Food on wheels no longer means sitting in your car at Mickey D’s, tapping the steering wheel while a harried mom chooses gender-specific happy meals. Now Nashville has food trucks, a leap up the food chain that can give you food that’s pretty fast, really varied and totally without toys that hype the latest Disney film. Yes, you’ll probably wait in line, but it’s one in which you stand with like-minded gourmands who don’t have a problem with high-end fare served up without a linen tablecloth in sight.
Mas Tacos Por Favor
This food truck plus brick-and-mortar eatery — translated, it means “more tacos, please”—was one of the first of the popular food trucks in Nashville. The eatery set up shop in a mid-’70s Winnebago in the summer of 2008. Owner Teresa Mason serves up tasty tacos Tuesday through Saturday in her East Nashville store at 732 McFerrin Ave., but still takes the Winnebago out to spots around town as the schedule permits. Mas Tacos has options you don’t expect, specialties like fried avocado and quinoa sweet potato. More familiar choices like chicken or fish tacos are available, too. And Mason doesn’t stop at just tasty tacos; she also makes the traditional Latin American drink, horchata—with a nutty, cinnamon flavor— and watermelon agua fresca. Find the day’s specials on Twitter: @mastacos.
The Bang Candy Company
If you’ve ever found yourself craving artisan marshmallows, but didn’t think there was any way to satisfy that oddly specific yearning here in Nashville, know that there’s now a food truck for you! The Bang Candy Company is here for anyone “in need of a sugar buzz,” with an unpredictable array of homemade hot chocolate flavors and their hugely popular gourmet marshmallows. Some unique marshmallow flavors you can expect are chocolate chili, espresso praline, ginger orange cinnamon, toasted coconut or —my personal favorite—rose cardamom. A typical box includes four chocolate-dipped marshmallows that melt in your mouth and make you wonder how it took so long for this food truck to come along. Find out where the truck is dishing out sweets on their Twitter and Facebook pages, or stop by Fido or The Belcourt to grab a box of your own. You can order online soon at bangcandycompany.com.
Barbie Burgers, one of Nashville’s newest food trucks, has been open for a little more than a month and is already generating traction. The truck already has gained a lot of early support from followers, restaurant co-owner Hillary Fulwider said. “We’ve really loved all the community support. We’ve sold a lot of food and made a lot of hungry people happy.” The new truck tries to evoke the feel of a ‘50s soda fountain, complete with burgers, fries (a mix of sweet potato and regular fries), and a number of shakes and malts. Fulwider allows customers to customize their burgers with a variety of toppings, wrappings and sides, like avocados and eggs. “We have some unique toppings. It becomes kind of more fun that way. People create what they like,” said Fulwider, who quickly mentioned her restaurant’s more creative dishes: the peanut butter bacon cheddar burger with a banana shake. If you remember anything from this truck beside the food, it’ll be the Barbie dolls that line the top of the bubble gum pink RV. Barbie Burgers serves primarily in East Nashville, but can also be found around the city. Follow the truck on Twitter @barbieburgers.
As warmer weather arrives, Nashvillians look for more ways to keep cool, and two local sisters are serving up a solution. Alice Carpenter and Elizabeth Gammans grew up on Long Island. They moved to East Nashville, but they missed the East Coast. “We missed the ocean and Italian Ice,” Carpenter said. Thus was the beginning of Izzie’s Ice, a mobile trailer and cart that serves scoops just like they ones they enjoyed as kids. The paper cups hold a variety of all- natural, fresh ingredients daily, and customers are in for a new set of seasonal flavors including lemon, blueberry, tart cherry, orange and many more. Featured in Her Magazine, the Tennessean, and winning the Nashville Scene’s Best of Nashville 2010 award, the Izzie’s Ice craze is rapidly spreading. “Apparently people are ‘tweeting’ about us,” Carpenter said. The truck is still mobile, but it also has a home base at 1400 Woodland Ave. in East Nashville, Izzie’s Ice has added Nathan’s Famous hot dogs, chips and soda. For more information, go to izziesice.com, or follow Izzie’s on Twitter or Facebook.
It may sound like a long lost Saturday morning television cartoon from the 1980s, but it’s actually Nashville’s only mobile pizza truck. Started by friends Jonathan Kingsbury, Kenny Gay and Ben Jones last September, it’s grown to become one of the more popular food trucks in Nashville. Their pizza isn’t your standard delivery or DiGiorno fare—Gay’s mom makes the crust that’s coated with a special mixture of brown sugar, garlic, pepper and Parmesan cheese, and their cheese is a blend of mozzarella and provolone. They’ve gone all out baking the perfect pie, and the long lines for the slices prove it. The truck is frequently at Cummins Station and Mercy Lounge, but you can track it on Twitter @pizzabuds,.
— Kevin Heim
The Grilled Cheeserie
The Grilled Cheeserie, as its name might suggest, focuses on a dish many wouldn’t usually consider an adult meal. “We like to say it’s gourmet kids’ food, grown up,” said Crystal Bogan, who runs the aptly-named food truck with her husband Joesph. Crystal, a chef by trade, opened the mobile restaurant in December. She and Joesph were attracted to serving grilled cheese because of its versatility and potential for creativity. “Grilled cheese is something you can play with,” Crystal said. The Grilled Cheeserie offers a variety of options for customers to individualize their sandwiches with four types of bread, nine types of cheese and 10 sandwich add-ons. The truck also serves a variety of specialty sandwiches and side items, including homemade tomato soup, pudding cups, vintage bottled soda and Tater Tots. The “kids’ food” seems to work well, as the Bogans are booked well into this year and plan to open a second truck exclusively for Williamson County in 2012. “It’s been a great experience so far. People are nice and so excited. How can you not be excited about it?” she said. The Grilled Cheeserie does not have set stops in Nashville, but tries to stop in the same areas of the city on the same days of the week. Track them down on Twitter @grlldcheeserie.