Just a few years ago, the term “food trailer” was not a part of the Central Texas vernacular. When leaving the bar with the newly acquired “drunchies,” options were generally limited to local diners like Kerbey Lane and Magnolia Cafe with hour-long waits; or the classic 24-hour greasy fast food haunts like Taco Cabana or Jack in the Box.
Similarly, the moniker “drive-in movie theater” is a term currently lost on a generation of DVD, Blu Ray, and RealD 3D junkies. A mythical relic that we hear about from older family members generally framed by the phrase “the good ol’ days.”
The two had common ground, literally, on Austin's east side. Until recently, that is.
East Side Drive In (the food trailer park) and Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-In once occupied the lot located at 1001 East Sixth Street that is now — to the disappointment of many of the community's denizens — being developed for a condominium complex.
It has been two months since the two Austin staples were forced to vacate; and despite a start date scheduled for the end of May, the construction of the condos has yet to begin. All that remains in the lot are two Port-a-potties and a slew of empty Old English and Mad Dog 20/20 bottles. Clearly, this valued piece of east side real estate is being put to good use.
If the tenants were forced to relocate, the question for many Austin regulars is: Where are they now?
First off, Blue Starlite Drive-In is doing a summer residence at Austin Studios located at 1901 East 51st Street. According to the Blue Starlite website, The Mini Urban Drive-In is teaming up with Austin Film Society to offer “a summer series mix of indie films featuring up-and-coming Austin filmmakers and long-standing icons of Austin's film scene, as well as a fistful of Drive-in classics.”
As for the food trailers, they have mostly been dispersed throughout the city at various locations including bars and other trailer park settings across the city.
Most notably, Pueblo Viejo (the delicious authentic Mexican trailer) currently resides at 901 East Sixth Street next to their former location. The Vegan Yacht and Mati Greek Trailer are now both located at the new 12th Street food trailer park at 1110 East 12th Street (right near Navasota). Meanwhile, Love Balls has moved in at the 29th Street Ballroom located at 29th and Fruth Street.
Sadly, beloved fish n' chips trailer Bits and Druthers has moved on to New York City and bacon-celebration trailer Pig Vicious is still AWOL. Hopefully they'll have the location listed soon because we've been jonesing hard for those peanut butter and bacon shakes...
They may not be gathered together in easy proximity on East Sixth anymore, but it's a comfort to know you can still find most of these staples of the Austin experience somewhere. It just might take a little extra effort and gas.