Hoover Alexander’s Soular Food Garden is an earnest endeavor from a legend in the Austin food scene. We hope it proves to be a huge success but two recent visits were problematic.
Not one food trailer was open in the middle of the day. It’s hard to line coffers with green backs when the tills are on lockdown, the flat tops are cold and the shutters are closed. We wrote about Hoover and his entrepreneurial endeavor here [ http://www.scrumptiouschef.com/food/2011/10/26/The-Grand-Old-Man-Of-Austin-Food-Hoover-Alexanders-Getting-In-The-Food-Trailer-Business ] and remain optimistic concerning the operation’s success.
When an acquaintance opened a food trailer last year our crew got real excited. Until we realized he was only going to open when he felt like it and that generally meant when he wasn’t in the mood to pound Lone Stars on Rio Rita’s patio during the day.
When the business was struggling he actually came for advice. One girl on our team told him straight up “Pretend like you’re Mexican, those girls work from 6am til midnight and most of them make a go of it”.
Indeed, we like business models like El Taco Rico and La Canaria. You can stroll up to their window at 6 am at the end of a hard night of partying and have a Mexican breakfast before you have to go home and get some shut eye.
Then you can go back there around 11pm that night and Yolanda or Maria [as the case may be] are still in their busting their asses so they can earn a living.
We’ve read commentary on the Twitter feeds of Addie Broyles and Mike Sutter concerning this issue as well. You may only get one opportunity to feed somebody, make a new customer and have a ten spot in your register.
We went by Tenderland a number of times [http://www.scrumptiouschef.com/food/2010/12/26/Austin-Daily-Photo-Tenderland–East-Austin-Food-Cart–Saturday-December-25th-2010] when they opened over near French Place in East Austin. They were NEVER open. Subsequently, we’ve noticed they are maintaining better hours but we don’t stop.
We keep right on going. We got it in our heads that their trailer was not a food source and [mule-like] we kept it in our heads.
We rolled by Reggie’s [http://www.scrumptiouschef.com/food/2011/10/27/Birth-Notice-Heavy-Is-The-Head-That-Wears-The-Crown-Austin-Texas-Soul-Food-King-Reggie-Is-Back] on Sat night for supper and he was closed at 7pm. On a Saturday night.
He’s one of the most talented cooks in Austin but it will be good long time before we go back. We were hankering for a couple big plates of fried catfish and felt screwed when he wasn’t there to feed us. Two cars pulled up and pulled off while we were photographing the menu and trailer.
Get your act together Austin Food Trailer operators. Look around, notice that there are over a thousand of y’all scrapping for that food dollar. Think about establishing some hours and keeping them.
Yeah, it sucks when you got hammered at Frontier Bar [http://www.scrumptiouschef.com/food/2011/8/13/Best-Dive-Bar-In-Austin-Part-Six-Frontier-Bar] last night and you just want to lay back with a blue ray and your pipe, but if you’re not there to sell us our hoagie we’ll find somebody who will.
And we may never come back.