With the summer coming up, it’s that time again. Us Chicagoans LOVE our food trucks in the summer. What a great idea! Sell premium food out of a truck at a decent price. If I had an SUV and not a bicycle, I would do it as well.
However, with all the food trucks out there, how do we choose which one? Is there comprehensive guide to all the food trucks out there in Chicago with all their delicious options?
Luckily, our friends at ChicagoMag made a list.
First, what are all of our options? They are: Haute Sausage, The Southern Mac & Cheese Truck, Getta Polpetta, E.Leaven, Tamale Spaceship, and Dokkaebi Tacos. Sure, there might be more out there. However, these are the most popular, and in my opinion, the most delicious. Unfortunately, there isn’t one specific place you are going to find one of these amazing trucks. They are like large yummy unicorns prancing around the city giving away tacos and tamales.
This summer, there are (at least) 18 trucks feeding the streets of Chicago, dishing out sandwiches, sausages, tamales, tacos, and even the odd plate of pancakes. It’s actually kind of the new thing in town. Until last July, incredibly, it was illegal to cook food on a truck in Chicago. The rule stated that food had to be prepared beforehand and kept warm. The old rule that a truck can’t park within 200 feet of a restaurant still stands, and now there are also designated food truck parking spaces.
Would you like to start a food truck of your own? Why not? If you have the recipe and a truck, or at least the money to buy a truck, it can be incredibly lucrative. You just have to make sure you abide by the local laws (I can’t help too much with that). However, they have become extremely laxed in the past year. Also, obviously, you are going to want a good recipe that is different and original. People come to these trucks because the food is unique and you can get it quickly. And if there is one thing that Cicagoans enjoy especially, that is unique food and quickly.
Here’s what you can expect them to hand you from the windows of your competitors (courtesy of ChicagoMag.com; all credit goes to them):
Brown Bag Lunch Truck (312-857-4221, @brownbagtruck)
Chef Joaquin Soler’s traveling barbecue spot mixes American (smoked brisket and pulled pork) and Korean (bibimbop and ddukbokki) traditions. Each order comes with two slices of white bread (not necessarily for sandwich construction).
Beavers Doughnuts (773-392-1300, @beaversdonuts)
This newcomer to the Chicago French Market is still holding on to its food truck roots with mini doughnuts doused in gourmet toppings such as s’mores, Nutella, and PB&J.
Haute Sausage (312-269-5300, @hautesausage)
You won’t find these sausages at the local deli. Rich Levy blends African flavors (beef and lamb sausage with chakalaka, a South African vegetable relish) and exotic meats (alligator and wild boar) for a unique sandwich experience. Update: This truck is temporarily out of commission and its plans are up in the air.
Bridgeport Pasty (773-254-7441, @bridgeportpasty)
This comfort food truck (technically a Mini Cooper) was born via a trip to London where owners Carrie Clark and Jay Sebastian discovered pasties, a traditional English pastry filled with meat and vegetables.
Starfruit (773-868-4900, @starfruitcafe)
Forget about those red, white, and blue rocket popsicles. This ice cream truck is scooping frozen kefir with your choice of fresh fruit, nuts, or candy topping.
5411 Empanadas (773-755-5411, @5411empanadas)
Find these Argentinean empanadas ($2.25 each) during the lunch rush in the Loop. Avoid lines by calling in your order before 10:30 a.m. and picking it up at the truck. Babycakes. Pancakes on the sidewalk. Why not?
Babycakes (773-517-4454, @babycakestruck)
Chef/owner Leah Wilcox has created more than 150 sweet and savory pancakes, which include strawberry margarita, maple bacon, and chipotle chicken tamale.
La Adelita (312-869-4413, @adelitatruck)
Brothers Alexis and Teddy Vegar revive Mexican street food with a menu of Yucatan-style pulled pork, chicken in a creamy chipotle sauce, and summer squash and zucchini tacos.
Bombay Wraps (312-739-9727, @bombaywraps)
Indian street food served in portable wraps, such as samosa, chicken tikka, or lamb curry in a flaky paratha or whole wheat roti.
Meatloaf-A-Go-Go (773-698-6667, @meatloafagogo)
Savory cupcakes are the star here. Chef Cynthia Kallie’s meatloaf cupcakes range from traditional (the Mother Loaf: a beef, pork, and veal topped with mashed potatoes) to unconventional (Loaf-A-Roma: beef and Italian sausage loaf topped with angel hair pasta).
The Southern Mac & Cheese Truck. Goo to go.
The Southern Mac & Cheese Truck (773-342-1840, @thesouthernmac)
The mac ‘n’ cheese changes daily in the hands of executive chef Cary Taylor. Varieties can include spinach and artichoke, Mexican chorizo, and pulled pork with barbecue sauce.
Getta Polpetta (312-804-0405, @gettapolpetta)
Owner Anna Caterinicchia is serving up an Italian family favorite: meatballs. In fact, the recipes come from her own Italian mother.
Taquero Fusion (773-321-6777, @taquerofusion)
These tacos have a twist: ground beef with plantains, or shredded chicken with adobo and potato.
Dokkaebi Tacos (202-316-7793, @dokkaebitacos)
Barely a year ago, this truck started serving Korean tacos: Korean-style barbecue beef or spicy pork with Asian slaw on a corn tortilla. No word from them lately on Twitter—fingers crossed we’ll see them again this summer.
The Tamale Spaceship (312-909-7009, @tamalespace101)
One of Chicago’s original food trucks, you can find the Spaceship’s tamales (pork, beef, chicken, poblanos and cheese, and roasted veggies and mushrooms) around the Loop most weekdays.
E.leaven (312-202-0899, @eleaven)
The everything-from-scratch bakery takes to Chicago streets for breakfast and lunch: bagels, artisan breads, homemade soups, and sandwiches.
The Slide Ride (312-925-1911, @theslideride)
Executive chef and owner, Nida Rodriguez, creates mini sliders ($3.50 each) made with certified Angus beef.
Curried (312-977-9999, @getcurriedaway)
This truck features classic South Asian curry dishes: chana masala, saag paneer, chicken tikka masala, and more.
Giordano’s (Multiple phone numbers, @giordanospizza)
Hitting the streets of Chicago for the first time on Tuesday, June 4, this local institution’s new truck served its debut deep dish at Michigan and Congress.