Call it Airstream cuisine or meals on wheels: Whimsical food trucks and trailers are the hottest trend in dining. Serving everything from empanadas to fish tacos and frozen pops, these 10 trucks are slinging some of the best chow in the South.
Top 10 Food Trucks
1. Big Truck Tacos, Oklahoma City, OK
A cool vibe and creative Mexican street food have created a cult following for this Okie maverick. BTT serves big-flavor tacos such as “The Guardian” (ground bison picadillo with green olives, pico de gallo, and queso fresco), belt-busting burritos, and gorditos. Fresh, flavorful sides, such as scallion-studded rice, black beans, and pickled veggies, and icy bottles of real Mexican Coke keep ’em coming until midnight on Friday and Saturday.
530 NW 23rd Street; bigtrucktacos.com or 405/525-8226
2. El Ultimo Tacos, Houston, TX
This squeaky-clean truck serves the biggest and best breakfast tacos around, stuffed with scrambled eggs and your choice of bacon, ham, potatoes, nopalitos (tender cactus pads), machacado (shredded beef), incredible chorizo, or roasted peppers on handmade corn or flour tortillas. Don’t miss the hot green salsa or fresh fruit aguas frescas.
7403 Long Point; 713/859-6706
3. GastroPod Mobile Gourmet, Miami, FL
Run by an ambitious young chef who did an internship at El Bulli in Spain (one of the world’s most inventive restaurants), GastroPod serves stand-up modern fusion. Try the Old Dirty Dog (smoked short-rib hot dog plunked into a potato bun and topped with sweet/spicy slaw); Bánh Mì Taco with oxtail, trotters, country pâté, and pickled radishes; or a Sloppy José with brisket.
Biscayne Boulevard and 18th Street; gastropodmiami.com
4. Harvest Moon Grille, Charlotte, NC
There is pork and then there is locally raised, slow-roasted pork shank. The difference in such ingredients is what sets this bright orange trailer (owned by Grateful Growers Farm) apart. With a menu that changes weekly, options range from a ratatouille sandwich (grilled eggplant, yellow squash, onion, and zucchini with aïoli) to pork gyro on chewy flatbread and crowder pea salad in a red wine vinaigrette.
ggfarm.com or 828/234-5182
5. King of Pops, Atlanta, GA
Hawking exotic frozen fruit bars (made with fresh ingredients from farmers’ markets), this whimsical cart holds court in Atlanta’s trendy Virginia Highland. With quenching, alluring flavors like chocolate sea salt, blackberry-mojito, pineapple-habañero, and grapefruit-mint, we can see why.
Corner of North Ave. and North Highland, on the corner of Buddy’s Gas station, right across from Manuel’s Tavern; also in Woodruff Park; kingofpops.net
6. Los Dos Hermanos, Birmingham, AL
Known locally as Taqueria Guzman or simply The Taco Truck, this bare-bones roadside stand serves up authentic Michoacán-style tacos that range from the familiar (chicken) to the exotic (tongue, fried tripe). Be sure to try the tostadas de ceviche (made with tilapia and shrimp), a favorite among regulars.
215 West Valley Ave.; 770/519-3011
7. Mas Tacos Por Favor, Nashville, TN
You gotta love a taco shop in a colorful Winnebago. Owner Teresa Mason Tweets her location every day and serves items like fish tacos with spicy dill yogurt, cast-iron chicken with roasted tomatillo salsa, and quinoa with roasted potato, corn, and jalapeño. Locals also love the elote (grilled corn slathered with mayo and cheese) and pineapple-cilantro agua fresca.
East Nashville. Check in with Mas Tacos on Twitter (twitter.com/mastacos)
8. Mmmpanadas, Austin, TX
Warm, flaky, and substantial, the gourmet empanadas here are baked from scratch and packed with hearty combinations like green chile chicken, chopped BBQ beef, and spinach mushroom (with goat cheese and pine nuts). Grab a pineapple-cinnamon, peach cobbler, or s’more variety for dessert (or the next day’s breakfast).
4550 Mueller Blvd.; mmmpanadas.com or 512/788-2228
9. Only Burger, Durham, NC
As the name implies, Only Burger proudly has one focus: perfect patties served on butter-toasted buns. That means your decisions are mercifully simple. Single or double? Chips or fries? Cheese or bacon or both? There’s always a line so make like the Duke students and arrive with cold beer.
3710 Shannon Road; onlyburger.com or 919/724-1622
10. Pi on the Spot, St. Louis, MO
Follow that pizza! Pi on the Spot is a mobile spin-off of the legendary pizzaria known for both its thin crust and deep-dish cornmeal varieties (like “South Side Classico” with mozzarella, sausage, mushrooms, green bell peppers, and onions). The truck serves different types each day.
Locations and menus constantly updated online; restaurantpi.com or 314/727-6633