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Lizzie's Lunchbox makes it big: The national spotlight shines on a local food trailer

Austin Photo Set: News_Kathleen Jennings_national spotlight trailer_Nov 2011_1
Lizzie's Lunchbox and owner Lisa Allen Photo by Kathleen Jennings
Austin Photo Set: News_Kathleen Jennings_national spotlight trailer_Nov 2011_trailer
"Eat St." shoot at Lizzie's Lunchbox Photo by Kathleen Jennings
Austin Photo Set: News_Kathleen Jennings_national spotlight trailer_Nov 2011_interview
"Eat St." interviews Lizzie's customer Photo by Kathleen Jennings

Eating (and cooking) outside the box has landed a local food trailer a place in the national spotlight.

The Cooking Channel's "Eat Street" is infatuated with one of Austin's newest food trucks, Lizzie's Lunchbox. So much that they came to Austin (from Canada!) to film a feature on the bright pink truck and the unique "Tex-Med" cuisine it has to offer.

Lizzie's Lunchbox dishes up Texas and Mediterranean fusion food in North Austin. Her pink truck is next to the Arbor Car Wash on Jollyville.

"Eat Street" found out about Lizzie's Lunchbox and loved her story. "It seems outside the box," says show creator Peter Waal (we're sure the pun was unintended).

In her previous life, Lizzie's Lunchbox owner Lisa Allen was a technical writer, married and raising two boys but always spending time creating in the kitchen. Deciding to pursue her passion, she quit her job, found an old tool truck and transformed it into Lizzie's Lunchbox (with the help of her husband and kids). She opened up in late September and every day has been a whirlwind so far.

Allen says she never expected all the media attention; from "Eat Street" to local food truck blogs, she says it's all been amazing. She even already has "regulars" who come to eat at her trailer often, which makes her feel like she is fully immersed in the trailer life.

It's a full-time gig running a food truck. Allen spends hours before the window opens prepping daily specials and tried and true favorites. Her greatest moments happen between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., when her trailer window is open—that's when she interacts with customers and shares her cooking talents. Even though her lunch runs up until 2 p.m., she says her window is sometimes open until 3 p.m.; she'll never turn down a customer.

Waal says typically the show's feature stories are about chefs who have left a restaurant and started their own food trailer—but Lizzie's story is different. He says it shows that "street food is getting into the suburbs." And he loves the idea that Allen was a technical writer and mom who had a dream and made it happen.

"Eat Street" airs in the U.S. on the Cooking Channel and in Canada on the Food Network. It's a show dedicated to discovering the best street food around. The crew spent a day with Lizzie's Lunchbox, filming Allen creating some of her signature dishes including lamb wraps, hummus and her delicious salmon. They also interviewed faithful customers, first-timers, family and friends, finishing up the shoot with a focus on her mouth-watering salted chocolate chip cookies.

The cameras weren't just stopping by Lizzies; they visited five other Austin trailers, too. According to the crew, there are three top cities that are a mecca for street food: Austin, Los Angeles and Portland—and they say it falls in that order of goodness.

Other food trucks you'll see soon on "Eat Street": Gourdough's on Lamar, Regal Ravioli on East 6th, Mrs. P's Electric Cock on South Congress, Bits and Druthers on 6th Street and Fresh off the Truck at 23rd and San Antonio.

The Austin trailers will be featured on an episode airing in the spring of 2012.

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