Foodie News

Reality TV show falls hard for Houston food trucks — and a certain chatty writer

Reality TV show falls hard for Houston food trucks: An Eat St. day

TV show Eat St at the Eatsie Boys October 2013
Eatsie Boys Ryan Soroka, Alex Vassilakidis and Matt Marcus work on the truck for the Eat St filming.  Photo by Eric Sandler
TV show Eat St at the Eatsie Boys October 2013
So, tell us what you like about the pork snuggies. Photo by Eric Sandler
TV show Eat St at the Eatsie Boys October 2013
The pork snuggies are really delicious! Photo by Eric Sandler
TV show Eat St at the Eatsie Boys October 2013
TV show Eat St at the Eatsie Boys October 2013
TV show Eat St at the Eatsie Boys October 2013

Houston food trucks are getting some international attention.

Throughout this week, Cooking Channel show Eat St. has been filming various food trucks around the city for its fifth season. The show came to town last year, too. It's back because Eat St. found six trucks worthy of its attention.

Senior producer David Freeman tells CultureMap in an email that he thinks Houston's truck scene is so successful for a couple of reasons. "People have embraced (food trucks) and enjoy the variety, flexibility of location and quality of the food that these trucks put out," he writes. 

 "Without the truck, we wouldn't be where we are today." 

While some food trucks complain about city regulations, Freeman sees it differently. He attributes the growth in the number of trucks to the fact that "the city is more forward thinking than others and has not put the same restrictions on where these trucks can park as some do. That's very positive."

The production crew invited me to speak as a local authority on the Eatsie Boys. Even before I became a food writer, I've always enjoyed the truck's food. The owners also have a great story, having grown from selling their signature Frank the Pretzel chicken sausage at farmers markets to a cafe and brewery. Besides, my mother thinks my career is much more legitimate when she can see me on TV, even if the Cooking Channel isn't exactly among her first options. 

When I arrived at the Eatsie Boys Cafe, the crowd, which had been instructed to arrive an hour before me, had already begun to thin out. The camera crew filmed a couple people eating the truck's signature David Chang-inspired pork snuggies (pork belly in a steamed Chinese bun). Up next, Shanna and Felice from food and fashion blog Urban Swank. I used the downtime to catch up on some other articles and talk to Eatsie Boys co-owner Ryan Soroka. 

Even though the Eatsie Boys food truck now only comes out for private events and the occasional 8th Wonder Brewery tour, Soroka says the truck "is part of our roots and where we came from. Without the truck, we wouldn't be where we are today." 

Soroka also has good news for fans who miss ordering food from the bus instead of at the cafe. "We do have a big desire and push to bring the truck back on the streets a few times a week, most likely in the spring," he says. 

As for the future, Soroka also has good news for fans who can't make it to Montrose. "Eatsie Boys Two will happen. It's probably a 2014 project. We'd like to stick with our landlord who is developing new properties around town."

Eventually, Eat St. was ready for me. The biggest surprise is that host James Cunningham isn't at the location. He films all his segments separately and does voice-over work after the segments are edited. Over the course of a 10-minute interview, the director asked me various questions about the Eatsie Boys. Finally, I took an enormous bite of The Bomb, the Eatsie Boys version of a chicken banh mi. 

Time's up. Back to the CultureMap office.