Southwest Austin - Dripping Springs Edition - October 2021

Food trucks have been a path forward for Austin entrepreneurs looking to enter the food scene. In 2018, Food Truck Nation ranked Austin the 7th friendliest U.S. city. The ranking takes into account start up costs, operational fees, restrictions and even the need to drive to city oces. Food trucks ACROSS AMERICA




Overall rank

New York City has fewer food trucks than Austin.

$1,075 $28,085

Initial permits

Annual permitting cost Annual trips to


city oces Number of restrictions


that it’s food truck-friendly, and then you hear from food trucks that it’s dicult,” Robinson said. “But, I’ve found both cities to be very welcoming to food trucks.” In Chicago, Robinson said food trucks are mobile and park on street corners to capture lunch crowds or follow special events. In Austin, food trucks typically set up in a lot. Austin, according to data from Food TruckNation, is actuallymore friendly than Chicago for food truck owners, mainly because Chicago’s annual operating permits total $32,461, while Austin’s is $22,168, according to Food Truck Nation data. The friendliest city, per the report,

TexasWorkforce Commission. Several owners spoke to Community Impact Newspaper about their success— from building a community, moving into brick-and-mortar locations to

is Portland, where it costs $5,410 in annual permitting fees to run a food truck. In Los Angeles—the only city with more food trucks than Austin, per census data—it costs $29,096. “I would give the city of Austin props on how friendly they are,” said Janelle Romeo, owner of Shirley’s Trini Cuisine and a former food truck consultant. “They are very strict with the rules they do have. I have helped other food trucks in other cities and states open, and I’d say compared to those other cities, Austin is on point with the rules and regulations they have in place.” Chasing the brick-and-mortar goal Adam Diaz, owner of Thicket Food


For the Hunts, food trucks were the only viable foothold in the Austin restaurant business, they said. Austinisratedtheseventhfriendliest city for food trucks nationally, according to Food Truck Nation in 2018, a group run by the National Chamber of Commerce Foundation. The ranking takes into account the cost to run the food truck, the ease of complying with city regulations and other factors. Travis County has the second-highest number of food trucks in the country, only behind Los Angeles County, per 2019 census data. Currently, there are about 161 food trucks in Austin, according to the

weathering the pandemic. Starting from the ground up

Happy Lobster, a New England-style seafood restaurant based in Chicago, opened itsrst food truck inAustinafter coming down for South By Southwest Conference & Festivals in 2016. Alex Robinson said operating in Austin and Chicago are completely dierent experiences. “Every city I’ve ever looked into or been in, you hear from everyone

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