One of Austin’s most famous food trucks is having an unexpected second act. Local hospitality company Murphy Adams Restaurant Group has acquired the licensing rights for East Side King in Central Texas with plans to open four new locations in early 2020.
A Murphy Adams rep tells CultureMap that the first two will open in Cedar Park and the Arboretum in January, but the company is keeping the exact locations under wraps. The other two planned outposts are slated for February and March, although it is not clear if they will be in Austin. The deal covers a wide swath of Central Texas between San Antonio and Waco.
The rep for Murphy Adams, who owns another pan-Asian concept, Mama Fu’s, says the growth spurt will have little effect on East Side King's current menu. Favorites like Thai chicken karaage, fried Brussels sprout salad, and beet home fries will all be available at the new eateries, supplemented with a few new kid-friendly items.
Moto Utsunomiya co-founded the concept with beleaguered chef Paul Qui in 2009. Operating on the back patio of East Sixth Street’s The Liberty bar, it helped kick-start the local food truck craze of the early '10s and was an early media darling when the Capital City’s food scene started getting widespread national recognition.
That first location, along with the brick-and-mortar at 2310 S. Lamar Blvd. #101, will continue to operate as usual. Utsunomiya, who is also a partner in coffee shop Sa-Tén, will remain on board with East Side King as a managing partner.
ESK isn’t the only culinary brand that has been recently gobbled up by the growing Murphy Adams company. In April 2018, it bought out Austin’s Pizza, helping to ignite growth for the brand. The latest location debuted inside the Little Woodrow’s on Burnet Road in early November.