By DFW Food Truck Foodie | DFW.com
Recently, I was asked what I think is missing from the local food truck scene. The question was broad, and I have spent the past few days thinking about my response, and researching trucks in other cities. I’ve come up with seven categories I think are missing: four related to types of food, and three that would help enhance the quantity and quality of the trucks.
Food we need
Ethnic/regional cuisine. Yes, we have Korean, Vietnamese, Cajun, Italian, Indian, Greek, Cuban and English trucks, but where are Filipino, Chinese, Ethiopian, Caribbean, Thai and scores of other regional cuisines? Across the United States, huge contributors to the food truck scene are first- and second-generation immigrants who want to share their food and culture. I would love to see DFW food trucks become more international, with owners sharing family recipes.
Dessert trucks. Speaking of diversity, North Texas needs more dessert trucks beyond cupcakes and ice cream. With the recent closing of Rockstar Bakeshop, the only dedicated dessert trucks serve those two treats. We need pies, Bundt cakes, cobblers, fudge and other truck-made candies, cookies and brownies. And how about a whoopie pie truck?
“Healthy” food. Last year at this time, I knew that if I was in Fort Worth, Good Karma Kitchen was my go-to healthy truck, and in Dallas, there was Green House. With Green House since closed, when I’m on my “clean eating” food days, I feel like options are limited. I would love to see a build-your-own salad truck with homemade dressings, maybe even a paleo truck, and a farm-to-market food truck. As health-conscious as so many people are these days, even if the high-quality food were priced a bit higher, I think this type of truck would be popular, especially during lunch service.
Juice truck. I know it’s trendy, but much of what makes the food truck scene great is the ability to pick up on a trend and go with it. A few trucks have specialty drinks, and I love them for it. But many times, especially in the heat, I don’t want a heavy meal; I want a high-quality, flavorful cold drink.
In the details
There are also components of the street scene that would make DFW a stronger, more globally recognized leader in the street food scene.
More trucks, more customers. First and foremost, we need more high-quality trucks. Several times a month, especially in the spring and fall, someone contacts me desperate to find a food truck for an event. Unless the event is weeks away, more often than not, there is not a truck available. In terms of private bookings, DFW can certainly handle more gourmet trucks. But before the Metroplex can adequately support them, we need more truck-accessible, traffic-heavy locations.
Suburban parks. We need dedicated truck parks in the suburbs. Last winter, there was a lot of chatter of food truck parks being built across North Texas. Today, there are still only two full-time dedicated parks, and one lunchtime, weekday park — all in Fort Worth. There are various reasons why suburban parks have not come to fruition, but they would go a long way in helping the trucks come to the cities in the suburbs, where people are constantly asking for them.
Chef-driven trucks. In other cities, the food truck scene is full of executive chefs who walked away from the pots and pans of a brick-and-mortar kitchen and took to the streets. That has taken those cities’ street food to very high levels. In the Metroplex, very few professional chefs have done this, and most who have have made their way back to the brick-and-mortar within a few months. I would love to see someone with a high level of experience, an understanding of new cuisines and an innovative spirit enter the market, not only to bring something new to the streets, but to challenge and mentor existing truck owners to continue to grow and create new menu items.