Food festival unites Austin’s best food trailers

Sara Benner

Tiffany Harelik, single mom, avid blogger, project organizer and, most importantly, trailer aficionado will be hosting the first annual Gypsy Picnic Trailer Food Festival this weekend. The festival is a food truck cook-off, pitting 30 of Austin’s best food trailers against one another for bragging rights.
Her fascination with food trucks began with her great grandfather’s pursuit of the American dream. Haskell Harelik, a Russian immigrant, bought a food cart in the early 1900s and sold bananas for a penny apiece. Eventually his cart evolved into a produce stand, then a general store and finally to five store locations.

“I’m a fourth generation Austinite, and this city is absolutely open to creativity and culinary design,” Tiffany Harelik said. “Food trailers are one microcosm that represents the pursuit of the American dream and they’re here to stay.”
Each trailer is to offer $3 and under samples to the public.

Owner of Man Bites Dog, Jeremiah Allen, shares his dream of ascending the restaurateur ladder.

“I just wanted to start with a restaurant and just jump right in, but because it was a new concept and my first restaurant, all the investors wanted a lot of ownership,” he said. “So instead of doing that, I went the trailer route, which I could pay for myself and do my own way.”

Man Bites Dog will offer samples two of their most popular hotdogs, the Old School Dog and My Big Fat Greek Dog, with a third special menu item, the spicy Earl Campbell Hot Link Dog.

Newcomer on the food truck scene, The Peached Tortilla, will also make an appearance at the festival, serving their hand-cut Belgian fries with two dipping sauces, Peach Mint and Bacon Ranch.

“Trailers have become so big in Austin that people are seeking them out before they seek out traditional brick and mortar establishments,” said Eric Silverstein, owner of the trailer.

The festival is to include live music from Junior Brown, J Roddy Walston and The Business, Gary Clark Jr., Ruby Jane, English Teeth and Noise Revival Orchestra. Representatives from BookPeople will read books to children and chefs from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts will hold cooking demonstrations. All of the food will be under $3.

WHAT: The Gypsy Picnic Trailer Food Festival
WHERE: Auditorium Shores
WHEN: Saturday, 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
COST: Free