Adam Diaz opened the Thicket in 2015 with a community of passionate food truck owners. He added a stage, some adorable art monsters, strings of white lights, and misters. Neighborhood events, such as live music, puppet shows, gospel brunches, and a community garden came next. This space has evolved into a truly fun, inviting, family-friendly hot spot.
Here, presented in alphabetical order, are my reasons for visiting The Thicket food truck park in south Austin.
Disclosure: Several of the trucks offered free food and drinks to sample for the purposes of this article. All opinions are my own.
1/ Artipasta Italian Food
Artipasta owners Ugo and Annamaria came to Austin from their hometown of Mantova in northern Italy. Their business stands out as a true representation of Italy, with authentic, homemade pastas, pizzas, and desserts. The two pride themselves on making fresh, whole food that’s representative of their region.
I fell a little in love with this couple and their food. Opening Artipasta this July was literally Ugo and Annamaria’s dream come true, as they’ve been working on their recipes for years. All pasta is made by hand. The couple imports some Italian ingredients from the source, but also buys veggies and other ingredients locally. Everything is made from scratch.
During my visit, Ugo and Annamaria brought out a large pizza with pepperoni, sausage, tomatoes, mushrooms, basil, and red onion. The crust had a nice crunch to it–not too thick, not too thin.
Next, we dug into three housemade pasta dishes: one with pesto, one with an arrabbiata sauce, and the flagship dish, lasagna. The pesto and arrabbiata sauces were straightforward and flavorful. The lasagna isn’t made with marinara and ricotta, but with béchamel and a hearty meat sauce. I believe it was the best lasagna I have tried.
You can’t go wrong with any of the desserts at Artipasta. Sbrisolona—a regional dish in Mantova roughly translated to “crumble cake”—is a dense, crunchy almond cake (pictured above on right). The chocolate semifreddo was decadent and perfect in the heat. But the most interesting dessert was grape pudding (pictured above on left), which holds the approximate texture of a panna cotta.
2/ Atia’s Kitchen
Chef Sajjad grew up watching his mother make fresh Pakistani food at home. When he saw the food truck culture explode in Austin, he hatched a plan.
Atia’s Kitchen (named after Sajjad’s mom) offers the highest quality ingredients and fresh-made meals every day. Sajjad refuses to use processed ingredients. Instead, he makes his food for the day and stays open until he sells out (which happens frequently, so arrive early if you have a favorite dish).
My recommendation? Start with beef or vegan samosas. Besides the freshly-made dough, Sajjad pan fries the samosas instead of deep frying them. For even lighter fare, order the pani puri, tiny puff pastries filled with chickpeas, onions, and cilantro, with a spice water on the side.
Diving into some main dishes, I tried the chicken karhai with ginger garlic paste, sea salt, tomatoes, and a smoked serrano. The latter is Atia’s Kitchen’s most popular dish; the spices are subtle and balanced.
The beef keema is ground beef cooked with whole spices, such as cloves, cinnamon, black peppers, cumin seeds, and turmeric.
The vegan dish that day was spinach with baby carrots, spiced with turmeric, cumin, and other spices. All three came on basmati rice.
The beef keema was my favorite of the day, although I enjoyed trying all three. While it’s not on the menu, Sajjad will make you a combo plate if you ask nicely. His mom would be proud!
3/ Blue Corn Shack
Chef Carl Dillard brings 30 years of hotel and restaurant experience to Blue Corn Shack, much to our benefit. You can expect New Mexico fusion food with green chile, red chile, and specialty blue corn dishes.
Chef Dillard’s twist on a corn dog is made with blue cornmeal and has been a universal hit for the food truck. There are also more traditional dishes like empanadas and enchiladas, all with New Mexican flavors.
Another signature dish is the stacker, a blue corn cake (somewhere between cornbread and a gordita), that manages to be both fluffy and filling. It’s topped with black beans, slow-cooked pork, and green chiles. It’s a hearty meal with a decent kick!
Personally, I’m crazy for the Indian fry bread dessert, which is thin, crisp, and covered in honey and cinnamon. Yum!
4/ Dragon Delights Chinese Cuisine
Dragon Delights is an easy go-to for Chinese comfort food. One of the most popular dishes is lo mein noodles with chicken, pork, shrimp, or tofu. The fried spring rolls, stir-fried rice, and potstickers are classics that definitely appease any Chinese food cravings.
One of my favorites at Dragon Delights is the serving of dumplings. Because everything’s made to order, the dumplings take a little while to prepare. I’d call ahead and order them to save time.
The dumplings and potstickers come with a house-mixed spicy sauce. Dragon Delights has recently expanded the menu to add pork steamed buns and sweet red bean sesame balls.
5/ Liberty Press Coffee
Alex and Hayden Aquilon greet regulars and new customers with genuine, warm smiles and caffeine-fueled energy.
Their food truck, Liberty Press, shows local love with food and drink offerings. The coffee is from Austin Roasting Company, a local business that sources its beans from small farmer co-ops around the world. The Aquilons also sell pastries from Austin’s Crema Bakery.
Liberty’s most popular coffee drinks right now are the iced vanilla latte and Young Gheezy, made with ghee, half and half, and cinnamon.
6/ Revolution Vegan Kitchen
Revolution Vegan Kitchen is always hopping. This vegan food truck comes up with interesting dishes that everyone can enjoy, vegan or otherwise. We tried the most popular item there, the Philly cheezesteak sandwich (pictured above on left). I like the alternative cheese they make for it, and the bread was fresh and toasted.
We also tried the “carne asada” and tacos al pastor made with jackfruit (pictured above on right). The al pastor tacos were my favorite of the group. Look for daily specials on social media, like the “notzarella sticks.” They sell out fast!
7/ Soco Burgers
SoCo Burgers moved from its former spot on South Congress to The Thicket several months ago. The burgers are big and include an “Argentinian touch.”
The Argentinian flavors come from traditional ingredients, such as chimichurri sauce. My friend tried a wonderful looking chicken Napolitan sandwich and was happy with it. The one item I’d steer you away from is the pork sandwich, which is what I ordered. I will be back soon for a burger!
8/ The Tiny Barber Shop
What’s more convenient than a haircut near a food trailer park? Lunch and a cut? Yes, please! You can make reservations online on The Tiny Barber Shop’s website.
The Thicket community is growing. With these new and established food trucks on the grounds, I hope it continues to build momentum. Check the website below for changes, events, and community involvement opportunities.
7800 S. 1st St. – Website
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