The street food concept has been around for a long time, harking back to the street vendors who sold food from pushcarts in Old New York. In the 1860s, the chuckwagon was invented by Charles “Chuck” Goodnight, a famous Texan who made a fortune in cattle ranching, banks and silver mining in the 19th century. Goodnight pioneered one of the major trails used to drive cattle from Texas to markets in Colorado and Wyoming. To keep his cowboys well fed during the drives, Goodnight converted an old Army wagon into a mobile kitchen.
In the early 20th century, sausage vendors started hawking their wares at universities like Yale, Harvard and Princeton, luring hungry students from their dorm rooms as the odors of roasting meat made their mouths water.
If you grew up in most any American city or suburb in the 1950s or later, you probably remember dashing out your door when you heard the tinkling music that signaled the arrival of the ice cream truck. A cone or an icy popsicle was just the thing on a hot summer day.
Mobile taco trucks started appearing in Los Angeles in the 1970s, and vendors in other big cities offered hot dog and pretzel carts. But the modern food truck trend is said to have started in 2008, when Kogi BBQ opened in the City of the Angels. Kogi BBQ sold tacos with an Asian flair, and it’s still going strong. Since then, the food truck phenomenon has traveled across the country and gone gourmet.
Chefs find it a lot easier to set up shop in a vehicle than they could in a restaurant, which can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to open. In Buffalo, as elsewhere, the concept has grown quite popular.
Lloyd Taco Truck was the first to serve up gourmet street food in Buffalo. In late July 2010, owners Pete Cimino and Chris Dorsaneo outfitted a 1984 Step Van and rolled it to Main and Mohawk in downtown Buffalo to serve tacos and burritos featuring handmade tortillas. Lloyd now deploys a fleet of four trucks to locations throughout the downtown and Elmwood areas from mornings to late weekend nights. The enterprise was so successful that it spawned the Lloyd Taco Factory on Hertel Avenue, where fresh tortillas are made daily. A second restaurant is scheduled to open this fall on Elmwood Avenue.
That first Lloyd Taco Truck was immediately popular with folks looking for a satisfying, convenient and affordable meal. Now the food truck phenomenon includes almost 50 trucks and street vendors serving Buffalo and the surrounding areas with fare that ranges from vegetarian Lebanese cuisine to down-home Cajun cooking.
Lloyd Taco Trucks remain a local favorite. They feature a rotating menu of tacos made with antibiotic- and hormone-free meats, organic black beans and other fresh ingredients, including cabbage instead of lettuce. Selections range from classic tacos to New School varieties including Crispy Fish Tacos; the Dirty South, made with buttermilk fried chicken, baby kale, bacon aioli, waffle pieces and maple syrup; and the Skinny Thai, which features fried organic tofu, peanut sauce, Asian-style pickles, scallions, cilantro and radishes.
Of the many other food trucks plying Buffalo’s streets, here are some of the most popular.
Got a taste for something different? The Black Market Food Truck offers handcrafted, gourmet dishes such as Coconut-Curry Chicken Souvlaki, Vietnamese Banh-Mi, Buffalo Chicken Arancini and Jerk Sandwiches made with jerk-spiced pork and banana guacamole on its ever-changing menu, along with locally made sodas.
It’s easy for fans to spot the colorful dragon logo Lomo Lomo sports on it blue truck. Signature dishes include Cracked Potatoes, embellished with curry aioli and fresh herbs; Pig Fried Rice, jasmine rice and quinoa with black bean hash, chorizo spice and chimichurri; and the Kalbi Burrito, a crispy flour tortilla packed with Korean BBQ chicken, kimchi and crema.
How many ways can you prepare mac and cheese? At Macarollin, the variety seems endless. The four Macarollin trucks dish up a great Classic Mac, but they make it with Cavatappi Pasta and Aged Cabot Cheddar in a Veloute Cream Sauce. Other versions include Lobster Mac, Szechuan Duck Mac, Loaded Potato Mac and Philly Cheese Steak Mac.
Fans say The Flaming Fish makes the best Shrimp Po Boy sandwiches in town. Fans also are hooked on dishes like Haddock Hoagies, Fiesta Fish Tacos and specialties like The Bermuda Triangle—shrimp tacos three ways. The Hammerhead Taco, when available, is a spiritual experience, according to one customer.
Aficionados of bite-sized burgers love The Knight Slider, a mobile truck that grills classic mini-burgers made from premium beef blended with a proprietary seasoning. Specialty sliders include The 12 O’clock, made with falafel and pickles topped with veggies and a homemade hummus spread served in a mini pita; the Eggsplosion, a premium beef patty topped with sharp cheddar, shredded bacon and a local fried egg; and I Need a Break, a beef patty with cheddar, bacon, fried onion and a homemade BBQ sauce.
Food trucks are part of the burgeoning downtown Buffalo scene. When you move into your exquisite apartment at Canterbury Woods Gates Circle, you’ll be close to the beating heart of the city—downtown’s energy is just minutes away. It’s the perfect location to access the city’s best shopping, museums, entertainment and restaurants.
Want to know more about this unique retirement community? Give us a call at 716-929-5811.