Despite the city's tight restrictions on food trucks, there are still many great ones roaming the streets. Check out the list below and start tracking and catching them this summer. After all, it beats eating sad leftovers for lunch.
Carolina-style fried birds roll around town in The Roost's food truck. The spicy, delectable chicken is among the best in Chicago and is available by the piece or on a buttermilk biscuit or roll. The truck's often found during breakfast hours and those not afraid of the heat can order the Nashville hot chicken, slathered in a blistering cayenne pepper paste, for an eye-opening start to the day. If that's not your thing, the menu also offers "Hillbilly Taco"—chicken tenders topped with slaw and chipotle buttermilk ranch on flour tortillas.
Brendan Sodikoff's popular doughnut shop is available on wheels as well. If you don't have time to wait in line at one of the brick-and-mortar locations, the Vault Van will bring the sweet treats to you. The old fashioned doughnuts come in an assortment of flavors such as buttermilk, pistachio, triple chocolate and a different daily special. But don't slack; just like the stores they sell like hotcakes so if you've got a craving then you better plan ahead.
The Fat Shallot
Husband and wife Sam Barron and Sarah Weitz have traveled the world honing their skills. Fortunately, they decided to settle down in Chicago and run the Fat Shallot, a truck dedicated to classic sandwiches. The made-to-order creations include a grilled cheese bolstered by sautéed spinach and caramelized onions as well as a BLT with arugula, avocado and truffle aioli on Texas toast. Even fries get an upgrade—order them truffle'd or topped with spicy sesame aioli and black sesame seeds.
Dumplings may be the perfect street food and Pierogi Street brings the Polish staple to you. The little yellow truck slings crispy, golden brown pierogi filled with a variety of options including cheddar & potato, braised beef or spinach & cheese. They're served with a number of toppings such as spicy onions and sauerkraut for a lunch that should leave you more than satisfied (and filled). And if you've still got room for dessert, then the housemade paczki are calling your name.
Who doesn't love to be served by a wrestler wearing a luchador mask? Chicago's ever-popular Tamale Spaceship has been orbiting the city for years and keeping lunch goers happy. Find the truck and try an array of tamales filled with steak, chicken, pork, duck, roasted veggies and more.
With several storefront locations across the city, 5411 Empanadas has grown considerably since its humble beginnings in 2009. Today, you can still catch the food truck wandering the streets dishing out Argentinean-inspired pastries filled with all sorts of goodness like beef, ham & cheese, BBQ chicken and more.
Barbecue and food trucks go hand in hand so it's no surprise that Husky Hog makes the list. Owner Joe Woodel is a born-and-bred Southerner who's a regular on the barbecue competition circuit, and on his truck he's dishing out mouth-watering portions of pulled pork, sliced brisket, burnt ends and more. Get ‘em in a sandwich or as a platter, pour on one of several sauces and add some hush puppies and mac ‘n' cheese for a complete meal.
You won't catch any lobsters in Lake Michigan but Da Lobsta food truck will make sure you still get your fill of crustaceans. The tasty rolls are smothered with tarragon mayo and drizzled with garlic butter, and you've got a choice of lobster, crab or shrimp. Other menu items include lobster BLT, lobster grilled cheese and lobster mac & cheese to go along with a soup of the day and New England clam chowder. So while Chicagoans might be far from the coasts, a good seafood sandwich is only oftentimes blocks away.
Chicago knows its burgers and the ones from Slide Ride are no slouch. The small sliders are perfect for portability while still packing flavor in each bite. Options include the Guinness burger (provolone, Guinness onions, horseradish sauce) and a Sriracha Buffalo chicken creation (pulled chicken, Sriracha Buffalo sauce, carrots, celery, ranch dressing).
Every now and then, we all need a little pick-me-up in the morning or afternoon. Beavers is well-equipped to supply that sugar and caffeine rush to help make it through the long day. The miniature donuts come dusted with sugar and can also be topped with a number of add-ons like chocolate sauce, peanut butter, sprinkles and more. If for some reason that's not enough, the donut milkshake is bound to put you into some sort of sugar-induced state.