New food trucks roll onto Utah’s dining scene every month. But which one of these up-and-coming mobile eateries serves the best food?
Is it the one with square pizza from Uruguay? Burritos with a kick of chimichurri from Argentina? Southern-style chicken strips with creamy mac ’n’ cheese? Or something with deep-fried dough?
Diners will get the chance to pick Utah’s Best New Food Truck on Saturday, Aug. 4, during Salt Lake City’s Food Truck and Brewery Battle.
The all-ages event, which has expanded from last year, runs from 4 to 10 p.m. on The Gateway Plaza, 100 S. Rio Grande St.
It showcases 15 food trucks — five longtime favorites and 10 new ones that have been in business for about a year, according to Taylor Harris, co-founder of The Food Truck League, one of four event sponsors along with The Gateway, U92 and The Salt Lake Tribune.
A People’s Choice Award and Tribune Editor’s Pick also will be announced that night.
To complement the food truck fare, there will be beer from eight Utah brewers; that’s double the participation from 2017. This year, guests will vote for “favorite beer” and “best beer pairing” awards.
Entertainment on the two U92 stages will feature DJs, Barzz artists, karaoke, comedians and The Bboy Federation.
Admission is free, but bring your wallet to buy food and beer tokens. Identification will be required.
So which are the Best New Food Trucks? Here are the 10 nominees:
CleanEats • As the name suggests, this truck serves lean proteins, fresh vegetables and healthy grains topped with homemade sauces. The Tokyo bowl with teriyaki steak is a customer favorite. But the owners are partial to their steak and potato option topped with mango-jalapeño salsa.
Curry Time • India House restaurant, in Sandy, take its specialties on the road, including samosas, coconut korma and spinach saag with paneer (homemade cheese). Naan is cooked to order on the truck and is the perfect vehicle for the new chicken tikka masala wrap.
El Nene Sammy • Burritos, quesadillas and tacos get a South American twist with chimichurri sauce. Similar to pesto, the Argentine condiment is made with herbs, garlic, oil and a bit of chili pepper.
Fanci Freez Diner • Straight from the 1950s, this truck is an all-American diner on wheels. Get hamburgers, cheeseburgers, chicken strips and chili cheese fries. For dessert, there are creamy shakes in more than a dozen flavors, from chocolate and strawberry to butter pecan and toasted marshmallow.
Fry Me to the Moon • If it’s deep-fried, then this truck makes it, from fish and chips to corn dogs and onion rings to doughnuts. Utah scones are the specialty. Get one with honey butter, drizzled with chocolate and fruit, or make it a Navajo taco, piled with meat, beans, lettuce, cheese and salsa.
Mama Lau • The palm-size empanadas at this truck allow diners to try several meat or vegetable fillings and still have room for dessert. A true Argentine experience would include the sweet beef empanada with raisins and hard-boiled egg; the vegetarian humita made with corn, onions and red bell peppers; and a quince-filled empanada for dessert.
Pompeii Pastaz • Pasta with choice of colorful red (tomato), white (Alfredo) or green (pesto) sauces. There’s even a combo option with all three that resembles an Italian flag. For something sweet, try the deep-fried pom poms topped with either chocolate hazelnut spread or berries.
Soul of Salt Lake • Adults and kids should like the Southern-style chicken tenders dipped in buttermilk and coated with 11 herbs and spices. Sides include corn bread, mac ’n’ cheese, red beans and rice and collard greens.
Umai • After working under a food tent at summer festivals, the owners moved to a food truck so they could serve their “very tasty” or umai menu year-round. The Asian street food menu includes teriyaki steak tacos, barbecued pork sliders and Tsunami fries dusted with garlic and pepper then drizzled with a unique “fry sauce” made with citrusy yuzu.
Umani • This gourmet food truck serves square pizzas just like they do in Uruguay, where the owners were born. The truck — a shipping container with a glass front — was specifically designed to cart around the 4,000-pound wood-fired oven. It cooks the thin-crust pizzas — like the Criolla, with beef, red peppers and chimichurri — to perfection.
Five more fan favorites • In addition to the new trucks, five experienced favorites have been invited to the food truck battle. Look for Apollo Burger, Cubby’s, Family Lemonade, Salty Pineapple and Yoshi’s.