Food Truck of the Week: Windy City Patty Wagon

By Sarah Freeman  |  July 22, 2013
Credit: Nick Murway

Food Truck of the Week is our tribute to Chicago's booming food truck industry. We highlight the people putting the pedal to the metal in the street food scene.

The good ole paddy wagon, it came in handy in the early 1900s when mobsters needed to be hauled to the slammer. Today, while the antiquated term fades into history and a new Patty Wagon is king of the Chicago streets. This one carries burgers, not criminals. Windy City Patty Wagon is helmed by Danny Herra and now patrolling the city with burgers grilled fresh on the truck. No need to commit a misdemeanor to get its attention, follow its whereabouts a Twitter to try some criminally delicious burgers.

  • Credit: Nick Murway

    The Truck

    As poetic as it would be to say this food truck used to be an actual paddy wagon, the truth is it's a reclaimed uniform delivery van. The 26-ft. truck was purchased last year and built as the city enforced regulations. It carries two char broilers, one griddle and a hood that doubles as a cheese-melter. But the amenities are not limited to the truck, back at home base in Pilsen, The Windy City Patty Wagon has a rooftop garden about the garage with self-watering earth bins filled with herbs and tomatoes that are used on the burgers.

  • Credit: Nick Murway

    The Food

    Sure you can have your bacon cheeseburger, but why would you when you can decide between a beef, poultry or vegetarian. The stuffed patty is filled with Chihuahua cheese and topped with roasted poblano pepper, green chile aioli. The mushroom burger doubles down with sautéed baby portabella mushrooms, smoked provolone and mustard aioli. The filling spicy chicken patty is combined with quinoa and covered in pepper jack cheese, tangy slaw and old bay aioli. The drink of choice with any of The Patty Wagons patty is a seasonal agua fresca.

  • Credit: Nick Murway

    The People

    Danny Herrera has 17 years of industry experience including opening bar manager of Rockit Bar & Grill as well as working at restaurants in Hawaii and San Diego before returning to his hometown. “I had the idea for the food truck in the LA area where scene is big over there, and I knew it was only a matter of time before it came here to Chicago.” Herrera launches his truck with his brother Lou and has a team of six working each day to make patties from scratch. “Being in the restaurant business for so long, I’m all about food am passionate about quality and fresh ingredients.”