The Evolution of Food Trucks

By Chef Marcus Samuelsson

Food trucks, a staple of the food scenes in New York and Los Angeles for the last several years, have become increasingly popular destinations for eaters on the go all around the country. More and more cities are adopting trucks – but the function of the truck is evolving, too! The Wall Street Journal recently featured the evolution of the food truck as a kind of catering-mobile, as many people are now choosing food trucks as a more affordable option for providing food for their special events like weddings and bar or bat mitzvahs. In addition, food truck gatherings are also becoming more a common way to enjoy mobile eateries.

Recently, the Prospect Park Alliance in Brooklyn, NY, announced a monthly Food Truck Rally that will take place on the third Sunday of every month from June to October. Visitors will be able to sample delicious offerings from some of New York’s best and brightest food trucks – The Red Hook Lobster Pound, Wafels & Dinges, the Rickshaw Dumpling Truck, and more. Some of these trucks already have weekly stands at Smorgasburg in Williamsburg, but this is the first time they will all be welcomed to gather the way they were meant to – on wheels. But New York isn’t the only city embracing food truck gatherings!

Trailer parks in South and East Austin, Texas, are dedicated to bringing together Austin’s unique and culturally diverse food trucks. These food-focused trailer parks also work hard to bring the arts and food together; they often also host movie nights or art festivals alongside the mobile eats and provide seating areas for their customers.

In Milwaukee, WI, Food Truck Fridays brings eaters to Cathedral Square for lunch every Friday from 11AM-2PM. The first event of its kind in this Midwest city, Food Truck Fridays promotes Milwaukee’s growing food truck scene and supports the local economy. Favorites are Lebanese flatbread from the Pita Brothers truck and crepes from the Satellite Crepes cart.

Food truck festivals and gatherings represent more than just a way for people to find their favorite trucks in all one place without having to stalk a truck’s Twitter feed – it’s about bringing a variety of diverse cultures together and finding a common ground. Where else can you find gourmet doughnuts, Chinese dumplings, Parisian-style crêpes, and Mexican tamales all in one place, and, more importantly, all available to eat on the run?

What’s your favorite food truck?