12:35 PM CDT, July 25, 2014
The food truck revolution hit Chicago in 2012. And with it, notions of greasy grub on wheels gave way to some serious gourmet cuisine. Here’s a look at five of Chicago’s best food trucks. Be sure to check websites, Facebook and Twitter to see where you’ll find them next.
Jack’s Fork in the Road
After years operating brick-and-mortar restaurants, Chef Jack Jones hit the road to bring handcrafted sandwiches to the masses. His menu includes roast pork loin with fig jam, crispy prosciutto and apple slaw, and an anything-but-typical grilled cheese with smoked tomatoes and arugula.
Follow that truck: Stops include the University of Chicago’s Hyde Park campus and the NBC Tower.
The Tamale Spaceship
You’ve gotta love a food truck staffed by men in Lucha Libre masks. This one also has fab tamales, from the traditional Picturesque (Yucatecan-style roasted pork with tomato-habanero salsa and purple pickled onions) to the unexpected Seasonal de Pato (Confit-style Peking duck with plum mole and dry cranberries).
Follow that truck: Keeps a consistent Loop-based schedule five days a week.
Beavers Coffee + Donuts
The delish mini donuts on this truck come in the classic cinnamon sugar,
powdered sugar or chocolate powder and also in gourmet-topped varieties such as the Loco Coco (chocolate sauce and coconut) and Grandma (honey and graham cracker crumbs). Coffee runs $2, a lot less than at those ubiquitous coffee chains.
Follow that truck: Madison & Wacker most Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Chicago Pizza Boss
Who’s the boss? Antonella and Giuseppe Badalamenti, first-generation Italian Americans who — picture this — outfitted their truck with a mobile brick oven. Each made from artisan dough proofed for 24 hours, the pizzas run the gamut from the classic margherita to a chic fig and prosciutto. They also serve arancini (fried rice balls) and a dessert of deep fried Nutella and bacon in pizza dough called the Scrappy Cocoa.
Follow that truck: Out several days a week in suburbs including Lombard, Crystal Lake and Itasca.
Just try stumping Babycakes chef/owner Leah Wilcox. She cooks 200-plus kinds of gourmet pancakes on the red truck she affectionately calls Sweetheart, with flavors from apple fritter to pepperoni pizza. She’ll deliver, too, if you call 24 hours in advance and spend $25 or more.
Follow that truck: At 125 S. Clark St. most Tuesdays and Thursdays. Closed Mondays.
— By Lou Carlozo, Brand Publishing Writer