 on average.
- Yearly food truck revenue ranges between $250,000 and $500,000.
- There are over 33,000 active food trucks in the US.
- Over 34% of mobile chefs experiment with their menu.
- Food truck industry statistics predicted a yearly growth of 2.4% reaching $2.7 billion.
Why an Austin Food Truck?
Housed in a plethora of small vehicles, airstreams, and simple stands, these creators of unique delights are found throughout the Capital City either independently or in food truck parks. And what started as a few umbrella-topped eggroll stands or taco shacks on the University of Texas at Austin campus in the 1980s has grown to a resilient industry.
In addition to their quirky nature, Austin Food Trucks offer a variety of foods. But don’t mistake a little truck for fast or cheap food as many brick and mortar chefs use their food truck extensions to test new menus.
Try Tommy Want Wingy – chicken wing lollipops in a range of flavors including garlic parmesan. Try either location of Burro Cheese Kitchen on Rainey Street or e 6th street. Or find Plow Bao near The Buzz Mill courtyard, which serves plant-based dim sum, and bao.
But driving up and down south Congress in search of Spicy Boys deep-fried chicken sandwiches or southern comfort food is fraught with carbon emissions. Fortunately, there’s an Austin-styled solution: food truck parks. These gastronomical gatherings range from permanent outdoor food courts to informal clusters offering options for everyone.
Food Truck Parks
If you choose to visit one of Austin’s five food truck parks, you will find something for everyone.
East Side Food Park
The E Cesar Chavez Street park offers some of the best food trucks combined with live music, and a shady place to sit. Don’t miss rotating offerings like the BBQ or Filipino-American food.
The Picnic Food Trailer Park
Open seven days a week, The Picnic is located on Barton Springs Road, housing nine different food trucks. Contractually obligated to remain throughout the year, this quirky spot offers various food choices including Mighty Cone, Hey! Cupcake, Coat & Thai.
South Austin Trailer Park & Eatery
South Austin is a hub for food trucks and trailers. Located on S 1st St., the South Austin Trailer Park & Eatery is the long-time home to the Torchy’s Tacos food truck. Also onsite are vegan options at Conscious Cravings and Holy Cacao, chocolate serve in every way imaginable complete with whipped cream.
South First Food Court
Just off of West Live Oak Street, you’ll find the South First Food Court, featuring some of Austin’s best-known food favorites like Mediterranean TX Shwarma, Doggie Style, and Imagine Coffee for early morning office power.
Thicket Food Truck Park
In deep south Austin, you’ll find the family-friendly Thicket Food Truck Park. Brooklyn Breakfast Club, Jaque Bella’s Cajun Eats, and Sate Texas top a dozen trailers. Thicket Food Truck Park is a lifestyle complete with a stage for live events, a jungle gym, outdoor yoga, a community garden, and a BYOB policy. Check their websites for current trucks and entertainment schedules.
Hamilton Food Truck Park
If you are in north Austin, try the up-and-coming Hamilton Food Truck Park on Hamilton Rd. This intimate stop serves Tex-Mex, pulled pork sandwiches, and Thai-inspired meals.
Rainey Street Food Truck Lot
A hidden gem in Austin is the Rainey Street Food Truck Lot. This out-of-the-way gravel lot serves daily staples from Wrigleyville Dog and Beef, Bananarchy, the Happy Lobster Truck, Awans Thai food Kitchen, and more.
Fetch Food Park
If you are looking for an out-of-the-way Food Truck Park, try Fetch Food Park on Hamilton Pool Rd in Spicewood. Leyla’s Pizzeria headlines a quintessentially Austin dog park.
Some of the Great Food Trucks in Austin
Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ is one of the greats not only in terms of mouthwatering BBQ but the success story that is the Austin Food Truck Industry. Located off of Manchaca and Chappell Lane near the Austin Roller Rink, Valentina’s is Texas-style BBQ meat at its finest.
Another Austin original, the Churro Co. Claiming churros are for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, this authentic food truck favorite serves deep-fried Churros with cajeta – Mexican Carmel and vanilla bean ice cream.
No matter where you end up, one thing for sure is that the Austin Food Truck craze is here to stay. These creative chefs and entrepreneurs highlight the foods and flavors that make Austin unique.