Any day of the week, Seattle’s food truck scene kicks the dusty old ‘chuck wagon’ image to the urban curb. An unintended consequence of the recession, many Seattle food industry professionals have turned to mobile eateries as an option for doing more with less - less capital outlay and overhead, more visibility and exposure.
Concurrently, hip Seattle consumers have discovered curbside coaches can offer more menu options, higher quality, and greater convenience at a fraction of the cost, usually about $10-$15 per meal.
Here, FoodableTV samples Seattle’s trendy food truck scene.
Versatile Dining Options
Consumers with a craving can feed their fix at Seattle’s many meals on wheels. Sweet or savory? Middle Eastern or Far Eastern? Comfort Food or Soul Food? Vegan or Gluten-Free? Fusion or Fish & Chips? Pork or pressed latke sandwiches? Seattle’s mobile kitchens serve it all, not to mention a mélange of other global cuisines.
Chefs let their imaginations run wild off the menu too, with clever monikers like Biscuit Box, Fruit Chatter Box, Kiss my Grits, BeanFish, Bread & Circuses, Curb Jumper Street Eats, Fez on Wheels, NaanSense, No Bones About It, NOSH, Off the Rez, Peasant Food Manifesto, Poke to the Max, Snout & Co., Soda Jerk, Tasty Vibes, and Wicked Pies.
Even usual suspects like hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza and burritos take on a whole new vibe, including The People’s Burger, Tokyo Dog, WiseGuy Italian Street Food, and Flair Taco.
A workday mainstay, roadside eateries roll up regularly to hi-tech campuses, urban hot spots and suburban office parks. But food trucks service more than techies, office types, and tourists, anchoring weekend neighborhood farmer’s markets too.
Local market-goers in ‘hoods as diverse as West Seattle, Fremont, Ballard, Wallingford, Kirkland, Issaquah, Bellevue, Burien and beyond enjoy their share of the Seattle area’s moveable feasts.
Mobile units also prove popular for private weddings and special events like wine release parties, charity fun runs and auctions.
Meals on Wheels
While a common 'street eats' manifesto claims “It’s all about the food,” the tricked-out rigs capture diners' hearts too.
Some Seattle favorites include Skillet Street Food, a classic Airstream that has long served as an icon for the Seattle street food movement, proving chow trucks can cook and look pretty at the same time. Skillet’s menu rotates weekly, but two menu items remain fixed: a grass-fed beef burger with bacon jam and brie, and gravy-and-cheddar slathered poutine.
Since opening in 2007, Skillet Street Food has branched out to include catering, diners on Capitol Hill and in Ballard, a counter at Seattle Center’s Armory, and retail products such as their famous bacon jam and pumpkin ketchup.
Another beloved landmark in the Seattle food truck scene includes Maximus/Minimus, a Mad-Max inspired mobile pig truck that packs a mean pulled-pork sandwich with an extra garnish of ‘Hurt.” Maximus/Minimus tries to keep things simple, advising folks: “Where to find us? Look for the pig.”
Finally, famed Willows Lodge chef Bobby Moore’s hugely popular Road Toad mobile kitchen brings Barking Frog’s award-winning cuisine to eager street-side clients. Available for hire at special events, The Road Toad features faux-wood siding, zinc counters, and a retractable awning to accommodate any weather condition.
A Social Dining Experience
Thanks to social media, Seattle street purveyors enjoy a virtual foodie frenzy of liking, tweeting, Instagramming and sharing favorite food truck experiences. This viral spiral impacts other areas too, thanks to immediate consumer feedback. Menus change up regularly, as do customer loyalty programs, swag, and gift cards.
The red-hot mobile eats beat inspires an annual summer Seattle Street Food Festival as well as an app called SeattleFoodTruck.com, with the tag line: “where the trucks are.” The uber-easy to use app tracks food trucks by fresh sheets (daily lists), neighborhoods, days of the week, upcoming events, and social media sites - all with a few swipes of the screen.