Austin is known for many things including food, weather, music, and what people like to term “hippies.” Like any city worth it’s weight in gold, it’s not one of these things that make ATX unique, but instead a mixture of all of them. Then again, who am I kidding? It’s the food, right? The food is amazing. All sorts of foods and all sorts of places to get your grub on. You could live here your whole life and not try every good food spot in the city. At FreightPros, we’re an online freight broker that wants to make our customer’s lives a little bit easier. We’re fans of great customer service and great freight shipping. Coincidentally, we’re also big fans of food. HUGE fans of food. If two things are better than one (not always), and combining two great things make an even better thing (nope), then we really had no choice but to combine our understanding of freight with our love of food. Ladies and gentlemen, I present…FreightPros & Food, a new blog series where we talk about freight at some of Austin’s best new food joints. We’re pretty excited about this (because of the food, duh) and we’re always looking for good places to eat, so if you’ve got any suggestions make sure to leave them in the comments below. To start this series off, we’re going with something local, right across the street from our office. We’re also talking with Ashley Phillips, one of the longest tenured FreightPros we have, and our most senior account manager. Welcome to FreightPros & Food. Let’s get started… On a beautiful Friday afternoon Ashley and I headed across the street toStonehouse Wood Fire Grill to sample a new food trailer in our area code. Stonehouse is tucked behind the Exxon station on Balcones, just south of RM 2222. It’s important that you don’t miss the sign, because let’s just get this out of the way, this place is LEGIT. Austin is home to a lot of food trailers both new and old, and it’s safe to say that you’ll find more misses than hits. Not the case with Stonehouse. This Austin food trailer specializes in grilling burgers, sandwiches, kabobs, and pita wraps, man oh man, does it come up with something special. Ashley and I are just a quick walk from the office and had heard a few good things from our co-workers before trying it ourselves. We were not disappointed. But before we get too far into the food, we also had some business to talk about. “What do you want to talk about?” I asked her. “Spilled soda,” she replied. “Yucky, sticky, and sweet. The hazards of spilled soda.” I was intrigued. Who doesn’t love soda? Who doesn’t hate when it spills? How terrible is sticky stuff? We take a few moments to browse the menu and quickly learn the first of many fun facts. Stonehouse is BYOB! For those of you who don’t know, BYOB is an acronym for Bring Your Own Beer. That’s right, there are picnic tables and the wonderful outdoors and you can bring your own booze. It’s too good to be true! Unfortunately, we’re professionals over at FreightPros, and this was a Friday afternoon so we ended up with Coca-Colas. Next time though? For sure bringing a six pack of Lonestar. Now, on we go to the soda story. We have a customer that ships soda concentrate daily to a number of vendors and major warehouse distributors. When it comes to shipping food, packaging is key (for obvious reasons). The soda concentrate is packaged in large 5 gallon pails that are put on a standard sized pallet and packaged before being sent out to bottlers and regional distribution centers. Most of the time, things work beautifully. The items are moved one by one from the dock to the trucks and securely fastened for their transit. But what happens when a pail spills? “Order for Logan!” shouts the man in the trailer. All this freight talk has made us hungry. I pick up my lunch and…..BURGERS! Yes, that’s an egg. I went for “The Wake-up Call,” which includes tomatoes, red onion, cheddar cheese, mayo, lettuce, and bacon. It’s all topped off with a hefty angus beef patty, fried egg, and one heck of a burger bun. On the first bite, you’ll be overpowered by the meat patty itself. It’s charred and has that very particular taste that means it was absolutely grilled. This is not your McDonald’s Big Mac. This isn’t even a Whataburger (though those are good too). Nope, this is something different. This is the burger that you would make holding a Coors Light and wearing jean shorts in your backyard this coming 4th of July. But better. This is an AMERICAN burger. To say the least, it’s delicious. Ashley goes for “The Smoky Burger” with onions, cheese, and the aforementioned BBQ sauce and bacon. Like my fried egg burger, it is delicious; a mix between a gourmet burger and one your dad would cook on summer nights. As we dig into our waffle fries (also great) we continue the story of the sticky docks. So what happens when the pail spills? Unfortunately, full shipments can become half shipments when damage is done. When it comes to shipping food stuff a little bit of damage can go a long way. When that food stuff just so happens to be sugar-filled soda concentrate, it can make your shoes stick for weeks. If you’ve ever spilled a Coca-Cola, you know how it can be. In a word; gross. As Ashley succinctly puts it, “Everyone feels the pain.” And sticky docks isn’t the only issue you can have when it comes to shipping food stuff. Most of these shipments are headed to major regional distribution warehouses. These warehouses have thousands of shipments moving in and out every day, so when it comes to deliveries, complex schedules and purchase orders are used to keep everything in line. When an order is damaged and delivered short, it can be tough to update the necessary delivery information for the warehouses to accept the shipment. Not to mention getting the replacement product delivered as well. In the end, Ashley puts it best when it comes to shipping food stuff. “Yeah, it can be a pain,” she says. “But you form great relationships with these dock workers and people charged with moving and unloading all this freight stuff. You bond over the craziness of it all. Sure, it can be a mess, but it’s not so bad when you’re all in it together.” So if you’re shipping food stuff, get with your freight broker. We’ll make it as easy as possible to move your perishable items. And if you’re in the area, hit up Stonehouse. Even if you’re not in the area, go to Stonehouse! It’s worth it, I promise you! You can find them on Facebook, and Yelp. And that’s all we have for our first foray into FreightPros & Food. Check back next time when we’ll tackle another shipping industry anecdote and (hopefully) some delicious Austin cuisine.
Logan is a Content Marketing Associate at FreightPros in charge of social media and content creation. He has a writing degree from the University of Oklahoma, but lives life on the edge and resides in Longhorn country. He loves Murakami books, Tarantino movies, and Vonnegut books. Lots of books. One day he will own a dog, but first he'll have to get a yard.
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