We have come a long way from the simple stews, beans, and biscuits served on chuck wagons, and today we demand much more than the stale coffee and the outdated cellophane-wrapped sandwiches of the 1950s and 1960s. For busy, on-the-go office workers, ethnic cuisines and freshly prepared hot foods are now the norm, and we’re willing to pay top dollar for the convenience.

Mobile canteens provided food to Americans in the 1950s. Army troops on bases and during operations, but they hardly went beyond standard fare. Americans now demand much more, and inventive vendors happily oblige. Thousands of people rush out of offices, factories, and shops in search of the truck down the street where they know what they’ll find and don’t mind waiting in line for it, from early ice cream trucks to the hot dog vendors with their Vienna Beef umbrellas. Who needs stale fast food burgers or vending machine fare when we can have fresh falafel stuffed into pita bread, a plate of nachos, or a real fish and chip meal wrapped in newsprint? What has evolved from the “roach coach” of the past to a venue that launched the career of many executive chefs, food trucks now even cater at special events, college campuses,conferences and weddings.

Let’s look at the most well-liked and most recent items available from these meals-on-wheels across the nation. Most of these truck operators also have restaurants multiple locations, and many are culinary school graduate and chefs:

The Grilled Cheeserie – from basic to designer grilled cheese sandwiches, Nashville

The Taco Truck – a variety of tacos and toppings, as well as burritos, Hoboken, NJ

Fukuburger Truck – the actual last name of its Japanese owner, burgers feature unusual Asian toppings and sauces, Las Vegas

Mac Mart Truck – takes mac and cheese to a new level with creative ingredients, Philadelphia

Luke’s Lobster – lobster, crab and shrimp rolls for about $17 (clearly not for those on a budget) New York City

The Cow and Curd – cheese curds, batter dipped and deep fried, with dipping sauces, Philadelphia

Kogi BBQ – creative and diverse Korean cuisine, Los Angeles

Ms. Cheezious – more designer grilled cheese sandwiches, one of America’s favorite comfort foods, Miami

Cinnamon Snail – vegan food for the more health-conscious and non meat-eating crowd, with not a snail in sight (go figure) NYC

Oink and Moo BBQ – award-winning pork and beef BBQ with all the trimmings, NJ

If you venture into ethnic neighborhoods, such as a big city Chinatown, obviously you’ll find a preponderance of their native cuisines dotting the streets, but overall these are the most common menu items across the country:



Hot dogs

Coffee and coffee drinks

Smoothies / healthy drinks and juices

“Grown-up” grilled cheese sandwiches


Cupcakes and desserts

Street tacos and burritos


Lobster rolls

Mediterranean menus / Gyros

Crepes with special toppings

Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwiches


Ice cream and soft serve

Shaved ice / Italian ice

Indian food

Hawaiian food

Chicken wings

Food trucks represent a $1.2 billion industry in the US. Food trucks play a significant role in our society and offer a crucial service to thousands of workers worldwide, despite the obvious difficulties they face, such as a lack of hot running water, strict regulations, license requirements, and health laws. Chuck wagons might just be a thing of the past, but the idea still exists. When you simply can’t wait to eat, consider food trucks.

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