The truck basically launched the craze in Atlanta as the city's first gourmet mobile food wagon. Owner Carson Young, 28, was the first guy to get a permit from the city’s police department back in 2010, only to have it yanked and then re-issued as the legalese was worked out. His chef partner is Tomas Lee from Hankook Taqueria, where the food is prepped and then assembled to order on the truck. Yumbii’s daily location (there’s now a second truck, too) is often decided by requests from tweeting customers.
The menu fuses traditional Mexican and Korean flavors: Asian rib-eye beef, spicy pulled pork, chicken, and stir-fried tofu are available in taco, burrito, and quesadilla form, but the Yumbii Sliders (2 for $5) are the biggest sellers. These spicy pulled pork sammies are topped with cucumber kimchee, sesame salad, and shredded cheese.
Check yumbii.com for their whereabouts.
Just Loaf'n Poboys & Snoballs Truck
Look for the Mardi Gras-ready purple, green, and gold truck. Just Loaf’n is a mobile extension of a Grant Park diner with Creole favorites like gumbo, jambalaya, beignets and po’boys on the menu. Owner Darren Williams, a Louisiana native, strives for total authenticity with his ingredients, using N’awlins staples like crusty Leidenheimer French bread and Blue Plate mayonnaise on the po’boys, which come loaded with your choice of catfish, chicken, Patton’s hot sausage or Gulf Coast shrimp. They're six inches long; called "shorties” in the French Quarter.
To cool down that Cajun inferno in your mouth after, go for a New Orleans snoball. Sure, a scoop of shaved ice drenched with flavored syrup is a sno-cone anywhere else, but you need to call it a snoball here. And with 25 different kinds to choose, it’s easy to “laissez les bons temps rouler” even if you’re on Peachtree Street instead of Canal.
Just Loaf'n Poboys & Snoball Truck; 770-875-1995; justloafnpoboys.com
Named for the Spanish island, Ibiza Bites is from one of the city's catering companies. Just look for the eye-catching orange van. They classify this cuisine as “SoLa,” a blend of flavors from Latin America and the Deep South. Need an example? How about Venezuelan carne mechada (slow-roasted brisket) with stone-ground cheese grits and plantain ribbons? Some of Ibiza Bites’ dishes aren't as fusion-y, like a recent grilled salmon special served with coconut rice and mango salsa, or fried chicken and waffles. Chef Raf Morales marinates boneless strips of dark thigh meat for two full days before encrusting them in pecans and frying them up perfectly, then topping them with grilled peaches and honey Dijon, alongside a golden brown waffle meant to be eaten as a finger food.
Ibiza Bites; 733 Lambert Drive NE, Atlanta, GA 30324; 404-857-9308; ibizabites.com
When I see a chalkboard menu with maduros (fried sweet plantains), papas rellenas (stuffed potato balls), and sorullos (corn fritters), I’m in line faster than I can say, “Buen Provecho.” That means “enjoy your meal.” It’s the name of Elmer Passapera’s four-year-old catering company and now food truck, serving tropical favorites from Elmer’s native Puerto Rico using homemade recipes.
If you’re still hungry after eating your way through the killer appetizer menu, Buen Provecho has a formidable lineup of emparedados (sandwiches), too. They're pressed and stuffed with your choice of caramelized onions and steak, chicken, or roasted pork. The Tripleta combines the steak, pork, and ham...and the Tiralo al Medio (“The Works”) adds chicken to the mix. Elmer ends every transaction at his truck window with, “Have a blessed day.”
Buen Provecho; 770-712-3188; buenprovechotruck.com
Truck grub often overlaps with drunk food, let's be honest. Leave it to two former bartenders to run a gooey grilled cheese sandwich truck. On a trip to Los Angeles, Kendrick Blackstock and Mike Kramer were inspired by the Grilled Cheese Truck and back home in Atlanta, they started experimenting. “There aren’t many cheeses we haven’t grilled at this stage... plenty won’t see the light of day," said Blackstock.
The Frank Poncherello did, though: it's jalapeno Havarti, spicy chorizo sausage, AND habanero mac and cheese (all in a sandwich, just keep that in mind). The Uncle Jesse also features mac and cheese with caramelized onion and home-smoked pulled pork dressed in their barbecue sauce. Or create your own combo using one of four cheeses on either white or wheat, then start customizing with add-ons like thick-cut bacon, ham, or tomato. The made-to-order sandwiches are foil-wrapped, diagonal-cut, and served with creamy tomato soup, either by the cup or the shot glass. “Can’t shake the bartender out of us, I suppose."
Tastee Truck; tasteetruck.com
The Mobile Marlay
The Irish have been all over street food for decades with their “chip vans” being a takeaway staple in seaside towns and outside the city pubs. In one of Atlanta’s hip intown neighborhoods, The Marlay House, owned by an Irish family originally from the Dublin area, was already serving their brilliant fish and chips at the brick-and-mortar but started the truck this year. You'll find fish tacos (not exactly Irish), fish sandwiches, lamb stew, and of course, fish and chips. The hefty pieces of North Atlantic cod are dredged in Guinness beer batter and fried to a deep golden brown, then placed atop crisp hand-cut fries and served with tartar sauce in a paper boat complete with newspaper-print wax paper. Want that extra step of authenticity? Packets of malt vinegar are always sitting at the truck’s side window.
The Mobile Marlay; 426 West Ponce de Leon Avenue, Decatur, GA 30030; 404-270-9950; themarlayhouse.com
Mac Helms and Harrison Jones were on vacation in San Antonio, enjoying some frozen margaritas and waxing poetic about Southwestern food when they conceived of Tex's Tacos. The childhood buddies have absolutely no restaurant experience whatsoever but you'll see consistently long lines at the truck.
Tacos are wrapped in a warm flour tortilla. The standouts include the Pastor de Puerco (slow-roasted pork marinated with chiles and pineapple and topped with grilled onions, pineapple, shredded cheese and cilantro), Carne Asada, and the Pulled Pork. They've also got quesadillas and slush puppies or Jarritos, but don’t walk away from the window without ordering Lime Fries. These crispy spud sticks are dusted lightly with sweet and salty homemade lime seasoning.
Tex's Tacos, 3173 Roswell Road, Atlanta, GA 30305; 678-379-8397; TexsTacos.com
The Fry Guy
Andy Long is a chef at a neighborhood café in the city but his love of Belgian-style street frites runs deep. As the Fry Guy, he cuts Idaho potatoes and blanches them in peanut oil, letting the low temp soften the fries and fluffing up the insides. Then they’re double-fried when you actually place your order, resulting in a super-crisp exterior.
Your $5 paper cone comes with a choice of several sauces. Sure, you can go classic with straight ketchup, hot sauce, or malt vinegar but Long also makes horseradish mayo, garlic aioli, red curry ketchup, or what seems to be everyone’s favorite, the honey Sriracha mayo. Want to really think outside the cardboard sleeve? Look for special add-ons like Parmesan-Reggiano and black truffle oil.
The Fry Guy; @ATLFryGuy
King of Pops
So this one's technically not a truck. It's a pushcart full of frozen awesomeness that sets up at festivals, farmers’ markets, and on random street corners. It all started when insurance mega-giant AIG tanked and 26-year-old Steven Carse got laid off. He and his brothers soon began whipping up Mexican-style paletas that reminded them of a trip to South America they’d enjoyed.
Now with multiple 500-pop-capacity carts across Atlanta (and even in Asheville, North Carolina, and Charleston, South Carolina), the King is dishing out paletas made entirely from fresh ingredients. The flavors change constantly, but there are some year-round staples like chocolate sea salt, raspberry lime, and Arnold Palmer. They've experimented with 140+ flavors like apple spinach ginger, blackberry mojito, cucumber habanero, lemon ricotta, pumpkin pie, sweet corn, watermelon peppercorn, and Cap’n Crunch milk.
King of Pops; 1079 North Avenue NE, Atlanta, GA 30307; kingofpops.net
WOW! Food Truck
Wendy Cross tried arepas first in New York when she knew she had to bring the South American corn cakes to the south. She partnered with Duck’s Cosmic Kitchen, known for using fresh ingredients, to sell them as a special at the restaurant. They sold out the very first day. Now you'll find her selling them in a hand-painted cartoon-covered wagon. Try the chicken sofrito, smoked pork, and beef-and-cheddar arepas (all topped with creamy cilantro-jalapeno “Kicky” sauce), WOW! also doles out sandwiches, slow-roasted chicken and pot roast, crispy shrimp cakes, and Duck’s Cinnamon Sugar Donuts ($1!).
WOW! Food Truck; 111-D New Street, Decatur, GA 30030; 404-626-0390; wowfoodtruck.com
Yum Yum Cupcake
Atlanta’s first and perhaps pinkest licensed mobile cupcake truck (named Pinkie), Yum Yum Cupcake offers 20-plus different flavors, all with the syrupy sweet names of traditional Southern belles. A few of the more popular ones are Camilla (cherry almond cake, cherry buttercream frosting), Gwendolyn (chocolate cake filled with coconut-pecan cream, dark chocolate ganache topping), Ruby (red velvet, cream cheese frosting), and Scarlett (strawberry cake, strawberry buttercream frosting). Jamaican-born Nadia DeMessa used to run a full service bakery; her cupcake inspiration comes from classic cakes, pie, and candy flavors.
Yum Yum Cupcake; 404-405-1999; yumyumcupcake.com