By Mike Marut | KVUE
AUSTIN, Texas — Some food truck owners mark October on the calendar every year.
“October is the beast, yeah. It used to be South by Southwest – it used to be March,” Faseeh Vohra, co-owner of Shawarma Point, said. “Now, with Formula One and ACL because, I mean, if you look at it, two weekends of ACL – that’s half the month. Now you add Formula One to it, that’s three weeks out of four that you’re busy.”
Vohra manages the operations of Shawarma Point. He’s been preparing for Austin City Limits for months.
“There’s no breaks,” Vohra said. “I had to tell my kids, ‘I’ll see you guys in three weeks!’ I mean, already, the festivals haven’t even started and I haven’t seen my kids in three days. I leave home before they wake up. I get home, they’re already asleep.”
Vohra and his staff took most of the day on Wednesday to bring their equipment into Zilker Park to their three vendor stands. At the same time, other workers were chopping vegetables and preparing sauces and meat for the first weekend of ACL.
Down the row of food vendors, the owner of Burro Cheese Kitchen mostly finished the business’s prep work on Wednesday.
“You would think that they’re grilled cheese sandwiches so there’s like zero prep work, right? It’s just cheese and bread and butter and melted,” Justin Burrow jokes. “But we approach our regular menu with this artisan grilled-cheese sandwich approach. So we make all of our sauces in house, you know, all these creative combinations of ingredients. And so, leading up to this, we’re making about 80 gallons of each sauce that we bring out there. We’re caramelizing onions, the rosemary-caramelized onions. We do about 20 gallons of that. So it’s just a lot of all the kind of special ingredients that go onto our sandwiches that make that worthwhile and what people should be after.”
Burrow, who did not name his company after himself, has three vendor sites as well at ACL this year: two under the Burro name and one under “Homie Fries.” During the setup on Wednesday, Burrow and his staff wheeled in three 50-foot kitchens.
“It’s maybe the biggest single event we do every year,” Burrow said. “It’s pretty integral to our business annually, and I think it’s about 25% of our annual revenue overall for my company. So I mean, yeah, we put a lot into it and that’s in six days of service.”
Both Burrow and Vohra think this year’s ACL will be their biggest festival yet.
“This year, people are really comfortable, excited, you know, kind of ready to be back in festival mode,” Burrow said. “Food and beverage is one of those things that’s really a tough industry to to make it. And so this really helps us, those folks out a ton.”
“We have one extra location this year and we have a lot of other catering that are ACL related, so our prep is times three than last year,” Vohra said.