The Jalopy, located in Austin on 15th and San Antonio, is not your run of the mill food truck. Everything from the physical truck to the staff to the food is a little bit different (in a good way) than you expect. And those differences add up to make The Jalopy one of the most exceptional food trucks in Austin.
First a disclaimer: Nic Patrizi, owner of The Jalopy, and Sarah De Perio, one of the cooks, were culinary school classmates of mine last semester (and hopefully in future semesters). I tried to not let this effect my judgement of The Jalopy but they are great people and (spoiler alert!) so is the food.
The Jalopy is unique among food trucks. Parked on San Antonio Street among the trees across from the 7-11 is the large semi-truck decorated with a brightly colored mural. If it is during lunch time a small line has probably formed on the sidewalk leading to some wooden stairs that lead to the window where orders are placed. To the left of the stairs is a slide to help sandwiches reach ground level once they are ready and to the right there are several brightly colored picnic benches.
The food at The Jalopy is as special as the truck itself. Seven chicken and five veggie sandwiches are offered along with a hummas plate, soups and daily specials (and, as I found out on my second trip, some secret menu items). The sandwiches are served on a freshly made bread that is somewhere between a naan and a pita. The bread is tasty and chewy and it sops up the sauce on the sandwich which, in turn, makes the bread even more delicious.
My first trip to The Jalopy was on a cold and rainy early March day. My girlfriend and I ordered and talked with Sarah and Rachael a little bit but once our sandwiches were ready we retreated to my car parked nearby. As I unwrapped my Son Hong the car filled with the sweet smell of red chili sauce, onions and scallions. After the first bite I was in heaven. It hit that “just enough heat” level of spiciness that enhances the sandwich without overpowering. The bread soaked up the chili sauce making every bite flavorful. My girlfriend’s Bacon sandwich was equally mouthwatering but, alas, I only got a tiny bite. I have been assured that it was a delicious experience though.
Our second trip was on a much better day weather-wise allowing us to dine at one of the picnic tables. Even though it was a busy lunchtime crowd from the surrounding office buildings we were greeted by Kendall. I ordered the Poke-in-da-eye, a chicken sandwich with homemade barbecue sauce, herb slaw, pickles and onions while my girlfriend got the Olivia after Sarah recommended it. The Olivia is The Butler sandwich (which by itself is a veggie sandwich of brie, apple, agave and almonds) with the addition of chicken and is one of the secret menu items. I thought the barbecue sauce overpowered the slaw, pickles and onions but sweet and savory none-the-less. My girlfriend described the Olivia as a “great combination of sweet, tart & salty.”
With Nic starting a new eponymously named Italian food trailer I’m not sure if I should worry that The Jalopy won’t get the attention from the public that it deserves or if it will get more attention. One thing is for sure; it deserves all the attention it can get. It’s a great food truck staffed by some of the friendliest people serving some very unique sandwiches at an incredible price. It’s location is also a big plus; it’s downtown but not in a busy area so you can still (usually) get street parking. And while the truck is funky and fun, the food is seriously good.