The Quick Report

The 20 Best Food Trucks in America 

Some of the most innovative, daring, and delicious food isn’t limited to sit-down restaurants. Food trucks have launched a culinary revolution. Prepare to stimulate your appetite as we review the 20 best food trucks in America.

20. Kogi, Los Angeles


Kogi features a fusion of Korean and Mexican food. Roy Choi, a classically trained chef formally of the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles, brought his first food truck to the street in 2008. His signature dish is a beef short rib taco with a special, 21-ingredient sauce. He’s expanded to five trucks. Many say Choi pioneered food truck culture.

19. Clover Food Lab, Cambridge, Massachusetts


Clover Food Lab is another pioneering food truck that serves the East Coast. MIT grad Ayr Muir began in 2008. Muir now operates five trucks and two brick-and-mortar restaurants. They feature locally sourced vegetarian fare. However, even meat lovers swear Clover Food Lab’s soy B.L.T. is the best in the city.

18. DessertTruck, New York City


A pioneer of trucks on the East Coast, DessertTruck now reigns among the many “sweetmobiles” on New York’s food truck scene. Jerome Chang, a former pastry chef at Le Cirque, launched DessertTruck in 2007. It offers upscale confections usually found in gourmet restaurants. DessertTruck has also expanded into a brick-and-mortar shop.

17. GastroPod, Miami


Chef Jeremiah launched GastroPod on November 3, 2009, tweeting: “Welcome everyone to Miami’s food revolution.” GastroPod was the first mobile gourmet kitchen in Miami, housed in a shiny 1962 Airstream. A standout is their Mo’ Better Burger: Short rib, brisket, and sirloin topped with a poached egg. GastroPod offers seasonal fusions like banh mi pork tacos and shitake flan.

16. Schnitzel & Things, New York City


Oleg Voss, a Ukraine native, launched Schnitzel & Things after losing his job as an investment banker in 2008. He won “Vendy” of the Year in 2009. Schnitzel & Things serves Austrian schnitzel, bratwurst, Austrian potato salad, veal and chicken cutlets, cod fillets, and eggplant. They also offer unconventional condiments like spicy sriracha mayo and chipotle sour cream.

15. East Side King, Austin, Texas


Featured on the show “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations,” in 2010, East Side King launched in 2009. The trailer was tucked behind The Liberty, a dive bar in Austin. Bourdain described the food as “Japanese junk food fusion.” Bourdain praised the “beef tongue sticky bun.” Co-owner Paul Qui is a finalist on this season’s “Top Chef.”

14. Lardo, Portland, Oregon


Operating out of a small cottage parked at 43rd and Belmont in Portland, Lardo’s motto is “bringing fatback since 2010.” It refers to a cut of meat from a pig’s back. It’s like bacon without the meat, and owner and chef Rick Gencarelli uses it generously, especially on his hand-cut French fries. Their food focuses on Italian flavors and local farmers. A standout is grilled mortadella.

13. Torched Goodness, Phoenix

white ceramic bowl with brown soup
Photo by Max Griss

Eric Ireland launched his crème brûleé truck, Torched Goodness, in 2010. Torched Goodness’s goal was to bring more gourmet sensibility to the food truck scene. A standout is their “perfectly burnt” custards that come in diverse flavors, starting with classic vanilla, and expanding to more exotic offerings such as lavender or maple bacon.

12. Hapa SF, San Francisco


Hapa SF was launched in the spring of 2010 by Chef William Pilz as a “modern organic casual Filipino truck. Despite fierce competition, SF Weekly hailed Hapa SF for “making some of the cleanest, most technically sophisticated food on wheels.” A must-try dish is the lumpia, or pork egg rolls, which SFoodie declared “the best we have ever tasted here.”

11. Sugar Philly, Philadelphia


Recent grads conceived Sugar Philly in Philadelphia in 2010. They aimed to cater to the untapped markets at Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania. Sugar Philly stood out with its seasonal haute desserts. Their macaroons come in unconventional flavors such as blueberry lemon and salted caramel. They emerged as a finalist in Philly’s first Vendy Awards last year.

10. Viking Soul Food, Portland, Oregon


Co-owners Megan Walhood and Jeremy Daniels of Viking Soul Food have carved a niche as the only Portland food truck serving Norwegian food. They operate from a shiny Airstream named “Gudrun.” The cuisine revolves around lefse (pronounced lef-suh)—a flatbread, similar to a crepe or pita, made of potatoes, flour, butter, cream, and salt. Check out the Norse meatballs.

9. Comida, Boulder, Colorado


This hot pink truck hit the streets of Boulder County in 2010. Owner Rayme Rossello focuses on gimmick-free, authentic Mexican street food. The food is beyond standard truck fare and has received accolades from major publications and food critics. One called it the “best Mexican food north of Arizona,” and a top Chef said it’s his favorite restaurant in Colorado.

8. Purple Carrot, Lansing, Michigan


Launching in 2011, owners Nina Santucci and Anthony Maiale work with 11 local farms to bring their mission of being the first “farm to truck” food stand. According to Mobile Cuisine Magazine, America’s favorite vegetarian food is found at Purple Carrot in Michigan. Locals are addicted to its cake pops, which feature flavors like maple and butternut squash.

7. Bone-in Artisan Barbecue on Wheels, Columbia, South Carolina


Launched in early 2011, Chef Scott Hall offers upscale food and a rotating menu. Two standbys are the pulled pork in spicy vinegar and smoked brisket in hickory-hoisin sauce on homemade focaccia bread, each served with hand-cut potato chips. Two others are chorizo and pimento cheese on sourdough and gourmet mac and cheese.

6. Streetza, Milwaukee, Wisconsin


Streetza took the top prize in a gourmet food truck smackdown by Bloomberg BusinessWeek in 2011. Streetza, is a popular vendor of gourmet pizza with offerings such as “The Luke Stecker Slice,” featuring shrimp, bacon, avocado, and pineapple. Owners Scott Baitinger and Steve Mai take suggestions from their social media followers on the types of pizzas they create.

5. Fojol Brothers, Washington, D.C.


Their first truck, Merlindia, arrived in DC the same day as President Obama’s inauguration. The Fojol Brothers bill themselves as a “traveling culinary carnival,” dressed in costumes and alter egos. Standouts are plates of butter chicken, beef berbere, or “green green” curry. The Washington City Paper says, “No one…[tops]…the Fojol Brothers of Merlindia in terms of fun, flavor, and ‘Folosophy.'”

4. Where Ya At Matt, Seattle


Bringing Creole food to Seattle is New Orleans native Matt Lewis, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. His truck serves up muffuletta, jambalaya, gumbo, and a slew of po’ boys, and other Louisiana delicacies. A fan favorite is The Peacemaker, a po’ boy with deep-fried oysters, bacon, cheddar, and pickled peppers.

3. Coreanos, Austin, Texas


Serving cuisine that blends Korean barbecue and traditional Mexican dishes, Coreanos translates to “Koreans” in Spanish. Burritos and tacos feature Korean marinated meats, slaws, kimchi, and a sesame oil vinaigrette with Mexican cilantro, pico de gallo, and onion. Other fan favorites are bacon-wrapped hotdogs, and The Three Wise Fries, a pile of beef short rib, chicken, and spicy pork belly.

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2. Taceaux Loceaux, New Orleans


Among the biggest breakouts in the Big Easy’s late-night food truck scene is Taceaux Loceaux, launched in 2010 by husband-wife team Maribeth and Alex del Castillo. They serve “Nola-Mex” tacos which encompass a variety of styles. Customer favorites include the Seoul Man, a Korean taco. The Aieee contains spicy-hot andouille sausage. Messin’ with Texas is a BBQ brisket taco.

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1. Komodo, Los Angeles


The mastermind behind Komodo, a two-truck outfit, is Chef Erwin Tjahyadi, a former apprentice of Wolfgang Puck. The trucks serve up tacos and burritos with Indonesian influence. Standout items are the Komodo 2.0, featuring top sirloin, jalapeno aioli, and corn salad. Fish N’ Grapes, features deep-fried cod, grapes, and roasted almonds. Blazin’ Shrimp, delivers Singaporean-style shrimp, sour cream, and cilantro.

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