It’s hard to believe there was a time before the Great Food Truck Renaissance, but now that the city’s flooded with mobile eateries every day of the week, we’ll never be able to go back to the days of microwaving a leftover Hot Pocket in the windowless break room. These meals on wheels come in all sorts—Greek, Indian, Korean, Philadelphian—and park in different neighborhoods every day. Here are a our top ten favorite food trucks in New York City, tried any of them out? Please let us know and leave your comment at the bottom of the page.
Dinner plans? You might as well cancel them if you make it over to the Calexico cart in SoHo or the Flatiron at lunchtime. This California-style Mexican food truck brings lots of spicy burritos and tacos to town, like the carne asado burrito ($9), made with grilled hangar steak and avocado sauce, or the pollo asado quesadilla ($8) made with grilled chicken, melted cheddar and monterey jack cheeses and Calexico’s signature chipotle sauce. They’ve also got different tacos and burrito bowls. Burritos come packed with pinto or refried beans and cheese, and are so filling you are guaranteed to fall into a food coma if you opt for one.
Calexico’s SoHo cart is located at Prince and Wooster Street; the Flatiron cart is located at 1030 Broadway in General Worth Square. See their website for details.
THE CINNAMON SNAIL:
we can’t stop yammering about the delicious treats this food truck serves up all over NY. The heart wants what the heart wants, people, and our hearts are set on gourmet goodies like their signature cinnamon bun ($3), the fresh plum pancakes ($11) and the Thai BBQ tempeh sandwich ($9), not to mention their sizable selection of organic vegan donuts ($2 each). And though Cinnamon Snail is a vegan company, one bite of a miniature cheesecake ($3) and you’ll fall head over heels, herbivore or not.
Check out the Cinnamon Snail’s website or follow them on Twitter to find out when they’re in your area next.
SHORTY’S ON WHEELS:
Cheesesteak fans should keep their eyes peeled for this traveling Philly steak maker, which whips up tasty grub for the office lunch crowd everywhere from Midtown to Dumbo. You can’t go wrong with a standard cheesesteak ($9) made with your choice of American cheese whiz or provolone, but they’ve also got options like a honey chipotle steak ($11), a chicken steak special with broccoli rabe ($11) and a pizza steak served with marinara sauce ($10). Pair your steak with a serving of Italian fries ($5) sprinkled with Italian seasoning and Romano cheese.
Check out Shorty’s website or follow them on Twitter to find out when they’re in your area next.
SOUVLAKI GR TRUCK:
Before Souvlaki GR opened its brick-and-mortar spot on Stanton Street (one of our favorite places to eat on the Lower East Side!), it was a Vendy Award-winning food truck serving up stellar souvlakis and other Greek bites all over town. Love for the restaurant aside, we’re still big fans of the truck; try the specialty SGR Pita Souvlaki, which comes in your choice of chicken, bifteki (Greek burger) or pork, and is made with tomato, red onions, fries and a Tyrokafteri spicy feta dip ($6.50-$7). Or, go with a basic souvlaki (chicken or pork, $5.50) veggie ($5) or bifteki pita ($6); the pitas are small, but two should satisfy even the fiercest lunch craving.
Check out Souvlaki GR’s website, and follow them on Twitter to see where the truck’s headed next.
BIAN DANG: This food truck’s the king when it comes to steaming-hot Taiwanese grub. They serve a number of classic meats over rice, like fried chicken leg ($7) and a crispy pork chop ($7), and the tasty $4 snack platter is made with a tea egg, pickled greens and flavorful minced pork sauce. Plus, they’ve got sides like steamed pork dumplings ($3) and a spicy pork belly Chinese tamale ($4), and vegetarians can check out the vegan Buddha’s delight ($3) made with tofu, bean curd and an assortment of steamed vegetables.
Check out Bian Dang’s website, and follow them on Twitter to see where the truck’s headed next.
KELVIN SLUSH: In this stifling, humid weather, the Kelvin Slush Truck is a welcome oasis. Often parked near the Flatiron Building during the week and a regular at Smorgasburg on the weekend, Kelvin Slush has been making delicious, thirst-quenching, all-natural slushes since 2010. You choose a base slush—Spicy Ginger, Tangy Citrus or Green & Black Tea—and then mix-in other items, like fresh-chopped mint or raspberry puree (there are many flavors). One popular combination is the Arnold Palmer: Half tea, half citrus, and white peach puree. I’m a fan of the tea and white peach—the mellow tea and sweet, slightly tart peach are perfect together. So just deal with the possible brain freeze—it’s totally worth it! (Jen Chung)
Kelvin Slush is available in their truck and at different partners—for instance, there’s beer and wine slush at the Whole Foods in Columbus Circle. See their website for details.
VAN LEEUWEN ARTISAN ICE CREAM: Mr. Softee is nice, but if you’re going to indulge in ice cream, why not make it worth it? That’s why I run to the Van Leeuwen ice cream truck whenever I see it (there are a number of truck locations, besides some storefronts). It’s made from scratch, with hormone- and antibiotic-free milk and cream, cane sugar, and egg yolks, resulting in smooth and rich ice cream. And all the other ingredients that make up flavors like Mint Chip, Gianduja, and, my favorite, Currants and Cream are from small producers. There’s even vegan ice cream as well as special flavors that rotate, like Sweet Sticky Black Rice and sorbets. So enjoy the simplicity of a great scoop of ice cream. (Jen Chung)
Van Leeuwan Artisan Ice Cream can be found from trucks in downtown Manhattan and Williamsburg, plus three stores (two in Brooklyn, one in Manhattan). See their website for details.
DEL’S FROZEN LEMONADE: When I spotted a Del’s Frozen Lemonade truck in Brooklyn earlier this year, the Little Rhody part of me burst with joy. Rhode Island’s summer staple had finally made it to NYC. The truck sells two things: frozen lemonade, and frozen watermelon—it’s all so perfect in its simplicity. Cups range in price from $3.50 to $5—I’d recommend the straight up lemon, though if you’re feeling adventurous ask for it to be topped with some watermelon. And if you’re feeling real adventurous, top it off yourself with some vodka (there may or may not be some trucks in RI that will make you one of these “hard lemonades”), and see where the day takes you. Del’s NYC is run by the always smiling Cam Crockford, who refurbished the 1949 Chevrolet truck right on the streets of Brooklyn. (Jen Carlson)
Follow Del’s Twitter account to find out when the truck’s headed your way.
MORRIS TRUCK: There are multiple grilled cheese trucks rolling around the city but none of them hold a candle to the Morris Truck in our hearts and mouths. While other places are over-complicating their grilled cheese sandwiches, Morris keeps it simple, such that their sandwiches actually resemble grilled cheese and not grilled-sandwiches-that-happen-to-contain-some-cheese. I’m a purist—and, okay, maybe a little boring—and almost always order the Classic ($5.50), which sees NY State Cheddar and NH Landaff cheeses griddled between two slices of thin, perfectly browned bread. The rest of the menu changes with the seasons, like their Gouda ($8.50)—currently enhanced by ramp butter and fat back bacon—and the Eserpac ($8.5), a unique “cold” sandwich with fresh mozzarella, pickled green tomatoes and purple basil pesto.
Be sure to order a cup of their delicious Spicy Tomato Bisque ($2/4), as tradition dictates, and a sweet house-made soda ($3) like Yuzu Ginger Beer to wash it all down. (Nell Casey)
Morris Truck has a pretty set schedule but follow them on Twitter to confirm where they’ll be parked.
KIMCHI TACO TRUCK: The Korean fusion fare at this perennially popular food truck is seriously righteous, from their gut-busting burritos to fresh, super flavorful tacos. I’m a devotee of the Grilled Korean BBQ Short Rib tacos ($3 for one, $7 for 3): super tender beef nestled inside two soft corn tortillas, topped with crunchy red cabbage and pear kimchi slaw. Heat seekers should be sure to ask for the tacos extra spicy. Veggie folks dig the Tofu Edamame Falafel Bowl ($8), which is dragged through the garden with kimchi-infused refried beans and miso crema for extra heft. If you don’t mind a little mess, opt for the BBQNachos ($4), which come fully loaded with BBQ beef, spicy seared pork, fresh kimchi, queso blanco, cheddar, pico de gallo and miso creme.