Food trucks have been a sta- ple of big cities, college campuses and just about anywhere else that you find folks on the go and in need of quick, cheap eats.
In recent years, food(ie) truck culture has boomed, thanks to the popularity of television shows like The Great Food Truck Race, and movies like last year’s immensely successful indie film Chef. Many chefs are now open- ing food trucks instead of brick and mortar restaurants. For starters, it’s much, much less expensive. The overhead of maintaining a truck is lower, and you don’t have to rely on as many other people. Many of the more popular food trucks utilize social media including Facebook and Twitter to keep their public updated about their location and events. Event planners can hop on board this trend by book- ing food trucks for their next event.
The Whirly Pig
You know it has to be good when the signa- ture menu item is called The Hog. Chef Zach Whirledge stuffs an onion brioche roll with so much meat you’ll swear there is a whole pig in there—thus the name: slab pork belly, “primal parts” such as cheek, grilled pork loin and shoulder—up to six different cuts, with tangy, tart apple slaw. Whirledge changes up his menu constantly. This keeps his cooks on their toes, and allows him to offer food that is “always new, always fresh,” says Whirledge. The Whirly Pig can cater custom events—just give them a budget, number of attendees to feed and select menu items, and they will take care of the rest. Look for the The Whirly Pig at this year’s Night Market Festivals in Philly, as well as on the Drexel University campus at 33rd and Arch St. and at Love Park.
Dia Doce Dia Doce means “sweet day” in Portuguese. Indeed. Winner of the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars, Dia Doce offers some of the most scrumptious treats in Pennsylvania. With flavors like maple bacon, cereal and milk, jalapeño popper and something simply called the Elvis, it’s easy to see why people have been flocking to this West Chester-based business since its opening five years ago.
Owner and chief baker Thais Da Silva has created a constantly changing menu of bou- tique cupcakes that utilize locally produced products as much as possible. “We just try to surprise people with interesting f lavors and ingredients,” says Da Silva. The cupcakes are always freshly baked, even if it means that Thais has to sleep all day before an event so that she can get up at midnight and work through the wee hours. The Dia Doce truck is also available for special events.
Uncle Paul’s Stuffed Pretzels
Few foods are more uniquely Pennsylvanian than pretzels. Uncle Paul’s takes the humble street food to the next level with its stuffed pretzels, available in a number of flavors, including chicken-bacon-ranch and cheese and the succulent buffalo chicken. The pulled pork stuffed pretzel was voted Best Fair Food at the Schuylkill County Fair in 2013, and the mushroom-onion cheeseburger won Best Burger Grand Champion at the Taste of Hamburg-er Festival. Uncle Paul’s was also featured on Spike TV’s show Frankenfood in 2014. Keep an eye out for this delicious twist on an old favorite.
There is something so wrong and yet so right about this. Offering a delightful riff on the classic pairing of chicken and waffles, Chick’n Cone was started with the question, “What if we tossed crispy fried popcorn chicken pieces in a savory sauce and piled them into a deli- cious waffle cone?” asks co-owner Jonathan Almanazar. This was the question that launched owners Almanazar and Josh Lanier on a journey to find the best ingredients and zestiest sauces to create this delicious mash- up. Chick’n Cone features flavors ranging from Sriracha ranch to maple cinnamon and Carolina BBQ. They will be making the festi- val rounds this year and can always be booked for private events. They can serve anywhere from 50 to 2,000 people.
Chef and owner of Pittsburgh’s BRGR, Brian Pekarcik has some serious fine-dining chops. He spent 10 years working his way up through some of San Francisco’s best known kitchens, including Restaurant Gary Danko, before moving back home to Pittsburgh in 2007. Since then, Pekarcik has won numer- ous awards and accolades for his restaurants Spoon and Grit & Grace, as well as his three brick and mortar BRGR locations. The idea for having a food truck seemed like a logical extension of the business, a way to bring the product to the masses. “At the time, there were only two other food trucks in Pittsburgh. It has been a hot trend for a few years, and we saw the opportu- nity. With having a couple BRGR brick and mortars, it was easier for us to operate and handle the logistics out of the restaurants,” says Pekarcik. Try the cease and desist—it’s chef Brian’s homage to In-N-Out’s famous “secret” burger. He based it on the same fla- vor profile and called it the Double-Double Animal Style on his menu. The fine folks from In-N-Out sent him a cease and desist order to stop using the name and the rest is history. Delicious, juicy, meaty history.
Distrito Taco Truck
If you really want to impress the guests at your next event, why not bring an Iron Chef to the party? Jose Garces is as big a name as there is in the business. The Distrito truck has been a fixture at Philly’s events for the last few years. Whether it’s outside of the Linc during an Eagles game or on the Ben Franklin Parkway during one of the sum- mer music festivals, one thing is for sure— Garces and Co. will be serving up some of the best festival eats you’ve ever had. With a wide variety of catering options available, the Distrito Taco Truck will bring the “best curb- side eats” in Philadelphia to your location.