Don’s food truck upgrades to restaurant

Ashley Liu

Don Japanese Food Truck, whose waiting time ranges from 30 minutes up to several hours, shut down Sunday.

The food truck, located in the Co-op Food Court, features Japanese-American style lunchboxes. The business announced its plan for closure through their Facebook page last week. Co-owner Bernard Goal said the food truck will upgrade to a restaurant, but he cannot announce the new location as the mystery is part of the marketing strategy.

Edward Sumner, founder and co-owner of Don, said he is happy to leave the truck.

“There is a ceiling to the quality of life in the trailer,” alumnus Sumner said. “It’s miserable to work in here when it’s raining or when it becomes really hot. We don’t like it either when our customers are waiting in the sun for hours. The decision is for the well-being of the employees as well as the customers.”

Sumner said leaving the food truck for a restaurant means food prices will increase.

“The increase in our rent is 1,000 percent,” Sumner said. “We currently pay $700 a month for the trailer but a typical spot on the Drag costs $8,000 to $12,000 a month. It’s a scary thing to do, but we will still try to keep our philosophy and modesty.”

Despite rising costs, Sumner said he is determined to continue making quality food.

“Our menu will improve for sure,” Sumner said. “Everything we make right now is limited by the trailer. We don’t have the space for a side menu or drinks. Our products will be much better when we have a stable location.”

Goal said despite the change he hopes Don will remain a popular choice among students.

“I want to thank everyone for their crazy support this past weekend,” Goal said. “We haven’t done much to advertise on social media, so I think a lot of our popularity comes from our value, which is making good-tasting food for a cheap price. We are not business owners trying to make a profit, we are friends cooking for friends.”

Business freshman Tommy Ngo, the last person to buy from the food truck, said he will continue supporting the business.  

“I love the taste of their food,” Ngo said. “Don is the trademark of Austin food. I always come here for lunch and I would recommend anyone who comes to UT to try it. I will continue to support them even after they become a restaurant.”