12 o’clock on a weekday? You know what that means, and so does everyone else—it’s lunchtime. In New Haven, this means heading straight for the food trucks lined up around the city.
Having never experienced the up-and-coming sensation of meals with wheels myself, I was surprised to find a whole street just a few blocks from my workplace crowded with food trucks serving up lunch. And they weren’t just any ole food trucks either. Each food truck owner has carved out a niche of unique, hybrid cuisines offering hungry New Haven-ers a wide variety of foods to choose from.
Options range from Mexican barbecue to Mediterranean to Thai to Italian to gourmet cupcakes and homemade cannoli. Inspirited by recent waves of immigration from countries like Mexico and the Dominican Republic, the city’s culinary palate has morphed into something much more diverse than ever before and truly special to New Haven. Many owners have interesting stories to tell about the how their food truck came to be, which makes their food taste all the more special.
These are just a few of the ones I’ve had the chance to try this summer.
Mamoun’s Cart is well known for their falafels and gyro wraps. Pictured above is the gyro wrap that has tons of people lined along sidewalks every day of the week.
Ay! Arepa has brought Columbian and Venezuelan cuisine to New Haven in the form of the arepa, a corn pocket stuffed with savory fillings and served alongside cheese, avocado, or salad.
The Cannoli Truck has a unique story that brings its customers to want to share their own personal stories with the vendors. After Tony and Betty Meriano were taken from their family by cancer, their children opened the truck and began donating a portion of their proceeds to the Smilow Cancer Center at Yale New Haven Hospital. While many customers connect with the truck on a personal level because of its inspiring origin story, they’re also drawn in by the amazing cannoli menu options that come in a variety of flavors, such as Oreo and peanut butter.
New Haven has grown to be one the biggest food truck cities in American, even hosting their very first Food Truck Festival last summer. But what has caused food trucks to become so popular in New Haven?
For one thing, they are a practical option for individuals who dream of sharing their food with a wide customer base. For established food entrepreneurs, food trucks serve as extensions of pre-existing businesses. To newcomers, food trucks are a way for them to easily publicize their business in a cost-effective way. Compared to restaurants, food trucks cost less money, require less people to run the business, and their mobility allow owners to move their trucks to high-traffic locations to ensure good business.
I have yet to try every food truck but judging from the mouthwatering smells drifting out trucks, they’re all bound to be worth the wait during the lunchtime rush hour. Next time you’re looking for a quick lunch to-go, throw calories to the wind and truck it.