Reporter- Chicago Business Journal
What a great day for food trucking! Today brought mild temperatures, low humidities, and plenty of sunshine to Chicago.
And Aaron Ramirez, owner of the Taquero Fusion food truck, was making the most of the beautiful day and the lunchtime crowds jamming the sidewalks at the corner of Clark and Monroe streets in the heart of the city’s Loop business district. A steady stream of customers lined up at the Taquero Fusion window to place an order. Some paid with cash. Others pulled out a credit card, which Ramirez happily and quickly processed with a mobile device.
As customers contemplated their options on a menu placed in one of the truck windows, Ramirez repeatedly urged them to consider his special of the day — a taco with mole sauce. He also graciously told some customers about a buddy who operates a tamale truck in the neighborhood that offers, among other things, a tamale with alligator meat. One customer within earshot of Ramirez was having none it. “I’ve tried alligator before,” she noted, turning up her nose as she grimaced.
Food trucks are still a relatively new phenomenon in Chicago. But for those who don’t want to sit in a restaurant or wait in long lines at fast food chains, trucks such as Ramirez’s are fast becoming a welcome addition to the food scene in the city.
Ramirez and wife Marisol were in the vanguard of this street-focused business when they debuted their truck three years ago. “We and 5411 Empanadas and Tamale Spaceship were really the first three food trucks in Chicago,” noted Ramirez. Because the city only allowed food to actually be cooked on trucks about a year ago, Ramirez’s truck doesn’t have a kitchen on board. Instead he transports his tacos and rice and drinks in coolers and heating units inside the truck.
When it isn’t at Clark and Monroe streets on Thursdays, Taquero Fusion spends several days a week parked on East Chicago Avenue near the headquarters of Groupon and a lot of other businesses that employ large staffs of young people. That’s a crowd near and dear to Ramirez’s heart. “They get what the food truck is all about,” he said as he smiled.
[Photo: @jonfavreau / Twitter]
Here’s your daily update on Chef, the upcoming Jon Favreau movie about a chef who gets fired from his restaurant and opens a food truck. New today: the first shots of the truck, which include its name, El Jefe Cubanos. As usual with Chef announcements, Favreau revealed the truck on Vine. The Daily Mail also has photos of Sofia Vergara wearing an El Jefe t-shirt; Vergara plays Favreau’s ex-wife in the film. Below, a Vine of the truck (featuring a Kogi truck cameo).
That’s when we initial wrote about a trucks and travel food, still a newness for many behind afterwards (though not on a south side, where taco trucks were and still are plentiful).
In 2009, maybe a half-dozen trucks were parked around downtown, along with some prohibited dog carts.
Scott Baitinger of Streetza Pizza was one of those early food lorry operators, and Streetza still plies a streets.
The change has been drastic, Baitinger said, watching that during slightest 10 new trucks have seemed this year alone.
Some trucks and carts have departed; even so, Baitinger estimated 25 nontraditional trucks are active during gatherings downtown this year, with substantially another 25 taco trucks on a south side.
Baitinger consistently used Twitter from a commencement to promote a truck’s plcae and to build village among a customers. (Streetza has gained inhabitant notice over a years in partial for a amicable media presence, this year creation a Daily Meal’s list of a 101 best food trucks in America.)
Four years ago, he said, amicable media drew business that seemed especially to be “30 and male.” The assembly has broadened, he said.
“People are really some-more informed with a difficulty interjection to ‘The Great Food Truck Race’” — a Food Network existence uncover — “so there’s a lot reduction explaining we have to do,” Baitinger said.
Food trucks now accumulate in larger numbers in Schlitz Park on Tuesdays, during a Milwaukee County Courthouse on Thursdays and during Red Arrow Park on N. Water St. on Fridays. With a singular series of parking spaces and augmenting numbers of trucks, food lorry operators are anticipating for new entertainment spots, or some-more visit gatherings.
Find a list of some of a newer stand of trucks in a strange article by Carol Deptolla of the Journal Sentinelhere
- Food Truck Profile: Street-Za Pizza
- Do Food Trucks Respond To Your Social Media Comments?
- Which Social Media Platform Do You Use To Reach Your Customers?
- Top 12 Most Influential Food Trucks: 2012
This is the second anniversary of SideDish publishing a DFW food truck schedule and news. Food trucks first came into prominence in Dallas in May 2011. A reader comment at one point led us to start consolidating the weekly data and our first schedule was published on August 1, 2011. This week, however, I am gone. Off-grid. The table schedule will be back next week. In the meantime, I’ve worked with the Beecon Map folks to ensure that they still get the data this week and the map that you see above is accurate.
Let me tell you how this schedule gets put together each week. I have an ulterior motive, so stick with me. Each Friday, I remind the food truck operators who participate that I need their spreadsheet schedule by the next Monday at 10 a.m. Our tabular schedule is derived directly from the owner/operators. I’m not crazy enough to scour Facebook, Twitter, and web sites to derive each schedule. By Monday morning, typically, I’ve got less than 50%, so I send a reminder once more. By 2 p.m. or so, I’ve got about 90% to 95% in, so I can get started on the big spreadsheet consolidation. After that, it gets sent to the Beecon people to import into their mapping format and I import to the WordPress table format that you see. If an owner goes silent on me for 3-4 weeks, I presume that they are either out of business, that they see little value in being part of SideDish, or they don’t want to be found.
My motive: If you use our weekly schedule, tell the food truck owners. It is, after all, work for them to send to me their schedules each week. And if you don’t see a food truck on our schedule, tell them you want them there. If you are a food truck owner and want to be included, I’m not hard to find. Email email@example.com.
For this coming week, events include Sprouts/Marsh on Tuesday, Sigel’s/Greenville on Wednesday, and “Summer Lovin’” with Easy Slider and Enticed Shaved Ice Thursday evening at Walgreens (Mockingbird/Matilda).
When is it appropriate to tip? Tipping in a restaurant setting is often expected (with noted exceptions), but what about when you dine at a food truck?
Brendan O’Connor, a former employee of Milk Truck, a mobile grilled cheese and milkshake vendor in New York City, was incensed when employees of investment research Glass Lewis Co. placed a $170 order but failed to tip. O’Connor, who also happens to be a journalist, tweeted out his frustration.
Shout out to the good people of Glass, Lewis Co. for placing a $170 order and not leaving a tip. @glasslewis
— Brendan O’Connor (@OConnorB_) July 22, 2013
Glass Lewis Co. caught wind of the tweet and an upset representative reached out to Milk Truck. O’Connor was promptly fired, reportedly told by the owner that he “had embarrassed him and the company and that was that.” Milk Truck offered its apologies via Twitter to Glass Lewis Co., which accepted them.
An overreaction on Milk Truck’s part? Perhaps. If nothing else, it was shortsighted — O’Connor turned around and put the incident on blast in a damning article for The Awl.
Was O’Connor in the right? It’s hard to say. Tipping at a food truck isn’t customary, but perhaps a tip on such a large order would have been nice. Still, was it good form to call out customers on Twitter?
Weigh in on the issue in the below poll:
Also on HuffPost:
Peyton Tips An Extra $200
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning left $200 in addition to the 18 percent gratuity on his bill at Angus Barn in Raleigh, North Carolina where he had a meal with his friends last Friday, a href=”http://deadspin.com/5891136/peyton-manning-leaves-insanely-good-tips-at-restaurants” target=”_hplink”according to Deadspin. /a
Photo by a href=”http://www.sportshoopla.com/forums/nhl-hockey-forum-message-board-general-discussion/64542-ot-just-peyton-manning-not-cheap-bastard.html” target=”_hplink”Bizzle McDizzle/a
Tiger Woods Is Cheap
a href=”http://aol.sportingnews.com/sport/story/2011-08-18/tiger-woods-lebron-james-accused-of-being-cheap-tippers” target=”_hplink”New Miami Times/a ranked golf player Tiger Woods at the top of its list of cheapest celebrity tippers, a href=”http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/shortorder/2011/08/lebron_to_usher_to_sean_penn_t.php?page=2″ target=”_hplink”reporting/a: “The man worth more than $500 million says it’s because he never carries cash.”
Delivery Man Gets $2 For Putting His Life On The Line
Lin Dakang, a delivery man for a Chinese restaurant on the Upper East Side, received $2 on a $15.50 bill for a 2.5 mile bike ride dodging traffic on a cold winter night, a href=”http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/04/nyregion/for-food-delivery-workers-speed-tips-and-fear-on-wheels.html?pagewanted=1_r=1sq=deliveryst=csescp=1″ target=”_hplink”according to The New York Times/a. But the incident is typical. The Times reported that restaurant delivery workers peddling take-out orders in dangerous conditions receive wages and tips that can drop well under minimum wage.
Photo by a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/stevensnodgrass/” target=”_hplink”Steve Snodgrass/a
Arrested For Not Tipping
According to a href=”http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/bethlehem/index.ssf?/base/news-1/125843433282150.xmlcoll=3″ target=”_hplink”The Express-Times/a, police arrested and gave a theft citation to John Wagner and Leslie Pope when they refused to pay a $16.35 required gratuity for their order of wings, drinks and salad. The pair alleged poor service at Lehigh Pub in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
Photo by a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/jeffreyww/” target=”_hplink”jeffreyw/a
Racially Profiling Tippers
Abe Shah and Hemang Virani, who are of Pakistani and Indian descent respectively, were charged an 18 percent gratuity because of the color of their skin, a href=”http://gothamist.com/2011/09/13/indian_restaurant_accused_of.php” target=”_hplink”according to Gothamist/a.
A manager told the pair the charge applied to all patrons of Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi descent.
After the two men paid their bill, minus the additional gratuity, they were followed out of the restaurant by five employees and then verbally and physically attacked, a href=”http://images.nymag.com/images/2/daily/2011/09/12_baluchiscomplaint.pdf” target=”_hplink”according to court papers/a.
Shah and Virani subsequently sued the restaurant for discrimination.
Photo by a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/stephen-oung/” target=”_hplink”SteFou!/a
Denying Workers Tips
In one of Massachusetts’ largest wage cases, a settlement required Canyon Ranch Spa in Lenox to return $14.75 million in tips denied to its employees, including waiters, massage therapists, yoga instructors, according to a href=”http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/24/us/24canyon.html” target=”_hplink”The New York Times./a
Real Estate Daily editor- Portland Business Journal
Seattle’s loss is Portland’s gain.
A popular Seattle food “truck” is hitting the road. The Monte Cristo is moving to Portland to serve employees of an unnamed Portland tech company, according to a Seattle Times report.
The Monte Cristo, billed as a “gourmet grilled cheese truck dreamed up by a four-star chef,” wraps up its Seattle run on Aug. 16, then heads south.
Monte Cristo was created by Danielle Custer, a James Beard award-winning chef.
Know where it’s headed? Drop a line in the comments section below or send me an email.
Wendy Culverwell covers real estate, retail and hospitality.
With new amicable media sites popping adult all over a internet, it can be strenuous to food lorry owners to figure out that to concentration their time and appetite on. Based off a new consult we conducted from a readers, a tip 4 amicable media sites that food lorry business use are: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.
After Myspace, Facebook took control of amicable media and has not let go. 67% of internet users visit Facebook frequently so you’ll wish to start here.
About section. Publish a full autobiography including hit information about your food truck.
Large images. Facebook’s height is good for posting pictures. Take a image of your daily special or fun events your lorry has taken partial in.
Advertise. Facebook Ads concede we to aim your specific demographic while also environment a specific budget.
Next in line is Twitter. Quick and to a point. Reach out and promulgate with others in genuine time. While Facebook might be used for many of a same purposes, Twitter is many quicker.
Break a news. Let your supporters know where we are streamer when it happens. Twitter is immediate and will strech your supporters faster than any other amicable networks.
Get feedback. Twitter is also a good place to get feedback and learn about your customers.
Utilize hashtags. Hashtags (commonly famous as a bruise sign) on Twitter are a good complement to take advantage of. Using hashtags will boost a strech of your twitter and also boost a chances of your twitter being seen.
Like it? Then pin it! Pinterest is a good approach to tell your story regulating pictures. Pinterest allows we to collect, classify and pin cinema to boards.
Organize. Pinterest allows we to classify your photos into identical groups called “boards.” This allows we to “build” a message, thesis or organisation identical photos together.
Get customer’s mouths watering. Food trucks regulating Pinterest can classify a page by posting interesting photos with brief descriptions about menu items. This can also include recipes to renouned items.
Go over food. Your food lorry should be about some-more than only food. Feature play that tell your code story, values and mission.
Pictures pronounce a thousand difference – and Instagram is a bad man’s photography studio. Instagram gives users a ability to request opposite filters to photos. There are no groups or “boards” like with Pinterest, however, Instagram is simply integrated into Facebook and Twitter, giving cinema additional bearing on a opposite amicable networks.
Customers. Featuring business enjoying their meals, or pity images that business have taken of your lorry are a good approach to pull courtesy to your mobile food business.
Show your atmosphere. Show cinema of a atmosphere around your truck. You can uncover tangible business enjoying a dining knowledge or even a fun they are carrying while watchful to order. The filters supposing by Instagram will concede we to debonair it adult a bit.
Aesthetics. You don’t indispensably have to uncover cinema associated to your food. What’s a atmosphere like around your truck? What about a view of a areas we park in?
Remember social media is a good approach advertise. Follow some of these tips and implement them to boost supporters and customers. But don’t be fearful to be artistic and innovative. Also, remember many amicable media sites can be synced together and it’s alright if some of your pages overlap.
Which amicable media sites are we regulating that aren’t listed here?
- How Social Media Can Increase Your Food Truck Event Traffic
- Social Media No No’s for Food Truck Owners
- Pinterest: The Next Social Media Tool for Your Food Truck
- Developing Your Food Truck Social Media Strategy
The food truck landscape sure looks a lot different from four years ago.
That’s when I first wrote about the trucks and street food, still a novelty for many back then (though not on the south side, where taco trucks were and still are plentiful).
In 2009, perhaps a half-dozen trucks were parked around downtown, along with some hot dog carts.
Scott Baitinger of Streetza Pizza was one of those early food truck operators, and Streetza still plies the streets.
The change has been drastic, Baitinger said, observing that at least 10 new trucks have appeared this year alone.
Some trucks and carts have departed; even so, Baitinger estimated 25 nontraditional trucks are active at gatherings downtown this year, with probably another 25 taco trucks on the south side.
Baitinger consistently used Twitter from the beginning to broadcast the truck’s location and to build community among its customers. (Streetza has gained national notice over the years in part for its social media presence, this year making the Daily Meal’s list of the 101 best food trucks in America.)
Four years ago, he said, social media drew customers that seemed mainly to be “30 and male.” The audience has broadened, he said.
“People are definitely more familiar with the category thanks to ‘The Great Food Truck Race’” — the Food Network reality show — “so there’s a lot less explaining we have to do,” Baitinger said.
Food trucks now gather in greater numbers in Schlitz Park on Tuesdays, at the Milwaukee County Courthouse on Thursdays and at Red Arrow Park on N. Water St. on Fridays. With a limited number of parking spaces and increasing numbers of trucks, food truck operators are hoping for new gathering spots, or more frequent gatherings.
Here’s a look at some of the newer crop of trucks (some just a couple of weeks old) that have joined the long-established trucks like Streetza, Fast Foodie, American Euros and the Gouda Girls. Bear in mind that many trucks make items to order and some have long lines; this isn’t necessarily fast food. You can find some of these trucks at the weekly gatherings, but many also announce their whereabouts via Twitter, Facebook or websites. You also can track them at Tap Milwaukee’s Food Truck Central.
New this year, Roll MKE became something of an instant hit. There’s almost always a line, and with good reason: The sandwiches (all $8, all served with excellent, freshly made fries and a drink) are worth the wait.
The burger with bacon jam and cheddar; the tender, crisped pork belly sliders with banh mi flavors; the braised brisket with gooey cheeses and Peppadew peppers — these were full-flavored sandwiches to remember, even if they were eaten standing up. By comparison, the chicken tinga sandwich didn’t make as much of a mark; still a respectable sandwich, though.
This big red truck’s unique offering is the waffle-encased meats, but I’d highly recommend the burgers.
Wait, what? Waffle-encased meats? Sure, like a corn dog; Eats Treats makes a waffle dog. Also waffle sausage, waffle bacon and the one I opted for, the waffle beer brat ($6 for two). Skewered on a stick, the sausages are dipped in batter before going into a specially shaped waffle maker. Salty things, those brats were; counter that with some syrup for the waffle.
But oh, that burger. The Cheesehead ($8) was a great double burger on a glossy bun with Merkt’s cheese spread. I love a burger made on a flat-top grill, where the juices caramelize — the flavor seems more robust.
Among other treats, the truck sells Purple Door ice cream and shakes.
Silver like a stock pot, the Simmer truck specializes in soups, such as cooling gazpacho or hearty curry lentil (a little salty). Soups come in three sizes ($4.50, $5.50, $6.50), or they’re available in a flight ($5.50). At least one of the four daily soups is vegan.
But Simmer also sells a daily meal in a bowl ($7 and $8.50) — it, too, might be vegan or vegetarian, such as three-bean chili over brown rice — along with salads and panini, like tasty grilled Portobello, red onion and red pepper with tapenade and roasted garlic ($8).
Flirty what, now? Momo, little Himalayan-style dumplings that are like elaborately fluted potstickers filled with beef, chicken, pork with turkey, or cabbage, carrot and cilantro.
You can watch the Flirty Momo crew steam the dumplings ($6.50 or $6.75) in big metal baskets; it’s a presentation kitchen at this truck, what with the wide window allowing a view.
Ginger and garlic flavor the dumplings, as does a mild or hot chile sauce over them. The first ones I tried, on one of the truck’s first outings, weren’t steamed long enough, but they were much better this week.
Side dishes — also offered in combo meals ($7.25 to $7.75, drink included) — include fried rice or spicy peanuts, coated in hot sauce and tossed with fresh cilantro.
Fry Bread N Things
Fry bread — the American Indian raised bread that emerges hot, puffed and golden from the oil — is irresistible stuff. Can’t beat it.
The weeks-old truck Fry Bread N Things will serve it plain ($4) with a choice of dipping sauce, with cinnamon sugar or powdered sugar ($3) or topped with syrups or ice cream ($4) for dessert. Me, I’d advocate for a taco.
Pick ground beef, chicken or pulled pork in a light barbecue sauce and then mull the dozen toppings, everything from lettuce, cherry tomatoes and jalapeno to radishes, celery and sour cream.
The small taco ($4) was plenty for lunch, but the truck also serves a large ($7).
You’re not likely to find the same exact menu twice at Chameleon Mobile Cuisine; like a chameleon’s colors, the menu changes, too.
But…should you see the caprese grilled cheese with fresh mozzarella, pesto and tomato ($7), go for it; it’s grilled until crunchy. Or the satisfying Swedish meatballs ($7), in a creamy sauce over garlic mashed potatoes — I’d hop on that one, too. (Chicken meatballs with curry peanut sauce weren’t as flavorful as they sounded.) Or if the truck has vanilla bean creme brulee ($3), definitely get that. It’s as good as any restaurant’s. Key lime bars on graham cracker crust ($2) make a fine summery dessert, too.
Chameleon, operated by the Soup Market folks, also sells its own bottled root beer.
Sliders and desserts are the specialties at Hattie’s truck. A single slider ($4) was topped generously; bring along a friend to take advantage of the special on two ($7). Mango slaw was a nice touch for the jerk chicken; meatballs nestle beneath tangy marina and cheese.
For dessert — if you reach the truck before desserts sell out — try the peanut butter chocolate cupcake, garnished with a bit of peanut butter cup. You might also find red velvet cupcakes or cake pops.
The menu at Potato Baby revolves around huge potatoes ($7), baked until light. There are a couple of signature combinations, like the spicy Moo-T-Style, with Buffalo-style chicken, grated cheese and ranch or blue cheese dressing. But the idea of creating your own is appealing — start with chicken, chopped steak or ground beef, then pick toppings like broccoli, green peppers, cheese, sour cream, salsa or bacon. Customers can be as calorie-conscious as they wish (or not).
The truck sells nachos and wraps (grilled or fried), though I haven’t been able to resist the baked potatoes yet.
Also new this summer, Beef-E’s dispenses Italian beef sandwiches and various twists on it.
Sure, the cart dishes up the classic Chicago sandwich of thin-sliced beef with giardiniera and the beef’s juices (on the side, poured on or the sandwich dipped in).
But try Judy’s Pot Roast ($6), Italian beef over mashed potatoes with cooked baby carrots, or the Brew Crew ($7) with white cheese curds, bacon and snappy giardiniera. Terrific.
No small part of what makes the sandwiches that I bought so good were the house-made giardiniera and the pure, natural juices.
Jeppa Joes underwent a recent change in ownership, returning to the streets just this week, but the banh mi ($7) was still delicious: pork with pickled daikon and carrot, cucumber, jalapeno, fresh cilantro and Sriracha mayonnaise. I’m looking forward to trying the agua frescas, spicy peanuts and new sandwich — the cermita, with pulled pork and pickled onion — that’s been added to the menu.
The Bun Me cart keeps it simple: a few versions of the banh mi sandwich, all accented with the bright flavors of fresh cucumber, cilantro and jalapeno and pickled carrot and daikon. The pork belly ($6) is salty and chewy, and vegans will find a tofu ($5) version, with either lemongrass or peanut sauce. There’s a chicken version ($5), too.
This new truck sells items that fall in line with the Paleo diet — heavy on meats and vegetables, no gluten or processed foods. Urban Caveman had already sold out of a couple items when I stopped by (burger bowl on sweet potato hash and cashew curry chicken), but I did snap up a lettuce wrap filled with curried chicken salad studded with red grapes and pecans ($7).
Bubble Tea Fusion
Bubble Tea Fusion‘s focus is cooling summer drinks: flavored iced teas and the truck’s namesake, bubble teas. The frozen blended drinks come in a rainbow of colors and flavors, like papaya, strawberry and guava; get them with the big, black tapioca pearls or flavored jellies. A plus: The top of the drinks are sealed with plastic film, meaning nothing leaks out if you’re juggling the drink along with your lunch back to the office. The plastic’s easily pierced with the straw.
Contact Carol Deptolla at (414) 224-2841 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Carol on the radio
Listen to dining critic Carol Deptolla’s At the Table reports on WTMJ-AM (620) at 8:22 a.m. and 3:40 p.m. Fridays, and at 7:20 a.m. Sunday.
Apparently, the company (a shareholder advisory services firm) reached out to Milk Truck since, two days later, O’Connor was fired and Milk Truck tweeted an apology to Glass, Lewis Co, writing: “we do NOT in any way support or condone this behavior-our apologies.” While O’Connor admits that he knew there was a chance of getting fired for his tweet, he also acknowledges the absurdity of the situation, writing: “The justice or injustice of tipping is a question again under hot debate; the incivility of failing to leave a tip on an order of that size, in the current arrangement of things, is not … A part-time food-truck worker with 300 Twitter followers managed to shame some Wall Street firm into getting him fired. What a world.”
- albuquerque street food
- austin food carts
- beer festivals
- best food carts
- best food carts in portland
- charlotte street food
- chicago food carts
- chicago food trucks
- chicago street food
- columbus street food
- dallas street food
- dc food trucks
- dc street food
- detroit street food
- food and wine events
- food cart
- food carts miami
- food carts portland oregon
- food events
- food festivals
- food truck festival
- food truck la
- food truck miami
- food truck nyc
- food trucks
- food trucks chicago
- food trucks in los angeles
- food trucks la
- food trucks las vegas
- food trucks nyc
- food trucks orange county
- food trucks seattle
- gourmet food truck festival
- gourmet food trucks
- hot dog cart
- hot dog carts
- hot food carts
- los angeles food carts
- los angeles food truck
- louisville-jefferson county street food
- memphis food trucks
- memphis street food
- Mobile Cuisine
- mobile food truck
- new york food carts
- nyc food trucks
- oakland street food
- philadelphia street food
- phoenix street food
- portland street food
- seattle food carts
- street food
- street food cart
- street food chicago
- street food dc
- street food in china
- street food in italy
- the green truck
- vending food carts
- virginia beach food trucks
- virginia wine festivals 2011
- wine festivals