Kitchen United: Everything and the Kitchen (United) Sink

Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wraps at PF Changs To Go

For good timing, you sure can’t beat Kitchen United. A pre-covid concept, Kitchen United leases space to ghost kitchens, professional kitchens that only do pick-up and delivery. In many ways, a ghost kitchen is a fancier food truck with just enough brick and mortar to prep meals. Started in Pasadena, California in 2018, Kitchen United is also in Chicago, Scottsdale, and now, yes, Austin, a takeout bag or two north of Burnet and Anderson.

The business model is simple: rent kitchens to restaurants for take-out and delivery. The Austin location has 13 kitchens in total, including a space for Keep Austin Fed to prepare meals. With covid either restricting occupancy or keeping folks away from dining in, Kitchen United’s Austin opening just after the break out of the outbreak was immensely timely. At present, the Austin location hosts 15 storefronts, including the first, and previously reviewed, Hawaiian Brothers (still a favorite [but hold the mac-salad for The Bride]). We tried all 15 of the storefronts at least once so you don’t have to (although you probably should).

The first step is to order, and you do that on-line. Taking advantage of one location with many menus, you can blissfully mix-n-match choices from different kitchens under one order, so everyone gets what they want, and it all comes at the same time. You can order pick-up (check your email for the time; they will also text you when it’s ready) or delivery. The delivery service is out of Kitchen United, so the kitchens aren’t getting egg-rolled by a third-party courier. Expect about 30 minutes for pick-up and about an hour for delivery. You can keep your payment info on-file when you create an account; however, oddly (and irritatingly) they force you to re-enter your address Every. Single. Time. you order delivery.

At the moment, your choices are Bad Ass Breakfast Burrito, Boa’d Up, Bombay Walla, Dog Haus, Eldorado Taco y Torta Co., Hawt Chicken, Hawaiian Bros, PF Changs To Go, Plant B, Ramen512, Senor Churro, Seoulju, Sustain Burger, Teji’s Indian, and the suggestively-named Bad Mutha Clucka (taglined “The Best Frickin’ Chicken”). I don’t have enough space to write about each one, so I’ll focus on a few faves. But I will say that we’ve been generally happy about what we’ve ordered. Eldorado Taco y Torta Co. is the covid-induced side hustle of the beloved Eldorado and serves up one flavor explosion after another with their bowls, tortas, and tacos. PF Changs To Go has also been rather tasty, and you can order something healthy there like the fantastic Changs Chicken Lettuce Wraps. Seoulju is the side hustle of the highly rated Korean restaurant on Lamar big on kimchi and fried chicken. The Bad Ass Breakfast Burrito was, indeed, bad ass, although the Bad Mutha Clucka was perhaps just a mere Mutha Clucka (in other words, not bad).

Like an industrial dance band on Wax Trax Records, several of the storefronts are either back-officed by the same kitchen, or several kitchens contribute menu items to one storefront (15 storefronts – 12 kitchens = hmmmm…). I also get the feeling that there are shared menu items among the different storefronts. Exhibit A are the tater tots, which suspiciously appear on many of the menus. In fact, I believe that there’s a running internal joke about fusing tater tots into your kitchen’s cuisine. Exhibit B are Eldorado’s “Too Hot to Tot” tacos. No, I am not joking. You’re welcome.

One surprising omission, given the promiscuous cross-menu ordering policy, is the lack of a pizza joint baking up personal pies. While you can’t have everything, you do nearly get it at Kitchen United. They are definitely worth a save on your browser and an exploration of their menus.

Kitchen United, 8023 Burnet Road, (512) 593-5140

Bad Mutha Clucka from Bad Mutha Clucka
onion rings from Bad Mutha Clucka
Bao from Bao’d Up
spicey fries from Bao’s Up
pickled veggies from Bao’d Up
Spicy Dan Dan Noodles with fried chicken from Bao’d Up
interactive!
Sesame Noodles with Braised Tofu from Bao’d Up
Bao from Bao’d Up
a bad ass burrito (the Bronco) from Bad Ass Burrito
There’s those damn tater tots in the Haus Burrito…
bigger than a git dang iPhone!
Teji’s Indian Restaurant
Teji’s Indian Restaurant
Teji’s Indian Restaurant
a plate of Seoulju (Geoff is not impressed…)
without the cat for scale
kimchi party!
Seoulju stirfry
Kimmari from Seoulju
one of them bowls from Eldorado Taco y Torta Co
one of them bowls from Eldorado Taco y Torta Co
Cubano Torta from Eldorado Taco y Torta Co
the Hawt Chicken Royale Sandwich had the biggest hunk of fried chicken I’ve ever seen on a sammich (it’s goes twice as long out the back).
tofu stirfry from PF CHangs
Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wraps at PF Changs To Go
Hawaiian Bros
churros from Senor Churro
The Cowboy from Dog Haus
Tater tots from Dog Haus!
Sunset Red from Ramen512 (some assembly required)
Sunset Red from Ramen512
Beyond Brat from Plant B (yes, it tasted exactly like a brat)
Onion rings from Plant B
The Burger (with bacon) from Sustain Burger
waffle fries from Sustain Burger
salmon coconut curry from Bombay Walla
naan from Bombay Walla

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