Facebook/The Peached Tortilla
There are no rules at The Peached Tortilla. Flavors know no boundaries, either. That could be part of the reason it made number 34 on our list of 101 Best Food Trucks in America 2013. Former litigator Eric Silverstein started the truck in 2010 to marry his loves for both business and food. His diverse taste had a strong influence on the menu; items include classics such as tacos, sliders, and burritos with a twist, like the soul food-inspired BBQ Brisket taco and the bahn mi Vietnamese braised pork burritos. We caught up with Silverstein to hear all about his passion for business and love of food.
What was the inspiration for going into the business?
Initially, our goal was to open a restaurant in 2010. Funding, however, was extremely difficult to come by. Food trucks were really gaining momentum at the time. We figured a food truck was a great platform to test drive the brand and product.
What is the story behind the name?
We serve Asian- and Southern-inspired cuisine. I am originally from Georgia, the Peach State. The Peached Tortilla is a unique name that pays homage to my time spent there. We wanted the name to be playful and fun. We define "peached" to mean "flavor-smitten," but we allow our customers to define it for themselves.
What is the inspiration for your cuisine and recipes?
I am largely inspired by the culinary experiences I had as a child. My mom is Chinese, so I grew up eating traditional Chinese food. I lived in Japan for 10 years, so Japanese cuisine has always been a favorite of mine. We used to travel all throughout Asia as well (Bali, Singapore, etc.). When I moved to Atlanta in 1995, I was introduced to a whole new style of food. It was completely different, but I enjoyed the change.
What is your signature dish/most popular dish?
We have a couple of signature dishes. Our banh mi taco (our take on the traditional Vietnamese sandwich) is a really popular item off the truck. Additionally, our JapaJam burger was recently named one of the 24 best burgers in Austin. There is a lot going on with the burger but all the flavors work well together. We start off with a sweet tomato jam, top it with a 6-ounce freshly ground burger patty, Monterey Jack cheese, a fried egg, tempura beer-battered onion strings, and Japanese BBQ sauce. We use a local bakery for the bun.
If you haven't already, would you ever go brick-and-mortar?
That has always been a goal for us. We are working closer and closer to that end goal daily.
How did you come up with your truck's design? Is there a designer you'd like to give a shout-out to?
Christine Bielke did our logo work. We took that logo design and put together our overall truck design. We want our design to be accessible, but at the same sophisticated and modern.
Does your truck have a vanity license plate? And if so, what does it say?
It does not.
What model truck do you have?
We have a 2001 Ford Econoline Stepvan and a 2001 Wyss Stepvan.
What one piece of advice would you give someone looking to get into the food truck business?
Go in with a thick skin. This business is not for the weary. If you can survive, you can probably survive anything. It is that difficult an industry to navigate in my opinion.
Any new upcoming dishes planned that you can tell us about?
We have some surprises up our sleeve for our future storefront. We will always serve our greatest hits, but we want to grow the concept up a little bit. You'll see some unique takes on dumplings, grits, bowls, etc.
Any new plans on the horizon you can share?
The closest short-term goal is to build out a brick-and-mortar to house our overall operations.
What's the most challenging thing about running your food truck?
The heat (Austin is hot in the summertime) and the constant problems of just being mobile. There are countless day-to-day operational issues in food trucks. You are constantly fighting traffic tickets, engine problems, mechanical issues, and all the regular issues that plague the restaurant business.
Lots of things happen when running a restaurant, and that probably goes double on the road. As such, be it weird, funny, good, or bad, what's one superlative or particularly outstanding moment or story that's ever occurred with your truck be it with customers, in the kitchen, or just in general?
What has not happened in this truck? Our craziest story has to be when we blew out our engine in the middle of a major highway at 11 a.m. We had to get towed off the freeway, blocking an entire lane. That was nuts.