For a city as on-the-go as New York, it only makes sense that food trucks—NYC's meals-on-wheels once slinging simple fare like burgers, hot dogs and ice cream—have risen to the standards of Gotham’s hordes of hurried, but still discerning, diners. The new wave of food trucks serve pristine seafood, fresh-fried falafel and other sophisticated bites—and, best of all, most of these moderately priced plates qualify as cheap eats.
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Food trucks in NYC
Formerly parked in tucked-away Mill Basin, Brooklyn, this serious burger truck quickly achieved a cult status among patty aficionados that has propelled it onward and upward to easier-to-access Williamsburg. Ground beef purist Andrew Zurica now slings his improbably juicy single-, double- and trile-stacked burgers from behind the Pfizer Building. Get 'em hot with free raw or grilled onions, lettuce, tomato, pickles and jalapenos, or pony up an extra $1.25 for a helping of crisp bacon.
Fares “Freddy” Zeideia is a sort of local celebrity in Astoria, Queens, where he’s been doling out Vendy Award–winning falafel, shawarma and kebabs from his King of Falafel & Shawarma truck since the early aughts. His street-food standouts find their first brick-and-mortar home at this 38-seat casual Middle Eastern spot, marked by a black awning that cheekily reads #YEAHHHHHBABY. While the Manhattan cart and Queens truck continue to operate seprately, the restaurant turns out crowd favorites like thinly sliced beef-and-lamb shawarma, as well as an expanded menu of newfangled creations such as daily baked pita bread and a falafel burger with zaatar and tomato.
This snowflake-emblazoned sugar shack is dedicated to—surprise—maple syrup, drizzling the sweet stuff on desserts and savory mains alike. Find it infused in sourdough-cheddar grilled cheeses (ham, pea shoot) and glazed on smoked pork ribs. Roaming Prospect Park and Governors Island, the van puts proceeds toward empowering youngsters with the help of social campaign Drive Change.
Swirl fresh ingredients like mint sprigs, pomegranate seeds and zesty ginger into all-natural slush concoctions (green tea, citrus) at this choose-your-own-adventure frozen-drink truck. The spicy ginger-blueberry variety will make you forget all about those sticky, mouth-staining Big Gulps from your childhood. Spot the sleek blue stand at Brooklyn Flea, Smorgasburg and Brooklyn Bridge Park.
From their Vendy Award–winning truck, husband-and-wife team Rafael Soler and Reina Bermudez have been serving cheese, meat and veggie pupusas with all the fixins—pickled jalapeños, tomato sauce and coleslaw—since 1998. Grab their acclaimed Salvadoran-style grub at the Brooklyn Flea every weekend or through their pop-ups at Vendy Plaza and Royal Palms Shuffle Board Club.
Onetime Good Humor man Ben Van Leeuwen partnered with his brother Pete and Laura O'Neill to open this classic ice cream truck, based at the corner of Greene and Prince Streets (two other roving vans sit at Bleecker and Perry Streets in the West Village, and Bedford Ave and North 8th Street in Williamsburg). Local, hormone-free milk is in the custard base, and even the most elemental flavors sport a flourish: Chocolate contains Michel Cluizel cocoa, and vanilla is made using the brothers’ own bourbon-and–Tahitian-bean extract, aged for four months in vodka-filled oak barrels.
The popular Middle Eastern takeout shop, run by wife-husband team Einat Admony and Stefan Nafziger, takes its famed falafel show on the road. Nab best-selling items from the brick-and-mortar location, like the traditional green falafel and the date-lime banana smoothie, plus quinoa salad with toasted almonds and preserved lemons.
Late-night tummy fillers (Philly cheese steak, gyros) and Mexican staples (burritos, quesadillas) are given an artisanal touch at this taco truck—which started as a street cart selling tamales—where handmade corn tortillas are piled with your choice of chorizo, salted beef or chicken, along with cilantro, onions and tomato.
Luke Holden's beloved crustacean chainlet, Luke's Lobster, rolls out this blue-and-yellow seafood shack on wheels offering fresh lobster, shrimp and crab—one buttery roll at a time. Posted up at Pier 13 in Hoboken, the roving truck issues the same New England favorites as its Manhattan brick-and-mortars, like creamy clam chowder, Cape Cod chips and Maine microbrews.
Find the city's best fries
Like Batman needs Robin, Gotham's best burgers need their trusty side of golden french fries. In New York, those crisp potato wands can be found in all different forms, on menus that range from the best restaurants in NYC to tried-and-true cheap eat standbys. Whether you like them shoestring skinny or hand-cut meaty, with ketchup or with mayo, these are the best french fries in NYC to try right now.
SpaHa Soul is a compilation of cusines but they all have one thing in comon - they are all dishes with a soul. My name is Artist Thornton, my earliest memories are of my feet hanging in a sink. Listening to the sound of fresh black eye peas being washed in a pan. Of my grandmother explaining what she was doing all the while humming when "When the Saints go Marching In". You see, I had the greatest formative years growing up with my Grandma. She came from Louisiana by way of Missouri. Now as an adult - and after years of traveling abroad and meeting and seeing all kinds of folks from all manners of life; after opening 7 different restaurants with several different cuisines - I have come up with this style of cooking that could be best described as" Global Soul". So after a day of traffic, noise, and knocking around this beautiful city come on home to SpaHa Soul!
Venue says: “Scratch kitchen, that makes soul food. And global food with a twist! Our food is made with music, laughter, and much Love.”