Back in 2010 the food trailer movement was taking off around downtown Austin. And it wasn’t long after that we had our very first food trailer arrive in the Lake Travis area — Hey Cupcake! set up shop at the corner of 620 and 2222 in front of Thundercloud Subs. That shiny Airstream is still satisfying our cupcake cravings today.
A couple of years later, Hey Cupcake! brought in another Airstream and set up shop on the lot catty-corner to the Chick-fil-A in Bee Cave. Not much to speak of for variety in food trailers in the area. We were surrounded by cupcakes.
But food trailers are mobile. And that Hey Cupcake! trailer quietly rolled out of town one night and left the south-siders without a chance to stock up on red velvet cupcakes.
In early 2013, the highly anticipated Dock & Roll Diner grabbed a spot at the Southside 620 Park & Eatery. But it wasn’t long before they quietly sneaked out of town and relocated to the newly opened Midway Food Park out on 360.
Except for the original Hey Cupcake!, life in Lake Travis was without food trailers.
But now you may have noticed that things are happening at the food trailer park. There’s a shaded seating area. You have Frozy’s Shaved Ice. Chew Chew BBQ. Boss Hogs Kitchen. And with the newest arrival, Backdraft Pizzeria, the Southside 620 Park & Eatery is a place you should check out.
I decided to stop out this past Tuesday afternoon and give you a brief overview of all the food trailer options.
My first stop was at Backdraft Pizzeria. Scarlett and Izak are responsible for my tour of the food trailer park not making it any further that day.
After inviting me inside for a tour, we dove into the backstory of Backdraft Pizzeria.
Izak and his dad built the Backdraft Pizzeria trailer from the ground up. The building process took them about 10 months and that includes Henry — the wood fired/propane pizza oven named after Izaks grandpa. The design and detail are impressive. For anyone with an appreciation for building your own stuff and cooking with wood and fire, Henry steals the show.
Overhanging the front end of the trailer and complete with a rotating surface, this oven can be stoked up to over 800 degrees. Your pizza comes out with an evenly cooked brown crispy crust and just the right amount of burn to the cheese in about 2 minutes.
The tour turned to be more hands-on than I expected when Izak asked me if I had ever made a pizza. So I washed my hands and jumped right in.
Izak introduced me to the dough that had been resting for 14 hours. It’s made with four simple ingredients … one of which is flour imported from Italy (he told me the other three, but I’ll keep that a secret). I gently scraped a round from the pan, coated it with a little bit of flour and began to press and stretch to create my 11″ hand tossed pizza.
The trick is to stretch the dough thin enough that you start to see through it, but without creating holes. In the end you should have a consistent paper thin center with a little bead around the edge that forms the crust — something you can’t get by running the dough through a roller. It’s truly an art and Izak is a self-taught master (and a great teacher).
After spreading a ladle of the house made red sauce, my soon to be masterpiece was ready for some toppings. And not just any toppings. Instead of topping your pizza with a bag a pre-shredded mozzarella cheese, your pizza is made with fresh hand stretched mozzarella from Wisconsin cheese curd and your choice of the highest quality toppings to finish off your pie — like the brined, made in house sausage (regular or spicy).
I went with 1/2 cheese to savor that Wisconsin cheese curd flavor all on its own. The other half was loaded up with spicy sausage, caramelized onions and sauteed mushrooms.
Izak handled the tricky step of transferring the pizza from the prep counter to Henry. I took care of eating the finished product.
As I enjoyed (and devoured) my Backdraft Pizza, a steady flow of visitors and regulars (each one on a first name basis with Scarlett and the crew) pulled in to order up some lunch.
Izak, Scarlett and Afton — with Aron (one of the many Backdraft Pizzeria regulars).
Scarlett and I had a chance to grab some shade at the picnic tables and chat more about life, God, food and friends. Their journey. Corporate America. A year off to backpack for 9 months in Southeast Asia and 3 months in the United States. Making the choice to live with passion.
Afton prepares the hand stretched mozzarella from Wisconsin cheese curd.
You can stop in to see, hear and taste the passion that makes Backdraft Pizzeria a truly unique find and a welcomed addition to the Lake Travis area. Have a pizza and don’t leave without a homemade big-as-your-face chocolate chip cookie for the road.
I’ll be bringing the kids back on Saturday morning for breakfast and a taste of the hand crafted dough used for the Liege Waffles. Because what kid wouldn’t love the I Shouldn’t — a waffle loaded with strawberries, warm chocolate, and hand shaken whip cream. I really shouldn’t. Good thing it’s only available on Saturday mornings!
Get some before they sell out.
Check out BackdraftPizzeria.com for menu and hours.
Connect with Backdraft Pizzeria on their Facebook page and Instagram @backdraftpizzeria
Located at the Southside 620 Park & Eatery
3595 Ranch Road 620 South
Austin, TX 78738