Courtesy of Alejandro De Los Rios (edited)
Going to a restaurant can be frustrating -- you're surrounded by terrible people, you have to wait for a seat, and at the end of the night there's a 0% chance of the building driving you home. Food trucks don't just eliminate all these problems, but they also feature some of the best bites to be had. These 21 trucks take street food to ridiculous new heights, with inventive chefs turning street food into an art form... art that you can eat while sitting on a curb. Not even Banksy can do that!
Where to find it: Rolling through the streets of Atlanta, but you can track its whereabouts through its website.
The menu: This truck peddles delicious Latin American-style paletas and frozen popsicles ranging from crazy seasonal flavors like pear-vanilla and caramel apple to year-round ones like chocolate-sea salt, Arnold Palmer, and cereal milk, which is killer.
Where to find it: 61 Rainey St (behind Craft Pride) and 1111 East 6th (in front of Violet Crown Social Club).
The menu: The best thing to come out of old Detroit since Robocop, Via 313 dishes out square, MoTown-style pies. The crust is thick and fluffy, and the cheese gets a mouth-wateringly caramelized crust. Go with the the Detroiter, and you get all that plus two types of pepperoni.
Where to find it:
2500 E. 6th Street, sharing a lot with Kellee's Place.
A renowned meat master, Mueller smokes out everyone in the BBQ game, which is no small task, considering Snoop Dogg's uncle has a rib truck in Oregon. Out of his trailer setup, he does everything from smoked turkey to pork shoulder to beef sausage. But you should opt for the brisket or beef ribs above all, perfectly smoked by one of the top pitmasters in the world.
Courtesy of Zac Wolf Photography
Where to find it: Ft. Point, Dewey Square, and Cleveland Circle, plus a bunch of other very lucky places.
The menu: These food-truck pioneers seriously up the grilled-cheese game with a small, fresh menu of fancified sandwiches. Get your hands and mouth on the homemade guac and applewood bacon-packed Green Muenster Melt, and, on a colder day, be sure to pair it with the roasted tomato soup for the best Grandpa lunch imaginable. Oh, and you can add bacon to anything, including, we assume, the Nutella hot chocolate.
Where to find it: Goose Island, River North, The Loop, and Hyde Park: Follow them on Twitter to keep up on their whereabouts.
The menu: These guys are serving up serious made-to-order sandwiches and sides, and you wanna order the pretzel-bunned salami sandwich alongside the namesake fries with giardiniera. Getting anything/everything else on the menu wouldn't hurt either... until later in the evening.
Where to find it: River North, The Loop, and Hyde Park, though check out their calendar and locate 'em daily here.
The menu: If Agent Dale Cooper was investigating in Chi Town, this is where you'd find him 99.5% of the time. The place is bursting with great coffee, milkshakes, and donuts loaded with toppings, like the Turtle's chocolate & caramel sauces, plus pecans or the S'mores that's covered in chocolate & marshmallow sauces with graham cracker crumbles. It's a damn, damn fine truck.
Courtesy of Aaron Miller
Where to find it: They're usually rolling through the streets, so make sure to consult their schedule.
The menu: Using Angus beef patties, these ladies build super-tasty, unique baby burgers like the Sweet & Lowdown, which sports a strawberry jam-goat cheese-bacon combo, or the Nutty Pig, which rocks enough peanut butter and bacon to make Elvis come out of hiding.
Courtesy of Rebecca Feder
Where to find it: A whole load of different places, so just peep their schedule.
The menu: Making these Venezuelan-inspired arepas from scratch, Quiero's corn-based cakes are stuffed with an awesome array of fillings. Definitely cop the Pabellon with shredded beef, black beans, sweet plantains, and mozzarella, but save room for a few of the other 15 varieties, which combine everything from Italian to Cuban influences into the tasty casing.
Los Angeles, CA
Where to find it: Kind of everywhere, seeing as they've got four trucks roaming around LA ready to feed you. Check out their full schedule right here.
The menu: There's a reason no one will shut up about this place, which combines two of LA's most dominant cuisines into a glorious fusion of Korean and Mexican influences with results like the classic short rib taco and spicy pork burrito. Actually, there're a bunch of reasons... and one of them is a Sriracha candy bar.
Courtesy of Matt Meltzer
Where to find it: Usually in the Wynwood neighborhood, but stay in the loop here.
The menu: Operating out of a customized 1962 Airstream, gastroPod has an ever-evolving and inventive menu, cooking up things like lamb-fennel sausage sliders with goat cheese, and burgers with brisket, short rib, and sirloin patties. Give the Old Dirt Dawg a go, since you're not going to come across a fondue, mustard seed, and slaw-topped hot dog too often. Unless you live in Wynwood.
Courtesy of Drew Wood
Where to find it: Kind of really everywhere, but you should still check out their schedule and events.
The menu: This simple, bright-orange cart packs some serious punch with skin-on wieners and brats topped with a choice of scratch-made beer mustards, relishes, and caramelized onions. If you're trying to regulate your cholesterol, you might want to order just one... then chill 'til the next episode to try more.
Courtesy of Taceaux Loceaux
Where to find it: Dos Jefes Cigar Bar and other Uptown NOLA spots, which you can find out right here.
The menu: Served up in a truck decked out with killer Day of the Dead artwork on the side, this place's tacos are deadly delicious. Go for the Messin' With Texas with slow-roasted brisket and salsa picante or the Carnital Knowledge with slow-cooked pork and chipotle aioli that'll leave you sweaty but satisfied.
New York, NY
Where to find it: On Bay & Clinton Streets in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn.
The menu: A family-owned business that won last year's Vendy Cup, El Olomega is famous for authentic Salvadoran pupusas, which are corn flour tortillas stuffed with everything from pork to chicken, shrimp, veggies, and cheese. They also offer traditional fare like rice and beans, sweet plantains, and Atole de Elote, a hot drink made of yellow corn.
New York, NY
Where to find it: Roaming around Flatiron, SoHo, Fidi, Midtown, and Dumbo, so just make life easier and use their truck finder.
The menu: This Korean caravan is all about the options, and ordering can be like a choose-your-own-adventure story where you end up taking a nap instead of trapped in a haunted cave. You choose your vessel (wrap or bowl), type of rice (definitely go for the bacon kimchi), and protein (get bulgogi or spicy pork), then get a bag of pure, free-will deliciousness. They also have a wide selection of pickled and regular veggies, along with a whole slew of hot sauces.
Courtesy of Adam Robb
Where to find it: 33rd & Arch, plus roaming around some other parts of town find out where on Twitter).
The menu: Dishing out the American comfort food classic, you can grab bowls of mac & cheese with add-ins like BBQ chicken, cornbread crumbles, Philly cheesesteak, fried onions, and ketchup. Or bring out your inner mac scientist and pile on your choice of seemingly unrelated toppings to make a masterpiece.
Courtesy of The People's Pig
Where to find it: SW 10th & Washington
The menu: In a town where you can't throw a rock without hitting a hipster and having it ricochet off his head into a food truck, the options are limitless. But the People's Pig has one thing most don't: house-made porchetta, carved thick and placed on a bun packed with arugula and drizzled with lemon. There's pulled pork, wild boar, and brisket on the ever-changing menu, but once you see that porchetta, you become pretty single-minded.
Courtesy of Sara Norris
San Diego, CA
Where to find it: Primarily a catering company, you're gonna wanna try to get invited to an event that books these guys, or just brush up on your wedding crashing. Should you not be so fortunate, you can like them on Facebook to stalk their locations extra hard.
The menu: Using the "farm-to-street" philosophy (so that's why the chicken was crossing the road!), MIHO uses local ingredients for a fresh and seasonal menu featuring dishes like jerk pork sandwiches, grass-fed beef burgers, fried chicken biscuits, and bacon/chocolate chip cookies.
Courtesy of Joe Starkey
San Francisco, CA
Where to find it: Easily keep up with their travels on their site.
The menu: Inspired by original Asian street food, these buns are way more satisfying than Greg Smithey's, and considerably less creepy. Any will be the right choice, from the Coca-Cola braised pork with cabbage to the spicy chicken with toasted sesame puree. Buns come steamed and baked, so you can choose what you most want to Mao down.
Courtesy of Joe Starkey
San Francisco, CA
Where to find it: A bunch of soon-to-be-bacon-filled spots, which you can check on their schedule.
The menu: With offerings like bacon fried chicken, a triple bacon taco, a literal bacon bouquet, and chocolate-covered bacon, this is basically a chariot that descends from heaven to pack you with pork. But don't overlook the great, unassuming burger with sautéed onions and cheddar. Oh, and bacon.
Courtesy of Chona Kasinger
Where to find it: South Lake Union, Georgetown, and Sodo, but keep a lookout here.
The menu: Throwin' down some serious Creole cuisine, Where Ya At serves up traditional dishes like jambalaya, gumbo, and shrimp & grits, but you should probably go for a po' boy like the Peacemaker, which boasts fried oysters, bacon, pickled hot peppers, cheddar, and zero George Clooney.
Rachel Freeman is a copy editor at Thrillist and loves to eat, but doesn't have a license. Thus, she greatly enjoys food being brought to her on wheels. Follow her into the abyss @rachelifreeman.