Food Trucks | Charlotte’s got a lot | Charlotte NC Travel & Tourism
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Charlotte’s Food Trucks

Here’s your guide to scoring the best to-go grub around town no matter what you’re craving.

By Chrissie Nelson and updated by Kaitlin Sheppard

To peruse all the food trucks our city has to offer, visit the official Charlotte Food Truck Association website or track them down on Roaming Hunger.

I'm Craving a Grilled Cheese

Look no further for your childhood favorite featuring a grown-up twist than Papi Queso. Combinations like smoked brisket, poblano peppers, macaroni and cheese, and pickled red onions or Muenster, avocado, baby spinach and wasabi sauce will keep you craving their innovative twists on this classic “sammie.” Bleu Barn Bistro focuses on “farm-to-truck” food by using locally sourced and seasonal ingredients. Order one of their handpicked favorites – the spicy goat cheese grilled cheese – an elevated take on a classic using bold flavors like garlic chive goat cheese and hot pepper jelly.

I'm Craving Tacos

There’s no shortage of food trucks featuring one of the most portable menu items around. Check out KO Food Truck, where Chef Kenny Oakley, a Texas transplant, is cooking up unique spins on Tex-Mex favorites. KO serves ups tacos using all kinds of proteins, but be sure to try their signature: flank steak fajita tacos with grilled peppers, onions, cilantro guacamole, queso fresco and chipotle dressing. Tacos are also the star at trucks like Maki Taco, which combines Pan-Asian flair and Japanese hibachi in its taco menu items. Taco Green-Go, a local chef-owned and operated, eco-friendly food truck offers a rotating selection of fusion-style street tacos, ceviche and other tasty fare all made from scratch.

I'm Craving a Killer Sandwich

Sometimes nothing satisfies quite like comfort food stacked between two slices of bread. Roaming Fork agrees with their seasonally inspired menu items such as the smoked meatloaf sandwich with butter pickles and a special sauce. Yummi Bahn Mi builds their version of the world famous Vietnamese sandwiches by starting with locally made French baguettes and then stacking on veggies and your choice of marinated and spiced meats. Travel the world with Street Spice, a gourmet food truck specializing in international sliders and street food. You can pop over to Italy for some meatballs or take a trip to India for tandoori chicken. Sal’s Roadside Eatery will transport you instantly to the streets of Philly with their classic Philly cheese steak made with thinly sliced ribeye, grilled onions and provolone cheese. Looking for something with a little kick? The Tin Kitchen serves up buffalo cauliflower sliders with celery root slaw and blue cheese crumbles.

I'm Craving Barbecue

Nothing says Charlotte quite like classic Carolina barbecue. OooWeeBBQ smokes a variety of meats like brisket, salmon and chicken that you can order as a sandwich, platter, egg roll or barbecue sundae (macaroni and cheese, baked beans, your choice of meat, coleslaw and barbecue sauce on top). Boone's Bar-B-Que Kitchen uses family recipes passed down through generations to create the mouthwatering flavors in their ‘cue. Indulge in ribs that fall off the bone, pulled pork or beef brisket with classic sides like Sis Gibson’s baked beans, Aunt Nell’s mac 'n' cheese and Grandma’s potato salad. Or order your ‘cue in sandwich form from SMAX Flatbread; they create a variety of your favorite sandwiches wrapped up in a warm pita. Their most popular, the SMAX Q, features pulled pork drenched in their signature sauce and topped with homemade coleslaw.

I'm Craving Seafood

Maryland Crab Co. rolled out in 2013 bringing fresh seafood to the streets of Charlotte. Maryland Crab Co.’s focus is on Maryland-style seafood like crab cakes, but they also offer fresh fish and gulf shrimp. Turn to Cuzzo’s Cuisine for some seafood with southern flair. Cuzzo’s Cuisine specializes in serving down-home favorites like chicken and waffles and shrimp and grits. A customer favorite is the lobster mac 'n' cheese, which is creamy, cheesy and chock full of lobster.

I'm Craving a Juicy Burger 

Nothing hits the spot like the unbeatable American combination of a burger and fries. Get some mobile beef from Autoburger and Fry Guys topped with classic ingredients or creative ones like spinach, Gorgonzola and pimento cheese. Autoburger and Fry Guys is also vegetarian-friendly and offers a black bean burger for non-meat eaters. For those who love bacon, Master Bacon offers a classic bacon cheeseburger topped with mayo, spinach and tomato. Or kick it up a notch with the bacon explosion burger, which is layers of bacon, beef, smoked Gouda, pork belly and jalapeño rolled up together like a pin wheel and roasted, then sliced and stacked on a bun.

I'm Craving Sweets 

From savory cupcakes to decadent cakes, sweet escapes are a popular focus for the city’s food truck scene. Southern Cake Queen masters it with nearly 30 types of cupcakes with flavors like salted caramel, 14 karat cupcake and the SCQ signature strawberry with pink icing that matches the pink truck. If you’re looking for a frozen treat, look for a colorful King of Pops cart, which can be spotted all over town at farmers markets, festivals, retail shops and food truck events. Inspired by Mexican palletas, these frozen treats made with fresh ingredients come in refreshing flavor combinations like grapefruit mint, banana pudding and strawberry lemonade. Sticks and Cones also offers frozen goodies in the form of premium soft serve ice cream, creative sundaes (with toppings like lemon curd, pistachios and chocolate covered coffee beans) and baked goods a la mode.

I'm Craving Something Else

If you’re not sure what you’re in the mood for, take a peek at these trucks unique menu items. Hot Box Next Level Street Food’s menu incorporates international inspired cuisine with a southern flare. Experience tastes of the world with some of Hot Box’s staples like housemade ramen with shrimp, cauliflower and potato curry, or Parmesan and herb risotto fritters. Chow down on the classic combination of pizza and wings from Wingzzza, who serves up slices with melted cheese and deep-fried wings drenched in flavors like hot, mambo, spicy barbecue, Charlotte Hornet and even Cam Newton (a ranch-style wing that is popular in Atlanta, where Newton is from). Belly Backers is a family business that will fill your belly with diverse menu options made with quality ingredients. Order one of their signature waffles with toppings like fresh fruit, chocolate, caramel sauce and whipped cream. If you’re looking for something savory, try a signature belly entree with a side of fried broccoli.

Where to find Charlotte's food trucks

Eat From a Truck Neighborhood Rallies

Check out some of the area’s favorite food truck fare from Roaming Fork to Bebo’s Mac Shack and Poppin Pita pulled up right in your neck of the woods. Rallies are currently scheduled in Waxhaw, Prosperity Village, Harrisburg and Steele Creek on Fridays or Saturdays.

Learn more

Charlotte Food Truck Friday

Food Truck Friday is a family-friendly and dog-friendly weekly gathering of some of Charlotte’s best food trucks offering different styles of cuisine on Fridays from 5 to 9 p.m. Food Truck Friday is held at Sycamore Brewing in South End and behind The Light Factory in Plaza Midwood. Food Truck Friday was named “Best of the City Event on Wheels” by Elevate Lifestyle magazine in 2016.

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Charlotte Food Fight

This annual May event hosts a variety of Charlotte’s food trucks to battle it out for the title of “Best Food Truck.” With a variety of menu items including a special dish made with the event’s special ingredient, diners and judges vote for their favorite. Tickets range from $7-$55 with the option to eat at one, three, seven or all of the food trucks. 

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Matthews Food Truck Fridays

Matthews Food Truck Friday rally is a family-friendly event hosted every week on Fridays from 5-9 p.m. in Stumptown Park located at 200 S. Trade St. in Matthews. Bring chairs or a blanket to sit out and enjoy food and live music.

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South Park Eats Alternative

If you’re looking for a quick bite to eat close to the office, come to Fairview Plaza (5970 Fairview Road) on Wednesdays from 11a.m. to 2 p.m. to grab lunch from some of Charlotte’s most popular food trucks.

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What the Truck Thursdays in South End

It’s Food Truck Friday but on Thursday! Group a dozen or more trucks together at a grassy park-like venue, add music and a hip South End neighborhood location, and you’ve got What the Truck Thursday evening food truck rally, a family-friendly weekly event held at 1508 Kee Court from 6 to 9 p.m. every Thursday.

Learn more 

This article originally ran in the May 2015 issue of Charlotte Happenings and was updated in June 2016. 

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