August 15, 2011

by Laura Roberts

It’s the culinary craze that’s sweeping the nation: food trucks! Here in Austin taco trucks have always been a common sight but, just as in Los Angeles, the food scene has heartily embraced these mobile eateries and their numbers have been skyrocketing. According to a recent Austin Chronicle article, the city expects to give out 1,600 permits by the end of the year, and it’s clear that this fleet of restaurants on the move isn’t just a west coast fad.

So, you want to open a food truck? Who doesn’t! The benefits are obvious: the smaller size of the kitchen means lower start-up costs, for one thing. And since food carts are trendy with the new media, dedicated fans will even go to the trouble of planning their meals around your latest Twitter updates. Just create a great meal, and the hungry masses will come.

Of course, opening your own food truck isn’t all fun and games. Eric Silverstein, owner of The Peached Tortilla, recently wrote a blog of his “Food Truck 10 Commandments,” instructing prospective food truckers that they’ll have to kiss goodbye to most of the things they hold dear, including free time, family and the big bucks of the celebrity chef. His article isn’t meant to discourage people from opening trailers, but to educate them on the special risks involved in starting a mobile restaurant.

If you’ve read Silverstein’s article and are still determined to build your brand by truck, trailer or revamped school bus, be sure to read Mick Vann’s excellent “Mobile Food” article. With tips on the legalities and other business-related issues of running a food truck in Austin, this is a must-read for any would-be roving restaurateur.

And last but not least: get out there and sample the goods! Hit up Austin Food Carts to find out where all the latest meals on wheels are parked, peruse their menus, and read reviews from fellow foodies. Munching your way through all of the great mobile eateries Austin has to offer is definitely the best part of your research.