Austin superstar chef gives up popular downtown food truck after year-long run
After a year in business, the owners of My Name is Joe have decided to call it a day. The trailer, located near the front entrance of Garage on Colorado Street in downtown Austin, was well-regarded for its simple menu of savory gluten-free oats, tartines, toasts, and granola.
Bonhomie chef and owner Philip Speer and Garage cocktail bar owner William Ball jointly opened the concept in February 2017 as a way to raise awareness about drug and alcohol addiction, something both have publicly struggled with. In an effort to help the community, Speer and Ball made a point to hire those in recovery, and a percentage of menu sales went towards Comfort Cafe in Smithville, a donation-based restaurant that funds nonprofit treatment center Serenity Star Recovery while also providing employment for its residents.
In a Facebook message on March 20, Speer said, “In recovery, we often have to make difficult choices in order to continue to grow. What that growth looks like for me is different than what I had in mind when I started this journey. In an effort to grow the philanthropic part of my mission and focus on fundraising, I’ve decided to close my trailer. Thank you everyone for your patronage and cheers to new beginnings.”
In a phone call, Speer confirmed to CultureMap that the truck was immediately closed and highlighted the good work that My Name is Joe was able to do during its run. Speer said that work included raising $50,000 to help build a women’s center and a family center at Serenity Star. Speer also said that they were able to place employees in new jobs at Juniper; Holy Roller (which is owned by Speer’s wife, Callie); and Bonhomie.
Speer will continue to be involved in raising funds to help those in recovery and shared that he has not ruled out a brick-and-mortar with a similar mission to My Name is Joe. For now, he will focus his attention on a fundraiser slated for later this year and his work at Bonhomie.