Food Trucks

There’s a phenomenon happening across the country that’s taking our lunch breaks by storm: Food trucks are getting fancy and we love it. With each new vegan dish or specialty flatbread sandwich truck comes a budding entrepreneur to the food industry. Welcome, sir. How did you get here?

It Started With the Chuckwagon

The first food truck was not found at a traveling carnival—witness the evolution of the chuckwagon. Westward expansion in the United States started during the 1860s, creating a demand for food on the go, according to the American Chuck Wagon Association. The beef market was growing, and cattlemen found that moving the commodity without railroads meant driving large herds over land with a hungry crew. 

And so the chuckwagon came about as a way for cattle ranchers to feed their crew on the road.

TV Chronicles the Love Affair

Thanks to “The Great Food Truck Race” on Food Network and “Eat Street” on the Cooking Channel, there’s increasing interest in food trucks, the people who run them and the delicious specialties they’re creating. With every technological advance, these kitchens on wheels continue to evolve, and people are curious to learn more. You can check out cable packages at if you don’t get these channels.

The Economy

When you add the fact that the American economy has been begging for inexpensive and easily accessible lunch options, it’s easy to see how the mobile food industry has driven its way into modern American culture. This is a $1 billion industry with an 8.4 percent rate of growth from the period of 2007 through 2012, according to a report from Americans want good-tasting, cheap food on the go and the industry is delivering it.

So, What Will You Find?

Don’t think it’s all hot dogs and fries on these trucks. There are some impressive options out there, from the streets of New York to Seattle and just about every city in between.

  • Eat Greek sausages, cupcakes and Filipino halo-halo in front of the Yahoo offices in Los Angeles County.
  • Find Brazilian barbecue in Times Square and Texas barbecue on Wall Steet in New York City.
  • In Seattle, food trucks offer everything from Indian dosas to Vietnamese sandwiches with authentic ingredients.
  • Visit celebrity Korean-American chef Roy Choi’s food truck, dubbed Kogi BBQ Taco Truck & Catering, in L.A.

Food Truck Apps

If you feel like a prawn baguette from Portland’s Euro Trash food cart, you can track it down with the help of one of four mobile apps, according to These apps use truck-reported data, tweets and calendars to keep track of truck locations. While there isn’t the perfect locator app just yet, these will at least help. 

  • Food Truck Fiesta: $.99 iPhone and Android
  • Eat St.: Free for iPhone and Android
  • Roaming Hunger: Free for iPhone
  • TruxMap Lite Food Truck Map: Free for iPhone and Android

Image via Flickr by tedeytan