Seattle's been home to some great food trucks for years (Maximus/Minimus, Where Ya At Matt, Good Morning America's top food cart in the nation Marination Ma Kai), but these 13 recently debuted mobile edible dispensers have elevated the city's wheeled meal offerings to new heights.
This summer had to be a truck's first to qualify for consideration on this list, and the food had to be up to snuff to make the final cut. You don't need to rush to try them—they shouldn't be going anywhere anytime soon—but you'll want to. And you should.
We'll start with dessert, because Nosh Pit breaks free from conventions. Take that, mom.
What does a revolutionary donut look like? No, it's not star-spangled, white-wigged, or wearing a tricorn. Rather, Hot Revolution Donuts are bite-sized dough-rounds made with trans fat–free oil, liberally adorned with house-made spice blends, icings, and sauces served fresh from the back of a blue truck. The founding fathers would have appreciated the blue paint almost as much as the donuts themselves. And there's a significant chance that Fonte Cafe's F2 coffee (only on the menu at this truck and the cafe itself) powered Thomas Jefferson through the all-nighter that produced the Declaration of Independance. Read your history books kids, it's all there.
Sweet tooths, rejoice. Bake My Day will soon traverse the city, leaving cookies, brownies, bars, truffles, pies, and whoopie pies in its wake. If you don't know what a whoopie pie is, your whole life has been one long series of mistakes. They consist of two cakes (or cookies, or brownies, or bars, etc.) sandwiched around some form of filling, and at Bake My Day, there are a bunch to choose from.
Fruit for dessert may not be seem as elegant (or decadent) as the donuts and cakes mentioned above, but the way the Chatter Box serves it up makes such presumptions fall to the background fast. With an extensive selection of fruits peddled in various creative and customizable arrangements, the folks behind this truck have found a winning formula for bringing nature's sweets to the mobile food scene. Mango on a stick? They've got it. Mexican-style melon and cucumber cups? If that doesn't ring a bell, get to the Box and try it.
One For the Vegans
As the name implies, no bones were used in the making of this truck's vast menu. In fact, all offerings are vegan, and most can be made gluten-free. Unlike many mobile outposts, No Bones features a large and diverse menu, including gems like tacos with beer-battered avocados, chipotle aioli, and citrus slaw. But don't get the impression this is just another taco truck; you can also get a Banh-Miso-Happy, the Hey Butkis philly style sandwich, falafel, and much more. Even avid carnivores can find something to enjoy.
Because Seattle didn't have enough Asian food already
Indonesian cuisine is among the more difficult Asian cuisines to find in Seattle—but with Bumbu Truck now peddling its dishes throughout the greater Seattle area, it just got a little easier. The folks at Bumbu draw menu items from the many cultures that make up the island nation. For under $7 you can have chicken curry ramen, Javanese stir fried noodles, chicken satay, or lumpia (essentially an Indonesian egg roll), or try them all for $10. Plus, many days have a featured special.
Unlike the Ring of Fire, the only erupting that goes on around Bing of Fire is the occasional shaken soda and the minds of all first-time patrons, blown away by the unique flavor of stuffed Chinese crepes called jianbing. Jianbing is a very common street food in China, but can only be purchased in one Seattle restaurant: Bing of Fire. They're simple (there are only 6 ingredients in Bing's most complex version), but can be customized to fit the needs of meat lovers, vegetarians, and gluten intolerants alike. Get them with spicy sauce if you can take volcanic heat, sweet sauce if that's more your speed, or both if you want to do it right.
From their sticky coconut rice with mango to beef satay and, of course, papaya salad, this truck really kills it. Their online menu is not very detailed—but if you aren't hungry yet (if you've read everything above, you must be) and you want to be, take a look at their Facebook photos. Plus, you can wash it all down with some sweet and frigid Thai iced tea. Most days they're in Renton, but that's not so far to go for a great meal.
For the Earl (of Sandwich, of course)
Nope, it's not a mobile tattoo parlor. Rather, Tat's fantastic Pioneer Square delicatessan added a wheeled counterpart this summer to bring authentic East Coast steaks and sandwiches to the rest of Seattle. Philly cheese, italian grinders, and much more can now be had in SODO and South Lake Union in addition to the original brick and mortar location. We still wish they called it the Tatsmobile. We'd shine the Tat symbol atop 1201 Western every day at 12 pm sharp. Feed us Tatman, you're our only hope!
It's all about the meat. KC Deez is bringing Kansas City's signature brisket, ribs, and pulled pork to the Pacific Northwest (they're not the first, but the more the merrier), and they're doing it well. Combo lunches with burnt ends and rib tips alongside the standard meats, plus a side of slaw? Yeah, it's time for a field trip to Renton. And KC Deez has an innovative way to transport their cooking essentials: the truck has a back porch to house their smoker. Genius.
Walking around the city ingesting from a brown bag may have a certain stigma, but the folks behind Brown Bag Baguettes might change that for good. With five excellent baguettes to choose from (Banh Mi, Pork, Beef, Chicken, and Veggie), they've got something for nearly every sandwich eater. Plus, with hand-cut fries, housemade aioli, picked jalapenos and onions, and Vietnamese iced coffee, you won't be disappointed by the sides. The heat of a jalapeno adds to any good sandwich, and the freeze of a good iced coffee takes the spicy bite away right on cue. Turns out the stigma isn't going anywhere—Brown Bag Baguettes is no longer in operation. We apologize for any sandwich-related false hopes we may have caused.
This one is technically a pizza stop, but if their focaccia sandwiches existed back in the day, Earl Montagu would have been all over them. So we'll include it here. There's something about focaccia that can just carry a menu, you know? Like if Michael Jordan was a bread, he'd be focaccia. Gary Payton would be a hoagie— damn good, but not quite enough to win a championship on its own. What would Scottie Pippen be, you ask? ...Analogies can only go so far. Wicked Pies has two focaccia offerings, one with seasonal roasted veggies and one with prosciutto, spinach, mozzerella, tomatoes, and fig spread. Plus, the five different pizza varieties, sold by the slice, look great too.
One man is on a mission to bring southern cuisine to Northwest farmers markets, and that man is Mike Guanlao. His baby, Kiss My Grits, is currently just a travelling food stand, but a truck is in the works. With Carolina-style sweet tea and lemonade alongside two consistent menu mains—shrimp & grits and hoppin' John— and one rotating special, Kiss My Grits has the southern flavors Seattle needs to properly enjoy hot summer weather. The South knows heat.
One of Seattle's own has taken the South's staple grain, the biscuit, and infused it with Northwest sensibilities. Danielle Custer, former director at Taste and owner and operator of the dearly departed Monte Cristo grilled cheese truck, couldn't stay away from mobile kitchens for long. Her Biscuit Box is expected to debut this week, offering biscuits made with Washington-based Shepherd's Grain flour and topped with homemade jams and Beecher's Handmade cheese. The selections don't read like a southern biscuit joint's would; locally foraged mushrooms, chinese pork belly, and fresh goat cheese are just a few of the items that give the menu a truly PNW vibe.