By: Carissa Chesanek
Food trucks have always been popular in big urban cities especially New York and Los Angeles, where’s there’s heavy foot traffic and business professionals eating on-the-go. And today, we’re seeing the trend continue to grow in other metropolitan cities including Miami, where eating from a truck isn’t a necessity but more of a gourmet luxury.
A spin on street grub, food trucks can serve anything from classic comfort food like traditional hot dogs and burgers, to more innovative cuisine such as gourmet grilled cheese and fish tacos. Here in Miami, you’ll find food trucks serving global inventive meals on wheels like Cuban sandwiches, Asian noodles, Argentinean empanadas and more.
How Food Trucks Got Their Start in Miami
Street food has been an international phenomenon for many years, offering patrons quick, cheap eats that are authentic to the country it’s being served in.
Today, you don’t necessarily need to find street food on a corner and you definitely don’t need to travel to a different country to get the exotic traditional cuisine you crave. Instead, you can check out one of Miami’s many food trucks that line the streets waiting to fill the bellies of its hungry patrons.
Back when food trucks weren’t a thing in Miami (roughly 30 years ago), there was AC of AC’s Icees, selling frozen lemonade (similar to an old school ice cream truck) at Kennedy Park in Coconut Grove. While you can still find the truck parked in the same place selling the familiar refreshing treat, there’s a lot of competition that don’t sell one specialty item, but actual restaurant-style menus.
Miami’s Top Wheels That Led to the Local Food Truck Frenzy
The two stand outs that really kicked off the food truck mania in Miami include Chef Jeremiah’s GastroPod and Food Network Chef Ingrid Hoffman’s Latin Burger.
GastroPod, a 1960’s Airstream Trailer, serves quality haute food truck fare with signatures like the Dirty Chips (kettle chips cooked in pork fat, spicy mayo, and slaw bits) and the Mo’ Better Burger (6-oz patty made of short rib, brisket and sirloin, topped with poached egg, slaw & gPod sauce).
The Latin Burger and Taco truck decked out in black with pink flames sticks to hearty Latin eats like the Latin Macho burger made with chorizo, chuck and sirloin then topped with Oaxaca cheese, caramelized onions and jalapeños. In addition, there’s the choice of two must-try sauces including Ingrid’s special “avocado-licious” and red pepper mayo for some extra spice.
Latin Burger and GastroPod started a contagion. Soon there were food trucks spotted all over Miami including at parties, cultural gatherings, outside of clubs and more recently, the city’s famed food truck rallies.
Food Truck Rallies Hit Miami
In the beginning, food truck rallies occasionally popped up in large parking lots and parks, mainly for special events but today, there are designated days for these wheels to park and serve.
Every week there is Food Truck Friday at the Fair & Expo Center in Tamiami Park, where more than twenty trucks park bumper-to-bumper, serving anything from pizza to tapas.
Other food truck rallies include the one on the first Thursday of every month at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, and the second Saturday of every month at Wynwood Art Walk.
Social Media Linking to Food Truck’s Success
Remember watching The Food Network’s, “The Great Food Truck Race”, where competitors were challenged to engage the community through other food trucks’ online outlets? Well, that’s pretty much what it’s like in the Miami food truck scene today.
Every truck has a Twitter and a Facebook page to post where they are at any given time. There are also websites like MiamiFoodTrucks.com and groups that keep track of all the trucks and large events.
It’s clear when it comes to the world of street food, it revolves around social media.
Reaching Diners One Food Truck at a Time
The food truck trend has become so gigantic in Miami that restaurants are finding it easier to reach their audience on wheels than brick and mortar. They can take the food to every neighborhood, join forces with other trucks, and even test out new recipes.
El Rey de las Fritas, a local restaurant that serves Cuban burgers, now has a truck, as does the popular ice cream chain, Cold Stone Creamery. On the contrary, some food trucks have done the exact opposite and opened real restaurants, like Dim Ssam a Go Go’s Sakaya Kitchen in Midtown and Jefe’s Original Fish Taco and Burger, that now has its North Miami Beach outpost, Jefe’s Original Soul Shack.
Whatever food you’re craving, you’ll be able to find it being served from one of Miami’s local food trucks.
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