If you’re ever been to a festival or, at this point, simply walked down the street in a city (small or large!) you’ve seen a food truck. The trend towards mobile restaurants has exploded over the last decade and shows no signs of slowing. Food trucks are everywhere, bringing eclectic fusions, gourmet cuisine, and affordable treats to the masses. Unlike other trends from the past decade (hello, truffle oil), food trucks have been able to establish themselves as valid, respected participants in the culinary world.
If you’re still resisting the sway of the mobile smorgasbord, it’s time to give it up. You live in Food Truck Nation and we’re grateful for the advantages this model provides to small, independent business owners, as well as the access it gives us to really flipping delicious food.
There are countless amazing food truck options in every state. Which made our attempt to pick the very best food truck in each state really, really difficult. There was arguing. There were tears. Cage fights occurred in the Uproxx parking lot. But eventually we emerged, exhausted, holding a list with 50 food trucks scrawled in blood. Every day this week we will be presenting the best food trucks by region, culminating in one giant “50 Best Food Trucks In All 50 States.”
We decided to break this list out by region because every region of the United States has its own distinct variation on the food truck. For instance, in the Northeast, food trucks aren’t always a year-round dining option. Understandably, it’s neither fun nor lucrative to attempt selling delicious sandwiches on the coast of Maine in 40 degree December weather. It literally never happens on Murder, She Wrote. Then, there are the regional foods, like lobster rolls and Michigans. These little idiosyncrasies are what make the food trucks on this list so special and among the best in the country.
Let’s all take a moment, bow our heads, and give thanks to Roy Choi for opening Kogi in 2008 and starting this fire. Or, you can thank your favorite taquero if Choi’s idea of upscale food trucks still chafes. And since we’re sure you have some serious opinions about food trucks that didn’t make the list, we urge you to get up in the comments and educate us.
Maine: Bite Into Maine (Cape Elizabeth)
For the last six years, people have flocked to Fort Williams Park between May and October to enjoy some quality local lobster while sitting oceanside, with a view of the iconic Portland Headlight lighthouse. And, it’s not just the locals who keep Bite into Maine hopping. This food truck’s offerings have been lauded by outlets like Gourmet, Paste, Food & Wine, and Food Network. They kill it on the classic lobster roll, serving both a Maine-style — fresh chives and light mayo dressed lobster piled on a buttered split-top bun that has been toasted on a grill — and a Connecticut-style — large chunks of warm lobster meat smothered in melted Cabot butter.
Bite into Maine features some creative options as well. Diners can get into the picnic-style roll, which rocks a foundation of homemade coleslaw that’s topped with lobster meat, sprinkled with a liberal dash of celery salt, and bathed in rich butter. Rounding out their menu are the inventive curry, wasabi, and chipotle options. The seasonings are blended into creamy mayonnaise and used to dress the lobster.
Vermont: Beansie’s Bus (Burlington)
This retrofitted school bus is an institution, having served locals and visitors alike since 1944. From April to October, people can wander over to the northwest corner of Battery Park and grub on some American classics: hamburgers, hotdogs, and fries. Fans of Beansie’s Bus swear by their French fries, which are hand-cut as needed, blanched in animal fat, and then finished in a second hotter fryer when customers order. Vegetarians are out of luck, but fans of savory, crisp fries will drool. The other must-have menu item is the Michigan. This style of hotdog is regional variety, remaining popular in northern New York state and in Quebec. The first ones in the Burlington area were sold out of a small store during World War II and called Charlie’s Red Hots. At Beansie’s, they are advertised as steamed hot dogs with a hamburger meat sauce (described by diners as an intense blend of seasoned hamburger, Tabasco, ketchup, and Worcestershire). The natural casing beef and pork hot dogs come from local supplier Mackenzie Meats, and are made by the same people who make the dogs for Fenway. From 10:30 am to dusk, seven days a week, loyal clientele enjoy classic, quality eats at low prices.
New Hampshire: B’s Tacos (Londonderry)
It’s a little surprising that a white man with no formal restaurant experience is killing it with a Mexican food truck in New Hampshire, but there can be no question that B’s Tacos is the business. Owner Kenny Spillman grew up eating Mexican food, which he attributes to his father’s upbringing in El Paso, Texas. Therefore, when he decided to open a food truck, this was the cuisine that resonated.
Londonderry residents are fully stoked about that. Honestly, who wouldn’t be seduced by a 12-inch burrito or 6-inch fried tacos prepared with scratch made tortillas? Plus, diners have their choice of add-ons, which often include produce that Spillman grows organically in a local greenhouse. Customers love having their food cooked to order and rave over the homemade pico de gallo. This year, B’s Tacos was among the winners of local channel WMUR’s viewer’s choice for best tacos. Specials like the triple porker, which includes chorizo, pork loin, and applewood smoked bacon, and the chipotle garlic steak tip burrito guarantee this food truck will continue being a crowd favorite for years to come.
Massachusetts: Bon Me (Boston)
In 2010, the city of Boston held a food truck contest seeking concepts that were healthy and exciting. Husband and wife Patrick Lynch and Ali Fong entered on an impulse, never anticipating their ultimate win. It’s been six years and not only do they own eight food trucks, they have two food carts and five brick and mortar restaurants. Their must order item and the inspiration for the food cart’s name is the banh mi sandwich. They start with a light, crisp baguette and top it with spicy mayo, rich pate, pickled daikon and carrots, red onion, cilantro, and cucumber. Then, customers add the protein of their choice from a list that includes miso-braised pulled pork and spice rubbed chicken. The goal isn’t to replicate a traditional banh mi; rather they are serving Asian cuisine with a twist. You see this best in menu items like the deviled tea eggs, which are prepared using hardboiled eggs soaked for two days in a soy and smoky Chinese black tea blend. Bon Me tries to make as many of their menu items as they can in-house, including their pork broth, spicy mayo, and pork pate. The Improper Bostonian, Boston Magazine, and The Boston Globe have all deemed their food among the best in the city.
Plus, they make a mean Vietnamese coffee.
Connecticut: Caseus Cheese Truck (New Haven)
Caseus is a New Haven fromagerie and bistro that retails unique artisan cheeses, while the Caseus Cheese Truck takes the distinctive grilled cheese sandwiches and scratch made tomato soup on the road. Their Cheese Truck Classic Grilled Cheese melts rich swiss, provolone, Comte, sharp Vermont cheddar, gouda, and gruyere (and any other remnants from the cheese shop) on slices of locally baked sourdough. The sandwich halves are initially fried open face using loads of Cabot unsalted butter. Then, the grated cheeses are placed between them and melted. Every sandwich is served with whole-grain mustard and cornichons on the side. People who want to get fancy can pay to add balsamic reduction, tomato, grilled red onion, applewood bacon, Berkshire pulled pork, hot cherry peppers, arugula, or guacamole to their sandwiches.
Customers truly committed to the #crispymelty philosophy can challenge themselves to create a sandwich, order 10 of them, and consume them all within one hour without vomiting. Those who succeed get to name their creation, eat it for free, and have their picture placed on a board next to the sandwich. Plus, they get a cheese truck shirt.
New York: El Olomega (New York City)
People who go to the Red Hook Ball Fields in Brooklyn have access to the best Central American food in the entire city. It’s fresh, authentic, and affordable. The standout truck? Janet and Marcos Lainez’s El Olomega, a purveyor of pupusas, the stuffed masa cakes from El Salvador. These round cakes are filled while they are formed from corn flour and cooked on a flat top grill keep the centers moist and to develop a crust on the outside. Customers can choose traditional fillings — like chicken, pork, chorizo, beef, and cheese — or they can opt for the more adventurous vegetables on the menu — like loroco flower, zucchini, sweet plantain, beans, jalepenos, and spinach.
The pupusas are cooked to order and served with a side of curtido, a bright pink cabbage slaw that is pickled and spiced for depth of flavor. Though they are famous for their pupusas, El Olomega also sells fried plantains (served with cheese and dipping sauce), beef steak (served with beans, rice, plantains, yucca root, and marinated onion salad), and tamales with either pork or chicken filling. Locals form epic lines to get their hands on the best pupusas in the state.
Rhode Island: Gastros (Providence)
When it comes to the Rhode Island food truck scene, there is only one USDA certified cart specializing in artisan, scratch made charcuterie and condiments. Co-owners Owen Doyle and Travis Gervasio met one another at Johnson and Wales University, where they were studying hospitality. One day, the two had a conversation about buying a hot dog cart and making all the dogs using the best possible ingredients, and the next, they were buying equipment. Now, they are delighting the taste buds of Rhode Islanders with their Country Dog: a house-made hot dog (Heritage pork and all natural casings), bacon gravy, crumbled cornbread, and a drizzle of peppercorn maple syrup.
Customers also swoon over the Not Foolin’ Around: their standard hot dog stuffed with bacon and cheddar served in a brioche bun toasted in garlic butter and topped with onions braised in beer from the brewery where the cart is stationed. They marinate the olives, carrots, green beans, and onions they serve as well. The only thing they outsource is their buns, and those are baked by a private baker.
New Jersey: Oink and Moo BBQ (Varies)
As a Jersey truck, Oink and Moo BBQ operated as a well-kept secret among customers in Asbury park and Hoboken. But, once they branched out and hit the streets of Philly in 2014, they were received a Vendy award for Rookie of the Year. It was the first of many awards to come. Founder and chef Josh Sacks was determined to develop tasty BBQ that resonated with customers. After years of travel, during which he found the best flavors and techniques, he settled on a core menu. The foundation is succulent, slow cooked meat smoked in the truck using a distinctive combination of apple, hickory, and cherry woods. His flavor profiles borrow from the traditions of Memphis, Texas, North Carolina, and Hawaii.
Customers can choose brisket or pulled pork sliders, award-winning chili featuring brisket and pulled pork, pulled pork tacos, dry rubbed and sauce mopped baby back ribs, and chipotle chicken tacos topped with pickled poblanos and cilantro-lime sour cream. They also throw vegetarians a bone with a black bean quesadilla made with Monterey jack and goat cheese.
Delaware: I Don’t Give a Fork (varies)
In 2011, University of Delaware student Leigh Ann Tona developed the idea of I Don’t Give a Fork for a school project. She later resurrected it for a school sponsored pitch competition and took home first prize, earning $1.500 to develop her idea into a legit business. This was all the encouragement she needed to move ahead with the concept. Her business was initially housed in what she calls a “shed on wheels,” a food cart picked up on Craigslist. Now, it is run out of a full-size food truck, an incredibly popular full-sized food truck. Pretty good for a woman with absolutely zero formal culinary training. The truck is all about sandwiches you can grab-and-go, using a rotating menu and a few popular staples. Customers can always enjoy the Mac & Cheese-steak, a Philly cheese steak with grilled onions and a generous helping of house made mac & cheese. Other options include The Vermonter — a ham sandwich with fresh, tart apple slaw and Vermont sharp cheddar — and The Copycat — lettuce, tomato, and red peppers with fresh mozzarella and basil pesto.
The menu also includes burgers and breakfast sandwiches. But, it doesn’t matter how much you ask, they won’t give you a fork.
Maryland: Gypsy Queen Cafe (Baltimore)
The Gypsy Queen Café skews foodie, and that should come as no surprise given that it is run by the team behind the now closed Canton restaurant Helen’s Garden, which featured ambitious dishes and an excellent wine selection. The owners and chef bring those same sensibilities to their food truck, offering a rotating menu that includes ingredients like truffles and fresh Maryland crab. They seem to get a lot of enjoyment out of serving savory items in waffle cones. At one point, the cones were a vehicle for macaroni and cheese studded with bacon, and lately, they have been filled with Old Bay fries and topped with a crab cake and a creamy, spicy aioli.
In the morning, you can cure your hangover with a breakfast cone that includes fried egg and bacon. But, that’s not all. They also sell BBQ Pig Out Cones, Falafel Cones with curry aioli, and Crab-gasm Cones (French fries covered in crab dip). They have a sense of humor and roll hella creative. If they are going to serve a burger, it is going to deviate from the norm, like their Thai peanut burger with Sriracha and fresh cucumber. Tacos are as likely to be made San Diego style with fish as they are Korean bulgogi style with kimchi.
If the rave reviews from customers and the super long lines weren’t enough of an indicator that this food is on point, there’s this: They’ve been voted Baltimore’s best food truck for seven years running.
Pennsylvania: Foolish Waffles (Philadelphia)
Yes, in many ways waffles are so 2015. But, here is the hard waffle truth: they are not undermined by a period of faddish popularity because their deliciousness is everlasting. Plus, there was a whole waffle pop thing at Coachella this year, so the trend might still be in motion.
Robin Admana and Flo Gardner are the owners of Foolish Waffles and they riff on the waffle, using them as the foundation for a variety of sweet and savory offerings. They made a local splash with their award-winning Pork Belly Banh Mi Waffle, which layers decadent black pepper-coriander glazed seared pork belly, pickled cabbage slaw, fresh jalapeno, cilantro, and cucumber on a waffle and tops it with sriracha and togarashi sauces. They also make one with tofu for vegetarians. The sweet end of the menu includes items like the Fall Harvest: a Brussels waffle topped with scratch-made salted caramel, apple butter, pumpkin crunchies, and whipped cream. The Brussels waffle is a light, crisp option with a hint of vanilla and maple.
A recent special, the Dangerous Liege-sian featured a waffle topped with red bean paste, sweetened condensed milk, and matcha whipped cream. Because they make everything from scratch (they even house-cure lox for their Everythang Wagel), their menu does change with the seasons and is affected by ingredient availability.
from Real Stories – UPROXX http://uproxx.com/life/best-food-trucks-in-every-northeast-state/