In 2010, Chow Truck became Salt Lake City’s first mobile food truck, serving tacos and sliders with an Asian twist.
Since then, a dozen of these traveling restaurants have rolled into Utah, specializing in everything from sushi and pizza to hamburgers to crêpes.
Unlike taco carts and hot dog stands that are anchored in one location, food trucks move around the city, parking at video stores, call centers, banks, college campuses, concert venues, festivals and fairs. The only way hungry diners know where to find them is by following them on Facebook, Twitter or a website.
Intrigued by the growing number of road food offerings, The Salt Lake Tribune staff hit the streets to get all the details.
Bento Truck • Japanese
Owner/vibe • Katsu Yamazaki, the former sushi chef at Kyoto and Takashi restaurants, and his wife, Tokiko, offer traditional bento boxes made fresh-to-order. Each meal comes with steamed white rice, sides, and a choice of teriyaki chicken, barbecue beef, shrimp or vegetable tempura or five-piece gyoza (potstickers) filled with pork or vegetables.
What to try • The teriyaki chicken is the safe favorite, but aficionados follow this truck for the daily special, made with fresh, in-season ingredients. On a recent visit, it was a perfectly cooked portion of miso-glazed salmon with a side of creamy potato salad. If you have children — or are just a kid at heart — order a bottle of Ramune for $2. This soda has a unique-shaped glass bottle with a marble inside that rattles around when you drink it.
Prices • Bento boxes $6-$8; sides $2-$3.50
Follow • www.BentoTruck.com
Better Burger Truck • Hamburgers, fries
Owner/vibe • Stephen Helfenbein operates Better Burger Truck June through October and is a ski instructor at Alta during the winter. His hamburgers boast all-local ingredients — the buns are from Stoneground Bakery in Salt Lake City, and he uses grass-fed beef from southeastern Utah.
What to try • The signature burger, the Better Burger, includes pickles and tomatoes with cheese for an extra cost. While that may seem sparse on the condiments, it really lets the taste of the beef come through. And they’re fries are sweet potato fries.
Prices • $6.50-$7.50 for the burgers, $2.50 for fries
Follow • Twitter: @BetterBurgerUT or www.betterburgertruck.com
Como Lomo • Peruvian
Owner/Vibe • Don’t let the little guinea pig chef on the side of this truck fool you: Como Lomo doesn’t offer the traditional Peruvian snack, just authentic samplings of hip cuisine from this South American country. The couple who owns the truck, Vic Cardenas and Rocio Sandoval, offer dishes specifically from Lima, where Rocio grew up.
What to try • The lomo (beef) or pollo (chicken) saltado (braised) is the truck’s specialty. Piles of perfectly seasoned meat can be ordered on either a ciabatta bun for a sandwich or over a bed of rice. It’s then piled with shoestring French fries, sautéed vegetables and a healthy coat of mint sauce, and the flavors combine for an extraordinary meal.
Prices • $5-$10
Follow • Twitter: @comolomo or www.facebook.com/ComoLomoPeruvianFoodTruck/info
Cruzin’ Sushi • Sushi, tempura and rice bowls
Owner/vibe • This mobile sushi bar is owned and operated by Josh and Ana Hoskins. The couple met in culinary school and lived in Hawaii, where they trained in the art of sushi making. Their menu includes 15 specialty rolls — but customers can also create their own. Shrimp and vegetable tempura and rice bowls round out the menu.
What to try • If you’re feeling flush, order the Vegas roll: salmon, crab, avocado and cream cheese dipped in tempura and deep-fried ($9.50). Or there’s the teriyaki salmon bowl with brown rice ($8.50). For those on a budget, the teka maki roll with tuna is just $5.50.
Prices • $10 and under
Follow • Twitter: @cruzinsushi
Lewis Bros. Fine Fast Food • Vietnamese, Middle Eastern, fries and kimchi
Owner/vibe • The Lewis Brothers — Charlie, a drummer, and Oliver, a carpenter — always wanted to start a food business, but the cost was prohibitive. While on tour with Utah’s Band of Annuals, Charlie noticed the distinct vibe around food trucks in Seattle, Austin and New York. When the time was right in Salt Lake City, they found their food-truck calling with an eclectic mix of good eats.
What to have • The banh mi sandwich of Vietnamese-style pork with char siu, quick pickles, cilantro and aoli is the signature dish. Vegetarians can indulge in the truck’s crispy falafel sandwich, or French fries with sautéed kale and chard, caramelized onions, chile oil and aoli. Or opt instead for home-made kimchi on your fries.
Prices • $5-$6; sides $2
Follow • Twitter: @Lewisbrosfood or www.facebook.com/Lewis-Bros-Food-Truck
On a Roll • Sweet and savory crêpes
Owner/vibe • Jack Young, his wife, Kalia Coller, and their son Nolan serve made-from-scratch crêpes using a recipe they discovered while living in France.
What to try • The house special is the Monte Cristo, filled with ham, turkey and havarti cheese, sprinkled with powdered sugar and served with maple syrup on the side. For something lighter, try the Greek, a vegetarian crepe filled with spinach, feta cheese, red onions and black olives.
Prices • $5-$6
Follow • Twitter: @onarollslc or www.facebook.com/onarollslc
Pogi’s Pizza Truck • Pita bread pizza, salads
Owner/vibe • This pizza parlor in a truck, operated by Jeremy Pack, roams Salt Lake County, satisfying hungry diners with pita-bread-pizza. Pack fire-grills the pita bread every morning before heading out on the road. As for the name: It’s Filipino for “cute” or “handsome” boy, which Pack said people used to call out to him when he served a Mormon mission in The Philippines.
What to try • The garlic chicken pizza or the “founders favorite,” packed with sausage and tomatoes. In all, there are four sauces and 18 toppings to choose from.
Prices • Pizza, $4.25-$4.50; salads, $2.75-$4.25
Follow • Twitter: @pogispizzatruck or www.pogigrill.com
So Cupcake • Cupcakes, ice cream
Owner/vibe • Most food trucks specialize in main course offerings, but the contents of this little pink truck satisfy a sweet tooth. It’s owned by Kevin and Natalie Jensen, owners of So Cupcake bakery at 3939 S. Highland Dr.
What to try • The most popular cupcake flavors are red velvet and carrot cake, but if you’re feeling adventurous, look for the specials such as maple bacon or the double-stuffed Oreo.
Prices • $2.50; small $1.25
Follow • www.socupcake.com
Street Eats • Sandwiches, wraps and burritos
Owner/vibe • You’ll have to drive to Logan to enjoy the comforting classics prepared by chef John Simpson, the long-time owner of Culinary Concepts catering. Simpson, who launched this food truck in June, serves tender barbecue beef and pork sandwiches, as well as wraps and burritos. Side dishes include Dutch-oven potatoes and pepper jack macaroni and cheese.
What to have • Regulars line up for the Philly cheesesteak daily special. For something different, there’s the spicy Vietnamese pork wrap or sandwich topped with a fresh shredded carrots, vegetables and herbs.
Prices • Entrees $5-$6; sides $2
Follow • www.facebook.com/StreetEatsUtah
Submarino’s • Sandwiches
Owner/vibe • At this two-month old truck, owner Tony Marino serves sandwiches that reflect his Italian heritage. He also has a way of turning a regular sandwich into a taste adventure, and the French onion grilled cheese is just one example. Other offerings include sausage and peppers and meatball subs, with meat from local sources.
What to try • The signature sandwich is the Not-So-Philly Cheesesteak, a Chicago-style version of the Philadelphia favorite. Marino uses marinated Italian beef, and tops it with a blend of cheeses, peppers and a hefty helping of au jus. The flavors are why Italian beef is a must-have when visiting the Windy City.
Prices • Half-sandwiches $5; full sandwiches $5-$8
Follow • www.facebook.com/submarinostruck
Sure Fire Pizza • pizza
Owner/vibe • Owner Jeffrey Whitehead and wife Melissa Whitehead purchased a portable wood-fired oven three summers ago and have been serving the Salt Lake valley fresh Italian style pizza ever since. The unique 5,000 pound truck draws customers in, but its the fresh taste of Italian imported ingredients that keeps them coming back for more.
What to try • The popular Margherita Pizza is an Italian classic. The mozzarella-covered thin crust is topped with San Marzano-style crushed tomatoes, locally grown fresh basil, Italian imported parmigiano reggiano, and Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The simplicity of the pizza allows the fresh ingredients to really come through. In just 90 seconds, the wood-fired oven cooked the pizza’s crust to flaky perfection.
Prices • $8
Follow • Twitter: @surefirepizza, www.facebook.com/surefirepizza.com
Waki Paki • Pakistani
Owner/vibe • Mo Burki, a native of Pakistan and a former mechanical engineer, brings “a fusion of the food he grew up with and the famous ‘street food’ of Pakistan” to various Salt Lake valley locations. Favorite haunts include Red Butte Garden and 200 East between the library and Washington Square.
What to have • The samosas ($3 for an order of two), available in beef and veggie, are small but packed with flavor. The seekh kebab roll (seasoned, locally sourced lamb with tomato and green chutney on a soft roll) is another winner.
Prices • $6-$8; sides, $3
Follow • Twitter: @wakipakifood or www.facebook.com/wakipakifoodtruck
Catherine Reese Newton
Food Truck Thursdays at the Gallivan Center
Several Utah food truck operators park along Salt Lake City’s Gallivan Center Plaza at lunchtime to sell their gourmet fare. Offerings usually include Asian-style tacos and sliders, sushi and rice bowls, pizza, hamburgers, sandwiches, crepes and cupcakes.
When • Thursdays, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Where • Gallivan Avenue — 300 South between State Street and Main Street