Why does food truck food taste so good? Is it that the chefs in the drivers’ seats of these roaming kitchens are free-spirited, make-their-own-rules types that cannot be pinned down, geographically or creatively? These gypsy-hearted, culinary artists know that the world’s best food is often served on paper plates or from a tiny kitchen. “I love that the food truck allows us to visit ‘the people’ rather than wait for them to come through the doors of one of our restaurants,” says Saw’s Street Kitchen owner Michael Brandon. “We get to go out and meet our customers on their own turf. Whether it’s an office park, driveway, brewery or baptism, it’s a pleasure to roll on in Alabama.”
And there is just something thrilling and of-the-moment about crossing paths with one of these elusive traveling kitchens, too. If you run into one, carpe diem! Grab a plate of their delicious food before it’s gone! Or take the bull by the horns and track down your favorite traveling eatery. Follow your food truck bliss with this roundup of Birmingham’s favorite savory food trucks — and keep up with their whereabouts by following them on Facebook (F), Twitter (T) or Instagram (I), all handles included below.
Your Guide to Birmingham’s Favorite Food Trucks
GOURMET GAS GUZZLERS
David Woods and Fiona Marshall, both Free the Hops members and longtime wrestling fans, created The Hot Tag food truck — named for a wrestling term — as a way to give back to Birmingham’s brewery circuit. “We modeled the menu concept around local beer and even utilized their beverages in the food itself. We try to keep a ‘pub’ atmosphere to some of our concepts, leaning on roasts, braising, grilling and frying to complement the local beer,” says Fiona, the chef of the truck. “Sometimes, our concepts are based off wrestlers or other aspects of wrestling entertainment, too.” They are always looking for new ways to push culinary boundaries by producing new menus every month and specials every week.
With one-of-a-kind menu items like bacon-wrapped hot dogs and beer-battered Nutella and fried banana sandwiches with beer caramel, it can be hard to decide what to order. The owners say to always check for the latest specials because those are the real stars of the menu. “We love every venue, we really do. Each one is unique,” says Fiona of each brewery. “The one we think most people might not know about would be Redemptive Cycles (a bicycle advocacy organization). They are the finest batch of warm-hearted, crazy people you will ever find. And we love sharing our food and ideas with the city around us, and hope we can do more as we grow. We also get to work together — we’re a tag team!” There is always something new and exciting brewing up at the Hot Tag, so make sure you grab a bottle and a bite to eat real soon.
Shindigs food truck is committed to providing Birmingham neighborhoods with fast-service food without compromising the quality of their ingredients. “Shindigs uses fresh, seasonal ingredients and quality fast-food service that fuels people to grow spiritually, personally, professionally and emotionally,” says chef and owner Mac Russell. They combine flavors to create creative, simple dishes that anyone can appreciate. It’s important to them to use different ethnic backgrounds, trends and science to create a unique culinary experience.
Shindigs’ most popular dish is the Korean steamed bun with crispy pork belly, followed closely by their most popular side: truffle fries. Fans of Shindigs also love the Willis burger, made of grass-fed beef, apple-smoked bacon, Gorgonzola, blueberry mostarda, upland cress and truffle yogurt; or try the fried oysters over lady pea succotash with lobster aioli. Shindigs provides healthy, fresh and seasonal meals perfect for any time of year!
THE BBQ BOYS
Full Moon Bar-B-Que is a seasoned veteran when it comes to sauces, sandwiches and slow-roasting. Their Ultimate Food Truck is the latest project of the award-winning restaurant, bringing everyone’s favorite barbecue nachos and scratch-made half-moon cookies to a street near you! “We start with the chopped pork and homemade chips and add creamy queso, lettuce, tomato, jalapeño peppers, sour cream, salsa, Full Moon Bar-B-Que sauce and more,” says David Maluff, owner of Full Moon Bar-B-Que. “They’re definitely a fan favorite.” Their famous slaw is the most popular side dish, a fresh, crisp, vinegar-based slaw, which was named one of the “100 Things to Eat in Alabama” by the Alabama Tourism Department. This truck can be tracked down through social media but they can likely be found serving University of Alabama at Birmingham and Children’s of Alabama, their favorite spots to set up shop.
When you come to the truck, you can expect to find the same kind of menu as their 12 storefront locations. However, if you’re lucky, you might catch some seasonal dessert items not offered at their brick-and-mortar locations. “When people see the huge blue truck and our Moon Man, they come for the same delicious barbecue they are used to getting in our restaurants, which is exactly what they get,” says David. “We like being able to attend community events and cater to our friends in a unique way.”
Saw’s Street Kitchen food truck brings Saw’s delicious barbecue with that Southern and soul food twist we know and love in the Magic City. While their original pork sandwich and French fries is their best seller, they get the most compliments on their cheese grits and turnip greens. But owner Michael Brandon is adamant about their sandwiches. “The meatloaf sandwich is awesome! We serve it ‘Roll Tide’-style, covered in Saw’s white barbecue sauce with lettuce, tomatoes, onions and pickles,” he says. “The second runner-up would be the ‘Boss Hog pork sandwich’ with pimiento cheese, cole slaw, pickles and Saw’s Sauce.” If you get lucky and catch them when they’re serving a signature dessert, make sure to order it! They occasionally have treats like banana pudding, peach cobbler and lemon buttermilk pie — and they are to die for!
“We are track stars with marathon mindsets. We offer a menu that any brick-and-mortar restaurant would envy, and serve it with lightning speed and accuracy,” says Michael. “Our favorite spots in town are the ones where people come with smiles on their faces and growling stomachs because we love to make people happy with our great barbecue.”
SlapHappy’s food truck came about simply as a way to sell the company’s three signature barbecue sauces: sweet, heat and fire. SlapHappy’s owners, Patrick Jackson, Pernell Williams and Donald Heard, loved how cooking and debating the art of grilling enhanced their friendships. The trio wanted to create memorable sauces that would, in turn, create memories for others through backyard barbecues and game-day tailgates.
That simplicity has translated into focusing on doing a few things really well and this food truck makes up for its small menu with big flavors. The truck serves pulled pork and chicken, ribs and wings along with Southern sides. SlapHappy’s pulled pork sandwich and side of baked beans has become a local favorite, smothered with one of their amazing sauces, of course. Be sure to check out SlapHappy’s delicious Southern slow-cooking for yourself.
Off The Hook food truck’s mission is to bring only the freshest ingredients and highest quality to Magic City residents in order to serve “serious street food” for any type of occasion. They are available around town for lunch every weekday, as well as for catering and special events.
On the menu at Off The Hook is a variety of fresh seafood options — from their classically delicious shrimp po’ boy to their insanely good fish or shrimp tacos. They serve freshly made kettle chips, Southern slaw or French fries as the perfect side to each dish and have an extensive variety of desserts including pecan pie, apple pie, chocolate cake and banana pudding. One dish that should definitely not be overlooked is the crab cake sliders, two Maryland-style crab cakes served on a country roll with homemade remoulade sauce, capers and lettuce. They even do a Taco Tuesday special that brings a bunch of different seafood-filled taco options to the streets.
Snapper Grabber’s Coastal Kitchen food truck is a traveling seafood kitchen that began with Snapper Grabber’s Seafood Market, a fresh retail seafood market in Vestavia Hills. The owners wanted to bring their “hook to fork” seafood from the Gulf to the neighborhoods of Birmingham. “We love to see the smiles on our customers’ faces when they take a big bite and taste how fresh and delicious our seafood really is,” says Chef Patrick McCown, who manages and operates the food truck side of the family business.
Snapper’s most popular food truck item is their Alabama wild-caught shrimp po’ boy topped with their market-made remoulade sauce. Enjoy it with a bag of Zapp’s kettle chips as the tasty side to all of their sandwiches. One item that tends to get overlooked is their grouper cake gliders. Snappers recommends these almost-famous, original grouper cakes that are served on a toasted slider bun and topped with delicious Creole cole slaw. If you catch this truck, be sure to try their delicious, coastal delights or visit their retail seafood market in Vestavia!
Cantina On Wheels is the perfect place for on-the-go, delicious Mexican food. Getting its start as a laid-back Mexican eatery with a unique and fun atmosphere, the 10-year-old restaurant has established itself in the Magic City as a local favorite! With the restaurant’s major success, Cantina wanted to bring their made-fresh daily eats to the streets, so Cantina On Wheels was born!
Cantina On Wheels serves a variety of tacos from the typical options to a Cuban Taco that includes roasted pork shoulder, cilantro mayo, dill pickles and Manchego cheese. One of our favorite items on the menu is the Mexican street corn, which is made-to-order grilled corn on the cob topped with cilantro mayo, cheese and spices. Cantina On Wheels also serves their popular garlic and garlic-cheese fries, as well as “truck fries” topped with chicken or steak, queso dip and pico de gallo. Basically, Cantina On Wheels has something special and unique for every person and all of it is seriously mouthwateringly delicious!
P: (205) 424-4530
Also referred to simply as “The Taco Truck,” this cash-only truck serves up some of the best Mexican food in the city. Situated in a gas station parking lot along West Valley Avenue and a sister truck downtown, the long line of construction workers, families, business people and folks in scrubs says it all. All walks of life are in agreement that the fabulous flavors of their tacos, burritos, quesadillas, torts and tostadas are hands-down, quite possibly the best in the state. Even renowned food writer John T. Edge visited this food truck for a piece that aired on NPR, and “Southern Living” ranked it at number six in their list of the South’s best food trucks.
With familiar fillings like steak, chicken and pork, and more exotic ones like beef cheek, cow tongue, fried tripe and chorizo — and at $2 per taco — this out-of-this-world cuisine will please the most buttoned-up eater, as well as the adventurous epicure. It’s definitely worth the trip!
“Not just an ordinary taco” is the tagline for this roaming kitchen, and when you take a look at their menu, you’ll know why. Taco Tech fuses global flavors into the classic taco, such as their Nippon chicken taco, jerk chicken taco, Thai beef taco or beef rendang taco. They also have quesadillas, loaded nachos or loaded waffle fries, nacho salad and their very popular crispy tempura green beans. Fans of exotic cuisine and bold new flavors are sure to love this truck!
COMFORT FOOD COACHES
When Zebbie Carney discovered his beloved hot chicken was a phenomenon that only existed in his East Nashville hometown, he knew she had to do something to share it with the masses. After moving to Birmingham seven years ago, Zebbie’s dream has come to life by bringing hot chicken to Alabama with Eugene’s Hot Chicken food truck. Not only does Eugene’s serve some of the most flavorful chicken south of Music City, it also serves fresh vegetables like sautéed corn and heirloom tomatoes, as well as their popular Southern cole slaw. Eugene’s mild chicken tenders and fries is the best seller, but Zebbie recommends the sandwich. “People should try our hot chicken sandwich. It has the perfect balance of flavors,” say Zebbie. “Flavor sets us apart from the competition. We keep it simple but we try to bring different amazing flavors to every meal.” Eugene’s offers a killer homemade banana pudding.
Every Monday morning, Eugene’s Hot Chicken posts a weekly schedule on social media and makes sure to stop at Good People Brewing Company every Tuesday night to pair up some Nashville eats with Birmingham brews. “My favorite thing about Eugene’s is when people try us for the first time and come back to the truck to tell us how much they enjoyed it, or that it’s some of the best fried chicken they’ve had in years,” Zebbie says. Make sure you come on out to try this latest Southern food trend; and if you’re not keen on spice, try this buzz-worthy fried chicken Southern style, or sans the spice!
MELT Food Truck was founded by Harriet Reis and Paget Pizitz in the hopes of creating something special and different before they opened a brick-and-mortar eatery, MELT — followed by the recent opening of their second eatery, Fancy’s on 5th, as well as The Marble Ring and Hot Diggity Dogs. “The food truck was a great way for us to get a feel for what different communities in Birmingham were missing,” says Paget. “It also helped lead us to our permanent home in Avondale, so it was a win-win situation!” The best part about MELT Food Truck? She has a name and a personality! “Matilda” is a well-known staple in the community who shows her grumpy side in the winter and her slower side in the hot, summer months. Iron City residents refer to Matilda by name and thus, the truck has established its own uniqueness in a sea of creative food trucks.
MELT has every grilled cheese option you could possibly imagine but their most popular item is the classic melt with bacon. The Buffalo chicken melt is a close second and both are staples on the MELT menu. Fries and tomato basil soup also hit the spot as the most popular side dishes. If you’re hungry for MELT and looking to meet Matilda, the best way is to call MELT at (205) 917-5000 and ask where she is! “Our favorite thing about the food truck is that it is where we came from,” says Paget. “She is our roots and we won’t ever forget that. What started as an idea became a food truck and four restaurants, and we are very thankful for the community for their love and support.”
Travis Chicago Style
Reportedly Birmingham’s first food truck, Travis Chicago Style has been around for about 40 years, making Chicago-style Polish sausages and their famous Travis burgers — all smothered in owner Travis’ homemade barbecue sauce with onions, peppers and mustard. Long lines of hungry and loyal fans follow this hard-to-find truck by word of mouth but you can usually find Travis Chicago Style at the Bessemer flea market on Saturdays and Sundays starting at around 2 p.m.; Friday and Saturday nights on Second Avenue North across from Platinum starting around 10 p.m. until 5 a.m.
Do you love Bacon? If so, you know that bacon makes everything better! The I Love Bacon food truck is perfect for bacon lovers. Their menu always contains bacon, in the traditional sense, or pork belly. The most popular item is the Carlos Santana, which is ponzu-marinated steak, bacon, black forest ham, Swiss cheese, sunny side up egg, lettuce, tomato, smoked mayo, all put together in a brioche bun. Or, if you are looking for something more traditional, they have the classic BLT sandwich that no one can pass up!
Owners Keith Hill and Josh Patrick spontaneously decided to create a food truck one day, but it’s more than just throwing bacon on top of something. “If we can’t enhance the dish in an intelligent way with bacon, it can’t make the cut. It has to work and not be ‘phoned in.’ It really makes us put some thought into our direction,” Keith says. The I Love Bacon truck loves the Avondale area, as well as Hoover and all around UAB. Keith and Josh make a great team, and they also make some great bacon. To find the schedule, check out their website for the calendar.
Ryan and Geri-Martha O’Hara started Big Spoon Creamery with a dream of combining a love for people and food. Big Spoon Creamery food truck began in 2016, with a small cream trike that soon transformed into a food truck to grow their business. The food truck allowed them to open the first storefront a year later. They offer different flavors seasonally, so there is always a new and exciting flavor on the menu. They offer an exceptional flavor called goat cheese ice cream, which most people are a little hesitant to try, but Ryan and Geri-Martha encourage people to try it! They will be happy to replace it with something else if you don’t love it! The most popular summer flavors are peach buttermilk and brambleberry cobbler.
Not only do the employees of Big Spoon Creamery love ice cream, their business is also built on a love for people. “It’s rewarding to get to see the impact you can have through great service and amazing ice cream,” says Ryan. If you are looking to find Big Spoon Creamery, look no further than the Summit, Pepper Place Market or Tip Top Grill in Hoover! Or head to their brick-and-mortar shop in Avondale. Big Spoon Creamery was recognized for their food truck design through the Addy awards. So go out and grab a bite at this award-winning food truck — you do not want to miss it!
Dreamcakes mission is “baking the world a better place.” Jan and Dwight Potter have been “baking the world a better place” for 8 years now. They are also the founding members of the Greater Birmingham Street Food Coalition (GBSFC), which works with cities to shape or help make licensing laws and promote events. Dreamcakes was the second food truck in Birmingham, so they helped shape the Magic City food truck industry. “The thing you notice about the cupcake truck is the sign on the back, ‘Cupcakes make people happy,’ and everyone, from young to old, always leaves with a smile on their face,” says Dwight.
The store offers a variety of delicious high-quality baked goods such as brownies, pound cakes, oatmeal cream pies and the main attraction, of course: cupcakes. The food truck offers more than 100 flavors of cupcakes, so you can always try something new and tasty! The menu changes every day in both the store and the truck. The most popular item on the menu is the wedding cake cupcake, but they also have a “Grapico Cupcake” which is made with real Grapico syrup!
Kimberly and Brock Beiersdoerfer always dreamed of owning a business — and one day that dream became a reality when they opened the Heavenly Donut Co. The idea of a food truck came about when they realized they could reach more people around Birmingham. “My favorite thing about The Heavenly Donut Co. is our mission to be a bright spot in the community,” Brock says. “The people who work here make that a reality for the people of Birmingham.”
Their donuts are known for their distinct shape and flavor. The truck menu offers 10 to 12 items, so customers aren’t overwhelmed with all of the amazing flavors! Their most popular donut is the French toast donut, a flavor that was only meant to be offered as the monthly donut but customers fell in love, so now it’s offered all of the time! You don’t want to miss the food truck that was voted the Best Donut Shop in Alabama on PopSugar.com!
Husband-and-wife duo Cory and Erin Dill have been making nutritious acai bowls since mid-April of 2017, when they first opened City Bowls. City Bowls serves acai bowls, pitaya bowls and smoothies. The yummy fruit bowls contain acai as the base with granola, then strawberries, blueberries and bananas topped with peanut butter and nutella drizzle. Acai is high in antioxidants, good for the immune system and boosts energy. You can stick with the classic BHAM bowl or you can create your own. City Bowls frequently creates giveaways on their social media channels, which is fun and exciting for all of their followers. If you are looking for a refreshing food truck while you’re on the go this summer — try City Bowls!
The Urban Pops food truck features unique popsicle flavors from around the globe, while also keeping traditional flavors on the menu like cookies ‘n’ cream and strawberry. The unique flavors include the Kulfi that originates from India, Horchata from Mexico, Lychee from Asia and Akbar Mashdi from Iran. Kamy and Riba Adeli opened Urban Pops in Hoover in 2015. Their restaurant idea came from their younger daughter, Sara, while their oldest daughter, Lawden, manages all social media and special event promotion. “Urban Pops is a true family business where everyone is treated like a king or queen,” says Kamy. Urban Pops has three food trucks and 12 pushcarts, so they are able to be at many locations at one time. They have tea, coffee and other desserts as well on the menu. We recommend the “kulfi” pop!
Kelli Caulfield, NOLA Ice founder, knew she had to bring the New Orleans Sno-ball to Birmingham when she was really craving a sno-ball one summer with no relief. “NOLA Ice has allowed me to bring my love for the city that birthed me to the city that raised me. The New Orleans Sno-ball is not your average Snow cone; the NOLA sno-ball is so soft that it feels like snow. Then, when the syrup hits, it’s perfection. Kelli wants her food truck to be like the traditional ice cream truck that every child runs to when they hear it. The NOLA Ice truck doesn’t stop when the weather gets cooler; they continue their business throughout October.
NOLA Ice has 34 flavors on the menu. They offer traditional flavors, NOLA specialties, unique mixes and even sugar-free options! The most popular flavors are tiger’s blood or blue raspberry. The most popular specialty mix flavor is the Hurricane Gusty, which is tiger’s blood mixed with piña colada. You can even get the NOLA cream, a special condensed milk mixture, to top off your delicious sno-cone. Yum.
Ben and Wendy served their homemade cookies and milk at their wedding in April of 2014. In the summer of 2014, they would invite their friends over to try all of Wendy’s recipes. Their friends loved their cookies and ice cream so much that Ben and Wendy decided to make their dream of Cookies & Cream a reality in 2016. All of their friends decided Ben and Wendy should name their business a combo of their names, and thus Bendy’s Cookies & Cream was born.
Bendy’s offers a variety of made-from-scratch cookies and ice cream that you can make an ice cream sandwich out of. The most popular ice cream sandwich combinations include the vanilla ice cream with chocolate chip cookies. Sweet cream and cookie butter are also very popular ice cream flavors, but they are open to new suggestions, so let them know if you have an idea for a flavor! “We love meeting all our customers and being able to brighten their days with our ice cream and cookies,” says Wendy. Brighten their day and find the Bendy’s food truck today.
Are you ever on the go and looking for a quick fix for your shopping obsession? Check out the mobile fashion boutique, Southern Wanderer! It started out as an online shop, and then they branched out into pop-up shops around the region. “Southern Wanderer was 100% built off of my ideas and dreams. I wanted it to be sincerely authentic and different from anything else that someone had seen,” says Courtney Rochelle, founder of Southern Wanderer. The mobile boutique has cute bohemian-style outfits, as well as graphic tees and effortlessly chic jewelry! Courtney loves pieces that are comfortable, so if it is uncomfortable she won’t carry it. The truck is fairly large with a dressing room, full-length mirror and large bench for relaxing. Southern Wanderer donates 10% of all purchases to a different charity each month, so you can give back while upping your fashion game!
FETCH is not your traditional food truck; it’s a dog food truck! It’s the first food truck of its kind in Alabama. Allison Whitfield-Smith started this dog treat truck concept in 2014 when she decided her love for dogs should contribute to something bigger. “I saw a news segment about a food truck for dogs in New York City,” Allison says. She kept thinking about it and said it was the one thing she could not talk herself out of doing. FETCH offers grain-free and allergen-free dog treats, while also listing the ingredients on their website so dog owners can see. The most popular item on the menu is the doggie ice cream. Dogs go crazy after the peanut butter and maple bacon flavors! FETCH donates a portion of their sales to local animal shelters and rescue groups. Allison understands the growing problem of pet homelessness in Alabama and wants to contribute to solving this problem. Take your sweet pup to the food truck today — and contribute to helping the community with pet homelessness in the process!
So, like your favorite food trucks on Facebook, follow them on Instagram and Twitter or call them up to find out where they’ll be this week for a tasty bite on the streets of Birmingham! And make sure to tell them StyleBlueprint sent you!