From seitan burgers to Mexican-inspired sushi, these dishes rock and roll.
THE CINNAMON SNAIL, NEW YORK CITY
This magical restaurant on wheels has been a street-food favorite since it started slinging its vegan eats back in 2010. Chef-owner Adam Sobel has since opened two brick-and-mortar locations in Manhattan, but his food trucks still serve at festivals and farmer’s markets and can be booked for special events. With tasty best-selling items like the ancho chili seitan Beastmode Burger and vanilla bourbon creme brûlée donuts, The Cinnamon Snail may entice even the most devoted meat and dairy eaters.
BASIC KNEADS, DENVER
Who doesn’t love a good pizza (and a good pun)? Denver’s Basic Kneads has been dishing out top-notch pies for years. Their four trucks have mobile wood-fired ovens so all of the pizzas are cooked on-site; they’re also hand-tossed and made with locally milled flour. Try the, er, basics like pepperoni and Margherita or specialty pies like Thai chili and buffalo chicken.
GYRO TWINS, CHARLOTTE
Harry and George Pappas, Greek twins from New York, moved to North Carolina in 2013, bringing their favorite childhood recipes with them. They opened Gyro Twins two years later (after a successful Kickstarter campaign) and have been serving up authentic gyros, falafel, and hummus ever since. Their most popular dish is the housemade lamb gyro and Greek fries. Instagram is your best bet to find the truck’s location.
LA COCINITA, NEW ORLEANS
Its name means “the little kitchen” in Spanish, but La Cocinita’s Benoit and Rachel Angulo churn out dishes with nothing but big flavors. The husband-and-wife team hit the road with their first truck in New Orleans in late 2011; since then, they’ve expanded with a second truck in Chicago and small restaurants in New Orleans and Illinois. All are an ode to Latin American street food, with Venezuelan-inspired fare like traditional arepas (cornmeal patties) and patacones (plantain sandwiches) among the most popular.
THE MUTHAH TRUCKAH, PORTLAND
Delicious grilled sandwiches—plus a sassy moniker and mascot—have made The Muthah Truckah a hit on the streets of Maine. Each gourmet sandwich, including the best-selling Lola (roast turkey, cheddar, housemade bacon jam, pickles, BBQ chips, and aioli on ciabatta), has a ladylike name. Chef-owner Erica Dionne sets up shop throughout the city, often outside various local breweries. Fans can find the truck’s weekly location schedule on its Facebook page.
SMOKE ET AL, NASHVILLE
From smoked brisket and saucy ribs to pulled pork, Tennessee is known for delicious, down-home BBQ, and grub from Music City’s booming food truck scene doesn’t disappoint. Smoke Et Al has been racking up “best of” honors for years thanks to its tasty wings, hot ribs, and creative barbecue sandwiches. Chef Shane Autrey says other popular menu items include the Noble Brisket Taco (with smoked salsa verde), pickled market veggies, and the Yazoo Mac n’ Cheese.
Chef Teddy Bricker brings some serious kitchen chops—and some seriously good pan-Asian eats—to The Yard at St. Elmo Brewing in South Austin. Bricker was named one of Zagat’s “30 Under 30” rising culinary stars and got his start cooking at Gilt, a two-Michelin-starred restaurant in New York City. He turns to the flavors of Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Indonesia and specifically Asian drinking food at Soursop. Menu faves include sweet and spicy sambal wings and a Thai fried chicken sandwich with curry mayo.
BOWL’D ACAI, SAN FRANCISCO
With menu options like blended fruit bowls, smoothies, and fresh juices, San Fran’s Bowl’d Acai is definitely the healthiest truck on our list. With a strong interest in health and fitness, childhood friends Reza Morvari and Angel Serratos opened their rolling kitchen to make nutritious food more accessible. The Original Gangster, with açaí, strawberry, and banana, is their most popular dish, and customers also rave about the Great White Poke Bowl with marinated Hawaiian ahi tuna. The Bowl’d trucks themselves are extra stylish thanks in part to Morvari’s design background and fashion degree from FIT.
EMERSON FRY BREAD, PHOENIX
Chef Loren Emerson fuses Native American and Mexican cuisine—and elevates an Arizona classic—then takes it to the streets of Phoenix in his colorful food truck. Emerson Fry Bread’s Indian tacos, like the popular Jazzy (with carne asada) and D$ (with green chile chicken), are made from scratch with fry bread made daily on the truck. Other menu options include burritos, corn tortilla tacos, and dessert fry bread topped with cinnamon or powdered sugar and honey for those with a sweet tooth.
SUSHI UNO, SAN DIEGO
This gem is one of San Diego’s favorite food trucks, and it’s the only one that serves sushi. Sushi Uno’s custom-made truck is state of the art and rolls around the California beach town cranking out fresh fish dishes with a slight Mexican twist. Fan favorites include apps like the spicy shrimp hand rolls and jalapeño poppers and creative rolls like the Megusta—tuna, avocado, and jalapeño topped with yellowtail and masago.