12 best food trucks in Charlotte – and what to order from each

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Quick guide to the 12 hottest Charlotte food trucks, right now.

food-trucks-in-charlotte-nc

Shout out to food truck operators Twisted Eats, Rico Acai and Roots, who I did not include in this list since they now have brick and mortar restaurants.


Bleu Barn Bistro

Classic American food with a focus on local farm-fresh ingredients from the Piedmont region

Must-try items: spicy goat grilled cheese ($8), pork belly tacos ($9), chicken salad wrap ($8) and their popular sunny farmhouse burger ($8, but add a sunny side egg for $1 more).

Sides: fire roasted beets ($4), roasted broccoli salad ($4), heirloom cherry tomato salad ($4) and pasta salad ($4).

Owners: Chef Tara Diamante and Chef Brenton Ebersold, who met at Johnson & Wales and launched the truck in 2014

Ratings: 4.9/5 on Facebook and 4.5/5 on Yelp

Find it: Follow on Facebook for schedule

burger-from-blue-barn-bistro

Sunny farmhouse burger ($8) – grass fed beef, mixed greens, heirloom tomato, pickled red onion, swiss cheese, whole grain bun, mustard. Add a free-range, sunny side up egg for $1.a via Facebook


Dumpling Lady

Dumplings and noodles made with Szechuan Chinese family recipe

Backstory: Owner and head chef Zhang Qian started The Dumpling Lady to bring Szechuanese home cooking to the people of Charlotte after moving to the U.S. in 2015. She became a vendor at the NoDa Farmers Market and quickly gained a following for her scratch-made dumplings from family recipes.

Dumpling options: pork & chives, sweet pork belly, chicken & mushrooms, crab & chicken, shrimp & chicken and veggie. The food truck also serves noodle and rice dishes.

Rating: 5/5 on Facebook and 4.5/5 on Yelp

Find it: View schedule on Instagram or Facebook. Usual spots include NoDa Company Store on Saturdays, One Wells Fargo for lunch on Fridays and Resident Culture on Friday nights.

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Papi Queso

Gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches

Grilled cheese options: Classic grilled ($6, add smoked tomatoes $1 / applewood smoked bacon $2), creamy mac and cheese grilled cheese ($7), pulled pork and onion mac and cheese ($9.5), mushroom and gruyere grilled cheese ($8.50), flank steak, onion and mushroom grilled cheese ($10) and french onion grilled cheese ($8).

Fame: Papi Queso Food Truck was featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives. “You’re a small food truck, but you’re getting all cheffy on it,” said Guy Fieri.

Famous grilled cheese: Pig Mac ($9.50) with heritage pulled pork, mac n’ cheese, bourbon onions and cheddar served on French Pullman Bread with sea salt & herbs

Find it: Follow on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

papi-queso-food-truck-charlotte

Agenda related story: 5 over-the-top grilled cheese sandwiches. via Facebook

Papi Queso

My favorite grilled cheese from Papi Queso: French Onion ($8) – beefy wine-braised onions, poblanos, American and provolone served on French Pullman Bread with sea salt & herbs


New Wrap Order

Internationally-inspired wraps and bowls

How it works: Choose a wrap or bowl ($8.49-$9.49), meat or mushrooms (marinated chicken, sirloin steak, slow roasted carnitas or roasted portobellos) and choose your international styling — traditional, Mongolian, Southwestern, Dirty South, Mediterranean, West coast or Caribbean.

Fun item: New Wrap Order’s Wonchos (crispy wonton nachos), available in traditional, Dirty South or Asian style ($6-$6.50).

Ratings: 4.8 on Facebook and 4.5 on Yelp

Find it: View schedule on their siteFacebook or Instagram.

steak-wrap-from-new-wrap-order-food-truck-charlotte

via Allie Papajohn as well as cover photo


Queen City Sliders

Sliders served on Martin potato buns

Top sliders:

  • American Beauty slider — pickle, onion, ketchup and mustard
  • Throwback slider — QC special sauce (homemade 1000 island dressing), pickle and onion
  • Jalapeño slider — pickle, onion, ketchup, mustard, fresh jalapeño and cream cheese

Must-order side: Homemade “Waffle Tots,” crisped and pressed

Ratings: 4.9/5 on Facebook and 4.5/5 on Yelp

Find it: View schedule on Facebook or Instagram.


Lobster Dogs

Seafood served in hot dog buns or in avocados 

Menu: Seafood “Dogs” are served in a toasted split-top (hot dog style bun) with a swipe of mayo and your choice of fresh chilled lobster ($15), crab ($13) or shrimp ($11) and then topped with warm lemon butter & special seasonings.

Avocado lovers: You can also get their stuffed avocado ($9) made with a fresh whole avocado topped with zesty black bean and corn salsa and pico de gallo, then drizzled with chimichuri and chipotle ranch

Ratings: 4.9/5 on Facebook and 4.5/5 on Yelp

Find it: View schedule here or follow Lobster Dogs on Facebook or Instagram.


TIN Kitchen

Tacos, sliders, quesadillas, nachos and salads

Taco options: Buffalo cauliflower, chana masala, chicken tinga, BBQ beef brisket, cilantro-lime shrimp and pork belly

Quesadilla options: Chipotle chicken, jerk pork, kim chi and three cheese

Number of Tin Kitchen trucks: Three. Truck names are Ferdinand (the bull), Wilbur (the pig) and Bessie (the cow).

Fame: TIN Kitchen is the OG of food trucks in Charlotte and has been featured in Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives

Find it: View schedule on their site or follow on Facebook and Instagram.


Cousins Maine Lobster

Fresh lobster food truck franchise

Fame: Yes, this is the same Cousins Maine Lobster you know from Shark Tank

Backstory: After meeting Cousins Maine Lobster founders Sabin and Jim in Los Angeles, Chris and Caroline Papp decided to purchase a franchise. Their Cousins Maine Lobster food truck that hit the streets of Charlotte this past month is the franchise’s 20th.

Lobster options:

  • Maine Lobster Roll ($16.95)
  • Connecticut Lobster Roll ($16.95)
  • Lobster Tacos (3 for $14.50)
  • Lobster Tots ($14.50)
  • Lobster Quesadilla ($14.50)
  • Lobster Grilled Cheese ($14.50)
  • Maine Lobster Tail & Tots ($14.95)
  • Lobster Bisque ($6/$8)

Find it: Follow on Facebook and website

cousins-maine-lobster-charlotte-food-truck-owners

Caroline and Chris also saw our city’s popular food truck scene and wanted to get into that market. Photo via Facebook

Cousins Maine Lobster

Maine Lobster Roll (chilled with mayo, $16.95), Connecticut Lobster Roll (served warm with butter and lemon, $16.95). Photo via Facebook


Yummi Banh Mi

Vietnamese sandwiches, rice bowls and tacos

Bahn Mi, explained: Vietnamese sandwich on an eight inch baguette served with garlic mayonnaise, cucumbers, pickled carrots & daikon, jalapeños, cilantro, and choice of meat.

Options: BBQ pork ($8), lemongrass beef ($8), lemongrass pork ($8), lemongrass chicken ($7.50), Yummi tofu ($7) and sautéed veggies ($5.50)

Other options: Yummi Bahn Mi also serves Vietnamese rice bowls and tacos.

Ratings: 5/5 on Facebook and 4.5/5 on Yelp


What The Fries

Gourmet loaded fries and burgers

Loaded fries: Steak and shrimp hibachi fries ($13), steak and cheese fries ($12), cheesy fries ($10) and truffle fries ($8)

Dipping sauces: Garlic mayo, sriracha ketchup, house-made yumm yumm sauce (choose one, additional sauce $.25)

Basic fries: Seasoned fries ($5) and house-made tots ($6), you can also get 1/2 and 1/2 if you’re undecided.

Backstory: Founders Jamie Barnes and Gregory Williams were friends, roommates and classmates at Johnson & Wales University and eventually coworkers in a handful of different kitchens throughout Charlotte before launching the food truck.

Find it: Follow on Facebook, Instagram and here’s their schedule on their site.

what-the-fries-food-truck-in-charlotte

via Facebook

loaded-french-fries

Loaded cheese steak fries via Facebook


Ace of Spuds

Loaded jacket potatoes and potato skins stuffed with gourmet fillings

Must-try items: Cajun shrimp ($12), cheesesteak ($9) and Southwest avocado skins ($8)

Ratings: 5/5 on Facebook and 3.5/5 on Yelp

Find it: Schedule posted weekly here

Cajun shrimp potato


Passport Dough & Co.

Pizza food truck parked permanently at Unknown Brewing

Backstory: Mark Sung (of Seoul Food Meat Company) has partnered with Unknown Brewing to serve $13 pizzas with unexpected toppings like chorizo, tahini and chicken shawarma served on potato or wheat crusts.

Crust options: Russet potato, sweet potato, original and whole wheat

Pizza options: Italian (capicola, salami, pepperoni, basil), Mexican (chorizo, queso fresco, cilantro, crema, tomatillo, guajillo sauce), French (beef short ribs, carrots, onions, demi glacé, parsley), Thai (marinated chicken, coconut curry, Thai basil, cilantro, sweet chili sauce), Korean (bulgogi, jowl bacon, sauteéd kimchi, scallions), U.K. (rarebit, parsley), Vietnamese (beef pho broth, meatballs, cilantro, bean sprouts, basil, scallions, onion, jalapeños), Lebanese (chicken shawarma, caramelized onions, tahini, harissa, parsley)

Ratings: 5/5 on Facebook and 5/5 on Yelp

Find it: Parked permanently at Unknown Brewing Co.

Header photo of Bleu Barn Bistro by Chad Weeden via Facebook

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