The 15 best food trucks in Chicago

These 15 roving restaurants stand out for their excellent service and stellar bites
Believe it or not, some of Chicago's best restaurants can be found roaming the streets on any given afternoon. Despite strict city-mandated regulations, Chicago's fleet of food trucks is strong and vibrant, offering cuisines from around the globe. Whether you're looking for a lobster roll, empanadas, dumplings or tamales, there's a food truck out there for every craving. With dozens to choose from, we selected and ranked our top 15 wheeled vendors—the ones that offer superb grub and excellent service. If you're looking for these trucks this summer, check individual Twitter account for location updates.
1
1113.chi.rb.TheGarage29.jpg
Photograph: Martha Williams
The Fat Shallot
icon-chevron-right
The sandwich truck serves spins on classic sandwiches, like grilled cheese with sautéed spinach and caramelized onions or the truffle B.L.T., a massive pile of crispy bacon, arugula, tomatoes and truffle aioli between two slices of Texas toast. It's huge, but you shouldn't miss out on the sides—we're particularly fond of truffle aioli-topped fries.
Twitter: @thefatshallot
 
2
Happy Lobster
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
The Happy Lobster
icon-chevron-right
Great lobster rolls are hard to come by in Chicago, so it's a surprise that one of the city's best is available on wheels. The Happy Lobster truck serves "happy" rolls, with mayo, butter and spices, while "angry" adds some feisty heat from giardiniera. The meat is tender and lightly dressed, so the sweetness comes through. Both are available in whole or half sizes, so you can save space for a marvelous whoopie pie brought in from Maine.
Twitter: @TheHappyLobster
Advertising
3
Photograph: Courtesy Piko
Piko Street Kitchen
icon-chevron-right
You can't miss this bold red truck, which is a regular at street festivals throughout the summer. Hungry customers can pick their vehicle (tacos, bao, sliders or a bowl) and select a protein (chicken, pork belly, ribeye or tofu). Every menu item is dressed up with delicious house-made marinades and signature sauces. Can't decide? Go with the Piko Sampler, which includes a chicken taco, ribeye slider and pork belly bao.
Twitter: @PIKOTRUCK 
4
016.ea.ea.tock.op.smores.beavers
Photograph: Erica Gannett
Beavers Donuts
icon-chevron-right
Got a sweet tooth? Stop everything you're doing and track down this traveling doughnut shop. Beavers offers the cutest miniature doughnuts in boxes of four, nine, 15 or 35. Free sugar toppings include cinnamon, powdered, granulated and chocolate. If you want something more indulgent, spend a bit more money on the signature toppings, with options like s'mores with chocolate and marshmallow sauces plus graham cracker crumbs. 
Twitter: @BeaversDonuts
Advertising
5
0513.rb.at.5411Empanadas.food.jpg
Photograph: Sarah Lawhead
5411 Empanadas
icon-chevron-right
The best truck fare is something you can easily eat on the sidewalk, with zero utensils and minimal mess. That's why empanadas are perfect, particularly those from 5411, which also has several permanent locations. The empanadas are baked, so they're nice and flaky and come stuffed with fillings like ham and cheese, malbec beef and caramelized onion and Parmesan. You'll need a few to make a meal, so be adventurous—and tack on a side of chimichurri dipping sauce.

Twitter: @5411empanadas
6
CurryWurst from DönerMen We scraped up every bit of the rich, tomatoey housemade curry sauce that coats the grilled sausage and fries, and wound up returning to the food truck for an extra cup. $8.
Photograph: Martha Williams
DönerMen
icon-chevron-right
Döner, the traditional street food of Turkey and Germany, isn't easy to find in Chicago, but luckily DönerMen does a damn good job replicating the dish. Its chicken Dönerbox (which places spit roasted chicken on a bed of fries and toppings) is excellent, and the currywurst, grilled sausage doused with rich, tomato-y house-made curry sauce and served with fries, is also terrific.

Twitter:  

Advertising
7
Pizza Boss
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Chicago Pizza Boss
icon-chevron-right
You can't miss this truck—it's enormous and painted like the Italian flag—or its long line. The wait is worth it, though, since the pizzas are excellent Neapolitan-style pies that come topped with flavorful ingredients, like the margherita, which is tied together with a drizzle of olive oil and grated Parmesan. Calling this truck the boss may be a stretch, but its dishes certainly take charge.

Twitter: @ChiPizzaBoss
8
Michelle Edmunds
Boo Coo Roux
icon-chevron-right
Boo Coo Roux offers Cajun and Creole dishes like hush puppies, shrimp Po' Boys and gumbo. The plates here are bursting with flavor and make a great lunch option if you're looking for fresh, fast seafood. The menu changes weekly, so be sure to check back even if you've visited before.
Twitter: @boocooroux
Advertising
9
Photograph: Courtesy Corner Farmacy
The Corner Farmacy
icon-chevron-right
Food trucks aren't all French fries and pizza. When you need a clean break, the Corner Farmacy specializes in farm-fresh, sustainable food from local producers—think cold-pressed juices, addictive breakfast sandwiches and spicy shrimp gazpacho. Ingredients are sourced from nearby farms in Michigan, Indiana, Iowa and beyond, which means the menu switches with the seasons.
Twitter: @CornerFarmacy
10
La Cocinita Food Truck
Photograph: Courtesy La Cocinita
La Cocinita
icon-chevron-right
Tacos are among the best dishes to grab for lunch and La Cocinita does a pretty damned good job. The pseudo-build-your-own options let you pick from tacos, arepas, flour tacos (called "Burri-Tacos") and a bowl with your choice of meat and sauces. We're a fan of the lechon, but they're all pretty delicious. Don't forget to finish your meal with a sugary bottle of Mexican Coca-Cola.
Twitter: @lacocinita
Advertising
11
Tamale Spaceship Food Truck
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Tamale Spaceship
icon-chevron-right
Tamale Spaceship, the silver food truck manned by luchador-masked guys, serves excellent tamales stuffed with tender grilled pork, roasted chicken or confit duck. Each order includes a pair of tamales, so bring a friend to mix and match flavors.
Twitter: @tamalespaceship
12
Aztec Dave's Food Truck
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Aztec Dave's Truck
icon-chevron-right
The Loop isn't exactly known for tacos, so it's nice when trucks like Aztec Dave's pull up. The Mexican truck serves tortas, tacos and burritos, stuffed with a choice of skirt steak, chicken or al pastor. The double corn tortillas hold a respectable amount of beef, and the tacos come with onions and cilantro. For a sauce, choose the pineapple devil, a sweet-hot salsa.

Twitter: @Aztec_Daves
Advertising
13
Kimcheesy Rice Balls from Yum Dum
Photograph: Jaclyn Elizabeth Rivas
Yum Dum Truck
icon-chevron-right
The Korean-infused menu incorporates other Asian aspects into its dishes, like Thai chicken basil dumplings. There are also pillowy "baowiches," like crispy fish with house-made sriracha tartar sauce and pickled jalapeños. But it's the spicy kimcheesy rice balls—arancini stuffed with cheddar and kimchi and doused with jalapeño-sriracha mayo—that you need to order.

Twitter: @YumDumTruck 
14
Pierogi Street
Photograph: Courtesy Pierogi Street
Pierogi Wagon
icon-chevron-right
Some of Chicago's top pierogi are available from the roving Pierogi Wagon truck. You can mix and match various fillings, like tangy sauerkraut or creamy potato, then dress the whole plate up with bacon, sour cream and caramelized onions. Bonus: Sometimes there are desserts, like paczki.
Twitter: @PierogiStreet
Advertising
15
Photograph: Courtesy Bop Bar Truck
Bop Bar
icon-chevron-right
Craving Korean food? Locate the Bop Bar truck and choose from loaded menu items like bi bim bop, a bulgogi burrito and spicy chicken atop glass noodles. The bright yellow truck is a regular at festivals and a staple around the downtown area over the lunch hour.
Twitter: @bopbartruck