Thankfully, the best food trucks in NYC are not hard to come by. Peddling some of the greatest and most diverse grab and go food on four wheels, they can be spotted making their rounds through the city every day, parked in high-traffic areas during the week and stopping at festivals and events on the weekends.
If you’re lucky, you’ll stumble upon a food truck at your favorite park or outside of your office building (just follow your nose – or the line around the block). Otherwise, you can keep up with them on social media; many food truck operators are social media stars, tweeting out their daily whereabouts and Instragramming their specials to the masses.
It wasn’t always this way. It used to be – and not all too long ago – that getting your lunch from a truck in New York City was a last-ditch effort for a meal – a quick, if questionable, place where hamburgers, soggy sandwiches and dirty-water hot dogs were served cheap to those who had no time and no other option but to settle for the sake of hunger.
Then, sometime during the Recession, when people couldn’t dine at restaurants as often as they used to and restaurant owners could no longer afford to own or operate them, the food truck trend took off. Suddenly, the idea of roach coach food trucks was replaced by gourmet mobile vendors serving up creative, good food that New Yorkers were willing to spend their lunch breaks waiting in line for.
Food trucks have become a national phenomenon, but they are especially compatible with the fast-paced lifestyle and diverse palettes of the New York crowd. Many vendors have even graduated from the streets to their own brick and mortar stores. Check out our picks for 12 of the best NYC food trucks below and be prepared to get hungry!
Best Food Trucks in NYC for Comfort Food
The Korilla BBQ truck first hit the streets in 2010, giving New Yorkers something new to chase after with its craveable Korean-Mexican fusion menu, featuring create-your-own Korean barbecue burritos and tacos. Think bulgogi steak burritos wrapped up with bacon kimchi fried rice and smoky sweet barbecue sauce, and gochujang-marinated pork tacos with cucumber kimchi and pico de gallo. The rice, noodle and salad bowls are also great for when you’re not in the mood to eat with your hands. All items are customizable with your choice of protein, and add-ins including housemade kimchis and sauces.
Must-try: Tiger balls. Panko-crusted deep fried bacon kimchi fried rice balls, blended with Monterey Jack cheese and smoky Korilla sauce.
Where to Find: Follow @KorillaBBQ on Twitter and Instagram for updates on truck locations or visit their restaurant in the East Village on 3rd Ave and St. Marks.
During the week, you can always find Uncle Gussy’s parked at 51st Street and Park Avenue. It’s here that brothers Nicko and Franky serve their mother’s authentic Greek recipes to a line of hungry patrons and suits from the surrounding buildings, upholding a tradition of vending in NYC that was started by their uncle nearly half a century ago on the same corner. Quick service, generous portions at great prices (mostly less than $10) and food that feels like it’s straight off their family table – not to mention their mom’s stellar Tzatziki sauce – has earned them rave reviews and a steady clientele of regulars.
Must-try: For a full meal that includes rice and salad, get a platter. Go for the traditional gyro platter, made with juicy sliced beef and lamb, or try the veggie, which has kolokithokeftedes (aka fries zucchini balls) with feta cheese.
Where to Find: 51st and Park outside of 345 Park Avenue, Monday-Friday, 10am-4pm.
Long Islanders may be familiar with Eddie’s of New Hyde Park. The long-standing establishment has been serving its signature “bar pie” pizzas for generations. Now with Eddie’s Pizza Truck, the bar pie is available throughout NYC. It seems that besides a beer, the only partnership more fitting for the super thin crust personalized pizza was a food truck. Customers can pick a personal 10” or large 16” pie and select from a list of over 25 different toppings or try one of their premade options including Margarita and Hot Chicken with chicken cutlet, hot cherry peppers, hot sauce and garlic. And you don’t have to feel guilty about this pizza; the crust is so thin that a basic small pie is only 270 calories.
Must-try: The $10 lunch special. Served from 11am-3pm, the special includes a personal pizza with 1 topping of your choice, a side and water/soda.
Where to Find: Follow @EddiesPizzaNY, or call the truck phone at 917.439.7522 between 11AM and 3PM for exact location.
Phil’s Steaks is one of the best food trucks in NYC – some say the greatest – to get an awesome and authentic Philly cheesesteak outside of Philadelphia. Like most great things, Phil’s keeps it simple, serving their premium beef on Philadelphia-made Amoroso rolls with a choice of hot or sweet peppers, sautéed mushrooms or extra cheese. Ordering is traditional, either “wit’” or “wit’out” fried onions, and sandwiches come in both full and half portions. Upping the Philly factor, they refer to their truck as the “Jawn” – Lil Jawn to be exact – Philadelphia slang used as a noun to describe just about anything.
Must-try: Whiz steak, “wit’” or “wit’out” fried onions. Cheese whiz is the most classic Philly cheeseteak topping, but other options like American and Provolone are available as well.
Where to Find: Lil Jawn makes its way around the streets of NYC Monday-Friday. For updates on locations, follow @philssteaks.
Lobster & Seafood
With storefronts in Red Hook, the East Village and Montauk, a place in the UrbanSpace Vanderbilt food hall, stands at some of the top markets in the area and their roaming food truck, Big Red, it seems you’re never too far from Red Hook Lobster. Headed by husband and wife team Ralph Gorham and Susan Povich, who are dedicated to providing the freshest lobster from Maine, Red Hook is all lobster all the time. In addition to lobster rolls, made with huge chunks of claw and knuckle meat, in various styles including Maine and Connecticut, they also offer a selection of lobster-laden salads and soups.
Must-try: The Tuscan Lobster Roll, tossed in basil vinaigrette. Or order the Lobster BLT, served with fresh sliced tomatoes and thick-cut bacon.
Where to Find: Follow Big Red on Twitter @lobstertruckny.
The Nauti Mobile (Luke’s Lobster Truck)
Luke’s Lobster is a AAA Diamond Rated restaurant with locations all over the Northeast, plus Chicago and Vegas, but the most convenient way to get a hold of one of their real-deal Maine-style lobster rolls is from the truck. They prepare their lobster, crab and shrimp rolls with a quarter pound of seafood on buttered, griddled New England buns with only a swipe of mayo, a bit of lemon butter and their secret seasoning. The Nauti Mobile is usually at Pier 13 in Hoboken, but you might catch it on the blocks of NYC, too. You’ll find the 2 Nauti at some of the top events in New York and New Jersey. And don’t miss Luke’s Tail Cart at the Whole Foods Market in Williamsburg, where you can grab one of their fresh lobster tails with homemade dipping sauces.
Must-try: A classic lobster roll. Make it a combo with chips, slaw a drink and a pickle. And if you’re really hungry, pair it with one of their chowders, bisques or soups.
Where to Find: Text or call 917-881-7866 to find out the trucks whereabouts or follow on Twitter @lukesnauti.
The Cinnamon Snail is a four time Vendy Award winner known for making flavorful, creative vegan food that is mouthwatering to both vegans and non-vegans alike. The menu changes with the seasons, but you can expect sandwiches among the likes of Korean Barbecue Seitan with housemade kimchi, and Thanksgiving Sandoo, which melds holiday comfort flavors like porcini mushroom seiten and parsnip sage bread pudding on a baguette. All items are also available as bowls over green or red quinoa pilaf. And don’t forget to leave room for dessert! Their large and ever-changing selection of irresistibly over-the-top doughnuts and pastries are made fresh daily.
Must-try: Three words: Beastmode Burger Deluxe. This ancho chili seitan burger is anything but flavorless vegan food. Grilled in maple hickory barbecue sauce, it’s topped with jalapeno mac and cheese, arugula, smoked chili coconut bacon and chipotle mayo and served on a grilled pretzel bun. And don’t leave without a doughnut!
Where to Find: The truck roams through New York and New Jersey. For updates on locations, follow @veganlunchtruck or stop by their storefront at the Pennsy food hall on the corner of 33rd Street and 7th Avenue.
The Taim Mobile is the mobile version of the West Village and Nolita falafel and smoothie bar of the same name. Owned by Chef Einat Admony and her husband Stefan Nafziger (who also own restaurants Balaboosta on Mulberry Street and Bar Bolonat in the East Village), Admony has created a menu of Israeli street food with a twist that includes what many consider to be the best falafel in NYC. Everything is strictly vegetarian and mostly vegan. If you’re not stopping by the truck for a falafel or hummus sandwich/platter, you may want to try a smoothie, which come in delicious-sounding flavors like lime banana and pear mint lemon. There’s also homemade ginger mint lemonade and pomegranate honey iced tea to get excited about.
Must-try: A falafel sandwich “with everything,” will get you the works – a spicy condiment called s’rug amba (pickled mango chutney), pickles and peppers.
Where to Find: Visit their website for seasonal schedules and on Twitter at @TaimMobile.
Coming out of Los Angeles, Coolhaus has grown to a fleet of ten trucks that travel the streets of Southern California (where they also have two storefronts), Dallas and New York City. Visit them to mix and match unique combinations of homemade cookies and ice cream to make the sammie of your wildest dreams. Keep it traditional with something like salted caramel ice cream with chocolate chip cookies or get more adventurous with flavors like French toast ice cream with maple flap jack cookies. If you want to get really weird, you can try marbled rye cookies with pastrami ice cream. Other unusual flavors that have been featured on their menu include Cuban cigar, pizza and foie gras PB&J. 5-6 cookies and ice creams are offered on the trucks daily and are a combination of seasonal and core flavors. And you can eat the wrapper, which is also kind of fun.
Must-try: Any combination of ice cream and cookies that sounds the most delicious to you!
Where to Find: Follow @CoolHausNY for daily menus and truck locations.
If you ever find yourself within close proximity of the Wafels & Dinges truck, then you are sure to succumb to the allure of its sugary sweet waffle aroma. They make two varieties of waffles – the classic Brussels Belgian and Liège. And while the Belgian waffle cannot be knocked, the Liège is where it’s at. The yeast waffle is made with a brioche batter with large pearl sugar crystals that never quite melt all the way, making it crispy and caramelized on the outside and providing a delicious sugary crunch on the inside. The dinges are the toppings. Whether you’re craving ice cream and Nutella or barbecue pork, they have whatever you are in the mood for, sweet or savory. Feeling ambitious? Take on the MWD aka the Wafel of Massive Deliciousness, and pile on unlimited dinges for an extra $3.
Must-try: Go all-out Belgian and get a Liège waffle with spekuloos spread. Add some whipped cream on top. Don’t be shy.
Where to Find: Call the Hot Wafeline for locations: 866-429-7329. Once you’re in the general area, let your nose guide the way! Follow @WaffleTruck.
“Leave the gun, take the cannoli.” Treating the five boroughs to homemade cannoli and Italian pastries, the La Bella Torte truck fittingly sports the famous line from The Godfather in big letters above its front grille. It’s helmed by Joe and AnnMarie Glaser who started the business when, after finding themselves out of work, went to culinary school and became pastry chefs. The menu is an enticing list of sweets, featuring Nutella cakes and chocolate salted caramel tarts, as well as espresso drinks. They have also added a few savory items to their menu such as personal pizzas and Italian sandwiches.
Must-try: Cannoli are their specialty. For two of their best desserts in one, get the Godfather, which serves cannoli cream sandwiches in between two chocolate chip espresso cookies.
Which of the above best food trucks in NYC do you hope to track down the next time you are in the city? Tell us in the comments.