Archive for the ‘Feature’ Category

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As a sports fan growing up in the Northern suburbs of Detroit, MI, I had the opportunity in the 70’s to latch onto a sport that had a relatively small niche following. The National Hockey League was available every Saturday evening via the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) before the advent of cable television.

I would watch my home team Red Wings every chance I had and grew to love the sport even though, I didn’t play it. In the 80’s the league expanded and began to take teams out of small markets in Canada and the US rustbelt, and moved them to warmer parts of the country in an attempt to wrestle away viewers of the NBA and NFL. The league had some success in doing this, and went prime time when the NHL signed huge television contracts with ESPN and FOX Sports. What happened next was alien to me, but in an attempt to make the sport more palatable for the whole country, the NHL agreed with FOX, to allow a blue dot to follow the puck during play on their national television broadcasts. This trend quickly died, as long time fans, turned the channel in disgust, as they watched as their small niche sport make the move to the big time.

The ratings started to plummet enough that both ESPN and FOX dropped their weekly programming of hockey, why? Because the original fans stopped watching, and the trendy new blue puck wasn’t enough to keep the new fans. A new trend in the food truck industry has reminded me of hockey history, and if something isn’t done to protect it, we may see the equivalent of a blue dot following the food trucks in our industry.

Although food trucks have been in the United States (primarily NYC and Los Angeles) since the 70’s, the industry has reached new levels of prominence in the country over the last 3-5 years. The big turning point for the industry was this year’s inaugural season of Food Network’s “The Great Food Truck Race” which brought mobile cuisine to the national stage.

Food trucks are popping up in every region of the country, and more and more cities are legislating new ways to allow the industry within their limits. Yes, this is great for the mobile entrepreneurs who prefer to open up mobile dining vehicles as opposed to traditional brick and mortar establishments, but at the same time, large corporations are starting to look at the industry as a means to market for their already established restaurants. It has been reported over the last few months that companies such as Sizzler, Tasty D-Lite and Cousins Submarines are planning entry into the food truck industry. It appears, their marketing strategy isn’t to help the food truck industry, but to attract customers to their in-line restaurants.

I found out from the Wall Street Journal, that Aaron Webster, owner of three Tasti D-Lite stores in Houston, says he bought a used van last year for $90,000 from the frozen-dessert brand’s parent company. It’s complete with a small refrigerator, freezer, sinks, countertop, soft-serve machine, toppings bar and power generator. A bubble-gum pink exterior features the brand’s logo and website address.

Mr. Webster, a former investment banker, uses the van to sell ice cream mostly at community events and for catering jobs. He says mobile sales account for less than 2% of total revenues for his businesses but that the van is helping to raise brand awareness. “It’s really a roving billboard,” he says.

A roving billboard? Is that really where we want to see the industry head? Of course the National Restaurant Association opened up a measly 1,500 square feet of its annual show to food trucks last year, how else would they be able to show all of the national restaurant chains how they can expand their current stores?

Please don’t take this article the wrong way, expansion of the industry is a good thing, and healthy competition on the streets will help to maintain creative menus and innovative fare being served from food trucks. However, our concern is what the next step in this evolution may entail.

As it stands today, many cities already have limits on the number of licenses they issue to mobile food vendors, if these mega corporations delve into food trucks with the backing of their huge coffers of capital, where will that leave the small business owner who loves to cook, and has a new twist on burgers or tacos they wish to share? Will they have to wait 10 years before getting the proper license because Taco Bell or McDonalds already has fleets of 10 plus trucks rolling around each major market in the country? Will cities draw back from their current support of the industry because there are too many corporate applications being submitted for review and approval? Or even worse, will there be a backlash by the current followers of trucks such as Kogi BBQ, The Big Gay Ice Cream, or The Nom Nom Truck? Will these loyal fans turn their backs on the established trucks because of the onslaught of profit driven establishments that litter every corner of the public right of way?

I certainly hope not, however, if nothing is done to help protect against this, I am afraid in the next few years we may have our own version of the blue dot following our industry.

After last week’s introduction to Meatless Mondays, Mobile Cuisine Magazine has received numerous inquiries about meatless options in the Food Truck Industry. In today’s article, we will provide you with an introductory list of vegetarian/vegan food trucks around the country. We have created this list on Twitter, and it can be followed here.

As we find more trucks, we will be sure to add them. No matter what part of the country we investigated, we have found meatless options everywhere from Durham, NC to Portland, OR, from New York, NY to Austin, TX to multiple cities in the Southern California region. The cuisine these trucks provide varies from authentic Indian to barbeque, from salads to deserts. The options are almost endless, which goes to show, how health conscious many in the industry already are. We hope that directing our readers to meatless food trucks, more truck owners will follow the trend and give their customers more meatless options, not only for Mondays, but for the entire week.

fojolbros fojol bros – a traveling culinary carnival

DesiFoodTruck Desi Food Truck – NYC’s first ever Authentic Indian Mobile Food Truck. Kati rolls, Chicken Tikka Masala, Chicken Curry & rice, Mango Lassi & More! The Corner of 27th St & 5th Ave

IndianFoodTruck Indian Food Truck – Indian Food Truck, Durham, NC

ButtermilkTruck The Buttermilk Truck – Mobile diner bringing housemade breakfast favorites day and night!

BorderGrill Border Grill Truck – Gourmet tacos, quesadillas, ceviches, and more from “Too Hot Tamales”

dimsumtruck THE DIMSUM TRUCK – The World’s Biggest Dim Sum Cart – The first & only food truck serving authentic dim sum!

NanaQueens Nana Queen’s Truck – Nana Queen’s is the 1st Mobile Catering Truck to specialize in Banana Pudding and Wings!

IndiaJonesCT India Jones Truck – Gourmet Indian street food truck !

chairmantruck Chairman Bao Truck – We offer traditional and flavorful Chinese steamed and baked buns that use the freshest ingredients – savory and addictive.

ButtercreamPhl Cupcake Truck – Mobile Cupcake Bakery in Philadelphia

BistroTruck Bistro Truck – Gourmet Food Truck

whatthepho Mobile Pho Truck – Mobile Pho Truck. Roaming the Bay Area. In your town? Tomorrow.

VizziTruck Vizzi Truck – Coastal infused cuisine for all your sense.

joyridetruck Joyride Truck – Joy in a Cup – Serving Gourmet Frozen Yogurt and Stumptown Coffee on the Street.

YattaTruck Yatta Truck – Good food in yo mouth!

thepietruck The SF Pie Truck – delicious meat and veggie pies!

thelimetruck The Lime Truck – Ever changing menu combining healthy salads, delicious grilled sandwiches, decadent tasty treats and unique limeades and aqua frescas

cloverfoodtruck cloverfoodtruck – everything will be different tomorrow

GreenTruck Green Truck – Organic , vegan-friendly mobile food, and production catering.

MandolineGrill Mandoline Grill – Traditional and vegan-friendly Gourmet Vietnamese food truck serving the streets of Los Angeles!

CCVegan CounterCulture Vegan – Counter Culture is a vegan and raw food concession trailer in Austin, Texas, open Thurs-Sat, 12-8, Sun 12-6. Chef/owner Sue Davis.

wolfandbears wolf and bear’s – Veg/Vegan/middle eastern from scratch. Thurs-Mon.11-7.

SeabirdsTruck Seabirds Truck – We’re a vegetarian catering truck in Orange County that uses local and organic produce. Meet us at the curb for a great meal! Vegan, gluten-free, raw options.

hotpeppasteppa Granny’s Truck – Organic Jamaican Super Food…Jerk Chicken, Ital Stew, Brown Stew Fish and all kinda of patties!! Also Vegan Jerk everytime:)

organicavenue Organic Avenue – LOVE*=Live Organic Vegan Experience

VeganLunchTruck Adam Sobel – The Cinnamon Snail is the country’s most raunchy mobile Vegan Organic restaurant! We serve Hoboken NJ Thursday-Saturday, Red Bank NJ on Sunday.

goodkarmatruck Rachel Carr – We are a raw vegan ice cream truck, bringing conscious ice cream catering to LA!

lagueratamalera la guera tamalera – white-girl tamale maker: organic *non-gmo corn masa*no lard*no trans fat*gluten free*tamales for vegans, vegetarians + shameless carnivores

OrganicOasis organic oasis – The world’s first organic smoothie truck. We sell vegan organic smoothies, organic frozen yogurt, raw snacks, ginger shots and coconuts. Eco friendly truck.

theicycle The Icycle –Biking frozen treats on a tricycle throughout the LA area. Local food artisan and vegan goodies on board.

We know there are many more trucks that have meatless options than are listed here, however, we felt the list would be more relevant if we added trucks on a regular basis, instead of providing an initial list which may only leave out a few trucks.

If you own or know of a truck you feel would be a good fit for this list, please let us know and we’ll be sure to add them so others can follow them too.

Please do your part today and join the movement? Signing up is fast and easy! Follow them on Twittter

Mobile Cuisine Magazine looks forward to continued coverage of Meatless Monday for our readers!