Food trucks are quickly becoming a perfect merger of convenience, food-enthusiast culture, and the entrepreneurial spirit. Sure, the idea of food-on-the-go isn’t a new one, but with their popularity steadily rising for the better part of a decade, food trucks have proven they’re no passing fad. What was once a niche market limited to bigger cities has quickly become the go-to choice for chefs (low overhead) and diners (low cost), and the ever-increasing competition seems to draw out the best in culinary creativity. These chefs constantly push the boundaries of what they can do to make their food, their service, and their truck itself stand out — which is exactly the sort of atmosphere that brings out customers in droves, making food trucks a distinct culinary culture onto themselves.
But what makes someone opt for a restaurant with wheels instead of walls? Sure, there’s a certain nomadic independence that food trucks convey — even if the reality is a lot different from just picking a spot and pulling the parking brake. There’s also a lingering assumption that a food truck is a way to dip one’s toe in the restaurateur waters before committing to a lease. And while that may still be the case for some, as food truck culture evolves, these mobile eateries aren’t necessarily seen as a restaurant’s first draft, but rather an endgame unto themselves.
To get a better perspective on this growing phenomenon, we talked to a few food truck owners in a handful of different cities about exactly what goes into making their unique ventures possible.