Must-Try

8 Best New Philly Food Trucks for Summer

By Danya Henninger  |  June 3, 2014
Credit: Danya Henninger

The weather is perfect and picnicking has never been easier, thanks to the fast-growing crop of food trucks in Philadelphia. From unbelievably rich tacos to cool ice cream cones, here are eight of the best new ways to eat on the street this summer - an integral part of making this your Best Summer Ever.

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  • Credit: Danya Henninger

    South Philly Barbacoa

    It’s worth making the trip to the relatively obscure corner of Eighth and Watkins on a Saturday or Sunday morning (6 AM to sellout) for the unparalleled barbacoa from husband-wife team Benjamin Miller and Cristina Martinez. She learned to slow-roast lamb growing up in Mexico, he has worked in kitchens around Philly (most recently Kanella) and together they’re putting out what might be the best tacos in Philadelphia from their tiny cart.

    Best Bite: Whether it’s rich shreds of barbacoa layered with pickled cactus salad or spicy pancita, either of the tacos on the tiny menu is a satisfying snack ($3 each).

    Insider Tip: Add a cup of consommé to your order of tacos - the rich lamb stock is makes this garbanzo-and-rice-studded liquid one of the best soups in the city.

  • Pie Stand

    Brendan O’Guinn and Shannon Wyffels take inspiration from French crêperies when building their pan-fried handpies, filling them with stuffings both sweet and savory. Find their trailer built from recycled and repurposed materials in Fishtown on weekend evenings and at the Vendy Awards on June 14 (see the full Vendys lineup here).

    Best Bite: The classic apple sweet pie is good enough to cure any childhood scarring from those abominations served at McDonald’s ($5), and the beef bourguignon savory pie is like a decadent dinner wrapped up so you can carry it in the palm of your hand ($7).

    Insider Tip: The chefs-owners are dedicated to helping others, and each weekend they give out pies to homeless and hungry people. They’re looking to partner with more nonprofits to make a greater impact.

  • Oink & Moo BBQ

    After wowing New Jerseyans with their smoked pork, ribs and chicken, Josh Sacks, Sean Parker and Jon Konopack decided to launch a Philly truck. It’s now making the regular rounds, with regular stops at the Navy Yard, in the loft district outside Venturef0rth coworking complex and 33rd and Arch in University City.

    Best Bite: Babyback ribs aren’t the easiest street food, but this rack is worth getting messy for, especially with the square of cornbread to mop it all up ($9).

    Insider Tip: All meats are smoked right on the truck using hickory, cherry and apple woods, so don’t even approach if you don’t want to get hungry.

  • Credit: Danya Henninger

    Curbside Creamery

    Dennis Harding wanted to open a food truck, but didn’t know much about cooking. One morning he came up with a brainstorm - a gourmet ice cream truck! - and somehow convinced his wife, Khalifah, to join his plan. Now the couple roves the region, scooping Lancaster County ice cream into housemade waffle cones and waffle bowls.

    Best Bite: Beat the heat with a scoop of mint chocolate chip or pleasantly tart black raspberry. For a more decadent spoonful, go for the caramel-laced Snickers.

    Insider Tip: Choose from an assortment of house-baked cookies in flavors like toffee crunch and triple chocolate to build your own ice cream sandwich.

  • Foolish Waffles

    Florence Gardner and Robin Admana offer two different kinds of Belgian waffles from their bright-yellow truck. Brussels-style brings squares that are light and crisp, with hints of maple and vanilla. Liege-style “sugar waffles” are much more buttery, almost like brioche. Find both - along with savory waffle “tacos” - at The Porch at 30th, the Navy Yard and assorted weekend festivals.

    Best Bite: Get the best of sweet and savory breakfast with the sausage-gravy waffle, topped with two fried eggs and maple syrup ($7.50).

    Insider Tip: Pay attention to the truck’s Twitter feed to catch word of the super-rare special collaboration with LOS Burgers - a breakfast burger with jam and a fried egg, sandwiched between two waffles as buns.

  • Flying Deutschman

    Lifelong chef Stirling Sowerby decided to leave the corporate food world to get back to working for himself, and he looked to his German heritage to create the menu for one of Philly’s physically largest food trucks. Find his schnitzel and wursts at Clark Park, the Navy Yard and other locations around the city.

    Best Bite: Bratwurst links are made by a special butcher in Wisconsin, served grilled with German mustard ($4).

    Insider Tip: If you ask, you can get your sausage or schnitzel on a roll, American-style.

  • Butter Food Truck

    Nicole Zalewski loves making nut butters, and she serves nearly a dozen varieties of PB&J from her purple sandwich truck. It was featured in Jay Z’s Made in America documentary, so if you haven’t found the truck in Clark Park or elsewhere around Philly before the Labor Day weekend concert, you can be sure to catch her then.

    Best Bite: Get sweet with a grilled Fluffer Nutter, made with small-batch fluff ($5) or get spicy with The Thai - Sriracha-honey peanut butter with grilled tofu and cilantro ($6).

    Insider Tip: Though it started with just PB&J sandwiches, the menu has expanded to include lots of grilled cheese options and a special Japanese chicken hoagie.

  • Dadz Grilled Cheese

    Brother and sister Rhea and Belmo Mayers joined forces to launch this mobile bistro with a menu centered around what’s surely the best dad food of all time: the grilled cheese sandwich. There’s the classic, with five kinds of cheese, but also all kinds of loaded versions. Find them at The Porch at 30th, Venturef0rth and other fairs and markets around Philadelphia.

    Best Bite: The Gran Havarti melts that cheese over crisp slices of green apples with a touch of cinnamon spice. On the other side, the Panama Pepper pairs pepper jack with peppers and bacon on brioche bread.

    Insider Tip: A grilled cheese meal isn’t complete without some tomato soup, and a housemade version is always available on the truck as the perfect side dish. Also look for specials like prosciutto-Parmesan risotto cakes.