One of the many things that make Austin – well, Austin – the street food scene. There are food trucks everywhere in the city, often in small trailer parks. These al fresco guests offer a wide variety of options to quench your thirst or taste buds. Despite the makeshift and ragged mobile kitchens and dining areas, the food is just as good as if served on china and white tablecloths.
When coronavirus ravaged businesses across the country, Austin food trucks weathered the storm better than many other restaurants. Most of the Austin food trucks were among the first to reopen after Covid’s lockdown restrictions were changed. The food parks naturally assure guests that there is no such thing as stagnant air. It’s also easier for people to create social distance. It’s not uncommon for the trucks to be two meters apart at the order window, separating staff from customers. That is the case with a very unique dining concept.
Most vegans tend to stay away from southern dishes as there seems to be an abundance of pork, pork fat, and other animal products in pretty much everything. Not sassys. This food truck menu will seduce you whether you have dietary restrictions or preferences. It’s soul food minus the high cholesterol, sodium, or saturated fat content. But full of flavor.
Sassy’s trailer is conveniently located at 1403 E. 7th Street, east of I35, north of the river and south of the university. The owner Andrea Dawson has stopped eating animal products for health reasons. But she didn’t want to give up her taste for soul food. She was looking for vegan soul cuisine in Austin and came up empty-handed. In order not to be discouraged, she decided to stir up her own creations. She found a retired food truck, bought it, and started serving the food.
She says most of the items on her menu mimick the taste of her family dishes, but with no meat or pork products.
“I consult my mother on many dishes that help me prepare items. I replace where necessary. The key is in the spices. I use very little straight-line salt, but I change the taste with spices that are not normally found in some dishes but complement very well. “
Although one guest said she wanted to eat everything on the menu, Chicon and Waffles is hands down the bestseller. Chicon (the name of a street where she first opened the trailer for business) is chicken flavored seitan. It’s a filling dish that people order for every meal. Since the waffles are egg free, it’s a real treat for those who love their waffles but don’t eat the eggs.
Sassy’s doesn’t stick to standards like black-eyed peas, baked sweet potatoes, cornbread, cabbage, cabbage, and kale. All are smothered or sautéed in vegan butter. Dawson doesn’t hold back the butteriness or creaminess and conjures up a delicious Cajun Mac and cheese with sausage. However, the cheese is modeled from nuts, and the sausage is a plant-based alternative.
Praise for Sassy’s
Says Dawson, “Those who keep me warm are when non-vegans are drawn in here and blown away. I am just tickled. I had one person who raved about the poke chop sandwich (made with ground mushroom, wheat meat, and soy) because pork chops were something they thought they’d never enjoy again, but mine was very close, it felt a lot confirming. “
Sassy’s attracts all types of guests.
“I have a lot of regulars who have been here from the beginning and have seen how the menu has evolved over time. Young people who want a healthier alternative to eat than their parents. Older adults now being told to change their diet. And lifelong vegans who want to vary their choices, ”she adds.
For those unfamiliar with Austin food truck culture, this is a great way to try not only soul food, but East Austin as well. Sassy’s is open Thursday through Saturday from 3pm to 8pm this fall
with outdoor dining areas within the courtyard.