London’s bus route 19 might be where all the beautiful people are seen, but East Austin’s new double-decker #19 is where you’ll find absolutely gorgeous cheesesteaks and burgers. I unsuspectingly ambled into the trailer park they share with Lucky J’s and Cafe Racer on Saturday evening (or was it Sunday morning?), ready for a laid-back, late-night snack. Little did I know that I would be hit with lyrics about the infamous U.K. route by the Clash (spray-painted onto the bus by a local artist), a gaggle of mustachioed hipsters (whose beauty is debatable), and some of the heftiest, best bar food I’ve had in this town. Let’s start with the burger. A sweet, griddle-toasted bun enveloped a healthy eight-ounce patty and all the works—lettuce, cheese, tomato, ketchup, mustard, mayo, and sweet pickles. Now, I haven’t been to the Grape, in Dallas, which was number one in our 50 Greatest Burgers feature, but I did make myself sick on Houston hamburgers for that story. (Trying six of those puppies in one day should qualify as some sort of violation of the Geneva Convention.) I’m positive that this late-night monstrosity could give the Grape’s award-winning brunch item a run for its money. The cheesesteak also impressed. Tim Lasater, the trailer’s owner, flies in the slivered, well-seasoned beef and the iconic Amoroso buns from Philly to give these enormous sammies an authentic feel. But he’s quick to point out that his signature dish is called a cheesesteak, not a Philly. So he can use all the American cheese and red bell peppers he wants, as well as the more-traditional onions, mushrooms, and green bell peppers. I’m not one to give preferential treatment to Pennsylvanian cities, so I also ordered a Chicago dog. I was excited about the all-Angus meat and exotic fixings, but the hot dog itself tasted bland, and even the neon-green relish, mustard, sport peppers, and tomato slices couldn’t spice it up. I wasn’t too upset when my lunch buddy dropped the whole thing in his lap, but I don’t think he was happy about tie-dyeing his khakis a fetching green color. There are only five items on the #19’s menu, but they’re planning to add more, and soon. For now, bring some cash, gobble some grub at one of the bus’s rooftop tables, and set yourself up for a sleep that even the Clash’s loudest blasts couldn’t wake you from. Nighty night.
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