There is just something about dining at the food trucks in Chicago that makes this sidewalk dining experience so enjoyable. Maybe it’s a sense of rebellion against sit-down restaurants, maybe it’s quality fast-food service, maybe it’s taking advantage of the phenomenal weather– or a combination of the three. Either way, Chicago food trucks provide an alternative dining experience without skipping out on quality food and service. With food trucks being mobile, sometimes it’s hard to track down your favorite– which is why you should follow them on social media to find their up-to-date location or utilize the map on Chicago Food Truck Finder.
With a mass amount of food trucks rolling around Chicago, it’d be hard for us to claim that the following are the only ones worth visiting– it’s more like if you are new to food trucks and need some guidance on where to start, you can’t go wrong with these.
Essential Food Trucks in Chicago
Boo Coo Roux
They focus on Cajun and Creole cuisine– which is pretty unique when it comes to food trucks. If you are craving spicy southern food, shrimp or other seafood– this is the truck to find. Prices are a little higher than many food trucks, but you are also getting seafood and not a street taco. Portions are large and very filling. Fresh, made from scratch and rotating specials will keep you returning.
Bruges Brothers brings gourmet and interesting frite (french fry/potato) dishes to the streets. Whether you go for their standard frites cooked in duck and beef fat until perfectly crisp, or load up the potatoes by ordering their Braised Oxtail Poutine– you will not be disappointed. They specialize in Belgian cuisine, which shines through with their Tiger and Samurai sauces– while tapping into other nationalities with their fondue, curry, garlic aioli and more.
You may think that a truck dedicated to grilled cheese sandwiches may be a little unnecessary, but I assure you– it isn’t. It’s not just plain cheese on toast; you have options like homemade macaroni & cheese on Texas Toast with tomato soup as a dipping sauce. How about the Tenderizer with multiple cheeses, hot sauce, Bacon, fried chicken tenders, with sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce on Texas Toast?
Chicago Pizza Boss
The crazy thing about this pizza truck is that there is an actual wood burning oven inside that bakes the pizza to perfection. I know, I know.. Chicago is known for deep dish, but don’t be stubborn. Pizza comes in all shapes and sizes and can be adored by all. The toppings are fresh tasting and the sauce is spot on, but the crust is really what shines. Cooking in a wood oven allows the dough to absorb the flavor of the smoke and the wood to create a flavor utopia.
The Corner Farmacy
The Corner Farmacy is more or less a Farm to Table Restaurant, but Farm to Truck. They source their ingredients as locally as possible, which doesn’t just assure freshness, but also keeps the menu evolving. They serve up dishes such as: gourmet breakfast sandwiches, veggie burger, glazed lamb skewers, soups, salads and much more! One of the few healthy-ish food trucks in Chicago.
Sometimes your tastebuds just crave German cuisine– which is where this food truck comes into play. They cater to both meat lovers in the form of grilled sausages from a rotation of local butchers, as well as kebabs filled with vertical spit-roasted chicken and all the tradition fixings. Vegetarians will find veggie kebabs and wursts in the form of vegetables and a fried sietan/tofu sauce. If you are tired of eating Chicago dogs, seek out Döner Men for a Currywurst.
Eastman Egg Company
We’ve visited the Eastman Egg Company restaurant and we can say that their food truck provides the same standard of quality. They specialize in replacing your morning breakfast with something memorable that you’ll keep on craving. The Doc is one their most popular, which is essentially a bacon breakfast sandwich served on a delicious cibatta bun (the bread makes all the difference). The Scoundrel is the other go-to, with the main features being smoked turkey, spinach, white cheddar, farm fresh egg, wilted spinach and house-made spicy mustard in-between a pretzel roll. Change up your morning routine.
The Fat Shallot
Serving up classic sandwiches in a delightful way– The Fat Shallot is especially perfect for lunch. The Buffalo Chicken sandwich is ridiculously tasty, but if you’re not into that sort of thing I recommend indulging in their meatball sub or BLT. Most importantly, don’t forget to order a side or two of their truffle fries. So. Good.
Oh man, another Chicago food truck trying to take on seafood. Now that that thought is out of the way– we can all rejoice that Happy Lobster exists. Their lobster rolls are some of the best around. Round, buttery, fluffy and packed with succulent lobster meat. You can get it “Happy” with butter and mayo or opt for the “Angry” version that has spicy mayo and giardiniera (I like spice on everything). You can also get lobster mac & cheese bites, lobster grilled cheese and soup options.
This is your all around Jamaican grill in a truck form. Their menu is well rounded and offers up everything from filling entrees to simple sides. Entrees comes in the form of Jerk style chicken, pork, or beef brisket accompanied by a side, island slaw, Festival (fried bread), a sauce choice and Jamaican hard dough bread.. wow.
They also have salads and a favorite is the Jerk chicken wings.
This Chicago food truck specializes in pierogis, but they also have sides ranging from soup and salad to vegetable and polish sausage.. oh, and donuts! The portions come in three different sizes, and the pierogis can be mixed and matched to get the full flavor experience. They are very vegetarian friendly as well– with the sole meat options being braised beef for the filling and a bacon option for a topping. Pan fried and delicious.
The Slide Ride
The Slide Ride is named after the sliders that they serve up. The nice thing about these mini sandwiches is that you’ll want to order multiple, not only to fill you up but because their options are pretty spectacular. The Bacon Baby and Sriracha Buffalo Chicken sliders are almost essential with every visit– with the pulled pork and pork belly not far behind. They also offer sides and a large list of frites (fries) that you can order loaded in many, many ways.
The Roost also has a physical restaurant, but there is something about a food truck in Chicago wafting the scent of delicious fried chicken throughout the streets that makes me squeal with joy (or is it cluck with joy?). Chicken comes in many forms here– a couple of the favorites being served on their moist, flaky, buttery biscuit, or just keep it simple and mow the fried chicken right from the bone. Their sides exude the definition of comfort food; think coleslaw and mac & cheese with peach cobbler for dessert. The Roost is without a doubt one of the most satisfying food trucks in Chicago.
Typically when I think of food trucks, I think of tacos. That’s where Tamale Spaceship comes into play. Tacos comes in pairs and are served on handmade tortilla shells. There are a handful to choose from with the short ribs taco and the Yucatecan-style roasted pork (with habanero sauce) being among the top. There are even more options for tamales, of which are vegan and vegetarian options. There is also a seasonal and special offering accompanying the staples to keep it fresh.
When it comes to Asian cuisine food trucks in Chicago, it’s usually just a serving of rice or noodles with some toppings. That isn’t the case at Yum Dum. They specialize in steamed dumplings and baowiches. The baowiches are very unique in flavor due to the Mantou (bread). The balance of softness and sweetness is phenomenal and accents the Asian-style prepared fillings perfectly. With pork, chicken, shrimp, fish and tofu options– everyone can find something. There are also side options of cucumber noodles, rice balls and a Sriracha pecan fudge brownie (holy moly).
There are also Festivals of Food Trucks in Chicago that will allow you to easily visit and indulge in many of the trucks at once:
The Daley Plaza fests are scheduled to be held weekly and the Willis Tower fests will be hosted monthly. The events will include a rotating line-up of trucks offering different food options at each location.
Daley Plaza Dates:
April 8, 15, 21
May 6, 11, 27
July 1, 6, 15, 29
August 5, 12, 19, 22
September 2, 9, 16, 21, 30
October 7, 14 and 26
Willis Tower Dates: