Food - Atlanta food truck roundup
A look at 8 food trucks on the streets now
After cooking in chain restaurants for most of their careers, brothers Sean and Jason Truelove were ready for a project of their own — to be their own bosses and to give diners another high-quality choice for street food. Armed with plenty of restaurant experience and a collection of old family recipes, the Trueloves started Mighty Meatballs in 2011. They took inspiration from their grandmother’s recipe for Neapolitan-style meatballs made with a mixture of beef and pork, pine nuts and raisins. Grandma’s meatballs and marinara on freshly baked bread is the truck’s signature dish, but the Trueloves have also managed to put a fresh spin on a traditional meatball sub. Their version of a Vietnamese banh mi starts with a pork meatball seasoned with Thai basil and fish sauce and topped with a tangy Sriracha mayo, cilantro, carrot, and sliced jalapeños. Meatballs can be enjoyed three ways: Naked ($2.50), as a slider with one meatball ($3), or as a sandwich ($8).
Yum Yum is proud to call itself “Atlanta’s first licensed mobile cupcake/dessert truck,” and has become a staple among the city’s street food vendors. Owner Nadia Dehessa, a marine biology major-turned-custom cake decorator, was born into a family of Jamaican bakers. Dehessa took note of the growing popularity of cupcake trucks in the North, and decided to implement her own mobile cupcake operation in Atlanta. Dehessa converted a used trailer into a concession stand and began selling her wares in 2009 at local festivals. Now, Yum Yum’s caravan includes the modest mobile trailer and two full-fledged food trucks. All three are painted in an unmistakable fuchsia. New flavors are added weekly, but Yum Yum’s menu revolves around a core lineup of cupcakes ($2.75 each) such as the Penelope, a chocolate cupcake frosted with peanut butter buttercream and a peanut butter drizzle. Another favorite, the Ruby, is a classic red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting. The Kennedy pairs a vanilla cupcake with a pleasantly tart Key lime curd filling and Key lime buttercream frosting. The Betty (a chocolate chunk brownie with dulce de leche buttercream) is chewy and reminiscent of a corner piece in a brownie pan.
Members of the Hollcroft family grew up eating their grandmother Nana G’s chicken and waffles, a recipe she’s been preparing for nearly 75 years. (Yes, Nana G is a real person. She is 101 years old and currently resides in Orlando, Fla.) In the summer of 2011, Nana G’s grandson Guy decided to take her recipes to the streets of Atlanta. Nana G’s Belgian waffles ($4) are infused with bacon. Add two strips of chicken to the mix and you have the Papa G’s ($8) — a bacon-infused Belgian waffle with two seasoned chicken strips doused in hot maple syrup and dusted with powdered sugar. Nana G’s chicken is brined and marinated in buttermilk and spices for 48 hours, leaving the strips tender and seasoned. For a more straightforward breakfast dish, try the Auntie P’s ($6), a bacon-infused waffle topped with sliced bananas, maple syrup, and powdered sugar.
The Blaxican owner Will Turner was laid off from his marketing job in 2011. But there was a silver lining to his misfortune. He decided it was time to find a vocation that did more than just pay the bills. Turner realized there were two things he was truly passionate about: sharing his creative home cooking, and helping people. So he decided to start a food truck. His cooking style blends elements of Mexican cuisine and soul food, hence the name. The Blaxican’s menu is divided into two main categories: Mexy Main Dishes and Soulful Sides. Perhaps the Blaxican’s most overt example of cultural fusion is the smoked turkey collard green quesadilla ($4). The collards are bitter with a hint of spice and flavored with smoky hunks of turkey. The greens are laid over salty shredded Cotija cheese and grilled in a flour tortilla. Philly nachos ($5) are red, white, and green tortilla chips topped with thinly sliced steak and grilled onions and drizzled with melted queso.
The W.O.W! food truck is proof that a truly great meal can change your life. For owner Wendy Cross, a chance encounter with Venezuelan arepas in New York City was that meal. After one transformative bite of the savory corn cake and tender meat, Cross knew she wanted to bring the dish home to share with her fellow Atlantans. Cross teamed up with the folks at Duck’s Cosmic Kitchen in Decatur and W.O.W!, aka Wonderlicious on Wheels, was the result. Not surprisingly, W.O.W! has become known for its own miniature version of the South American classic. Savory griddled corn cakes are sliced open and stuffed with slow-roasted meats such as smoked pork or brisket. The arepas ($3.50), dubbed “Venezuelan sliders” on the menu, are finished with W.O.W!’s creamy “kicky sauce”: cilantro, lime, garlic, and jalapeño. The corn cakes are seared until crisp on the outside while remaining soft and creamy within. Another favorite, the Kwanza Bowl ($7.50), named after street food advocate Kwanza Hall, is a mixture of oven-roasted potatoes and caramelized onions topped with smoked pork, cheddar cheese, kicky sauce, and bacon.
Banged Up and Mashed owner David Loesch fell in love with British cuisine while studying abroad in Wales. When he came home, Loesch realized just how grossly underappreciated the food was stateside. He enlisted the help of an English friend and decided to introduce Atlantans to his beloved English pub fare. Their flagship dish, bangers and mash ($8), is a hearty and satisfying combo of pork sausage served on a bed of buttery mashed potatoes topped with savory onion gravy. Authentic fish and chips ($7) are made with flaky Atlantic cod coated in a tempura-beer batter and served with hand-cut fries. One of the most popular dishes in England is adopted from India: Chicken Tikka Masala ($7). Banged Up’s version is a stew of slow-cooked chicken and Indian spices served over white rice and chewy naan. Enjoy it with a knife and fork or pick the whole thing up and eat it like an Indian gyro.
Owner Jackson Smith learned the craft of gelato making under the tutelage of Jon Snyder, owner of New York City’s renowned Il Laboratorio del Gelato. A Southern boy at heart, Smith began experimenting with Southern flavors such as mint julep, ginger molasses, and bourbon pecan. After receiving an overwhelmingly positive response from family and friends, he decided to bring the concept of a Southern-inspired gelato shop back home to Georgia. Many Southerners grew up eating honeysuckle straight off of the vine, so Smith named his line of all-natural sweet treats after the flower. An ode to Elvis, the Kang is banana ice cream laced with creamy ribbons of peanut butter caramel. The Pucker Up lemon sorbet tastes like biting into a frozen lemon. Awfully Waffley is a fun mix of maple and bits of waffle cone. Mix and match any two scoops for $3.50.
Roswell natives George and Jessamine Starr Long started the Good Food Truck back in 2010, making it one of the granddaddy food trucks here in Atlanta. With a focus on fresh ingredients from local farms, the Good Food Truck offers inventive, easy-to-carry dishes mainly inspired by Southern comfort food. Many dishes also have an international twist, with influences from India, Thailand, Mexico, and Italy. Its signature dish, the Poodle ($5), is a beef hot dog on a French toast bun topped with apple-maple slaw and spicy mustard. In addition to the Poodle, a rotating cast of savory waffle cones ($6) filled with things like vegetable curries, or a summer salad of watermelon and arugula, make up the menu. Other variations include an Indian-inspired curry cone with samosa potato salad and mint yogurt, and a Mexican chili-lime cone filled with spiced black beans and rice. In addition to their truck, the Long’s have added the Trike and the Rickshaw/Curry Cart to their family of vehicles for indoor gatherings and carting desserts.