"Street food" has been around for a long time, but these days, tiny food carts, stands and trucks are more popular — and more gourmet — than ever. The culinary entrepreneurs who run them know you don't need a huge sit-down restaurant to give customers a delicious dining experience.
These 10 food trucks from around the country are serving up so much more than just mobile meals — aspiring business owners can learn a lot from their creativity and innovation, too.
Bacon can do more than just top off breakfast platters and sandwiches, and that's exactly what San Francisco-based food truck Bacon Bacon is out to prove. The truck offers a dozen different bacon-centered dishes and several sides, including a bacon bouquet. There are even some interesting dessert options: candied bacon chocolate chip cookies, and chocolate-covered bacon. In fact, the only thing on Bacon Bacon's menu that doesn't include bacon is their french fries — and even then, you can order the truck's special "Porky Fries," an upgrade on the basic potato dish, which includes pork shoulder, pork belly, bacon and peppers.
Del Popolo is a mobile pizzeria in San Francisco, and it's one of several food trucks out there changing the way people see food trucks — literally. Del Popolo is a food truck created out of a repurposed trans-Atlantic shipping container, complete with a wall of glass doors so customers can see the interior. The truck comes with a traditional Italian-made wood-fired oven and serves "rustic Neapolitan-inspired pizza using ingredients sourced from small, generational producers," according to its website. Some of their mouthwatering pizza creations include an oven-roasted asparagus pie with green garlic pesto and fresh mozzarella and pecorino; a fennel sausage pie with crushed tomatoes, Calabrian chili and spring onion; and a traditional Margherita pie.
This New Jersey food truck company serves up fresh empanadas and tamales throughout the state. Empanada Guy maintains a fleet of eight trucks, with a ninth on the way. True to the empanadas history as a versatile food, there's a wide variety of fillings available, from beef and chicken to pulled pork and even lobster. New Jersey residents are used to seeing the truck pop up around town and at festivals, usually with a sizable line at the window. "Empanada Guy Food Truck has given me a chance to do exactly what I set out to do from the beginning, bring my product to the people. It brings me great joy to interact with my customers and watch their reactions when they first try my stuff," Carlos Serrano, founder of (and also the) Empanada Guy, said on his website. In addition to their common public appearances, Empanada Guy can also be hired to cater private events
Fire Truck Crepes
Made from a repurposed fire truck, Fire Truck Crepes is run by two emergency medical services professionals who were fascinated by the food truck industry. The Denver-based truck serves a variety of sweet crepes and savory crepes, so whether you've got a taste for cheesecake or chicken, this menu has a crepe for every craving. You can even add ice cream to some of the truck's crepe creations by ordering them a la mode (though we wouldn't recommend it with the steak and cheese). According to the company's website, Fire Truck Crepes can be booked for parties, company events, luncheons, concerts and even weddings.
King of Pops
If you ever find yourself in Atlanta on a hot day, track down King of Pops. This truck is all ice pops, all the time — and not the boring, sugary, fake-fruit-flavored treats you're used to from the grocery store. With both fruit- and milk-based options, and flavors like blueberry lemongrass, cereal milk, creamy avocado, honeydew lime zest, Mexican chocolate and tangerine basil to choose from, you can't go wrong. The best part: If you've got food allergies, you're in luck, as the company's website lists which ice pops contain milk and gluten. And since King of Pops uses locally sourced ingredients, you can see exactly where the fruits, veggies, herbs and even dairy products come from on the website, as well. King of Pops also provides catering services for events. [See Related Story: 7 Summer-Themed Business Ideas You Can Start Right Away ]
Mac Mart Cart
Love macaroni and cheese? Mac Mart Cart in Philadelphia puts its own unique spin on the staple noodle dish. You can order Mac Mart's classic seven-cheese mac 'n' cheese if you want to keep things simple, or turn things up a few notches by trying dishes like the Buffalo chicken cheesesteak mac or the "crabby mac," which includes crab meat dip, cream cheese and Old Bay-seasoned potato chip crunch. For the vegetarians out there, there are plenty of options like spinach artichoke mac, jalapeño popper mac and even tater tot mac. And you're not limited to a boring bowl of pasta — you can turn your macaroni and cheese order into a sandwich between Texas toast or hash brown patties, or order it on top of french fries or a hot dog.
Seattle-based food truck Maximus/Minimus is all about options — that is, the option between hot and spicy foods, and sweet and tangy foods. Each item on the truck's menu comes in a hot variety ("maximus") or a mild, sweeter variety ("minimus") even down to the drinks. For main dishes, Maximus/Minimus serves up pulled pork sandwiches, vegetable sandwiches and grilled chicken sandwiches, with side dish options including coleslaw and macaroni and cheese. If you're more of a maximus kind of person, you can always order extra maximus sauce to further spice things up. And did we mention that the truck is designed to look like a huge metal pig? That might be why Maximus/Minimus is best known for its pulled pork.
If you love maple syrup, you'll love Snowday: The entire menu is maple-centric, including the truck's "Famous Maple Grilled Cheese," which includes sharp cheddar, sourdough bread, maple syrup and optional additions like smoked ham and strawberry chutney. But Snowday isn't just your typical food truck — it calls itself "a vehicle for social justice," and rightfully so. The truck is run by a New York organization called Drive Change, which helps to empower formerly incarcerated youth by helping them learn real job skills so they can go on to full-time employment or go back to school. All of Snowday's ingredients are sourced from farms in upstate New York.
The Silver Seed
Vegans, rejoice — this food truck in Fort Collins, Colorado, should hit the spot. The Silver Seed is known for its healthy vegetarian food, with a menu that includes dishes like butternut squash tacos with pickled cabbage and barbecue sauce, homemade beet lemonade and a vegan take on the famous Philly cheesesteak, complete with green chili nacho cheese and pickled cherry peppers. All ingredients are 100 percent plant-based and sustainable, so it's a great meal spot for environmentalists, too. The Silver Seed posts its upcoming locations on social media so you can find it easily, and the truck often makes appearances at local events.
Wafels & Dinges
Wafels & Dinges is one of the most well-known food trucks in New York City. The truck sells nothing but authentic Belgian, Brussels and Liege waffles (wafels) and toppings (dinges), with both sweet and savory options. With toppings like dulce de leche, Nutella, Spekuloos cookie spread and various nuts and fruits, you can't go wrong. And for the savory waffles, you can order a waffle with bacon and maple syrup, pulled pork or even a chili con carne waffle. has everything from hot cocoa and coffee to ice cream (with waffle cones, of course) and milkshakes, too, so there's something delicious for everyone. The truck is also available for catering.
Additional reporting by Brittney Morgan (Helmrich).