Torchy’s at the Old Austin Airport

Torchy’s at the Old Austin Airport

Becomes a bit of a reminiscent stop for me, the Austin original taco chain, Torchy’s, with the old Austin airport location being most convenient.

I was leaving town, just as Torchy’s was getting big and famous. Starting in a trailer park, wait, starting in a trailer park, does that sound familiar?

The one Austin promoter, I can trace the path of secession as the business changed hands three times now, but essentially the event is handled by a single person, more or less, continuously, for over 20 years. Been at this a long time.

“Ain’t my first rodeo.”

The event has landed back at the old Holiday Inn, now called “mid-town Austin.” In its day, that was “North Austin,” and for that matter, many of the homes were surrounded by countryside. It’s dense inner-urban living, now. The decommissioned mall, now the flagship community college headquarters.

Another point in favor of the location, it has been there, off and on, for close to two decades — the ballroom of a Holiday Inn. If I had time, I would share more stories. Mostly Sagittarius stories, but there are other signs sprinkled amongst the ruins.

As I decamped, heading south to follow the fishing, closer to the coast, the taco revolution hit full stride. Torchy’s is now a chain. I like the one in San Antonio. Been to one in Dallas, too. The old airport in Austin, because I was in and out of it early in my career, I like that Torchy’s. Some of the artwork on the walls, there’s one image, I’ll swear it’s the late, great Doug Sahm, cowboy hat tall and proud, leaning against the rail, looking out the window, and that location would’ve been maybe 500 meters or so south of where that Torchy’s now stands.

Torchy’s at the Old Austin Airport

It’s the old histories, and then, the stories, too.

At least twice now, I’ve rolled out of bed, and me, with a disheveled date, sauntered into Torchy’s in whatever it’s was that we slept in, and grabbed breakfast tacos, still giggling at the night before, just like half-drunk school kids.

There’s a gas station, at least two Starbucks, a rather tony HEB grocery store, sushi, couple of salons, no saloon, and — seems like — a new 4-floor, mixed-use apartment-style complex on each corner. Feels like some of those new dwelling places go up overnight.

“That wasn’t there, yesterday, was it?”

In an increasingly whitewashed version of Austin, there was a refreshing banter of border patois, mixing Mexican and English, with the Spanish side winning out, one morning.

Torchy’s at the Old Austin Airport

Part of it is the food itself, uniformly good, although, I suspect growing a bit institutional since it is, now, a chain. Still good, still imaginative and still capable of being “hot” by my standards. Excellent.

Another appealing fact — for me — the location is close to the show. That old neighborhood, just north of the airport’s — old airport’s — runways? I was in and out of there for years, and then decades later, echoing back. I got family around the corner, literally, from there.

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Torchy’s at the Old Austin Airport is an anchor, for me, part mired in my past, part homage to what was, and part current cuisine.

Austin Schedule

Get a breakfast taco at Torchy’s, grab coffee at Kick Butt Coffee, and roll on into work. A touch of old and and a touch of new.

Kind like what I do?

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Kramer Wetzel

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