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
Satay n Roll
Officially launched in June of 2020, Satay n Roll has quickly become a Magic City food truck favorite. This Asian-mix food truck features delicious satays,marinated grilled skewers, fresh sushi and much more. Personally, we think their Bagel Roll is one of the very best in Birmingham, but you really can’t go wrong with any menu selection. Satay n Roll keeps their social media up-to-date with their weekly schedule. To place an order ahead of your arrival, call (205) 635-8144. They’re also available for private events and catering.
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.
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!
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!
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. “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.
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!
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.
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!