By Cris Mueller | The Austinot
This past weekend, SXSW Southbites gathered four of the brightest, most inventive and hard-working individuals among food truck royalty to talk about more than just their food. The panel was about the legacy their brands will leave behind and what goes on behind the curtain when you’re talking food trucks.
Eric Silverstein, founder of The Peached Tortilla, was Austin’s local voice. He shared candid details about his path from street food to brick and mortar, and his story is one of the most interesting I’ve heard in recent years.
True to Austinot form, my focus was on our local food truck superhero Eric Silverstein and his labor of love, The Peached Tortilla.
Intercontinental Food Play
You can’t help but want to lead a cheering section for Eric, whose story is literally told through his food. Eric was a Georgian by way of Tokyo, and has created Southern styled food influenced by flavors from his childhood in Japan. Austinites can’t get enough of it.
Eric made a major life change when he left a career in law and joined an industry that is fickle, time consuming and at the same time celebrated. “I didn’t quit my career in law to be an owner/operator of a food truck,” Eric said. He originally had his sights set on a brick and mortar, but financially it wasn’t going to happen. He added, “When I started the business in the truck, I thought I was doing something wrong because I wasn’t making any money.”
And owning a food truck felt a bit like being homeless. “You’re cooking in someone else’s kitchen and you’re parking in someone else’s lot,” Eric explained.
At a time when food trucks were facilitating an economic gap, Eric and his team found leverage by market
ing through social media, local media and national media. “I had no credibility four years ago. I couldn’t have done it without [marketing channels].”
Now that he’s the man behind one of the most buzzed about brands in food truck history, the company allows product images to do the talking. “For us, Instagram is the best social media. It’s a visual thing.”
Four Walls and a Roof
Four years in the making, The Peached Tortilla’s tacos and sliders have proven themselves worthy of walls and windows. The Peached Tortilla cannot drive their new location, which you’ll find at 5520 Burnet Road.
“The restaurant is a place where we can actually cook real food beyond just street food.” Eric and his team have encapsulated the casual dining spirit that is the root of The Peached Tortilla, moved it indoors and the rest is history.
One restaurant, a highly recognized food truck and a catering business will keep Eric busy for the time being. Admitting that the road to brick and mortar was tough work, he said, “I wish I had better balance. I wish I could find it…It’s tough for someone like me.”
How does he do it? “Getting the right people to work for you and building loyalty make the difference.” With the support of his fiancé and reliability of his team, the quality and consistency The Peached Tortilla serves to hungry customers each day is key. Eric’s evident focus on product consistency speaks volumes and essentially has the possibilities of truck franchising on hold. This is his legacy.
Follow @peachedtortilla on Instagram for taste bud stimulation.