The Thicket food truck park has been serving up food truck goodness and providing a community space since 2015. Now it’s quietly maturing into a south Austin gathering place with established, high-quality food trucks and a family-friendly scene.
This modest, BYOB spot is becoming a local hangout for south Austin residents, families, and foodies in the know. As south Austin develops, so does its food scene. The food trucks at The Thicket are only half of the story, though. Owner Adam Diaz has been focused on attracting dependable, quality food trucks and building community since he opened the gate.
I first wrote about The Thicket in summer 2018, but because the nature of food trucks is mobile, the food truck roster has changed quite a bit since then. We wanted to revisit the ones we introduced last year, while introducing the newer trucks you can expect now.
Disclosure: Austin Food Blogger Alliance had a tasting recently and I got to taste a few of the dishes available. I also started helping The Thicket with its Instagram account. The opinions in this article are my own and honest.
In 2015, Diaz opened the space and added a stage, some adorable art monsters, strings of white lights, and misters to keep diners cool in the heat of summer. Neighborhood events, such as live music, artisan markets, gardening lessons, gospel brunches, and a community garden came next.
At the monthly gospel brunch, the hosts set a goal for the month to be mindful of and practice. These goals are along the lines of hope, forgiveness, kindness, and so on.
If you agree to practice the intention that month, you’ll receive a coupon for a free brunch item at one of the food trucks! The gospel brunch also has live music and a free art station for the kids.
The Thicket also has live music most weekend nights. Events have included south Austin family festivals with South Austin Moms and Keep Austin Young, occasional plant sales, and seasonal local vendor markets. As of this writing, Zumba classes take place on Saturday mornings. It’s a pretty hopping spot for being tucked away at S. 1st and Dittmar.
One thing to remember is these trucks tend to close fairly early (most around 8ish), though they may stay open later with the cooler weather. Make sure to check hours on social media if you have a particular truck in mind.
In random order, here are some of the delicious reasons why I love The Thicket.
1/ The Perfect Bite ATX
This place, while still under the radar, is carving out a name for itself in the ridiculously-good-burgers-and-sandwiches category. The owner and likely the person making your food on any given day, Jason Goad, uses high-quality ingredients and makes good food.
At our food blogger event, Goad brought out tasty burgers first. Then he brought out these insane fried pickles, made like egg rolls with a pickle spear and slice of Havarti cheese inside. The Perfect Bite also makes a mean, green salad!
The Perfect Bite’s meatloaf sandwich was a huge hit, too.
Artipasta owners Ugo and Annamaria came to Austin from their hometown of Mantova in northern Italy. Their business is a direct link to Italy with authentic, homemade pastas, pizzas, and desserts.
I know friends who have driven across town to try Artipasta, and they keep going back. This food truck has earned loads of fans and props within its first year. The food is genuinely good. The team makes everything to order, so it’s always fresh.
Ugo recently asked me to remind diners that while it has been quite busy, Artipasta will not sacrifice quality. “Please tell them to be patient; please be patient” he says. “Because making fresh food takes time.”
3/ Liberty Press Coffee
Liberty Press shows local love by offering coffee from Austin Roasting Company, another local business that sources its beans from small farmer co-ops around the world.
During sweltering summers, Liberty Press Coffee branches out to light, refreshing drinks like its version of a mango lassi (made with coconut milk instead of yogurt), or its golden milk. Liberty Press has most of the non-dairy options. And iced coffee. Yay.
Along with muffins and the occasional donut, Liberty Press has added the ubiquitous avocado toast for breakfast, with an option to add smoked salmon and/or a bit of cheese. Liberty Press Coffee is a nice morning stop with lovely people.
4/ Hawaii Nei Cafe
Hawaiian food may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about Austin. Yet, Hawaii Nei is here in Austin and having its underground moment.
People are tuning into this food truck and loving it. While I have never been to Hawaii (please give me sad face emojis), I’ve heard the food at Hawaii Nei Cafe is indeed similar to the real thing. Owners Jay and Loryn Henry are from Oahu, so they know the real deal.
Please note this truck caters private parties quite a bit. Like with all of the trucks, your safest bet is to call first or at least check social media to make sure the truck is open before you go.
SimpliThai’s cooking kits are easy and tasty. The kits include everything you need to make a dish in under 30 minutes. Easy, delicious, and tasty is the order of the day in this adorable, impeccable market trailer.
Owner Kai Jantanan says, “These are my recipes, the pastes and sauces are what I make. Red curry, panang, green curry–it’s my recipe. The kits have the paste, coconut milk, Thai basil, Thai eggplant, jasmine rice, Thai red peppers. Everything but the protein.”
I first bought a Thai green curry kit at Mueller Farmers’ Market. It made it easy to cook well at home! The flavors were delicious and authentic. The curry pastes come in vacuum-sealed packets that, when unopened, have a shelf life of around a year.
At the food blogger tasting, we tasted the red and green curries Kai made for us from her kits. These dishes were among the biggest hits of the night. SimpliThai is SimpliDelicious.
6/ Revolution Vegan Kitchen
Revolution Vegan Kitchen is always hopping. This vegan food truck comes up with tempting dishes that everyone can enjoy, vegan or otherwise.
Revolution Vegan Kitchen will make you crave vegan food. I am no vegan, yet when I eat there, I don’t feel like I missed out on anything. Tacos al pastor (made with jackfruit), curly fries, mac n’ cheez, and other comfort food–but vegan–make diners happy.
Look for daily specials on Instagram or Facebook. Local tip: the “notzarella” sticks are crazy good, and when they have them, they sell out fast.
7/ Grace Tamale House 2
Is it really a food truck park in Austin if there are no tacos? Doubtful. Never fear! Grace Tamale House 2 has breakfast, lunch, and dinner tacos.
Owners Tereso Luna and Ana Cristina Zuniga also serve tamales, breakfast omelettes, enchiladas, tostadas, and–of course–guacamole. All the hits. Purists take note: the tacos are tasty, though Grace Tamale House does not make tortillas in-house.
Thicket Barber Shop
What’s more convenient than a haircut in a food trailer park? Lunch and a cut? Yes, please! You can make reservations online with the individual hair stylists by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. As of publishing date, there is a chair for rent for a local barber, FYI.
La Casa of Beauty
This sweet little trailer offers a full array of beauty salon offerings. Need a cut, color, blowout? Owner and hair stylist Vania Castro says she uses only organic products, especially the hair dye.
All in all, it seems The Thicket is truly becoming the place for community to gather the way Diaz dreamt when he opened his food truck park in 2015. Keep an eye on social media for upcoming events.
As a side note, The Thicket now has an air conditioned bathroom trailer, as well as fans with misters for summertime. Yay.
The Thicket is located at 7800 S. 1st St. Stay up to date via the official website.
@theAustinot wants to know:
Which Thicket food trucks are you looking forward to trying?
The original version of this article was published July 30, 2018.