Meals on the Run: 4 Cities That Love Food Trucks

Ah, food trucks! In recent years, the purveyors of meals on wheels have evolved from factory parking-lot staples into trendy — and in some cases fine — dining experiences, delivering quick, tasty eats to hungry office workers, foodies, and passersby alike.

Grilled Cheese SandwichAlthough you can find food trucks parked across the U.S., these four cities in particular are taking the mobile restaurant concept to new heights:

  1. New York City. The fleet of trucks motoring around the Big Apple offers everything from lobster rolls to Kobe beef burgers. New York Magazine offers this guide to 25 of the best food trucks in the city, and some of these businesses have huge followings. For example, people line the streets to order dumplings from the Rickshaw Dumpling Bar Truck, whose menu was designed by award-winning chef Anita Lo, and ice cream in imaginative flavor combinations from The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck, which The Village Voice called “a cross between Mario Batali and Mister Softee.”
  2. San Francisco. The food trucks in this port city reflect its diverse cultural landscape, with Latin and Asian cuisines taking the lead. Kung Fu Tacos combines flavors from both continents in dishes such as its nunchuck chicken taco, which features chicken in a garlic ginger sauce topped with cilantro, carrots, and sweet & sour salsa. If you’ve got more of a sweet tooth, Waffle Mania and Cupkates earn rave reviews from patrons. Chez Spencer’s Spencer on the Go (which calls itself SF’s only “mobile bistro”) serves fancier fare, such as escargot pops and braised lamb cheek sandwiches.
  3. Los Angeles. Like their brethren up north, many food trucks in L.A. offer Latin- and Asian-inspired cuisine. Top restaurateurs and Iron Chef competitors Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger dish up Mexican treats from their Border Grill Truck, while bacon lovers can get their fix from Lardon, a food truck that includes the delicious pig product on everything they offer — including the brownies.  The Nom Nom truck is known for both its excellent Vietnamese food and colorful paint job. Meanwhile, Baby’s Badass Burgers attracts clientele with not only its food, but its scantily clad, all-female staff.
  4. Boston. The city of Boston heavily promotes food trucks — and even maintains a schedule of where they’ll be on its website. Popular choices include Roxy’s Gourmet Grilled Cheese and Grilled Cheese Nation, which serve some of the best grilled cheese east of the Mississippi, selling hundreds of sandwiches daily. Dairy products don’t get all the love, though: The Bon Me Truck, which serves gourmet Vietnamese fare, was one of three food trucks — along with Clover, which offers organic foods, and the Asian-inspired Momogoose — to win the city’s first ever food truck challenge. The rest of the city’s mobile restaurants cook up an eclectic mix of meals, with many focusing on comfort foods like barbecue, macaroni and cheese, or desserts.

Hungry for more? Foodtrucksmap.com tracks vehicles’ whereabouts across the country. You can find food truck trackers for many major cities online, and popular trucks usually post location updates via Twitter or Facebook.

About Brad Chacos

Brad Chacos is a freelance writer-slash-small business owner who finds himself endlessly fascinated by technology and its role in business. He's worked with Wired, Laptop Magazine, the Global Strategic Management Inst., New York Times properties and a bevy of local businesses. Connect with Brad on LinkedIn.
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