AUSTIN - Burgers are the ultimate comfort food for many, but a hamburger is only as good as the ingredients that go into making it.
At the Cow Bells food truck on East Riverside Drive, Daniel Oliveira understands that. That's what's kept his window open for more than six years now.
The food tailer was custom made in Dallas so that the very tall 6-foot-5-inch cook has plenty of head room. The trailer run by Oliveira is known to have some of the best burgers around.
Before opening up the personalized trailer, Oliveira got his culinary education at Players on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. His uncle ran the restaurant, a very popular spot for many UT students. It closed down a couple of years ago but was a local favorite for more than 30 years.
"Started working there when I was 16," remembered Oliveira. "Started off as a busboy. Slowly but surely worked my way up to manager. Got about 12 years experience over there."
After college, Oliveira began to notice how fast the food truck industry was taking off in Austin and he wanted to be a part.
"I figured I've always wanted to kind of do something on my own, and that was the time," he said.
The time was 2012 and Cow Bells has been ringing up burgers ever since.
There's really a burger for everyone here, even those who steer clear of the steer itself.
"On the menu, we have your classic, traditional burger, but we also have a handful of specialty burgers," Oliveira explained. "For example, we've got a black bean veggie burger, we have a turkey burger, we've got sliders that come on Hawaiian sweet rolls. We do have variety.
Those sliders are called "Boca Chicas" by the way, which is a nod to his grandmother who lives on Boca Chica Street down in Brownsville, Texas.
There's even a vegan burger called the Woody Harrelson. Didn't know he was a vegan, did you?
It's clear that a lot of thought went into the menu at Cow Bells. Oliveira really enjoys serving up nostalgia with his food, that's something he learned at Players.
"I guess my uncle kind of trained me that way," Oliveira recalled. "Kind of keep it humble, keep it modest and keep things simple."
That formula is working great for Cow Bells. The property management company for his current location actually requested that he bring his truck here, which has worked out great for both. One big reason Oliveira likes it is that there's plenty of parking.
"At the old place, we had four food trailers and we had only six parking spots," he said.
Here, they've got 94, and on a busy day they need the space.
The trailer is open seven days a week. So if you're ever on East Riverside, the smell of those burgers on the grill will lead you there, kind of like ringing a dinner bell. But this one? It's Cow Bells.
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