We love eating at restaurants, but when the sun is shining, who needs four walls and a roof? Clearly we’re not alone, which explains why food trucks are popping up all over the country. Presenting the 15 best mobile eateries in the United States.
1. Leo’s Taco Truck (Los Angeles, CA)
L.A. has no shortage of taco options, but you can never go wrong with the king of al pastor. Thinly sliced pork is marinated in pineapple, citrus and chiles, and garnished with another slice of pineapple. If you need a 3 a.m. taco fix, this is the place. And with several truck locations around the city, you're always bound to be close to one of them.
2. The Grilled Cheeserie (Nashville, TN)
Your favorite childhood sandwich is all grown up at this Nashville mainstay known for its artisanal grilled cheese made with farm-fresh, local ingredients. You can customize it any way you like, but we suggest going for one of the truck’s specialties, like the Pimento Mac & Chee. (Oh, and a side of tots.)
3. The Chairman (San Francisco, CA)
Even with two (non-rolling) California restaurants and an L.A. food truck, the Chairman draws a serious crowd during lunch hour. This Bay Area staple is known for its bao-centric eats, so order the steamed pork belly buns topped with pickled veggies.
4. Bite into Maine (Cape Elizabeth, ME)
Serving one of the best lobster rolls in New England is no easy feat. Choose between the Maine-style roll with mayo and chives or the Connecticut-style, garnished with hot butter and your choice of wasabi or curry mayo. Then grab a picnic table at Fort Williams Park and enjoy the view looking out onto the Portland Head Lighthouse.
5. Taïm Mobile (New York, NY)
Chef Einat Admony has a small empire of Israeli restaurants in New York City, but only one on wheels. The truck offers a high-end twist on traditional Tel Aviv street food. The falafel sandwich—green falafel, hummus, tahini and Israeli salad, all nestled inside a thick, warm blanket of pita—is seriously life-changing.
6. Kogi BBQ (Los Angeles, CA)
With its Korean-Mexican fusion menu, Kogi was one of the pioneers of L.A.’s ambitious food truck scene, and today it operates from four mobile locations. It’s always worth the wait for the short-rib tacos or kimchi quesadilla.
7. King of Pops (Atlanta, GA)
This pushcart popsicle stand has transformed into one of Atlanta’s biggest icons. You’ll find inventive flavors like coconut lemongrass, banana pudding and pineapple habanero, all made with local ingredients plucked from farmers' markets.
8. Marination (Seattle, WA)
Hawaiian and Korean cuisines collide at this bold-flavored truck that travels around the city, serving renowned tacos, kimchi fried rice, sliders and spam. In addition to the truck (available for catering, special events and lunch deliveries), this Seattle favorite also has four restaurant locations.
9. East Side King (Austin, TX)
With a constantly changing, experimental menu and late hours, East Side King is a must-visit spot in Austin. The original truck has expanded into five permanent, popular locations around the city, but you can still taste everything from Thai fried chicken and pork belly buns to beet fries and crispy soy Brussels sprouts from the mobile outpost.
10. The Fat Shallot (Chicago, IL)
You’ll need a napkin in hand to take down one of these next-level sandwiches. Think BLTs with avocado and truffle aioli on Texas toast or buffalo chicken oozing with celery salad and blue cheese on an egg bun. And yes, you want fries with that.
11. Plouf Plouf Gastronomie (Providence, RI)
Are you hesistant about ordering steak frites or seared duck breast from the window of a truck? Don’t be. This French restaurant-on-wheels serves high-quality, delicious plates made from organic ingredients. The dishes are better than almost any other spot in town.
12. WAFELS AND DINGES (New York, NY)
An oldie but a damn goodie. Wafels and Dinges takes a spot on any NYC foodie bucket list. With various locations throughout the city, these warm, decadent waffles will make you melt. Pick your poison: the sweet ice-cream wafel cone or the savory pulled-pork wafel. Either way, you win.
13. Where Ya At Matt (Seattle, WA)
The flavors of New Orleans have hit the streets of Washington. With its menu of po’ boys, jambalaya and shrimp and grits, this is possibly the best Cajun food you’ll find outside of NOLA. Order the Peacemaker, a take on the po’ boy stuffed with fried oysters, bacon and cheddar.
14. Basic Kneads Pizza (Denver, CO)
You’ll find this fleet of four trucks and trailers in the greater Denver area serving pizza fresh from the oven. The secret recipes have been passed down through generations, featuring everything from traditional margherita pies to the local favorite, Thai Chili Chicken.
15. Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck (Honolulu, HI)
This graffiti-clad truck got its start back in 1953, and over the years it has expanded into an institution with two permanent locations on Hawaii's North Shore. Choose from a handful of shrimp dishes, served over a heaping portion of rice. And whatever you do, don’t forget to order the garlic hot dog.