The Mobile Gourmet
Food trucks are “the new incubators of culinary innovation,” according to Smithsonian, and cities are waking up to the benefits – including a multicultural, festive atmosphere – that food truck culture brings to urban streets. Houston, already renowned for its exceptional restaurants, is extending a warm welcome to their mobile counterparts.
Food Truck Culture
You could say that food trucks are a Texas thing, since it began back in the 19th century with the chuckwagons that fed the cowboys and the “Chili Queens” of San Antonio. However, the mobile kitchens of today serve up menus as varied as any restaurant and they’re equally attentive to quality. Some popular restaurants originally tried out their menus on the road – Franklin Barbecue, for instance. Then you have Coolhaus: the architecturally inspired desserts of California’s Coolhaus ice cream trucks are now available in brick-and-mortar markets.
Culturally diverse fare and lower costs often make food trucks popular with millennials, who embrace different taste experiences and the thrill of discovering a great meal on the street. Updates on Twitter and Facebook keep customers in the loop when they’re craving something special.
Food trucks are a vibrant part of Houston’s dining scene, enlivening the streets and special events with menus that range from adventurous to classic fare. Options for finding a food truck in Houston are increasing all the time, too.
Catering is often available from mobile units vendors, for special events and private functions.
Tasty Tuesday – and Friday
On the second Tuesday of the month, The Post Oak Central at 1990 Post Oak Central Boulevard hosts a dozen food trucks in the parking lot, bringing the food to workers in the area so they can save time over lunch hour. Locals estimate that over 1,000 people take advantage of this opportunity; that number represents a lot of vehicles with drivers who aren’t on the road in search of lunch.
Food Truck Fridays are a feature at a few venues around Houston. First Methodist Houston at Travis and Polk invites up to six selected food trucks on site, with the emphasis on quality and variety. The line-up changes every week, giving customers the opportunity to sample from the wide selection on offer from Houston’s food trucks.
Sam Houston Race Park also hosts Food Truck Friday periodically, and so does Houston Press at 2603 La Branch (at La Branch and McGowen). Check their websites for dates. Keep an eye out for more venues to join the Food Truck Friday trend in the future.
Food Truck Park
You can find Magnum Food Park at 2924 Mangum Road, where the environment is pet-friendly and shady. At Houston International Food Truck Park, 1311 Leeland Street, you can enjoy a rotating roster of food trucks and themed food events, like the recent Brazilian Food Festival.
The same food and safety regulations apply to mobile food vendors in Houston as brick-and-mortar establishments. Vendors need to conform to stringent standards to obtain and hold the proper mobile food unit medallion and permits. Rigorous inspections of the unit are conducted, and in some cases, there may be restrictions on the operation.
Fork & Truck is proud to join the venerable Houston food truck line-up, with a unique menu that blends Cajun and Asian flavors with our own twist. Look for us in Houston, and check us out on Twitter and Facebook.