Now Open: #19
#19, 1112 E. Sixth St., www.number19bus.com . Open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. to midnight Sundays.
When Tim Lasater booked tours around the northeast for his old band, Pop Unknown, he always made sure to find a club to play in Philadelphia just so he could have an excuse to eat an authentic cheesesteak.
Lasater's band days are over, but his love of cheesesteaks hasn't faded. After an East Austin burger joint venture he was involved with called Fork 'n' Icehole fell through last year, he found a red double-decker bus on Craigslist that he's turned into #19, a trailer at Sixth and Waller streets in East Austin that specializes in the Philadelphia specialty sub.
#19 also sells burgers and hot dogs, but the cheesesteaks are the big draw. Lasater says he only uses Philly beef and rolls from Amoroso's Baking Co. in Philadelphia for the sandwiches, which come with bell peppers, onions, mushrooms and white American cheese.
Unlike the Philly restaurants, you can't get fries swimming in cheese at #19, but you can sip on the Austin-made Maine Root sodas or a Mexican Coke while snacking on chips or an all-beef hot dog.
But what about the Whiz? For many fans of Pat's cheesesteaks, a cheesesteak isn't a cheesesteak without bright orange Cheez Whiz slathered over the thinly sliced meat. Inspired to make an Austin version of the Whiz, Lasater says he's developing a queso-like cheese topping that should debut in the next few weeks, hopefully in time for the grand opening party on Saturday.
Lasater says he also hopes to have the upper deck finished by the opening party so customers can enjoy their food from the second story of the bus.