HARKER HEIGHTS — Grabbing a bite at 2 a.m. in Austin or Houston is as easy as finding the nearest food truck. But in a smaller town like Harker Heights, the task is more arduous.
Unless you know where to look.
Nestled between Wet Willy’s and Wild Country is an unassuming food truck that serves delicious Mexican fare, appealing to late-night bar goers and any hungry wanderers nearby.
Papa Gallo Mesquite Grill broadcasts Tejano music and spreads delicious aromas throughout its perimeter. It’s difficult to ignore the red truck when you’re within smelling distance.
“We came to Killeen and Harker Heights about eight years ago from Austin,” said truck owner and chef David Herrera. “We were looking for a fresh start, a place to make a name for ourselves. We found that here.”
Named Papa Gallo after the truck’s original owner, Herrera’s father, Papa Gallo Mesquite Grill has been a taco lover’s paradise since parking in town in 2005.
“I come here at least once a week and order the al carbon every time,” said Papa Gallo fan Simon Fredin. “It’s real good stuff that’s always made fresh. I even missed dinner to come down here tonight.”
Make the trip
Like Fredin, other Papa Gallo fans make a special trip for their favorite tacos.
“I came all the way to Heights tonight for one of these tacos,” said Copperas Cove resident Ricky Hillard. “This is one of the best eateries in town. It just happens to be on wheels.”
Despite the influx of business after the two bars close, Herrera also sees customers from out of town making the drive for his tacos.
“Mostly every night around 2 a.m. is when the bar goers come out hungry,” Herrera said. “But I regularly get people from Copperas Cove, Lampasas, and even Kempner out here wanting some of my tacos.”
With the popularity of Papa Gallo continuing to grow, and Herrera’s love for cooking, the big, red food truck looks like it will be calling Central Texas home for the foreseeable future.
“I love cooking and hearing the positive feedback from the customers,” Herrera said. “They give me the energy to work harder and harder week after week.”