Food trucks are no fad.
More restaurants on wheels continue to pop up around the Salt Lake Valley, hoping to emulate the success of the Chow Truck, which made its first appearance in 2010. SuAn Chow’s Asian fusion truck is so successful, she’s looking into a brick and mortar spot.
This new generation of food trucks aren’t always as mobile, as their predecessors. Some have found regular spots to park from the University of Utah to Wasatch Boulevard.
While some food truck owners have been successful enough to quit their day jobs, others have recently closed, including the Peruvian Como Lomo truck and the creperie On a Roll.
The Salt Lake Tribune checked out 9 new trucks that have opened within the last year, serving everything from sweet and savory crepes and waffles to gourmet grilled cheese and mouth-watering barbecue.
Bjorn’s Brews: Coffee
Owner/vibe • The mobile coffee van is an extension of the brick and mortar shop at 2358 S. Foothill Drive, Salt Lake City. The van serves the same locally roasted beans from Meridian Coffee Co. Owner Grady Kohler named the business after his dog, an Australian shepherd, whose tongue-wagging face is pictured on the van and coffee cup sleeves. Ten percent of the proceeds go to pet charities, and the coffee house hosts a “pet of the week” contest online. Every beverage comes with a complimentary gingerbread “bone” pet cookie.
What to try • The van serves the basics, from Americanos and ice teas to au laits and cappuccinos. Cold drinks include Italian sodas, frappes and smoothies that can be made with ice cream. Look for specials like the Heath Bar mocha and pumpkin pie latte.
Prices • $1.75 for 12 oz. coffee to $5.75 for 24 oz. mocha frapp.
Follow •Twitter: @bjornsbrew or www.facebook.com/bjorns.brew
Cafe Trang: Vietnamese
Owner/vibe • Cafe Trang, has been one of Salt Lake City’s favorite Vietnamese restaurants since it opened in 1987. Now the family-owned business has branched into mobile food. Unlike the sit-down restaurant, which has a massive menu that makes your head spin, this food truck keeps it simple with only about a dozen traditional items including meat and tofu dishes served over rice, egg rolls, noodle soup and lo mein
What to try • The lemongrass chicken or lemongrass tofu served over rice is one of the more popular items and when we visited recently both were sold out by 1 p.m. The honey glazed pork sandwich — or bahn mi — was a worthy second choice with crisp vegetable and a bit of kick. And for $3 it’s deal.
Prices • $3-$5
Follow • The truck is parks at the University of Utah’s Marriott Library plaza.
Food Cartel: Crepes
Owner/vibe • Kit Krajeski, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, sells crepes with sweet and savory fillings, including Utah-made cheeses, condiments and produce. For now, the truck parks at the University of Utah’s Marriott Library plaza, but Krajeski hopes to set up at festivals and eventually sell breakfast and late night meals.
What to try • The mushroom and caramelized onion crepe is made with Utah-grown button and oyster mushrooms and Wasatch Mountain Gruyere. The owner makes his own raspberry jam and uses Shepherds Dairy chevre for the creme fraiche. Cucumbers in the lemonade is a refreshing twist
Prices • $3-$5
Follow • www.foodcartelslc.com.
Green Apple Juice Co.: Juice drinks
Owner/vibe • The folks running this colorful little trailer — owner Jessica Seegmiller, her brother Jeremy and his friend Chad Barrett — spent their winter serving skiers at Snowbird — she is in the coffee shop, the guys in the pizza concession. Now they hope to make fresh-squeezed juice drinks a year-round business, based on recipes the three have developed over the years. “We’d take whatever was in the fridge,” Barrett said.
What to try • The apple-ginger-pear combo is one of the company’s most popular drinks, as is the apple-lemon-blueberry-strawberry. More health-conscious folks may want to try the Green Machine (apple, lemon, kale, celery, spinach, ginger) or the Mega Green (apple, celery, cucumber, kale, spinach, romaine, lemon, ginger).
Prices • $3.50-$5.50
Follow • greenapplejuiceco.com.
Sean P. Means
Little Blue Bistro: Sandwiches and salads
Owner/vibe • This may be the smallest food truck in Salt Lake City and the one with the simplest menu — just three sandwiches, two salads and a soup of the day. But what it lacks in size, it makes up for in taste with the food made-to-order. On most days, you’ll find the blue truck parked between Red Butte Gardens and the Natural History Museum of Utah. Although it does makes stops at the Gallivan Center for the Thursday food truck rally.
What to try • The truck’s serves a version of Philly cheesesteak with chopped steak in a balsamic glaze, sauteed red onions, peppers and cheese on a ciabatta roll. Other sandwiches includes a southwest chicken and an Italian turkey melt.
Prices • $4.50-$7
Follow • On Twitter: @LilBlueBistro or facebook.com/LittleBlueBistro
Off the Grid: Waffles meet sandwiches
Owner/vibe • Trevor Fuchs and Vinny Mannello recently left their jobs at a graphic design company to run this food truck, which sells savory sandwiches using waffles instead of bread. The name is a play off the waffle pattern as well as Salt Lake City’s unique street system. The truck also is wrapped in a map of the capital.
What to try • It’s tough to choose between the grilled cheese — sharp cheddar, Beehive’s Barely Buzzed and sweet basil ricotta — and the Queso Con Awesome, a mix of Beehive’s habañero cheese, cream cheese, avocado and cilantro. For diners who want a wrap, the Buffalo Blue with chicken breast marinated in house-made buffalo sauce, is a popular choice.
Prices • $6 for either type of sandwich.
Follow • Twitter: @OffTheGridSLC or https://www.facebook.com/OffTheGridSLC
Owner/vibe • Usually, restaurateurs begin with a food truck in order to grow into a building. But “Tommy T.” Brown and his famous Salt Lake County Q4U Barbeque are doing the opposite. “T,” as he’s known, closed down his Taylorsville restaurant a year ago after road construction killed his business. Now, the former funk musician and barbecue king takes his smokin’ food on the road. Customers can feast on chicken and pulled pork sandwiches, sides, and freshly squeezed lemonade.
What to try • The pulled pork and chicken sandwiches with original or spicy sauce are the mainstays. Also try the “Q” dog, a quarter-pound hotdog with the works, slathered with T’s original sauce. But if you want the genuine Q4U experience, visit the truck at the Sam’s Club in Murray across from the Fashion Place Mall on Fridays and Saturdays where he also serves ribs straight from his smoker, which he pulls along with the truck.
Prices • Pulled pork, hot link or pulled chicken sandwich, $6; Chicken or pork T’aco’s, $3; Lemonade, $3.
Follow • www.q4ubbqtruck.com as well as on Facebook.
Rubadue’s Saucey Skillet
Owner/Vibe • Owned and operated by long-time Utah chef and caterer, Carl Rubadue, whose specialty is sauces —thus the name. He offers a menu of “upscale comfort food” including crab cakes, macaroni and cheese and pulled pork sliders. The Saucey Skillet makes stops throughout the week at Research Park, the University of Utah Marriott Library Plaza and the Thursday Food Truck rally at The Gallivan Center.
What to try • The signature dish is an Alaskan red king crab cake made with coconut milk and red Thai curry and topped with a lemon ginger sauce. Macaroni and cheese is available plain or add bacon, crawfish or crab. And the classic BLT is made with applewood smoked bacon and served on one of Vosen Bakery’s ciabbatta rolls.
Follow • http://www.sauceyskilletacademy.com as well as on Facebook
Saturday’s Waffle: Breakfast and brunch
Owner/vibe • Three friends looking for a creative outlet from their desk jobs landed on this refurbished 1955 aluminum Shasta Trailer, wearing matching bowties to match the soda-hop era. As the name says, it’s only open one day a week. And it’s found in one spot, the parking lot at 3900 S. Wasatch Blvd., Salt Lake City, (along with corporate events). Their fans, ranging from elderly to children, aren’t a Twitter-following crowd.
What to try • The waffles are made Liege-style, with sugar pearls in every bite. Kids and adults alike love the S’more, with melted chocolate in the middle topped with the gingerbread-like speculoos spread and toasted marshmallow cream. For something savory, try the Urban Lumberjack, made with Italian sausage and rosemary and sage gravy.
Prices • $7
Follow • Twitter: @saturdayswaffle or https://www.facebook.com/saturdayswaffle
Food truck stops
Gallivan Center • A rotating list of seven trucks park each week from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
University of Utah • Several food trucks park east of the Marriott Library, weekdays from around 11 a.m.-2 p.m. The trucks — Cafe Trang, Bento Truck, Lewis Bros., Rubadue’s Saucy Skillet — set their own schedules.
Don’t forget these trucks
Here’s how to find other food trucks.
Chow Truck (Asian Fusion), www.facebook.com/chowtruck, @Chowtruck
Bento Truck (Japanese), www.facebook.com/BentoTruck, @bento_truck
Better Burger Truck (hamburgers and fries), www.betterburgertruck.com, @BetterBurgerUT
Cruzin’ Sushi, @cruzinsushi
Happy Food Truck (burgers and ribbon fries), www.facebook.com/HappyFoodTruck
Lewis Bros. (fine fast food, Vietnamese, Middle Eastern, fries and kimchi), www.facebook.com/LewisBrosFoodTruck, @Liewsbrosfood
Pogi’s Pizza Truck (pita bread pizza, salads), www.pogigrill.com
So Cupcake (cupcakes, ice-cream), www.socupcake.com, @socupcake
Street Eats (sandwiches, Asian fusion, Mexican), www.facebook.com/StreetEatsUtah
Submarino’s (sandwiches), www.facebook.com/submarinostruck
Surefire Pizza (wood-fired pizza), www.facebook.com/surefirepizza, @surefirepizza
Waki Paki (Pakistani), www.facebook.com/wakipakifoodtruck, @wakipakifood