Monday, June 25, 2012

Food Trucks come to Memphis!

Ten years ago the words 'food truck' concocted images of moving greasy spoons serving triangle shaped sandwiches and the equivalent of Mel's chili. (Children of the Eighties holla!) Affectionately known as 'roach coaches' these rolling concession stands left a bad taste (literally) in most of our mouths.

Several years later a food revolution has started. No longer are food trucks the lower species on the culinary evolution scale. They are now chic rolling kitchens that frequently serve up gourmet food in a mondo artistic fashion. The food truck revolution has taken a hold in cities like Los Angeles, Seattle and Portland where literally thousands of customers flock to these chow wagons on a daily basis.

Many of the food trucks do all of their advertising through social media outlets. One food truck owner stated " We can send out 144 characters and get 1,000 people to our truck!"  While you can find American standards like burgers and hot dogs on these trucks, there is a truly eclectic buffet of foods that you can find in the modern day food truck scene. Korean short ribs, Shepard's Pie, Indian curries and a host of diverse dishes are now being served out the side of the trucks.

So you can imagine my surprise to hear that Memphis is now home to a growing food truck scene. Yes foodies, there is a Santa Claus! On Sunday June 24th there was a 'Food Truck Rodeo' held on Broad street in Memphis. A host of food trucks were there serving up hot and fresh dishes. Each one having their own unique taste and approach to street foods.

Food trucks from Revival, Fuel, Tamale Trolley, Yolo, Marks Grill, B&B, Quincy's, Crumpy's Square Meal on Wheels, Kona Ice, Sleddogs and Memphis Munchies all made an appearance. The temperature was hot, the crowds were plenty and the food was tasty!

I had heard about Revival for quite some time and decided to try their Buffalo Chicken Sandwich. If your thinking to yourself "What can be done with buffalo chicken that hadn't been done?" then please hold that thought. The chicken was pulled (not a patty) nicely marinated and served with a wonderful slaw on fresh baguette. It had just a hint of spicy but not too much to kill the flavor. Really nice. The lady running Revival advised me that their menu is ever-changing which means I can try a completely different dish every time I see them!

My second dish to try was from Fuel.  Fuel specializes in using fresh ingredients including meats and poultry that are all grass fed with no antibiotics. Their menu was quite varied with items ranging from Bison tacos to veggie tacos. I chose to try the 'Grilled Cheese and Berkshire Bacon'. Holy mother of God, this simple yet complex heatstopper was made with heavily buttered country white bread, stuffed with baby swiss, cheddar and provolone and bacon. I gave my friend a bite and he looked at me and said "that is just wrong." Aaaamazing.

My friend Brian decided to try a barbecue bologna (Mississippi prime rib) sandwich from 'Scooter's Bar-B-Que'. It was a hunkin chunk of delicious pink pork slathered in a rich brown bbq sauce. He followed it up with a plate of tamales from the ever popular 'Tamale Truck' which he assured me was quite delicious.

After pondering on how much more bread, butter and other healthy ingrediants we could take in, we decided to step up and try Revival's 'Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding'. Let us pause.................................................

If you could eat heaven. If you could sample Utopia. If you could digest world peace....let me just be blunt with you....IT'S DOUGHNUTS AND BUTTER AND CARAMEL....should there be any more questions? I just got a shiver thinking about it. This dessert will probably go on my list of last meal desserts. Amen, halleluiah, so let it be done....

I was very encouraged by the number of people who came out and ate in the heat! The food truck movement is growing in Memphis and it will continue to help the local food culture grow. Support your local food trucks and preserve foodies in the Bible Belt!



  1. Great review! I hope the pizza truck is there next time because I'd love to try their food. The veggie tacos from Fuel were amazing, and my friend had the bison ones and he loved them. I can't wait to see more food truck action!

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