Acclaimed East Austin barbecue truck closing to make way for development
UPDATE: The story has been updated to include a statement from the Kerlins received on the evening of Friday, September 2.
The acclaimed Kerlin BBQ food truck in East Austin is shutting down to pave the way for an office building.
A notice on Kerlin BBQ’s website, Instagram account, and Facebook account say the food truck, at 2207 E. Cesar Chavez St., will close September 10. The social media posts say Kerlin BBQ was told by its landlord that work will begin in a few weeks to transform the lot where the truck stands into a commercial real estate development. City records show the development will be an office building.
In a July 16 Facebook post, owners Bill and Amelis Kerlin said they were temporarily shuttering their trailer until Labor Day weekend to “take some much-need R&R.” The reopening has been postponed till September 10.
Kerlin BBQ debuted at 2207 E. Cesar Chavez St. in 2013. The food trailer will reopen one last time, at 11 am September 10, to serve barbecue until all of what’s been prepared has been sold.
Although the food truck is closing for good, the Kerlins say they’ll still offer limited barbecue catering and large barbecue reorders. The husband-and-wife pair plan to focus on their other business, Kerlaches, a barbecue kolache trailer at 2505 Webberville Rd. Kerlaches opened in April.
Amid the hype about other barbecue joints in Austin, like Franklin Barbecue and la Barbecue, Kerlin BBQ has won numerous kudos. Mashed.com proclaimed it one of the 13 best barbecue spots in the country, while none other than Texas Monthly branded Kerlin BBQ “a solid barbecue contender, even in the extremely competitive market of Austin, Texas.”
“This no-frills barbecue truck draws crowds with the perfect blend of inventive and true-to-tradition dishes,” Condé Nast Traveler raved.
CultureMap received the following statement from Bill and Amelis Kerlin via email regarding the closure:
"We had 9 amazing years owning and operating Kerlin BBQ but sometimes a change is necessary for personal growth.
With the loss of our commercial development of Kerlin BBQ’s current location beginning soon, we both agreed that now felt like the right time for us to focus our attention on our new project Kerlaches.
It’s exciting to be building a new business again and to explore roles different from the ones we filled at Kerlin BBQ.
While in some ways it can be sad to close one chapter of your life, we’re enthusiastic about what the future holds and we hope to continue serving the Austin community for many more years."