September 8, 2010


- Location: East Side Drive In - 1001 E. 6th St. - @San Marcos
- Hours: Tuesday & Wednesday 8 AM - 2 PM
              Thursday - Saturday: 7 PM - 3 AM
              Sunday: 11 AM -2PM
- Telephone: 512-799-6764
- Website: /  Facebook: #19

- Cuisine: Sandwiches - of the cheesesteak sort

From working in an engineering firm to owning a hair salon to managing a deli, Tim Lasater has a background as colorful as it is diverse.  It was when he was touring in Philly with his band Pop Unknown that he had the realization no one was doing a good cheesesteak in Austin.  Tim tells the story: “I had some business partners that were opening a beer and burger joint on the Eastside and the lease fell through.  While we were looking for another brick and mortar I found the bus on craigslist, but the investors were not interested.  I was talking with my old bass player and he said he would find the money.  He called me the next morning and said he found the money so I drove down to Dripping Springs and got the bus.  Driving the bus, I thought I had lost my mind.  We forgot to measure the height and I didn’t know if it would even fit under a bridge.”

The bus was originally built as a tour bus for the Cheshire Inn, a hotel in Saint Louis in 1975.  It’s the only factory made double decker bus in the US.  And as far as the name, Tim wanted something simple that everyone could remember.  He remembered the Clash’s song about a bus route that was number nineteen.  The history behind that was that in the UK, the 19 was a double decker bus route that would take people home from live music venues and bars.  So with his background in music and new found double decker trailer food business that serves lunch and latenight, the #19 was a natural fit.

For his best-selling cheesesteaks, Tim uses rolls and meat from Philadelphia, but he twists it up with some mushrooms and cheese.  And his brother Ryan, who is also a musician works the bus too. Tim says of Ryan, “He’s an assistant manager.  That’s what I tell him anyways, it makes him get up a little earlier in the morning.”  And on why he picked Austin as the spot for the #19: “After traveling Europe with the band and working in Yellowstone and Jackson hole, I met a lot of people and went to a lot of cool cities – but I love the laid back atmosphere and vibe in Austin.  You don’t have to dress up to go to the great spots.  Its got the best of all the worlds of music, rivers, people, put together –not too small and not too big.”