As any casual observer or visitor has no doubt noticed, food trucks are a big deal here in Austin, Texas. Roving trucks, huge BBQ trailers, re-purposed schoolbuses, or 18-wheelers...all can be found spread around the streets of Austin, serving all kinds of unique foods by the very passionate people running these mobile businesses. One of my favorite things about being a frequent visitor to many of Austin's popular food trucks has been getting to know the owners, forming friendships, and being able to show my support and appreciation for the hard work and long hours that they put into providing Austin with many delicious treats. "Hey! You Gonna Eat or What?," which can be found at the newly opened food truck park on Barton Springs Rd, The Picnic, is a personal favorite of mine, offering a Southwestern spin on some of the most iconic sandwiches around.
I first happened upon Hey! You Gonna Eat or What? (okay, let's just use "HYGEOW" from now on), after realizing one day several years ago that I had never had a Monte Cristo sandwich. A simple Google search of "Monte Cristo Austin" pointed me to a small food truck park just off of South Congress Avenue. I had been living on South Congress for quite some time already, but somehow, had never noticed the bright red Argosy van tucked away in a small parking lot just north of Hopdoddy and Perla's. A short while later, Chef Eric Regan was enthusiastically describing the signature sandwich from HYGEOW before my eyes, a double-decker sandwich with ham, turkey, and cheddar and provolone cheeses. The sandwich is then dutifully coated in a Shiner Bock beer batter, deep fried, dusted lightly with powdered sugar, and served with a housemade cherry fig jelly. My first Monte Cristo instantly became the only Monte Cristo that I would ever need to try.
Since that first visit, HYGEOW has become one of my go-to food trucks in Austin, with every single sandwich that I have had on the menu leaving me impressed. One of the thoughts that I always have when eating one of Chef Eric's sandwiches is how well he balances each ingredient on the sandwiches. No one ingredient dominates the others and each provides an excellent compliment to the entire creation.
In April of this year (and partially as a result of winning the Truck By Truckwest food truck competition last year - read my recap on Foodtrailersaustin.com here), HYGEOW made a big move away from its previous home on South Congress and now has a permanent home in the dedicated food truck park, The Picnic, located just east of Zilker Park on Barton Springs Road. While it must have been hard to move away from the food traffic that is inherent upon being located on South Congress, recent visits to The Picnic (and discussions with Chef Eric) have indicated this move turned out to be a fruitful one. Business is booming, and The Picnic, with its friendly atmosphere, covered seating area, ample parking, public bathrooms, and supportive community, is the perfect place to enjoy a nice meal and support local small businesses.
If someone were to ask me what my favorite sandwich was from HYGEOW, my most honest answer would have to be "whichever one I just ate," because I am such a fan of each one on the menu. One day, I might say that it is the Mesquite Smoked Turkey sandwich, with turkey, jalapeno jelly, green leaf lettuce, pepperjack cheese, and perfectly fried green tomatoes. The next day, it could be HYGEOW's Southwestern spin on the reuben sandwich. Chef Eric bastes hickory smoked brisket with habanero aioli, then tops it with pepperjack cheese and a seriously spicy slaw. My forehead cries with sweat whenever I eat the reuben, but it is definitely another favorite.
In addition to HYGEOW's regular menu offerings, Chef Eric has an arsenal of sandwich specials ready to be unleashed at his will, and I can personally attest that they are not to be missed. Recent specials include a chorizo sandwich with roasted red peppers, avocado, baby greens, and habanero aioli, or a decadent pork chop sandwich with a spicy apple and raisin chutney and baby greens. I have been lucky enough to be asked to take photos for Chef Eric's use on social media and/or the actual menu at the truck, and I love seeing my pictures being used to (hopefully) attract the masses to experience more of HYGEOW's sandwiches.
Obviously, I could go on and on about the rest of HYGEOW's offerings, like the excellent chicken salad sandwich with grapes, pecans, and raisins, another constant craving of mine, but I think that it is clear that I'm a big fan of the sandwiches, the people, and the place. The biggest compliment that I can give to HYGEOW, and one that I have given to Chef Eric several times before, is that whenever I am eating one of his sandwiches, whenever I finish the first half, I am genuinely excited that I have another half to eat. Get over to The Picnic soon to try some of these sandwiches, and GOOD LUCK making a decision about what to order!!
1720 Barton Springs Rd., Austin, TX 78704
Open 6 days a week, noon to 9 PM (closed Wednesdays)