Night Market Musings: What Food Truck Does Philly Need Next?

Nomad Pizza Truck

by Danya Henninger |

Nomad Pizza Truck

Last Thursday, before the skies opened up and drenched anyone unable to squeeze under one of the few vendor tents, hundreds of food fans flocked to University City to attend the Food Trust’s second Night Market. The set-up included a beer booth in the center, but the main attraction was the ring of Philly food trucks encircling the Market Street lot. Our city’s roving food scene has exploded of late, and many of its brightest stars were present, including Jose GarcesGuapos Tacos (which continued to sport a confoundingly long line during the torrential downpour), dessert destination Sweet Box, Stumptown coffee pit stop Hub Bub, Asian fusion Tyson Bees, wood-oven-in-a-truck Nomad Pizza and many more. Which led us to wonder, what more do fans and followers of mobile meals want? What food truck would they next like to see appear on the Philly horizon?

“A gourmet cheesesteak truck!” was the quick response from Vendy Awards coordinator Helena Tubis. “As a visitor, that’s what I expected to find here.” More meat love was expressed by native Brazillian Mauro Daigle of Milk and Honey Market (and new chicken and biscuit delivery service, Roost), who pines for an authentic churrasco vendor on the go. His partner and wife Annie Baum-Stein, on the other hand, sees the need for a mobile vegan operation, an idea also espoused by Liz Sherlock, manager at Northern Liberties’ Dos Segundos.

John Weidman, the Food Trust’s deputy executive director, hankered for a chicken-and-biscuit traveling rig (how ‘bout it, Roost folks?), like one he loved in Portland, and Roots manager Alexis Rosenzweig agreed, “Deep fried chicken! Gotta do it.” The comfort food theme continued with GPTMC’s Chuck Bongiorno’s suggestion of a rolling soft-pretzel dispensary.

On the more exotic side, Philly Homegrown’s Alethia Calbeck longs for a great gyro/Greek street food wagon, and Foobooz’s Art Etchells came up with this fully fleshed-out brainstorm: an Indian fusion truck called “Naan for You” selling flatbread wraps stuffed with curries and masalas.

And there were more than a few proponents of a dessert alternative to the current cupcake glut. Jesse Spalletta (owner of East Passyunk’s artisanal deli Plenty), Dos Segundos sous-chef Neal Mayton and Hub Bub’s Drew Lockett all pine for a gourmet ice cream truck, something like NYC’s Van Leeuwen. Hey, guys, let us introduce you to Little Baby’s tricycle!