Today while browsing through Eater Austin I was lucky enough to run across their post on the AustinFoodCarts app for the iPhone. I could never resist a good app, especially one with potentially boundless foodie usefulness (I’m not exactly sure what that means either, but you get the point). Besides, it’s free!
Details and review after the jump…
The application itself is easy enough to use. From what I’ve counted, there are 131 food carts on file. They’ve also got most of the heavy hitters listed, including Bananarchy and Mighty Cone. The first screen you see when you tap in is “Locations,” which displays the full catalog of food trailers as well as their relative distance from you. You can refresh the screen if you change locations while the app is still open, and you can sort the trailers either by name or by closest distance.
At the bottom of the app screen you can see the “Cuisines” tab, which categorizes each of the trailers for you by type of cuisine. This should prove to be fairly useful if you’re one of those socially indecisive people (like me!) who can only manage to narrow down what kind of food you want to eat but never an actual restaurant. Of course you could argue that Urbanspoon fits the bill, but wouldn’t you rather eat local? One glaring problem I did see here was the fact that some of the listed “cuisines” aren’t really actual types of cuisine. Which country does “FunnelCake”-style food come from?
The last tab, or the “Map,” is self-explanatory. It’s a map. More specifically, it’s a map that has pins dropped all over the city to mark the locations of all the catalogued trailers. It’s pretty sweet to look at, but otherwise completely worthless because the pins clump together and you can’t really tell which cart location you’re clicking on. It’s much faster to get directions by going back to “Locations” and tapping on a trailer you’re interested in. By doing so you’ll get to a more detailed page of the selected cart, complete with single-pin map, street address, hours, and Facebook page link.
An image of Bananarchy’s page is shown below:
Overall, I’ll have to give the app 3/5 stars. While informative, the application is still very new. This is evident in the spelling errors that need to be ironed out, as well as in the case of the unnecessary “Map” tab and made-up cuisine types. Test it out and see for yourself!