Houston loves its tacos, barbecue, burgers and Asian cuisines of many stripes. All those foods and their uniquely Houston permeations can be found in the city’s thriving food truck culture. Here are some of the city’s favorite and most successful food truck operations.
The road from food truck to brick and mortar restaurant isn’t the goal for every chef who starts out cooking on four wheels. And even if it were, the odds are stacked against a small business. But Sticky’s is one of those classic stories of a popular food truck (Wiz Khalifa, Bun B and Texans star DeAndre Hopkins are fans) that made the leap to full-service restaurant. Brother and sister partners Benson Vivares and Patsy Vivares, who launched their truck in 2014, recently opened a fast-casual restaurant at 2313 Edwards at Sawyer Yards. But the truck still has its gig on Thursday and Saturday at McIntyre’s in the Heights, serving its signature menu of sliders, wings, chicken nuggets, fries, tacos and sticky chicken over rice. See getstickys.com; find the truck at McIntyre’s, 1230 W. 20th St.
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In two short years the husband-and-wife team of Lance and Boo Eaker have made a barbecue name for themselves. Their barbecue food truck is already considered by local smoked meat aficionados as one of Houston’s must-do ’cue joints and a new darling on the local competition arena. Lance’s South Texas-style barbecue (brisket, sausage, turkey, pulled pork and beef ribs) sport the unmistakable flavor of mesquite and pair well with Boo’s sides of potato salad, cole slaw, borracho beans and creamed corn. Boo’s Korean heritage inspired the truck’s gochujang pork ribs with a side order of homemade kimchi. The Eaker truck posts its locations weekly on eakerbarbecue.com, which could include parking in Uptown, Galleria or Greenway neighborhoods.
Oh My Gogi!
Founded in 2011, OMG called itself Houston’s first Korean fusion food truck. And it certainly was an original with its menu of merging Korean beef bulgogi with American and Mexican cuisine. That meant dishes such as Hawaiian gogi burger, gogi melt on Texas toast, kimchi quesadillas, street tacos, loaded tots and loaded fries. The truck’s success got it a home inside the H Mart inside Katy Asian Town, but the truck is still doing its thing in Rice Village, 5555 Morningside. See ohmygogi.com for more information.
Mico’s Hot Chicken
The lines for this new truck attest to the growing popularity for fried chicken sandwiches. In this case, it’s very spicy chicken. Mico’s calls itself Houston’s first purveyor of Nashville hot chicken — a fried chicken breast topped with house-made slaw, pickles and a special sauce. The chicken comes in four heat levels: mild, medium, hot and extra hot. There’s even “no heat” for chickens. The truck also offers chicken tenders, wings, and animal fries. The owners, who launched the truck in June 2019, announced late last year they would open their first brick and mortar store at 1603 N. Durham, the space that was formerly occupied by Balls Out Burger. For now find them at their new home on N. Durham; for more information see micoshotchicken.com.
The Waffle Bus
Houston’s beloved waffle truck now has its first brick and mortar location at 1835 N. Shepherd but the red bus is still going strong offering a menu of buttermilk fried chicken and waffles, waffle burgers, fried chicken bites on seasoned waffle fries, “fryders” (sliders with waffle fries, and waffle sandwiches. A Houston food truck player since 2012, Waffle Bus is one of the tasty examples of the city’s entrepreneurial spirit. Check out the bus at locations such as Houston Truck Yard, Greenway Plaza and Midtown; see thewafflebus.com.
Korean barbecue married with Mexican cuisine? What’s not to love? Coreanos offers Korean barbecue burritos, tacos and quesadillas made with beef bulgogi or Korean-style chicken. The menu also includes rice bowls, kimchi fries and burgers made with fried ramen patties. Coreanos may have been birthed in Austin but its palate fits perfectly within the Houston’s multi-cultural dining scene. At Little Woodrow’s Midtown, 2306 Brazos; see coreanostx.com for more information.
Tacos Tierra Caliente
This beloved tacos truck, a fixture across the street from the iconic West Alabama Ice House, is known for its quick, flavorful, no-nonsense tacos. The prices are incredible, with breakfast tacos starting at $1 that come with all the red or green salsa you want. The taco menu includes fajita, al pastor, barbacoa, chicken, chicharron and lengua. The latter two particularly popular. How much does Houston love Tacos Tierra Caliente? When the owners’ daughter died of brain cancer in 2016, a Go Fund Me page raised thousands of dollars for funeral expenses. Remember: it’s cash only. At 2003 W. Alabama.
Burritos and burrito-sized Japanese hand rolls? Heck yeah. This Asian-fusion food truck knows the delicious possibilities of sushi rice beyond the sushi counter. Burritos are filled with sushi rice, Korean marinated beef, pork belly or Japanese karaage fried chicken (and sour cream, pico, cabbage and creamy cilantro sauce). Hand rolls include creamy smoked salmon tempura; fried shrimp with crab stick and corn fritters; soft shell crab, crab stick and avocado; and bulgogi, mushrooms and kimchi. Find schedule at muiishimakirritos.com which services University of Houston, Axelrad Beer Garden and Kirby Ice House among locations.
The Burger Joint
Another food-truck-makes-good story from a chef whose food truck work included the former Koagie Hots and The Golden Grill. Today, Matthew Pak’s food truck success has paved the way for a full-service restaurant in Montrose, with another on the way in the Heights with an even bigger patio. But Pak’s red bus is still serving up signature handcrafted burgers and hand-cut fries. The burgers are 100 percent Angus and served on a toasted bun. There’s a veggie burger too, as well as add-ons including an always-welcome fried egg. Serving the University of Houston campus (the food truck is also available for catering events); see burgerjointhtx.com.
Eatsie Boys Intergalactic Food Truck: Before they opened up their EaDo beer hall, the partners of 8th Wonder Brewery began their business as the Eatsie Boys food truck, which is now permanently parked at the brewery. It’s still serving up loaded waffle fries and sandwiches such as spinach and artichoke grilled cheese; chicken gyro; pulled pork with cheddar and barbecue sauce; and a “Brewben” made with corned beef, Swiss, and Dome Faux’m sauerkraut. Open Monday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 8th Wonder Brewery, 2202 Dallas; see eatsieboys.com.