There’s no doubt that food trucks are currently all the rage: these gastro-wagons give street food a gourmet flair and are able to reach customers all over the city and suburbs within a single day. Although stringent ordinances (which, in the past, have banned on-board cooking and continue to prohibit parking within 200 feet of a restaurant) and licensing processes have slowed the development of the Chicago food truck scene, the city still boasts some excellent options.
The clear downside to food trucks is that they’re elusive; yet, certainly, this can be part of their charm! For instance, when you meet upon chance a brightly colored vehicle offering fresh tamales or rich butter-cream cupcakes, your day is instantly complete. However, it typically doesn’t happen this way, and the food truck chase can appear frustrating and futile. Most trucks reach out to customers through Twitter, offering specific locations and times; yet, it is time-consuming to constantly check the Twitters of your favorite trucks.
Luckily Roaming Hunger is here to help. This food truck locator, which is designed to help you “follow the food truck movement,” compiles tweets from food trucks in 32 different U.S. cities and counties (as well as in Vancouver) and then creates maps. These maps are updated throughout the day, with markers indicating where food trucks are currently located. Roaming Hunger, both a website and a free app for iPhones, currently follows approximately 65 food trucks in Chicago, thus covering a diverse array of food traditions.
The truck, which also has a restaurant on Clark Street, serves succulent Argentine pastries stuffed with gourmet savory combinations, such as slow-braised beef with sautéed carrots and onions, topped with Malbec wine reduction. Another favorite includes goat cheese, bacon and dates. These delectable bites are well-complemented with the restaurant’s famous chimichurri sauce.
Created by the owners of Evanston’s restaurants Campagnola and Union Pizzeria, this truck, which is primarily located in Evanston, offers a sophisticated take on the traditional soup, salad and entrée combination. Texas beef burrito, vegetarian quinoa burrito, garlic fries and a mini Valrhona chocolate Panna Cotta are a just few of the delectable creations that have appeared on the truck’s menu.
Cupcake Fanatics Read Below
Roaming Hunger follows several different Chicago cupcake trucks, such as Flirty Cupcakes and Cupcake Gangsters. Flirty cupcakes offers treats like the “Elvis Presley,” which consists of a chocolate banana cupcake base with peanut butter buttercream frosting. There are also different weekly specials, so make sure to keep checking up on new varieties. Cupcake Gangsters’ selection takes on candy bar creations we all love; its coffee toffee crunch is made of mocha cake with chocolate coffee ganache, toffee bits and coffee buttercream frosting, and the samoa is a coconut cake cupcake with a milk chocolate cookie that is dipped in caramel and toasted coconut and covered in caramel coconut buttercream frosting.
The app not only allows you to see all food trucks currently in your area, but it also provides details on distance, food type (sweet, savory, or vegetarian) and hours (breakfast, lunch, dinner, late night, or open currently). You can also “like” certain trucks and receive alerts about them through the app. This is great way for college students to track their favorite trucks and to learn about new ones in support of the ever-growing Chicago food truck scene.