The first time the Daily Meal came out with its list of 101 Best Food Trucks in America we were neither offended nor surprised no food trucks in metro Phoenix, the sixth-largest city in the United States, made the cut. We often get overlooked when it comes to culinary awards. And as usual, the majority of the recognition went to Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York.
But this time around, we’re pretty annoyed.
We’re not saying the Phoenix food truck scene is the best or the most original in the country. But do we believe our city has at least one truck that belongs on the list of the best 100 in the country? Yeah, we do.
The first one to come to mind would be Short Leash Hot Dogs. It achieved the impossible — every food truck owner’s dream — and made the leap from mobile to mortar for goodness sakes! It’s been featured nationally on television and in print, which is one of the criteria the Daily Meal says it looked at. Short Leash has a strong social-media following, with more than 5,000 Facebook likes nearly 4,000 Twitter followers. The truck ranked number 86 on the list has only about 1,700 Facebook likes and well under 1,000 Twitter followers.
So what gives?
Well, according to the Daily Meal Short Leash Hot Dogs isn’t a food truck and, therefore, can’t be on the list. As they put it: Only trucks were considered. Complain if you will, but if it was a trailer or a cart, if it needed something to pull, drag, push, or carry it, if it wasn’t on four wheels and couldn’t move on its own power from parking ticket to parking spot? Gone.
Okay. Fine. What about Torched Goodness? It garnered a spot on Smithsonian magazine’sThe 20 Best Food Trucks in the United States last year.
According to the Daily Meal, it doesn’t rate, either, because it’s a “list of food trucks. Food trucks that make just cupcakes or coffee are cupcake or coffee trucks, not food trucks.”
It still doesn’t explain what kept Hey! Joe, who’s also going to be featured on Eat St., off the list. Or Jamburritos or Luncha Libre. Look us in the eye and tell us they don’t make good food out of a truck. We dare you.
And to be clear, the last time we checked, dessert was food. And so was ice cream. And the food truck community we know isn’t about who can be “in” and who can be “out.” In fact, in our experience with Phoenix food trucks, it’s about quite the opposite. It’s about creating a community where passionate entrepreneurs can give their culinary dreams a fighting chance.
So we’re not sure what to make of all this food truck/food cart/dessert truck discrimination coming from the Daily Meal. But we do know one thing, we’re not buying it.