I still remember hitting a line-up of food trucks nearby the row of sorority and frat houses in the wee hours after going to parties at Rutgers University. If their collective name was any indication, the Grease Trucks’ offerings were anything but healthy, with equally indicative menu items like the Fat Cat, Fat Darrell, Fat Moon, and Fat Sam.
With two cheeseburgers, fries, lettuce, tomato, mayo, and ketchup on a bun, the Fat Cat was a bit more on the tame side than the Fat Darrell — chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks, French fries, and marinara sauce on a roll — or the Fat Sam, a combo of cheese steak, grilled chicken, fries, lettuce, tomato, mayo, and ketchup. The only thing missing was a side of Pepto!
Food trucks have come a long way since the ’90s, and those throughout Truckee and North Tahoe are the perfect example. With catchy names that draw you in, their gourmet offerings keep you coming back for more. Here we share merely a sampling of some of local mobile food vendors that will have your stomach rumbling for f-o-o-d. There are plenty of other inventive roadside restauranteurs to discover in addition to those shared here!
Although you never know where they might pop up, they’re often found at local festivities like Truckee Thursdays, Tahoe Backyard in Kings Beach, live music events, artisan fairs, the Truckee Rodeo, and Reno’s Food Truck Fridays. You might also spot them dotting the landscape on popular thoroughfares like Donner Pass Road and North Lake Boulevard. And most are available to hire for private events like parties and weddings.
If you’re on the run and need a food fix on the fly, or if you just don’t feel like firing up the grill or slaving over the stove on a hot summer night, treat yourself to a pit stop at one of these fave food trucks.
At nearly any local event, from the Truckee and Tahoe City farmers markets to First Fridays to Music on the Beach, just follow your nose and you’ll find rotisserie gold at Mogrog, run out of a ’73 Mercedes Unimog. Hit up the ‘mog for unique breakfast fare like the gluten-free Kasha Breakfast Bowl of toasted buckwheat, one egg, bacon, apple cider-honey roasted pork, roasted potatoes, braised red cabbage, spring greens, and MOG Mojo and spicy green sauces. Later in the day, indulge in savory chicken and lamb rotisserie selections.
Mountain Lotus Provisions
Mountain Lotus is a mobile food truck with a “plant slant.” Pacific Rim-inspired selections like Loco Moco and the Bun Me Burger are all rooted in plants. The menu is ever evolving, so there’s always something new and exciting to sample.
Where’s the beef? At Tacos Herrera, of course! Since 1975, they have served up soft tortillas loaded with shredded beef, onions and cilantro topped with their award-winning salsa. Don’t fret if you’re unable to track down their truck — easily spotted in Truckee’s Coachland on Mondays all summer long. Tacos Herrera also operates out of the same location as the Little Truckee Ice Creamery on Donner Lake, with tacos available.
The Dog House
The Dog House serves up gourmet hot dogs with toppings ranging from the traditional mustard and sauerkraut to the more adventurous truffle mac and cheese with bacon. They also sell Hawaiian shaved ice, a nice palate cleanser after downing a good, salty dog.
Starkey’s: Stoked Pizza and Epic Sushi
Pizza and sushi, perfect together? Clearly there’s something about this unlikely duo because it has been the key to Starkey’s success with Tahoe’s only wood-fired pizza on wheels and unique sushi creations served up fresh.
Men Wielding Fire
Pork, brisket, and tri tip, oh my! Smoked, blackened, grilled … there’s meat, meat, and more meat — and the possibilities are endless. Need we say more?
California Gold Kettle Corn
Whether you’re craving something salty or sweet, California Gold has got you covered. Made fresh at each stop, their kettle corn is the perfect balance of sweet n’ salty. The wafting fragrance alone is enough to lure you in like the pied piper.
Kona Ice of Sparks
Now, while it’s not really locally based, this Kona Ice franchise is a familiar sight around Truckee/Tahoe. Whether it’s the full-sized truck or the pull-behind trailer that looks like a mini truck, it’s hard to miss the festive paint job that looks like a party on wheels. This refreshing sweet treat is perfect on a hot summer night, which is why Kona Ice can often be found at Truckee Thursdays and other festivals throughout the region.
Little Truckee Ice Creamery
In addition to its Donner Lake shop, Little Truckee’s ice cream trucks have become summertime staples on Donner Pass Road in historic downtown Truckee, and on North Lake Boulevard in Tahoe City. Indulge in the creamy deliciousness of homemade flavors like Dark Horse coffee, salted caramel, chocolate brownie, and more.
There are only two words to describe this old Miley horse trailer-turned hot pink dessert truck: Gourmet s’mores. From the tried-and-true chocolate, marshmallow, and graham cracker to unique twists like the PB&J, caramel apple, and Gettin’ Lucky s’mores, these classic campfire treats are anything but boring.