August 31, 2010

86 This

- Location: Outlier - 108 East Main St. / Pflugerville - @Hanovers Draught Haus
- Hours: Thursday - Saturday: 6 PM - 1 AM
- Telephone: 512-284-5825
- Website: / Facebook: Eighty Six This / Twitter: 86this

- Cuisine: Sandwiches & Burgers - menu rotates

Business partners Michelle & Mark had a similar love for the hustle and bustle of the food industry when they met working at a local tex mex restaurant here in Austin.  While Mark’s resume includes everything from prep work in the kitchens to front of the house serving food and alcohol, he realized he wanted to be a restaurateur during the time he was in culinary school.  Michelle has been a hostess and waitress and really enjoys event coordinating alongside their trailer vending endeavors.

Rather than offering a set menu, the ‘86 This’ menu concept is developing organically.  Mark offers a unique perspective to the question “Whats for lunch?”   In his words, “I see so many vendors trying to hang their hat on one specific dish or sauce, and I wanted to let things develop.  Our menu for South by Southwest was street food type fare things to walk away; when we parked at Hanovers, we did more bar food.  We aren’t stuck with anything.  We are kind of open; we are caterers and we can make everything from our truck.”   His personal favorite item on the menu is ‘the multitasker’ which was developed from his mother’s recipe of a roasted brisket and mashed potato sandwich.  Michelle loves their cheeseburgers.

They worked with Felix of ‘Kitchen on Wheels’ in
New Braunfels when it was time to find their trailer.  Interestingly, Felix had found a their current box in North Carolina.  It was one he had previously worked on and sold, but he found it again with all the bare bones in place. 

The pair is very positive about the trailer food movement in
Austin.  “Everytime we see a new food trailer – we are happy for them, even if it’s a half hearted attempt.  We want to be in the scene because we are caterers and festival people.  You never know who is thinking outside of the box.  Don’t be scared to follow your dreams.”

August 13, 2010


CLOSED - 8/2010 - goodbye, Takorea.

- Cuisine: Fusion tacos

“East meets Mex”

Paul Kim was in commercial real estate finance before he put Takorea on the map.  Growing up in both Missouri and Texas and living in New York for a few years gave him a real interest in eating and cooking diverse food.  His concept blends Korean BBQ and Mexican food.  He started working on his idea just by cooking and having friends over to try his food.  Once he got his recipes solidified, his friends helped improve it. 

Paul says, “I feel like I’m doing something somewhat unique.  I want to be an ambassador of the good things of Korean food are to people that haven’t tried Korean food.”  His personal favorite is the beef taco in a cabbage wrap while the crowd favorite seems to be the hot dog with beef on top.  His customers are from all around the globe, including a Chinese Bulldog, but he had the opportunity to serve his first Korean Mexican while on the job in his first year.

Patika Coffee

- Location: 2nd St. & Congress Ave.
- Hours: Monday - Friday: 7:30 AM - 4:30 PM

              Saturday: 8 AM - 1PM
- Telephone: 512-535-3955
- Website: / Facebook: Patika Coffee / Twitter: patikacoffee

- Cuisine: Coffee.  Pastries.

Andy Wigginton and Nick Krupa kicked their software careers to pursue happiness via coffee.  Their inspiration for Patika came five years prior to opening when they were on vacation in San Francisco.  “We came across a coffee cart (Blue Bottle) at the farmers market that had a huge swarm of people around it.  We had the best lattes we’d ever had.  Their original location was a tucked away garage door in Hays Valley.  We make it a ritual to go there every time we go back and have a quest to find really great coffee in great cities.”  

Patika is a Turkish word that means ‘foot path’ but also implies a hidden pathway.  Back in the 1500’s, some of the first coffee houses in the world were in Istanbul and they were outlawed for their popularity, so many of them would set up in back alleys and foot paths.  These coffee houses were the original speakeasies.  Since Andy and Nick were inspired by a coffee house that was off the beaten path, and since they are on a well-traveled beat downtown, the name Patika was a perfect fit for their other worldly coffee and refreshing teas.

The partners say that Austin is a great city to start high end coffee.  In their words, “The community is really supportive of small businesses, everyone is very laid back and has a very open and accepting attitude where if you want to try something different in a different way they like that and embrace it.  We have a great lifestyle – anyone that comes here feels it.  We meet a lot of tourists being down town and they talk about how Austin feels like a nice place where people are appreciative of outdoors and nice people.  Having lived in California, New York, and Europe, Austin feels like the right combination of big enough stuff to do but small enough with community – although we could turn the temperature down about 15 degrees.”

One Taco

- Location: Downtown - W. 6th St. & Nueces St.- @Little Woodrow's 
- Hours: Monday - Friday: 7:30 AM - 2:30 PM / 5 PM - 12 AM 

               Saturday: 2:30 PM - 2 AM
               Sunday: Noon - 6 PM
- Number: 512-539-7561
- Website: / Facebook: One Taco / Twitter: onetaco

- Cuisine: Tacos - Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner & Late Night

Axel Beverido and business partner Tony Avila met through their wives who were room mates in college at Monterrey Tech in
Mexico.  Before their venture with One Taco, Axel was working for John Deere in Mexico and Tony was an architect.  They mutually decided they wanted to be their own boss and pursued their entrepreneurial dreams in the trailer food setting.  With no family or personal history in the food business, the team purchased a Chevrolet taco trailer on craigslist and got started.  Whether you’re having breakfast or lunch with One Taco, the steak taco is hands down their best seller although other popular tacos include the fried egg, the beans and cheese, and the norte.  Alex and Tony are living proof you can change your life and become your own boss while working with good friends.


- Location & Hours: 
   2nd St. & Congress Av: Tuesday - Friday: 11 AM - 3 PM
   7th St. & Trinity St: Thursday - Saturday: 9 PM - 3 AM
- Website: / Facebook: Kebabalicious

- Cuisine: Kebabs

Chris and Kristian first met in high school in Houston, Texas.  When they graduated, they went their separate ways but remained close in spirit.  Midway through their first semester of college, they took off for an opportunity to snow board and work at a hotel in Switzerland.  Although they wouldn’t be able to leave work very often, the guys took advantage of the live music scene and subsequently would hit up ‘restaurant 1001’, which was where the Kebabalicious trailer story starts.

Demir, a Turkish entrepreneur in
Switzerland is who took Chris under his wing and gave him an opportunity to go into his big facility to learn how to do this style of food.   Chris says, “Without him I wouldn’t know how to do it.  He liked me, but I had to push to open the door and work with 52 turkish guys.  I had to do some smooth talking to get in.  Without that I wouldn’t know how to do any of the sauces.”  Demir started out 20 years prior with a little stand and it took him ten years to expand enough to get out of the trailer.  He is now running a million pounds of beef and lamb per week out of his factory.  Demir told Chris, “I can’t pay you but I like that you want to take this back to Texas.  You can’t ever come back to Switzerland and open a kebab stand – and put me out of business.”

So after their return, Chris was graphic design major and Kristian was a photography major at
Texas State University (then known as ‘Southwest’) when they opened their test market in the quad.  Realizing they had a good enough product to impress the masses, they eventually took their trailer to down town Austin.  The official open-date for Kebabalicious as we know it was the week before Halloween in 2006.  Chris says, “We get a lot of Turkish customers that live here in Austin.  The first question they ask is ‘Are you Turkish?’ to them it’s a big deal – an American kid making Turkish food.  I tell them the story and it gives me credibility.  It’s a pretty curious thing for them to see an American owner of a Turkish kebab stand – they are always ok with it, but they are also my biggest critic.”

Each business partner has a rich cultural background, Kristian with a Costa Rican/Guatemalan/Lebanese heritage while Chris grew up with Peruvian/South American/Texan roots.  So the menu is globally inspired from their childhood through their experiences traveling.  Chris says, “Traveling was an eye opener for the both of us - it expanded our horizons with the different cultures, languages and food.  It was a big deal for us at age 20-23 in
Europe.  I had the time of my life.”

Karma Taco

- Location: Downtown - 4th St. & Guadalupe
- Hours: Thursday - Saturday: 7 PM - 3
- Number: 512-721-6820
- Website: / Facebook: Karma Taco / Twitter: karmataco

- Cuisine: Tacos - Dinner & Late Night

Alan Joers & Daniel De Leon are long time friends that met in Tampico, Mexico.  Alan invited Daniel to South by Southwest in 2009 to convince him to partner in purchasing a bar, but Daniel had other ideas.  He was impressed and amazed with all the food trailers and communities that were in Austin and proposed a new idea: Karma Taco.

It’s true what they say goes around comes around and the Karma Taco is no exception.  Alan explains, “At the beginning, a lot of customers wanted to pay with credit card but we weren’t set up for it yet, so we started giving food away for free.  It worked marketing wise – but for them they were saying it was ‘good karma’.  The people I gave free tacos too are my most supportive customer base right now – so I guess it was good karma.”

To the new trailer vendors getting started, Alan offers this advice, “I would really suggest to them to put a little more into their trailer.  I see a lot of trailers that are plain white.  For a city like
Austin with so much art and music – be a little creative on your concept.” 

G'Raj Mahal

- Location:  Downtown - 91 Red River - Rainey Street District
- Hours: Tuesday - Thursday & Sunday: 5 PM - 12 AM
              Friday & Saturday: 5 PM - 3 AM
- Number: 512-480-2255
- Facebook: G'raj Mahal Cafe 
- Cuisine: Indian

Anthony and Sidney Roberts met at Sidney’s favorite Indian restaurant in Minnesota where she was temporarily located.  She started flirting with Anthony, who she thought was a new waiter but as it turned out he was the owner.  After dating, the pair started talking about mutual projects and formulated the G’Raj Mahal concept from their mutual work experience along with her imagination and his good work ethics.  Owning and operating a food trailer in Austin, Texas may seem like an unlikely journey for Sidney, who has an International Studies degree in Biochemistries for Medicine.  But the once a foodie, always a foodie theory applies to her.  She says, “I’ve always cooked.  I knew I wanted to be a chef ever since I was a kid – it’s addictive work.” 

Her personal favorite item on the menu is the Goan Fish Curry.  Anthony is from Goa, India so the couple brought in some Goan items to honor his history and genetics.  The vegetable korma or possibly the chicken saag made with fresh spinach (never frozen) are two of the crowd favorites under the palace-like draped outdoor seating area that is also home to the Austin Bike Zoo.   

When asked about her favorite part of the business, Sidney offers: “The most intriguing thing is as a chef, you don’t get to meet a lot of the customers.  But in this case, we are face to face with our people and a lot of them want to have a conversation with you. We’ve become good friends with many of the customers there and it’s also become a good hang out for the chefs when they get off their shifts.  It’s a good thing when we know chefs are looking forward to eating our food.”

El Naranjo

- Location:  Downtown - 85 Rainey St. - Rainey Street District
- Hours: Monday - Saturday: 11:30 AM - 10 PM
- Number: 512-474-2776
- Cuisine: Interior Mexican

Before calling Austin home, Iliana & Ernesto Torrealba used to have a restaurant in Oaxaca, Mexico from 1997 – 2006.  But when turmoil destroyed the economy, the couple moved stateside to continue their family business.  Iliana says, “We picked Austin because we have friends here and it’s a city I like.  It’s hard when you leave your own country, but I feel really welcome in Austin with the community.  I can call it my home; it’s green and beautiful, and the people are nice and laid back.”

The Torrealba’s are serving up authentic Mexican cuisine.  You won’t find any chips and salsa at el Naranjo because it’s not a traditional Mexican thing to serve.  Rather, you can order traditional food from Iliana’s birth town of Mexico City.  Her best sellers are the tacos al pastor, and the tacos las gringas.

Even though it’s a complicated food to serve in the trailer, Iliana enjoys making the mole the most.  With over 200 traditional mole’s in Mexico to choose from, she explains what makes a mole a mole: “It is basically a sauce itself that is a dish – you have to have dried or fresh chiles and a thickener component, plus some spices.  Chile is a vegetable not a spice.”  She should know; before she gets to the trailer in the afternoons, Iliana works as a Mexican Cuisine specialist at the Culinary Institute of America in San Antonio.  She is currently working to create an archive of rare recipes to common street food in Latin America and Mexico that also includes anthropological and cooking data in video and print form.

Colibri Cuisine

- Location: Downtown - W. 6th St. & Nueces
- Hours: Tuesday - Sunday: 7:30 PM - 2:30 AM
- Telephone: 956-451-7427
- Facebook: Colibri_Cuisine

- Cuisine: Tex-Mex - done gourmet!

Being from the Rio Grande Valley, Anthony Alaniz has a heritage in providing gourmet Tex Mex.  Since he was five years old, he lived with his grandparents and remembers begging them to buy him a special food trailer just like the one that was next door to them selling snow cones and snacks. 

“Unfortunately we grew up with the males being served in the kitchen with the females cooking.  As much as I wanted to help, I couldn’t because it wasn’t part of our culture.  So the only time I could participate was with BBQ for Sunday afternoons.  Of our extended family, the males would be outside cooking and the females would be inside preparing the sides, rice, potato salad, etc.  Thats when I got to hang out with the men and they would showcase their specialty whether it was ribs or fajitas.  As I got older, as much as I liked the kitchen it wasn’t accepted - it wasn’t something to pursue as a career,” says Anthony. 

So after quitting his accounting cubicle job, Anthony decided to get his teaching certificate and taught fourth grade for five years.  That is when he had a life realization.  “I kept telling my students ‘follow your dreams, you can be whatever you want to be, stick with it’ - and I kept feeling like a hypocrite because I never pursued my dreams of owning a trailer food business.  Then, I finally made a decision to do what I always wanted to do.”  So he moved to Austin to go to culinary school at le Cordon Bleu and has been operating his trailer since October of 2009.  The first of his family to graduate from college, his grandmother and mother have both been to visit him at Colibri with proud hearts for all he has accomplished.