Food trucks are an obvious answer for anyone trying to grab a quick bite. Running late for a show and don’t want to miss the opener? Grab an order of dumplings and be on your way. Need a late night snack before heading home after a few too manny beers? A grilled cheese from a kitchen on wheels is sure to hit the spot.
Although customers love food trucks, the city of Chicago and the city’s restaurants aren’t always so keen about their presence on the streets. City regulations can lead to hefty fines for violations and ultimately the closing of food trucks. Extremely limiting restrictions have been placed on where and when food trucks can operate, making it difficult for many to stay in business. For example, legislation passed in 2012 prevents food trucks from parking within 200 feet of a brick-and-mortar business that sells food and keeps them from staying parked in the same spot for more than two hours at a time.
Despite the challenges faced by food truck owners in Chicago, the city remains a place for foodies to indulge in these mobile treats. In fact, it is home to two food truck festivals every summer. Pilsen Food Truck Social took place earlier this month in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood, while Chicago Food Truck Festival is happening this weekend in South Loop. Each year, food truck operators and foodies come together for music, entertainment, drinks, and of course, really great food.
To celebrate our love of quick, delicious food on wheels, we’ve put together a list of our favorite trucks in Chicago.
Beavers Coffee & Donuts
These mini doughnuts are made from scratch daily and are fried to order, so they are always fresh. They come with your standard toppings like cinnamon, powdered, granulated sugar, and chocolate, or try specialties like Reese’s, Nutella Dream, and Fluffernutter. Beavers also serves up “Donut Milkshakes.” Yes, you read that correctly, and yes, they are just as amazing as they sound.
Carnivale Food Truck
The large, festive restaurant in West Loop also serves up its Latin-inspired food out of a food truck around downtown Chicago and at various festivals around the area. On the food truck menu, you’ll find flavorful dishes such as ropa vieja, fish tacos, cubano sandwiches, and truffle fries. This is a great spot for when you need a home-cooked meal without the time and effort of actually cooking.
CheSa’s Gluten Tootin Free Food Truck
Gluten-free food that is totally worry-free for those of you with a gluten sensitivity. CheSa’s sources their ingredients from certified gluten-free suppliers and their kitchen is completely gluten-free, so you don’t need to worry about cross-contamination. Chesareé Rollins combines quality, healthy ingredients with delicious flavors to create mouth-watering meals. Take the “shrimp doodle” for example – a sweet baked plantain topped with guacamole and Cajun grilled shrimp. Yum!
When Jeff Wang quit his day job and purchases and food truck, he had no idea if his dream would actually take off. Luckily for us, it did and we’ve been able to enjoy steamed dumplings and “baowiches” since 2014. Vegetarians can choose the classic veggie dumplings and can substitute tofu for meat in any of the baowiches.
The Fat Shallot
In need of a hearty sandwich to get you through the night? The Fat Shallot offers up a delicious grilled cheese with muenster and spinach on sourdough, a truffle BLT with truffle aioli, or turkey breast on a pretzel bun. Putting their own special twists on sandwich classics is what this truck does best.
Sometimes, you just really need dessert. That’s where Sweet Ride comes in. This Chicago food truck makes handmade cupcakes, whoopie pies, and other sweet treats. They even have a sweet potato cake pop with maple cinnamon cream cheese frosting. *drooling* The truck gained national attention when it was featured on Food Network’s Cupcake Wars.
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