Luke’s Inside Out

Luke's Inside Out food trailer adjacent to Gibson Bar

Guy Fieri was here and left his mark on the door


What to say about a South Austin Food Trailer that has received so much national attention?  (They were featured on an episode of the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives this season, not to mention a shout out in the New York Times.)

In a nutshell, small plates (called shareables) GOOD, sandwiches, which are heavily loaded, not so much so.

This is a great location, across the street from the Alamo Drafthouse and just down the street from the old Odd Duck Farm to Trailer on S. Lamar Blvd.  Adjacent to Gibson’s bar, they have a symbiotic relationship.  You can order your food, then relax inside the bar and they will bring your order to you. Very convenient.  This is becoming something of an Austin trend.

Hope you like onion rings in your sandwiches!  Maybe this is the “Inside Out” part.  Normally they come with fries, I opted to substitute their Love Slaw, and very glad of it.  The Pig sandwich, a favorite, seemed very caloric.  You get the sense that Luke likes his deep fryer, with  this dish coming with both onion rings inside and french fries on the side.

Shareable dishes, too , are fried, but offer greens like bok choy and brussels sprouts that you might not indulge in every day. Quite tasty.

Luke’s Inside Out

Address:  1109 South Lamar Boulevars, Austin TX 78704

Geography:  South Lamar, South Austin

Phone:  512-589-8883

Web:, Facebook, and Twitter.

Hours: Mon – Thu 5:00 pm – 11:00 pm

Fri  – Sat     5:00 pm- 12:00 am

Sun               12:00pm – 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm – 11:00 pm



© 2012


© 2012





Changes afoot at South Lamar Trailer Bazaar

A recent remodel at 3600 S. Lamar Blvd. has created a pleasant al fresco dining environment for South Austinites.  Located just south of Red’s Porch, this site has seen quite a few food trailers come and go.  Hopefully the upgraded amenities will attract more customers that will allow food trailers to thrive here.

There is plenty of free parking to the north side, next to Red’s, a white picket fence, several picnic tables for communal dining, and shade.  A perfect spot to bring your family and pets.

Sign out front says “2 out of 5 Engines are Running,” but my count there are now three:  Boxcar Bistro, serving French salads and soups, Trai Mai Thai with the most extensive menu of the three, and Tacos La Guera, which has been here a bit longer than the rest.

A fourth trailer is parked tantalizing close to this park, but no sign yet what it will be or when it may join the others.

The City of Austin reports traffic of 50,000 automobiles per day pass this spot.  Do you?  Will you stop here and sample the fare?  I’d like to hear about your experience.


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Musings, how to separate wheat from chaff

Been thinking about what separates a quality eatery from a not-so-great one.

Thus, I’ve come up with an impromptu partial list of personal criteria.

Identifying Good and Not-so-good eateries

Good restaurant

  • Makes their own side dishes
  • Perhaps bakes their own bread
  • Uses fresh local ingredients, supporting local farmers
  • Proudly displays a list of some or all of their local suppliers and vendors
  • Makes all entrees to order, no heating or re-heating of pre-prepared entrees.
  • Uses no frozen entrees or ingredients.

Not-so-good restaurant

  • Relies on reheating foods in a microwave oven, including frozen foods.
  • Heavy use of a deep-fryer (may taste good, but not the healthiest option)
  • Uses vendors associated with the industrial food system, not local farmers.
  • High markup of prepared packaged foods such as chips or soft drinks.

What are your own personal criteria?  Let’s discuss via the comments section.  And happy healthy eating to you.


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National Pretzel Day, April 26, 2012

Easy German Board:  Bratwurst, baked pretzel, beer cheese, house mustard, house slaw, and potato salad.  Washed down with a Brooklyn Lager.


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Ah La Cart

Slow Food, Fast

Fresh locally supplied food for your weekday lunches or dinners


Call yourself a locavore?  Are you an advocate of the slow foods movement?  Want to know where your ingredients are sourced?

At the Ah La Cart food trailer, you will find a list posted of all the local food suppliers used.

Sitting just south of the busiest food trailer districts, you’ll find  a tasty spot for New American food.  Fusion cooking, with emphasis on seasonal availability.  So, the short menu changes frequently, depending on what’s coming to market here.  Opens at noon on weekdays, but there are hearty sandwiches that include eggs, which you could easily call a late breakfast.

If you’re vegan, go for the cart greens.  Or ask about the stock used for the vegetable soups.  If you’re a carnivore, you can’t miss with any of the sandwiches or tacos made with pork belly.  The sandwiches come with a large handful of greens, also.  Wouldn’t hurt to finish off with some sweets, the chilled Chocolate Salty Balls made with Belgian chocolate present a dramatic sweet/salty contrast.  Makes for a sweet end to a very pleasant outing. Careful though, any sweeter and you'll end up seeing my dentist in ft worth.

Ah La Cart

Address:  4418 Packsaddle Pass, Austin, TX 78745

Geography:  Westgate Neighborhood, South Austin

Capital Metro:  Routes 5, 30, 331

Phone:  512-298-9595

Web:  Facebook

Hours: Mon – Fri 12pm – 8 pm


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Mercury Pizza Shop



Editor’s note:  Mercury Pizza Shop is temporarily closed for renovations, and should reopen by mid-May, 2012.

Second editor’s note:  While dealing with remodeling issues, the owners and operators have opened a food trailer called The Pizza Shop ATX.  Located at 1906 S. First Street in Austin, new phone:  512-851-7245.

There’s a bright new food spot joining the crowded strip on S. Lamar Blvd., the Mercury Pizza Shop at 2107 Kinney Avenue, just off the aforementioned Lamar.  (Access parking from Lamar, turning just next to Castle Flooring.)

This place has hangout vibe going.  No tables indoors, just a couch and some mismatched chairs.  (There’s more outdoor seating on a gravel-covered lot at cable spool tables.) There’s a phonograph turntable.  Put a vinyl disc on, sit down and take a load off while they prepare your dish to order.  You’ll think you’re in Eric Forman’s basement on the set of “That 70′s Show.”  Sitting there listening to classic Pink Floyd while my food was being cooked, I half expected Tommy Chong to show up, sitting across the coffee table from me, blowing some mysterious smoke at me. (Only a fantasy, understand, there’s no smoking allowed inside the place.)

But ambiance doesn’t make for a favorite food hang out, does it?  There’s quality, service, and price to consider.  You’re in luck, as this Brooklyn-style pizza shop delivers on all three in spades.  Plus, they deliver to your door, too, if you happen to get the munchies while hanging out at home.  I understand Brooklyn-style to mean a thin crust with very large slices, and a certain mix of cheeses.  Whatever it means, it’s sure tasty.

Pizza slices are titanic, and the ingredients are fresh, fresh, fresh.  That is, if you order fresh.  Don’t know how long the daily special pizzas have sat on the rack.  The blunts are a type of calzone, 12 inches long and stuffed thick!

Mercury Pizza will make you a very fresh salad, with homemade dressings.  But they may not have all the listed dressings in stock.

This place is still working the kinks out, where to store supplies, getting their beer and wine license, etc.  But put up with it!  The food makes it all worthwhile.  Plus, they are open and they deliver quite late, so you’ll want to know and frequent them when you need them.

Mercury Pizza Shop

Address:  2107 Kinney Ave., Austin, TX 78704

Geography:  South Lamar Blvd., South Austin

Phone:  512-707-7499

Web:, Facebook, and Twitter.

Price Range:  Inexpensive

Hours:  Sun – Wed 11am – 1 am, Thurs – Sat 11am – 3am.


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Hyde Park Bar and Grill

American Comfort Food -- Moderately Priced

Most wines available by the glassSometimes you crave comfort food.  Something predictable and common that you don’t have to digest intellectually as well as with your stomach.  Hyde Park Bar and Grill, serving Austin since 1982, might well fit that bill.

I’ve tried both locations, both the original Duval in Hyde Park for supper, and more recently, on West Gate Blvd. in Southwest Austin for lunch.  I’d definitely say the original building has more charm.  West Gate has a cavernous feel.

Look for comforting entrees like meatloaf and chicken fried steak, burgers, sanwiches, soups and salads at a moderate price. You can order a glass of most of their extensive wine collection.

They’re famous for the buttermilk french fries, which I’m afraid to say I haven’t sampled.  And famous for desserts, which I tend to skip, anyway.  Chicken makes a tasty dinner entree, and soup and salad makes a filling lunch.  You have to ask your server to bring them both together unless you’re willing to eat them separately, which is how they tend to serve them.

Good for business lunches, and on Duval, for quiet dinners.

Hyde Park Bar and Grill

Address:  4206 Duval St., Austin, TX 78751

4521 Westgate Blvd, Austin, TX 78745

Geography:  Hyde Park, Central Austin and Westgate, Southwest Austin

Phone:  512-458-3168 Duval

512-899-2700 Westgate

Web: and on Facebook, also  Twitter @HydeParkBnG

Price Range:  Moderate

Hours: Sun  – Thu 11:00 am – 10:30 pm, Fri, Sat  11:00 am – Midnight, both locales.


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G’s Dynamite Deli, S. 1st Street

Newly opened fresh ingredient deli in south Austin

How many times I’ve rued the dearth of delicatessens serving South Austin.  Downtown is a parking problem.  Central Market, too loud and too crowded.

The culinary team of G’s Deli Girls must have heard my laments.  Operating out of this cheerful newly remodeled bungalow, they serve up fresh sandwiches, salads, and soups at a prime location just north of Oltorf Street.  Limited parking behind the bungalow, but conveniently located next to a Capital Metro bus stop on the #10 route.

Sandwiches are substantial.  You won’t leave hungry.  My orders of both the Roast Beef on marble rye, and the Panini on whole wheat were both bigger than I would have imagined for the price.  Even the side salads (one of four side choices) are more than adequate, and fresh and tasty.

Don’t expect fast service, especially during a lunch rush. This is fresh food worth waiting for.  Or call your order in ahead, 512-520-9810.

Indoor seating is limited.  There’s more seating on the front lawn, ideal when the weather cooperates.  You can chat with friends or coworkers while you watch the cars go by on South 1st Street.

This should soom become a regular lunch option for South Austin locals.

G’s Dynamite Deli

Address:  2312 S. 1st , Austin TX 78704

Geography:  Bouldin Creek, South Austin

Phone:  512-520-9810

Web: and Facebook.

Price Range:  Inexpensive

Hours: Mon – Sat 11:00 am – 9:00 pm, Sun: 11:00 am – 3:00 pm

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Welcome to Austin Light Bites

- Who we are and what we do here -

What is this blog about?  We keep you up to date with news and reviews of some of Austin’s best casual food choices.  Not out-of-town chains, but locally owned and operated cafes, pubs, coffeehouses, and food trailers.  Places where you could grab lunch or a delicious snack.  Look for new posts and reviews two to three times a week.

 About me:  I’m a 50-something year old  man, who has lived in Austin since 2008, and have watched the Austin food scene explode and grow through the past several years.  Also am a lifelong eater who likes to cook, but doesn’t like to wash pots and pans, so I eat out more than at home.  Love to watch food (but not cooking) shows on television , and read and listen to the latest Austin food news.
Our reviews will be open for your comments, which are moderated.  So, please be considerate, and don’t attack others, or use the comments section for spam.  Do use it to add more details to a review, or to nominate some of your favorite spots for review.
Well, that’s it in a nutshell.  Let the casual food news and reviews begin.
© 2012


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