The Best Food Trucks on the Coast
Raw & Juicy
At Florida’s coastal Highway 30A’s first organic food and juice bar, owner Jennifer Kuntz blends up zesty fruit juice combinations with ginger and greens, tosses crisp salads with kale and avocado, and mixes raw dessert bars with coconut and dates. Kuntz converted this old Airstream trailer into a kitchen, and set up shop in Seaside, a planned community with a vibrant town center. The Raw & Juicy brand, now with a brick-and-mortar extension to its Airstream roots, is such a favorite among both locals and vacationers that many keep open tabs running. "A lot of musicians and actors seek us out—Vince Vaughn comes often, and Reese Witherspoon will eat here three meals a day—but the coolest part is all of the kids and locals who have learned that to feel better, they have to eat better," says Kuntz. "Fresh, light food really connects with the lifestyle at the beach."
Charleston, South Carolina
Since debuting their Short Grain food truck in Charleston in 2014, chef Shuai Wang and his wife, Corrie, have made onigiri (triangular rice balls) and chirashi (rice bowls scattered with fish) the talk of shrimp-and-grits country. Shuai, Beijing-born and Queens-raised, weaves together elements from his background and from the place he now calls home. Take, for instance, his B.K.T.—a bao bun stuffed with country-fried bacon, kale, and local tomatoes. Or his Southern Veggie Poke, a riff on the Hawaiian classic that substitutes seasonal produce such as turnips and butter beans for seafood.
“We use a lot of weird-sounding sauces and ingredients. But I’m presenting those ideas in a context that’s familiar,” Shuai says.
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Inspired by classic Italian gelaterias and headed by a founder with more than two decades of food industry experience, HipPOPs of Miami and South Florida offers a playful, colorful spin on the handcrafted treat-on-a-stick genre. HipPOPs's offerings include gelato, sorbet, and frozen yogurt, with countless toppings and three kinds of premium chocolate dips. Best of all, HipPOPs uses high-quality local ingredients in its all-natural, gluten-free, kosher pops, which are made in small batches in its Dania Beach, Florida micro-creamery.
Los Angeles, California
The Rooster Food Truck’s slogan promises to make your morning meal "dope again," and the menu of burritos, burgers, and breakfast sandwiches definitely holds up its end of the deal. Cage-free eggs promise an early-morning meal sans guilt, and the house salsas that top many of The Rooster’s offerings will give you a jolt even your coffee can’t. Find The Rooster—headed by a former Chopped and Cutthroat Kitchen competitor—parked outside coffee shops across LA.
Bite into Maine
Cape Elizabeth, Maine
Rolling along the rocky shores of the Pine Tree State, Bite into Maine offers a fresh take on the traditional New England lobster roll (think curry and wasabi mayo alongside classics like the Connecticut-style with hot butter). And when they say they use only fresh local ingredients, they mean it. Everything from the bread, butter, veggies, and even sodas (Moxie, Maine Root Co.) offer a unique taste of Maine. Two trucks serve up tasty, buttery lobster goodness all summer long, and a soon-to-open brick-and-mortar in Scarborough means there’s plenty to go around.
Stoked Wood Fired Pizza Co.
The 3,000-pound wood-fired oven in the back of Stoked’s fire truck–red pizza mobile serves up delectably smoky crusts—even better, the toppings range from classics like cheese and pepperoni to the Buffalo Cauliflower and Spinach (with gorgonzola cheese). If tracking down the truck isn’t your speed, grab a seat at the pizzeria in Brookline, which is open all week and has an expanded menu (plus a full bar).
Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck
North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii
For phenomenal shrimp served with no frills, head to one of Giovanni’s two trucks in either Kahuku or Haleiwa. The trucks, graffitied with the John Hancocks of years of satisfied shrimp fans, are impossible to miss. And once you have a taste of Giovanni’s heaping shrimp plates—all served with a dozen jumbo shrimp and two scoops of rice—you’ll be more than willing to leave the white sand beaches of Hawaii for more.
San Francisco Bay Area, California
Sample New England flavors with a West Coast twist at Sam’s ChowderMobile, a local favorite in the San Francisco Bay Area. A fleet of food trucks grown from a brick-and-mortar, Sam’s Chowder House in Half Moon Bay, brings fresh seafood—think clam chowder, lobster rolls, shrimp po’ boys, and more—to towns from Napa to Monterey, with at least one to be found among the hilly streets of San Francisco itself.
Rocket Fine Street Food
Providence, Rhode Island
Track down Rocket’s white truck in squares, plazas, and farmers markets around Providence for a burger that you won’t believe came from a food truck. Rocket uses high-quality (and often organic and local) ingredients in its classic burgers. The basic burger comes only with grilled onions; “crew favorites” include customizations, like the Ron Swanson, which adds an organic fried egg and applewood-smoked bacon. Non-burger fans will love the hot dogs and veggie burgers, and everyone will want to pick from the rotating selection of sides (think baked mac & cheese, spicy kimchi potato salad, and sweet & sour cabbage slaw).
New Orleans, Louisiana
Tacos and avocado fries are the stars on the menu at Taceaux Loceaux, which serves authentic flavors while parked outside bars across New Orleans in the afternoons and evenings. Taceaux Loceaux offers vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options, too, all with the playful combinations of its classic tacos.
Hoboken, New Jersey
Here’s a curveball: This is a food truck for dogs. The Frosty Pooch serves bone-shaped frozen "puppsicles" and homemade ice cream in dog-exclusive flavors like bacon-peanut butter (a best-seller, naturally). "Everyone knows my truck, so they're expecting me on the weekends," says owner Angela Meyers. She makes the desserts using ingredients (such as bananas and lactose-free milk) that work for pets with sensitive stomachs. "There's a dog named Norman who loves my apple-pumpkin ice cream," says Meyers. "Store-bought treats that his owners have given him have made him sick, but pumpkin is easy to digest." And with her own two German shepherds serving as taste testers, Meyers knows that all of her treats are pup-approved. Bone appetite!
Key West, Florida
Tucked away in the back of Grunt’s Bar a block off of Duval Street, this permanent food truck is known for flavorful fresh catch fish tacos, Korean BBQ tacos, and a decadent Umami Burger. Grab a craft beer from the bar to enjoy with your meal and enjoy live music while you wait for your food.
Flash Crabcake Co.
Bel Air, Mayland
Marylanders are serious about their crabcakes, and Flash Crabcake Co. delivers in a big way from its mobile platform. There’s only one item on the menu: Fresh, Maryland-style crabcakes served right out of the oven. And if you’re feeling generous and want to serve the delicious fare to a crowd at home, Flash also offers a “Take it Baked” option for buying crabcakes ready to heat in the oven at home.