Competition | February 2011 | By Daniel P. Smith

America’s Top 20 Food Trucks

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Solar Waffle Works

Hometown: Portland, Oregon
Serving: Waffles
[Too cool for the Web]

Solar Waffle Works arrives from the minds of Portland high school students, who handled market research, truck design, marketing, and health department certification. Also a non-profit program created to help at-risk students transition into post-high school life, the solar-powered food truck serves some of Portland’s most creative fare, including an appetizing maple bacon waffle (five strips of apple-smoked bacon on top of a maple butter spread). Solar Waffle Works sources most of its food from within a 200-mile radius and even offers vegan-friendly options.

Rickshaw Dumpling Truck

Hometown: New York City
Serving: Dumplings
www.rickshawdumplings.com

A three-truck fleet, Rickshaw has regular customers who rejoice when “Dumpling Day” parks in their slice of the Big Apple. Looking to expand his restaurant’s brand, Rickshaw Dumpling Bar owner Kenny Lao turned to mobile units to share the popular, centuries-old street food, including healthy options like chicken and Thai basil dumplings, vegetarian edamame dumplings, and Peking duck dumplings.

Crepes Bonaparte

Hometown: Orange County, California
Serving: Crêpes
www.crepesbonaparte.com

Crepes Bonparte’s mustachioed truck (“Gaston”) features custom-made crêpe griddles where customers can view their crêpes’ creation by a beret-wearing chef while listening to French pop music. Signature crêpes include the PCH (peanut butter, Nutella, and honey), which tastes like a warm Reese’s peanut butter cup, and the Wake-Me-Up Breakfast crêpe, which features fresh-cracked eggs, mozzarella, and pesto.

Honorable Mention

The Munchie Machine

www.themunchiemachine.com

The L.A.-based Munchie Machine earned a loyal following for its gourmet grilled sandwiches, hand-cut parmesan pesto fries, and delectable Scooby Snack, a peanut butter-and-jelly s’mores sandwich.

Truckin’ Good Food

www.truckingoodfood.com

Jeffrey Kraus opened Truckin’ Good Food in Phoenix to deliver French dishes with hearty Midwestern flair, including pommes frites (double-fried potatoes in duck fat) and sweet crêpes.

Sweetflow Mobile

www.sweetgreen.com

A spawn of Washington, D.C.’s popular Sweetgreen eatery, the Sweetflow Mobile serves organic frozen yogurt with seasonal toppings as well as salads and wraps consistent with its healthy lifestyle branding.

Buns on Wheels

www.bunsonwheels.com

This Seattle food truck offers customers convenience—outdoor seating,
rain protection, and a patio heat lamp—alongside natural, clean burgers.

Joe’s on the Nose

www.joesonthenose.com

A San Diego “drink truck,” Joe’s features artisan espresso, coffee, and tea drinks, as well as various organic hot chocolates and blended drinks.

Big-Ass Sandwiches

www.bigasssandwiches.com

A Portland favorite, Big-Ass serves its robust, homemade sandwiches with fries on the sandwich, thereby creating Big Ass–specific flavors and combinations diners crave.

King of Pops

www.kingofpops.net

Steven Carse mans this Atlanta food cart that serves handmade gourmet popsicles, such as pumpkin pie, blackberry lemonade, and grapefruit mint.

Daniel P. Smith will be covering the fall of the pizza industry in the next issue of QSR.