Introducing the Co-op Food Court


Nestled behind the University Co-op, the parking lot that used to only house a burnt-orange and white Longhorn statue has been filled in by a few mobile eateries.

The new Co-op Food Court, which officially opened for business on Sept. 26, has transformed the parking lot into a quiet sitting area complete with orange umbrella-shaded tables and multicultural food options, just steps from the Forty Acres.

The food court’s offerings range from New Orleans style soul food at Original News Orleans to soft-serve ice cream at Wright Bros Dairy. The seven trucks currently in the space include the Original New Orleans Po-boy and Gumbo Shop, Fullhouse Barbeque, Lucky J’s Chicken and WafflesKebabalicious, a Touch of Fire Thai, and Lard Have Mercy, with room for others to move in.

“We’re working to fill it more based on the season and based on the food offerings,” says truck curator Tiffany Harelik, BA ’02, who majored in American Studies at UT. “It’s totally situational and it’s like a crazy Tetris game putting it together.”

As the curator, Harelik, who has written three books about food trucks and runs the Trailer Food Diaries website, reached out to local vendors she knew through her website to fill the new space. She believes the food court will bring a little piece of the funky lifestyle Austin is known for to the student population on campus.

“I’d say the goal is to provide that iconic environment for students and faculty to have a bite of Austin,” she says.

Kita Adams, a senior majoring in Radio-Television-Film, says she saw the sign hanging on the front of the Co-op and decided to walk around the building and see what the new space had to offer.

“I like it,” Adams says. “It’s food from totally different cultures and I love it. It’s way better than Chick-fil-A and Taco Bell.”

Here are a few trucks to try:

Lard Have Mercy

Lard Have Mercy specializes in everything bacon, including bacon-flavored corn tortilla chips and even bacon-flavored French fries. The menu has items ranging from the Notorious P.I.G. (a Monte Cristo Sandwich served with raspberry preserves and the bacon flavored fries) to “Foghorn Leghorns” (bacon wrapped chicken strips served with jalapeño ranch). One of their specials is the “Miley Cyrus,” a chicken pancake served something called “twerk sauce.”

Wright Bros Dairy

A classic soft-serve ice cream joint with a twist, Wright Bros gives customers the options to pick their favorite ice cream flavor from vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry, and then go crazy with 18 toppings and 13 sauces. The shop also offers cleverly-named specialty sundaes and milkshakes like the “It Takes Two to Mango” sundae (mango sauce, smoked paprika, and chocolate sauce over vanilla ice cream) and the “South-by-Salted-Caramel” milkshake.

Focused on Turkish roots, Kebabalicious features three different kinds of kebabs and other dishes like zucchini fries and turk salad. “The Spoiled Brat” is the proclaimed trifecta of the truck’s dishes combining beef, lamb, chicken, and falafel along with your choice of hummus, feisty feta, local tomatoes, red onions, tratziki, and spicy red sauce.

A pork burger from Chi’Lantro at the Co-op Food Court. Photo courtesy Co-op Food Court.


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