Screaming bugs and buzzing A/C units are familiar sounds that let us know summer is near. Cincinnati’s 11 food trucks that are preparing for their next season are quieter signs of the warm weather, most of which are marked by their loud colors, aromatic fumes and the absence of “It’s a Small World After All” on repeat.
In 2010, the City of Cincinnati approved a pilot program that allowed up to 25 mobile food vendors to operate in three designated public zones: Sawyer Point, Court Street Market and at Fifth and Race streets. Since then, 11 vendors have signed up for the permits that allow them to operate within the city.
Bill Stone, who owns the Pizza Bomba truck with his fiancée, Terri Wilson, says his truck operates like any other restaurant, but relatively low meal prices and high-quality ingredients are what makes the mobile dining experience unique.
“We look at ourselves as makers of true street food,” Stone says. “You can leave our truck with a $4-7 meal that’s good-tasting, fresh and homemade. You can’t beat it.”
Head to one of these popular food trucks on your lunch break — or the next time you get hungry after you leave the bar — for an on-the-go meal with flavors that are anything but quiet.
EAT! Mobile Dining
EAT! offers a fine-dining mobile experience with its gourmet appetizers, sandwiches and soups made from local ingredients. Try the house-roasted tamari almonds or the grilled paneer sandwich. Follow EAT! on Twitter (@EatMobileDining) and Facebook for updates on the truck’s whereabouts. Regular spots include Fountain Square and the Cornerstone development in Norwood.
Menu items: $3.50-$6.50.
Fireside Wagon Pizza
Fireside offers traditional Italian cuisine made from local ingredients. Popular menu items include by-the-slice pizza, stuffed mushrooms and garlic knots. Menu changes based on seasonal vegetables. Find Fireside on Twitter (@FiresideWagon) and Facebook for the truck’s locations. Regular spots include Findlay Market and Northside Farmers Market. Menu items: $7-$9.
C’est Cheese Cincy
Cincinnati’s only grilled cheese truck will be serving soup and sandwiches starting this summer. C’est Cheese will feature gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, like the Bad Girl Sandwich (brie, honey and raspberry sauce on French bread) with homemade pickles on the side. Although C’est Cheese’s truck is in the repair shop right now, look for it downtown this summer. Find C’est Cheese on Facebook and Twitter (@CestCheeseCincy) for progress reports and upcoming locations.
Menu items: $3-$7.
Get a taste of the West Coast and stop by Taco Azul for tacos, burritos and quesadillas made from local ingredients. Fill your taco or burrito with chicken, pork, steak or mushrooms. Taco Azul posts the truck’s daily locations to Facebook and Twitter (@elTacoAzul). Regular spots include downtown, Northside and Mount Adams.Menu items: $5-$7.
In the mood for Latin cuisine with a local twist? Turophilia serves a selection of quesadillas made from organic wheat tortillas and local ingredients whenever possible. Catch Turophilia’s truck at Eighth and Vine streets for lunch during the week and at local festivals and events. Follow Turophililia on Twitter (@Turophilia1) and Facebook for daily locations. Menu items: $3-$7.
Mr. Hanton’s offers five hot dog selections for a creative menu that satisfies (almost) every hot dog fantasy. Choose from beef franks, chicken apple sausages, metts, Goetta dogs and Italian sausages, and then top it with your favorite condiments. Look for Mr. Hanton’s at local events, or find the truck in Mount Adams on weekend nights. Find the truck’s locations on Twitter
(@MrHantons) and Facebook. Menu items: $3.50-$8.
Pizza Bomba features whole pizza pies, by-the-slice pizza and sandwiches — all made in-truck. The dough is hand-tossed, and cooks use their homemade sausages to top-off the pizzas. Look for Pizza Bomba on Twitter(@PizzaBomba) and Facebook for updates on the truck’s whereabouts. Find the truck at Fountain Square or at local events. Menu items: $3-$13.
New Orleans To GO
Let the good times roll and head to New Orleans To Go for authentic Louisiana Cajun and Creole cuisine. Fan favorites are Glazed Shrimp Po’ Boys and the Louisiana Gumbo. Follow New Orleans To Go on Twitter(@NewOrleansToGo) and Facebook to see where the truck is headed. Frequent spots include downtown, Blue Ash and Eden Park. Menu items: $8-$13.
Café de Wheels
Cincinnati’s first food truck serves burgers and sandwiches made from local ingredients whenever possible. Vegetarian options are available — Café de Wheels offers a homemade veggie burger made from brown rice, beets and lentils. Find Café de Wheels on Twitter (@TheBurgerTruck) and Facebook for locations, or spot the truck at Findlay Market and Fountain Square on the weekends. Menu items: $2-$9.
Forget the post-meal guilt and head here for a burger made from grass-fed beef or wild caught salmon with a side of sweet potato fries. Ingredients come from local Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) gardens and farms. Find the truck’s schedule on Facebook or at www.bones-burgers.com. Regular spots include Animations on Madison Road in Oakley and various spots in the northern suburbs. Menu items: $2.50-$10.50.
Mr. Gene’s Doghouse
Mr. Gene’s menu features hot dogs, metts and Italian sausages with traditional sides of fries and onion rings. A portion of Mr. Gene’s’ profits are donated to charities, so pig out! Find Mr. Gene’s on Twitter (@MrGenesDoghouse) for truck location updates. Menu items: $2-$3.