Trailer Food Tuesdays makes a gallant return to the Long Center on Tuesday, March 26 from 5-9 p.m. The monthly culinary event was created last year through a collaboration from The Peached Tortilla's Eric Silverstein, Trailer Food Diaries' Tiffany Harelik, The Seedling Truck’s Dan Stacy and participation from The Long Center.
Silverstein talked with CultureMap about the changes to this year's Trailer Food Tuesdays, trend predictions and his plans to go brick and mortar sooner rather than later.
CultureMap: What's new with this year's crop of Trailer Food Tuesdays?
Eric Silverstein: We're doing a few things differently. We're going to introduce an out-of-town food truck at each event. For this Tuesday, we have Easy Slider from Dallas. We want to give the public a chance to get a taste of things they can't get in the city. In addition to that, we're going to feature a couple of Sundays as opposed to focusing it on Tuesdays.
We've also changed the hours from 5-9 p.m., whereas before it was 5-10 p.m. We also cut out November as one of the months since it was just too cold last year. We've also gotten some new sponsors. Whole Foods Market came on, and they're going to bring their truck out at each of the events — we're basically re-launching it into something much bigger and better.
CM: What did you all learn from the first year of Trailer Food Tuesdays?
ES: I'd say we verified what we originally thought, which is that there is a demand for this type of event in Austin. I had no idea it would be as family-oriented and dog-oriented as it is though. Our goal is to become a more well-rounded event this year.
CM: Have more trucks wanted to get involved with Trailer Food Tuesdays, and do you have an idea of what trucks you're willing to work with?
ES: Yeah, we have an idea, but at the end of the day we really want to help businesses around Austin. If they show interest in what we're doing and we feel we can help them, we want to do that. The trucks that can serve a lot of people are usually more desirable for us to collaborate with. I think we've got a great diverse lineup for this Tuesday.
CM: How did you find the Dallas truck that's coming to this Trailer Food Tuesday?
ES: My business partner actually found them. We had an idea of what the more popular Dallas trucks were, and Dan reached out to them. We're looking to include others from Dallas, Houston and San Antonio in the coming months.
CM: In terms of the Texas food truck scene, I always feel like San Antonio is left out of the discussion. Houston and Austin seem almost neck-and-neck to me though.
ES: Yeah, one thing I'd say Austin is lacking is variety. That's starting to pick up now though.
CM: What do you think Austin's food trends will be this year?
ES: I think even more ethnic food will start popping up. Asian is still a big thing right now. I think craft beer has peaked a bit, but that still has some potential. Small plates seem to be another thing to look out for.
CM: Now that spring is here, what's coming up for The Peached Tortilla?
ES: We're growing at a pretty rapid rate right now. We're still trying to get our staff up to capacity. The next thing we're going to do is start introducing lunch box meals, which can be ordered online and delivered. Obviously, I'm hoping we can open the restaurant soon.
CM: We've talked about brick and mortar a couple of times now. How close do you think you are to being ready for a restaurant?
ES: If we found a great location today, we'd totally do it. We're constantly looking at options. We thought we had a location that was going to work out on South Lamar, but it actually fell through. We've seen some other properties, but we're still waiting for the right opportunity. We don't want to take something and then regret the decision.
CM: Is South Lamar where your concept belongs?
ES: South First and South Lamar are prime. I'm a little more pro North Austin than people on my team are. I also think Burnet Road could turn into something bigger. I'd consider Downtown Austin, but I don't know if that's where we really belong. I'm sure we'll find a place sooner rather than later.
CM: What would the restaurant menu look like? Would it be a balance between Yumé Burger, which I sorely miss, and The Peached Tortilla?
ES: It wouldn't be too much Yumé. We'd pull mostly from the Peached menu. We would expand it significantly to include much more interesting, sophisticated dishes. I really do believe it would be unlike any other restaurant in Austin.
For more information on Trailer Food Tuesdays, visit the event's website.