Street Food Profiles: Chi'Lantro Austin
What's on the menu? Tacos, burritos, quesadillas, hamburgers, hot dogs, and fries, all with a spicy Korean-Mexican twist.
Location/hours? Rotating schedule for lunch and dinner between downtown locations and the Domain area in North Austin.
How long have you been street fooding? Since February of 2010.
How has Twitter affected business? Chi'lantro currently has 1,211 followers and growing. Twitter is an effective way of communicating with our customers, engaging them in what Chi'lantro is doing, and creating an open forum to share their thoughts. It allows Chi'lantro to pay attention to our customers' needs.
Why a mobile business over brick-and-mortar? Mobile business was the way to go for someone who doesn't have a large amount of cash upfront! It's creating an opportunity to get your foot in the door for investors down the road for a brick-and-mortar location.
Who are your typical customers? (Any special regulars?) Chi'lantro has regulars that come out to show us love and support when they drive up to their locations (offices, bars, and students/staff at UT). A lot of our customers check us out first and bring their friends, then their friends bring their family and friends. It's great to see when parents bring their kids again because kids were craving Chi'Lantro tacos!
Describe a typical day from start to finish.
- 8:30 a.m. start prepping for lunch
- 10:30 a.m. Tweet, and head to our location
- 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Serve lunch and make list of what we need for dinner
- 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Back to commissary, clean, and re-stock
- 3:30 to 6 p.m. Get ready for dinner, prep, and drive to our location
- 7 to 10 p.m. Serve dinner
- 10 to 11 p.m. Back to commissary, and clean
- 11 pm. to 2 a.m. Office work
What were you doing before this? I was a contractor for HEB Sushiya.
What makes your food so special? Can anything else like it be found in the city? Chi'Lantro puts a lot of LOVE into our food! We use custom-cut meat, fresh ingredients, and everything is made from scratch.
How would you define "street food"? Food service that parks on the streets or parking lots, and customers are also on the street eating food either standing up or sitting on a curb.
The best street food city and why. Austin, Texas! Aka The Live Music Capital of the World. Aka Keep Austin Weird.
Advice for an aspiring vendor? "Chase your dreams."
This interview was conducted by Jennie Chen, a contributing writer at TODO Austin.