Exciting New Food Trucks Spring 2014

5 Mar

March magic is in the air Bostonians! We’ve been hibernating for far too long, and March marks the beginning of our hopeful, eager transition to Spring. While the actual warm weather may still require more waiting, it’s not too early to at least make plans for when those rays of sunshine finally strike us.

This blog has had some frostbite throughout the winter, as cold weather isn’t exactly prime time for the mobile food business. But fear not – the Boston Food Truck Blog is back and gearing up for an exciting spring in the city!

I’ve got a list of new food trucks I can’t wait to try….

Moyzilla: Offering up dishes like yakitori and gyoza. Make way for dumplings!

moyzilla


Latin Spoon:
 Cone-shaped plantains with fillings like chicken, veggies, chorizo, rice, beans, etc. Empanadas too *drool*

latinspoon

KO Catering and Pies: Savory meat and vegetarian pies – aussie style! As one who studied abroad for a year in Melbourne, Australia, this truck is a must-visit for me as I miss those meat pies.

KO_catering

Meng’s Kitchen: Meng’s specializes in Northern Chinese cuisine, and they’ve grown famous for their one-dollar steamed pork buns, which students go bun-anas over.

mengs-kitchen

Courtesy of Boston Magazine

Cameo Macaron: A delicious desert truck serving the anytime treat, macaroons!

cameo-macaron

Rhythm ‘N Wraps: Serving up gourmet veggo wraps.

rhythm-n-wraps

The Pasta Pot: Your favorite pasta dishes on wheels, plus their famous Meatball Mac & Cheese!

pasta-pot

What food trucks are YOU most looking forward to for the spring? Let us know in the comments!

Fugu Truck

15 Nov

Fugu truck is a Boston food truck specializing in authentic asian cuisine. They’re relatively new to the food truck scene here, starting up earlier this spring.

fugu-truck

Last summer I was lucky enough to spend several Wednesdays sampling the Fugu truck during their lunch hours parked at Cleveland Circle. As an added bonus, I got to sample even more of their dishes while being interviewed for Fugu Truck’s feature on Eat St!

About Fugu Truck

Fugu truck was started by Chef Bing, whose nostalgia for the street food of Asia inspired him to re-create his favorite dishes from home for Boston bellies. Bing originally studied engineering in university, but upon graduating decided to follow his foodie dreams by studying at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. After working at some impressive restaurants in Paris and NYC, Bing came to Boston, where he jumped on the idea of starting an asian-inspired food truck after witnessing the food truck explosion at SOWA.

 

Fugu Truck aims to bring authentic Asian cuisine to the city streets, using locally sourced ingredients.  They’ve had enormous success since their opening with inspired, creative dishes.

The Fugu truck gets its namesake from the fugu fish, an Asian delicacy that can be poisonous if not served properly, requiring great skill and expertise to prepare correctly. As the Fugu truck team notes, while they themselves don’t serve the fugu fish, “it embodies the discipline, dedication, and sophistication we hope to bring to our dishes!” As the staff is comprised of mostly engineering students, it’s no surprise that their dishes are prepared with nearly scientific precision.

Fugu Truck Dishes

Pork (Belly) Buns

Fugu’s Pork Belly Buns features double braised pork belly between fluffy buns with sweet bean spread and scallions. I also caught them when they were serving shredded pork buns. While the buns were soft and the bean spread was a great accent to the meat, the pork belly meat was too fatty for my taste, although it’s a favorite of most Fugu regulars. I preferred the classic pork buns myself.

fugu-pork-belly-buns

pork belly buns

fugu-pork-buns

shredded pork buns

Kimchi Bulgogi Panini

The Kimchi Bulgogi Panini is a compilation of cabbage, bulgogi, crispy bread, and melty cheese. Tasty, but I prefer dishes with less bread. Still good though, especially for kimchi lovers.

fugu-bulgogi-panini

Noodle Bowl

Here we come to Fugu’s noodle bowls, featuring cold sesame or peanut noodles with your choice of sauce, spice, pork, and a veggie mix of cucumber, carrots, and other herbs. The pork was plentiful and perfectly spiced. While it’s pretty comparable to Bon Me’s bowls, it’s still a recommended choice.

fugu-noodle-bowl

Mango Coconut Rice Pudding

This one really got me excited – my first sample of rice pudding, and what a great introduction it was. Fugu’s mango coconut rice pudding is the perfect warm weather desert, a sweet and cool snack.  The sweet mango goes perfectly with the creamy coconut rice pudding.

mango-rice-pudding

Bi Bim Bap

This dish features korean-style rice mixed with meat, vegetables, and sweet pepper sauce. Always a solid option, and a serving big enough to fill the belly.

bim bap

Rice Cakes

Don’t let the name fool you – these are in no way related to those lame cardboard-like dry rice cakes that diet enthusiasts chomp on. These little dumpling-esk rice cakes feature a crispy outside with soft and chew innards. The rice cakes sit on a delicious bed of shredded pork, jalapeño, and sweet pepper sauce. Really loved this one – a great choice. The meat is divine!

Can’t find a pic of this, although I could have sworn I took one… I’ll add it if I find it folks!

Kilgolgi

These gorgeous sushi-style rolls contain egg, pickled radish, and bulgogi beef. Top notch presentation and taste!

IMG_20130830_130148

The Glories of a Rotating Menu

Fugu truck is always changing up their dishes, which means food truck fans have something new to try with every visit. Of course as a result, this means that some (or even most) of the dishes I showed today probably won’t be available. The good news is Fugu isn’t likely to disappoint, whatever you get. I will simply say that Fugu absolutely excels with meat – you’ll love their shredded anything, and their bulgogi meat is supreme.

As always, we’d love to hear about your Fugu truck experience in the comments!

Free Ice Cream & Pasta in Boston!

28 Aug

I’m a huge sucker for free stuff – I’ve got more lanyards, carabiner clips, and drawstring bags than I know what to do with! The good news is that free food only takes up space in your belly, and we’ve some awesome foodie handouts happening in Boston!

Free Good Humor Ice Cream

When: Thursday, August 29th

The Good Humor ice cream truck is handing out free ice cream bars at the following locations and times. Don’t see a stop you can make? Tweet @goodhumor to vote for other locations that you want the truck to stop at between 1st and last stop. (I’m voting for Cleveland Circle!)

  • 11:00-11:30am – Arlington Street/Public Garden
  • 1:15 – 1:30pm – Faneuil Hall
  • 2:30 – 3:00pm – South Station/Greenway

Prince Pasta Celebration

When: September 4th & Wednesdays in September

Did you know Prince Pasta was started by three Italian immigrants who started the business together in the North End? I didn’t. Pretty cool!

In honor of our homegrown pasta heroes, Mayor Menino is declaring Wednesday, September 4, 2013 Prince Spaghetti Day in Boston! What does this mean for you? Free pasta! Renowned North End Chefs Christine and Carla Pallotta of Nebo will be serving bowls of delicious pasta to Bostonians to kick off the upcoming food truck tour. Get your pasta fix by stopping by the North End Park (Corner of Hanover and Surface) at 11am on Sept 4th!

But wait, there’s more! Holy Cannoli! The Prince Pasta food truck tour will be continuing every Wednesday through the month of September. Stop by one of the locations below between 11am – 7pm to get a serving of free Prince Pasta!

  • September 4: North End Park (Corner of Hanover and Surface)
  • September 11: Prudential Center
  • September 18: City Hall Plaza
  • September 25: Dewey Square

Mmm, we’ve got a tasty couple of weeks coming up! Enjoy the free food!

Eat. St is Coming to Boston (This Week) !!

27 Aug

Big news food truck fans – Eat. St is heading to Boston THIS WEEK!

As you may remember, I had a great interview with James Cunningham, the host of the street food themed TV show, Eat. St, back in May. James said he’d love to get to Boston for their 5th season, and YOU helped lock it in! Good job gang!

James Cunningham Eat St

Show your support of Boston food trucks and get on TV! Below are the filming dates and times for Eat. St. The more folks the better guys! Let’s show how much Boston loves its food trucks!

Eat. St Boston Film Dates & Locations:

Wednesday Aug 28, 2013 – 12:00pm
Bone Daddy’s Burgers
Belvidere & Huntingtoneat street
Map: http://goo.gl/maps/ahxyE

Thursday Aug 29, 2013 – 11:30am
Captain Marden’s Cod Squad
Belvidere & Huntington
Map: http://goo.gl/maps/ahxyE

Friday Aug 30, 2013 – 12:00pm
Fugu Truck
855 Commonwealth Ave
Map: http://goo.gl/maps/DnV9u

Saturday Aug 31, 2013 – 11am
Mei Mei Street Kitchen
Milk Street & Atlantic Avenue
Map: http://goo.gl/maps/2gaqB

Remember, the more people that show up, the better Boston looks, so bring along your foodie friends and drag along those who won’t go willingly ; )

I’ll be hitting up Fugu Truck on Friday if anyone wants to join me!

Boston Students Surveyed About Food Trucks: A Guest Post

1 Aug

Hey street grub foodies!

Today we’ve got a special treat – a guest post from food truck fan Stephane Mourani. Stephane is a Boston transplant originally from France, offering his unique take on Boston street food culture as a BU student and expat. Enjoy!

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Coming from Paris, I was already familiar with what we French people call “Camion Ambultant” (Ambulant truck). If you have ever been to Paris your path has definitely crossed with one one these trucks: Le Camion Qui Fume, Le Cantine California’ Goody’s, La Caravane Dorée or Le Refectoire. They are the first generation of food trucks still in vogue in Paris and still delicious!

truck creperie in Boston

Boston and Paris aren’t so far apart

As I made my way to Boston to continue my studies at BU, I was honestly surprised by the number food trucks scattered in the city. I later discovered that 54 food trucks were licensed in the city and that Mayor Menino had personally been involved in the 2011 food truck initiative and following food truck lotteries.

Campus food trucks offer a change from the usual Chipotle, Panera and Bolocco diet we college students are used to, with everything from sandwiches and tacos to vegan juice and cupcakes. As SMG senior Mark Sullivan puts it, “Food trucks are tasty, convenient, and cheap,” adding that “it’s a great escape from the never-changing dining hall and average restaurants.” Mobile food trucks give students the chance to explore new appetites with original trucks popping up every spring.

Helen Malloy, a junior in CAS, is not a fast food person but says that she cannot escape her Monday and Tuesday rendezvous with Clover and Taco Party. The latter is a vegetarian-only taco truck. Helen notes, “I like having some more variety and there aren’t a lot of places that offer vegetarian options, so I’m always thrilled at the sight of Taco Party”

taco party food truck boston

Yang Yoon, a sophomore in CAS, said that she’s always hungry for Bon Me, a Vietnamese inspired food truck. Yang says, “I eat there simply because I live in the towers and often want to change from the dining hall. I wish I could use my dining points there.”

BonMe Food Truck chillin' outside the Prudential center

But not everyone is in love with the food trucks on BU campus, Travis Jones, a College of Engineering junior, says he never eats at food trucks. “ I just don’t like this food truck invasion – they ‘re popping like mushrooms! I feel that most of them are just here to surf the wave.”

While opinions on food trucks vary across the BU campus, most students are happy to make food trucks a part of their daily diet. As for me, my passion for food trucks was ignited in Paris, and I believe that fire will burn even stronger as I look forward to sampling all the trucks Boston has to offer.

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Stephane Mourani is currently an Associate at Argopoint LLC, a trusted adviser to the legal departments of Fortune 500 companies. Argopoint works strategically to formulate strategies to significantly increase legal performance and efficiency.

Taco Party: Mexican Mouth Extravaganza!

2 Jul

taco party food truck boston

Taco Party is a vego taco truck serving vegetation cuisine from over the border.

Keith, the owner, a world-traveling veggie eater himself,  noticed a lack of vegan/vegetarian asian cuisine in Boston and decided to fill the void. The Taco Party seeks to unite carnivores and leaf-eaters alike through creative and crafty tacos.

Here’s what they’re dishing up.

Tacos:

  • Tempeh Tantrum Taco: Savory marinated tempeh topped with avocado, shredded cabbage and green onion salsa.
  • T Party Taco: The “T” is for tofu! Fried up in a specially seasoned panko bread crumb mix topped off with shredded lettuce, mango salsa, and roasted garlic crema.
  • Seitanthony’s Feast: Meaty slices of seitan marinated in a citrus love potion. Topped with pickled red onion, lettuce and chipotle crema.
  • Surprise Party: A daily special taco that changes with the seasons.

Sides:

  • Tortilla Chips with Guacamole
  • Mexican Brown Rice with Smokey Black Beans

$3.50 per taco, 2 tacos for $6, or make it a meal (2 tacos with a side) for $8.

tacos in boston

I got to try the T Party Taco and the Seitanthony’s Feast (can we give these guys a gold star for the awesome taco names?) at SOWA, which is one of the great spots to find food trucks in Boston this summer.

I’m the farthest thing from a vegetarian there is, but even I think that Taco Party is one heck of a shindig. The panko-fried tofu in the T Party Taco is fabulous, and the mango salsa gives it a kick of sweetness. Seitanthony’s seitan is as satisfying as any meat, and the chipotle crema adds  great touch.

SOWA taco truck

Salad-eaters and steak-eaters alike will enjoy Taco Party – give them a try and get your party on!

Mei Mei Street Kitchen Is Going Green & Mortar

11 Jun

Have you heard the news? Another food truck favorite is looking to open a brick & mortar location – our very own Mei Mei Street Kitchen!

Mei Mei’s, long-time Boston food truck legend for their Double Awesome scallion-pancake sandwich and superb dumplings, is a purveyor of some of the most create and unique Chinese-American cuisine on the east coast.

They’re also obsessed with sustainability, using locally sourced ingredients and supporting nearby farms. That’s why their hosting a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to build one of the greenest restaurant in Boston.

Mei Mei’s is looking for funds to make eco-improvements to the restaurant, with additions like:

  • Mei-Mei-Street-Kitchen-Food-Truck-1Energy-efficient lighting, infrastructure & kitchen equipment
  • Low-flow plumbing
  • Compost and recycling programs
  • Reclaimed materials for our floors, walls and counters
  • Solar shades & insulation
  • A mini herb garden

Donations to this awesome cause will make your food greener and the earth a little happier!

On top of that, Mei Mei’s is dishing out some sweet rewards for backers, such as:

Dogs don’t know it’s not bacon!
(humans note: it is bacon)

$5 : Get your name featured somewhere in the restaurant

$30: Sweet Mei Mei swag

$100: Exclusive three course diner at the new restaurant

$250: Your choice of a Mei Mei cooking class, including, get this, a pig butchering demo! Go Dexter-style on that hog!

(see the full list on the Mei Mei kickstarter page)

The new restaurant will also have equipment necessary to help the Mei Mei team reach their highest culinary aspirations – like smokin’ more piggies, baking French macarons, and dishing out more dumplings.

Mei Mei Street Kitchen has been featured in the Boston Globe, winning a Best of Boston award for the city’s Best Meal on Wheels 2012 from Boston Magazine, and they’ve earned a Greenovate award for sustainable food leadership from the City of Boston. There are basically just the coolest.

Mei Mei's Street Kitchen Food Truck

It’s great to see Boston’s food trucks expanding to new additional physical locations – Bon Me has gained a B&M spot in Kendall Sq, Clover in Cambridge, and soon Mei Mei is moving to Kenmore Sq!

Support our bad-ass bacon-smoking buddies and make this eco-dream a reality!

Finding Food Trucks This Summer in Boston

7 Jun

Boston’s love for food trucks continues to grow, as does the love for mobile food everywhere as the food truck movement gains momentum all across the country! As James Cunningham of Food Network’s Eat St noted in a recent interview, this will be a really fantastic summer for food trucks!

With over 56 food trucks milling around Boston, there’s likely to be a few trucks that even the die hard food truck fan have yet to sample (I know I haven’t hit them all yet!).

I want to make it easy for folks to try new delicious food trucks this summer, so I’m compiling a little cheat sheet of some of the best spots to find food trucks in Boston this summer.

Food Truck Festivals: Historically, food truck festivals can be a mixed bag – you get a large number of great food trucks in one spot, but they usually mean long lines, sunburns, and porta-potties.

Food Truck Festivals of New England, after some diasterous fiascos last summer, has started implementing new food truck festival setups to reduce lines and insure that people enough samples. While I haven’t witnessed this new food truck festival design myself, I look forward to seeing the food truck festival system improve.

SOWA: SOWA, standing for “South of Washington”, is a Sunday morning favorite for many locals. SOWA has a great farmer’s market, craft vendors, vintage clothing & clothing, and, of course, food trucks. SOWA food trucks Last year you’d find 4 or 5 trucks at SOWA, but with the weekly summer event gaining in popularity, food trucks are increasing. Last weekend I counted 20 food trucks (not counting great stands too like Grillos Pickles).

Greenway Open Market: The Greenway Open Market is very SOWA-esk, featuring open air arts & crafts vendors, along with tasty food trucks. Catch it from May 25 – October 26, from 11am – 5pm on the Rose Kennedy Greenway.

assembly row hand craftAssembly Row – Assemble : This is a great gem for food truck fans who wants to avoid lines. Assemble is a new weekly event hosted in Somerville every Saturday this summer as they try to promote the new Assembly Row.

The event consists mainly of unique craft and Etsy vendors, along with a handful of food trucks. Last Saturday they had Bon Me, Frozen Hoagies, Grilled Cheese Nation, all with virtually zero lines, since the event is new and isn’t too well known yet. Definitely check it out!

Do you know any secret spots to find food trucks that you want to share?

Free Burgers This Summer from Amstel Light & Boston’s Baddest Burger Truck

24 May

Hey food truck fans, I’ve got some good news – starting May 24th, Amstel Light is teaming up with Boston’s Baddest Burger Truck to give out free burgers throughout the summer. Don’t tell the hamburglar though…he’s a creepy one.

Boston's Baddest BurgersAMSTEL LIGHT

The promotion is taking place between May 24 – July 5. This delicious duo will be traveling around Boston to dish out some free traditional American cuisine on the weekends.

Here are the current dates when and where you can snag a free burger:

Confirmed Stops, Times and Locations:

  • May 24: Weymoth, MA at Curtis Liquors (486 Columbian St.) 3-5 p.m.
  • May 24: Cohassett, MA at Curtis Liquors (790 Chief Justice Cushing) 6-8 p.m.
  • May 25: Attleboro, MA at Yankee Spirits (628 Washington St.) 12-2 p.m.
  • May 25: Swansea, MA at Yankee Spirits (207 Swansea Mall Dr.) 3-5 p.m.
  • May 31: Sturbridge, MA at Yankee Spirits (376 Main St.) 3-5 p.m.
  • May 31: Fitchburg, MA at Kappy’s (220 Whalon St.) 6-8 p.m.
  • June 1: Springfield, MA at Winn Liquors (1038 Wilbraham Rd.) 3-5 p.m.
  • June 1: W. Springfield, MA at Table & Vine (1119 Riverdale St.) 6-8 p.m.
  • Follow @Amstel Light for more locations throughout the summer

Looks like a lot of liquor marts – what goes better with a free hamburger than a cold frosty brew? Maybe some Bud Light Lime?

bostons-baddest-burger-truck-05

More dates will be added throughout the summer, so follow @Amstel Light for more dates and locations as they become confirmed.

All this free beefy goodness culminates in the Battle of the Burger competition in August, during which Amstel Light will be judging the best burger in Boston. Exciting stuff!

Do you have a favorite burger joint in Boston? I’m partial to Eagle’s Deli myself.

Talking with James Cunningham of Eat St!

17 May

Last week I got the opportunity to talk with James Cunningham, host of Food Network & Cooking Channel’s Eat St, a show highlighting mobile eats across North America.

We spoke about food truck culture and its rise in recent years, James’s experience on Eat St, and his new food truck cookbook, “Eat St: Recipes from the Tastiest, Messiest, and Most Irresistible Food Trucks.”

Have you seen the mobile street food scene develop and change over the course of filming Eat St?

James Cunningham Eat StAbsolutely. We started the show a couple years ago, and we just finished up season 4 recently, which was actually a double season.

We’ve seen a lot of changes over the years.

What really struck me has been that most of the trucks we’ve featured in season 4 didn’t even exist in season 1 and 2.

A lot of the food truck owners told us that the reason that they started operating a food truck was because they saw our show, which I thought was pretty cool.

Has this upsurge been consistent across all the cities you’ve been to?

Yes, this whole street food thing has just been exploding everywhere!

We actually did some research to trace it back, and we found that the whole rise of the food truck movement started around 2008 or so. When the economy took a down turn, a lot of high-end chefs found themselves out of work. So what do you do when you’re a highly skilled chef and you’re out of work? You open your own restaurant, or you get a couple thousands dollars together and buy or lease a food truck. In LA, the food truck industry is a little different than with other cities, and you can lease a food truck for a couple grand.

This west coast model started to influence other major metropolitan areas across North America, and suddenly all these really creative chefs were behind the wheels of street food trucks.

What was once a fry truck, chip truck, or a burger truck, is now a Korean fusion truck, or a gourmet taco truck.

Trucks like Bulgogi Beef Burgers started to pop up, and all this awesome creative street food started to appear.

Mac and Cheese Cones

And then what happened to really add fuel to the fire was the rise of social media. Previously these food truck businesses has to rely on people stumbling upon them or pedestrian traffic, but then with Twitter, Facebook, and Yelp, trucks started to be able to communicate directly with their fans and potential clients through social media.

In Boston, New York, or especially LA, which is a very spread out city, food trucks would plan and tweet out their routes, and many trucks were finding that they’d pull up and already have lines forming waiting for them. It completely changed the industry.

So really, you had this explosion of creativity from all these really high-end chefs, combined with the rise of social media, resulting in this whole new food truck phenomenon.

I’m not going to use the word trend, because they are here to stay.

That’s another question I was going to ask you – do you see this rise in food truck popularity becoming a long-term movement?

The thing is, it’s all so brand new –as I said, a great deal of the trucks we shot in season 4 weren’t even around in season 1 or 2.

A lot of people think running a food truck is easy, or easier than running a restaurant.  In fact, it’s a bit harder. The people who aren’t really dedicated and just thinks it’s an easy, fun way to make money are going to be weeded out. I’ve yet to meet a food truck owner who doesn’t put in 50, 60 hours a week. It’s all the stress of a restaurant, but on wheels – it’s tough.

Everywhere I go now, I hear people saying, “Oh my brother wants to start a food truck,” or “we want to do a food truck”. It’s really important that people considering open a food truck buckle down and do their research, because about 50% of restaurants fail, and we’re going to see that with food trucks as well, so you do need to be careful. The good ones will definitely last though.

Some people will start to see food trucks failing and say, “Oh, the food truck trend is over,” but no, that’s really not true. There will always be the hardcore folks doing it properly, and they will be the ones that carry through.

But again, you have to understand, everyone talks about the food truck trend, but it’s not a trend really – it’s a new thing we’ve never seen before, and there is going to be some leveling out obviously, some thinning of the herd. There are good food trucks, just like there are good restaurants, and there are bad trucks, just like there are bad restaurants.

What are the best food truck cities?

Well, weather ends up playing a big factor. Areas with warmer climates on the west coast and in the south, places like LA or Austin, can be open year around, so they’re really spoiled in that sense. The vast majority of trucks on the eastern seaboard and in Canada, on the other hand, are very seasonal. I’ve noticed that in NYC, the number of trucks you see in the summer is double and triple what you find in the winter. It tends to be a pseudo-seasonal business for a lot of these truck operators. But they’re coming out in force now, and people just couldn’t be happier. I think it’s going to be a good summer across the board for a lot of food truck operators.

Cities have different personalities too – Portland and Austin tend to be non-transient, since their food trucks tend to work in pods. The way it works there is that you get your license, you have a food truck, but most trucks don’t move around so much – they stay parked most of the time in little areas. Whereas in LA, NYC, and Boston with more transient food truck industries, some food trucks do 4 different stops a day.

By sheer numbers, Portland is probably the food truck mecca, and then Austin. But every city really has great food trucks. It’s difficult to compare Boston with Miami or NYC with Austin, since they have completely different approaches. Any major city now – Detroit, Washington DC, they all have a good food truck presence.

What do you think of the relationship between food trucks and brick and mortar restaurants?

People talk about the “war” between restaurants and food trucks, but there’s no war. Really food trucks and brick and mortar restaurants are two sides of the exact same industry.

On our show, we see a lot of really great food trucks that are spinning off into restaurants, and a lot of really smart restaurants spinning off into food trucks.

food truck kung pao

For example, there is a great guy in Vancouver – Vikram Vij. He is well known throughout the country as one of the top Indian chefs in North America.

This guy is just unbelievable. He launched a food truck last year, and we were talking about his decision to do that, and he explained to me, “I have a restaurant, and I have no need to do a food truck, but I saw the food truck as a really great way to educate my future clients. People who don’t even know that they love Indian food yet – that’s who I want to bring my food to.”

There’s also a great Steakhouse in Calgary, Alberta called “Charcut Roast House” – it’s a 5 star steakhouse. And this story is fascinating. These guys are doing extremely well – very profitable, great restaurant. One of the chefs was a finalist on Top Chef Canada, and it’s a destination place.

So, one day one of the chefs was in the kitchen and said, “Hey, we have this triple A Alberta beef in here, with the leftover steak pieces cut off from what was served. You know what, instead of throwing this out, I’ll make chuck out of it.” Then he’d get on Twitter and say “Hey guys, I’m serving some ground chuck burgers in the back door of the alley, come on down”. The first night 12 people showed up. Then he thinks, OK, I’ll sell them for $5 bucks a piece and keep this thing going, why not? Then the next night, 24 people showed up, then after a week, they had a line going out the back. So they said you know what, let’s do a food truck. And that’s what they did! They’ve been one of the most successful food trucks we’ve ever seen, called “Alley Burger.”

As I was saying before, the food truck phenomenon is not a trend – it’s a whole new thing, so get ready. It’s not going away anytime soon, and the people who are doing it well will last. If you look at Portland, Oregon, and Austin, Texas, food trucks are now major parts of their tourism industry. People are now planning their vacations around food trucks! Sometimes I think I should be getting a check from the Austin Board of Tourism because I’ve told so many people to head down to Austin just for a great vacation.

Are you coming back to Boston? We’ve love to have you back!

james Cunningham food networkYeah, we visited Boston in season 1, when we met with Clover Food Lab – they were amazing. And I think we also did Silk Road BBQ. [ME: Actually, I’m not sure they’re around any longer] Oh, no, really? He was more of a cart. I remember people were like zombies, coming out from the offices and saying, “where’s that BBQ smell coming from?” That guy was awesome. That’s a shame he’s not around anymore.

It’s been too long though, and we’d love to come back to Boston. I really love Boston – it’s such a great, brilliant city. Except for the driving – it’s on par with Greece when it comes to driving.

We just finished season 4, it’s on the air right now, but we haven’t been renewed yet for season 5. We’re still waiting with our fingers crossed. So, if you can encourage folks to get on the Food Network and the Cooking Channel site and say “hey, we want more Eat St,” we’d love to come back to Boston, since we haven’t been there since season one.

We definitely hope to come back to Boston – if we get renewed, we’ll definitely be there for sure.

[ OK guys, you heard James, let’s make season 5 happen so we can get Eat St. back to Boston and show off our awesome food truck scene! Tweet at Food Network and Cooking Channel: ]

<Click to Tweet> “I want a 5th season of Eat St so the show can visit Boston food trucks! http://bit.ly/17FrtfV @CookingChannel @FoodNetworkCA @bosfoodtruck”

What makes a food truck successful?

When we look for food trucks to feature on the show, we have a great research team, and they start online. So our research team goes out, and food blogs like yours are usually our first contacts. That way we can see which food trucks are hot and what the vibe of the city is. We start there, then we go to each individual truck and say, OK, why are these trucks getting buzz? What are they doing differently? How are they unique? We look at the owners and their stories.

When we first started, there were a handful of food trucks to choose from, but now it’s crazy – there are thousands of food truck we sift through.

We are looking for trucks that are really good at what they do – people who are passionate. The one underlying common denominator that stands out across all the seasons of our show is having food truck owners saying “I just want to make people happy – I love seeing people happy and enjoying my food.”  That’s one of the biggest keys to success in the food truck business – passion. Running a food truck is a hard job. It’s a business, and I think to do it well, you need to have passion. A great love of food, and a great love of people.

It’s also great to have a really cool or unique concept. Successfully marketing is another huge factor. The most successful trucks are the ones that manage their Twitter, Facebook, and Yelp accounts. It’s a pretty multi-faceted business. It’s all the stress of running a restaurant but on wheels.

The people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting the last couple of years have been awe-inspiring – really great folks that love what they are doing.

What inspired the Eat St food truck cookbook?

food truck cook bookThe fans of the show would email us, comment on Facebook, or Tweet and ask for recipe help.

You see, on the show we do shots of the chefs preparing their dishes in the kitchen, but we don’t show amounts or temperatures. We didn’t really plan that segment as a recipe segment, but people were trying to recreate the recipes by slowing down their DVRs, and would say “Hey, this isn’t working!”

We said OK, people really want to prepare this stuff at home, let’s try to make that happen. We sent out an email blast thanking the trucks who have been on the show, and asking them if they wanted to contribute to a recipe book.

Immediately we were inundated with amazing recipes. We were really impressed because trucks were sending in their signature, best dishes. They want people to enjoy these meals at home, and if they’re ever in the area, stop by and try them in person.

That’s how the cookbook was born. I wrote the introduction and the intros for each recipe, and I’m really pleased with how it all came out. Apparently we’re a best seller, which is just great.

What’s your favorite recipe from the cookbook?

It’s so impossible! People always ask me questions like that, and ask what my favorite food truck is. How can you choose really? There are desert trucks, Korean fusion trucks, BBQ trucks, breakfast truck. There are so many different flavors and styles of food trucks.

If they are on the show, they are an amazing truck. I know it’s middle of the road for me to say that, but I really love all those trucks. Let me put it this way - I’ve yet to find a truck I didn’t like.

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Thanks for the interview James!

Learn about James Cunningham and Eat St, and be sure to check out the new food truck cookbook, “Eat St: Recipes from the Tastiest, Messiest, and Most Irresistible Food Trucks.”

And don’t forget to tweet @cookingchannel and @foodnetwork so we can get another season of Eat St and a visit to Boston!

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