In only three years, Torchy's (1311 S. 1st Street) has managed to establish itself as an Austin tradition. In a market saturated with both tacos and food trucks, that's no easy task. Torchy's secret is simple: They just serve damn good food.
Located in the almost-too-cute-to-be-taken-seriously South Austin Trailer Park & Eatery, the little taco truck with a red devil logo has expanded over those three years to include several other locations across Austin, but anyone's first Torchy's experience truly needs to be at the Trailer Park where it all started. The taco stand opens at 7 a.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. on the weekends, but lunch is the best time to go. The lines really start to form around 11:30, so do yourself a favor and get there early.
Everyone has their own favorites, but you have to start somewhere on the menu. I recommend the fried avocado -- my personal favorite, and not just for vegetarians even though it includes creamy vegetarian refried beans -- and the Trailer Park, with fried chicken and green chiles from New Mexico. Be sure to get it "trashy," which means it comes smothered in Torchy's excellent queso.
Purists aren't going to find traditional tacos here. No cilantro y cebollo, no deshebrada or barbacoa, no aguas frescas behind the counter. But you will find a uniquely Austin experience: fresh, local ingredients, an abundance of creativity and delicious food.
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More photos of Torchy's are after the jump.