Food trucks are on a roll in Pittsburgh




In a world that’s constantly moving, food trucks provide a mobile feast. Everything from crepes to cupcakes, pierogies to empanadas, ice cream to pizza, is being served somewhere in the city or suburbs this summer.

Pittsburgh has about 50 active food trucks (see the list below). Some like Gus and Yia Yia’s ice ball cart on the North Side have been fixtures for decades. Others such as Reid’s Fresh Express are new to the game. Earlier in the month, during the Three Rivers Arts Festival, several trucks were parked Downtown near Point State Park on weekends, offering alternatives to the usual festival food. Food truck round-ups have also become common on weekends at events throughout the region.

Where are they all coming from? Operators say a food truck is less risky and expensive than opening a restaurant, which has a high failure rate. Some people prefer the seasonal nature of the business and a variable schedule that allows them to keep their other jobs. That was the case for Kristen and Mike Baughman, owners of Rolling Cones.

“My wife had the idea of starting a truck so that we could keep our day jobs and be able to run the truck as a family,” Mr. Baughman said. “Food trucks were just beginning to become more popular in Pittsburgh, so we thought it was a good way to get started.”

For some, a food truck is their first business venture. For others, it’s an expansion of an already established restaurant. Lori and Kevin Heenan, whose family has owned the Sugar and Spice ice cream parlor in Baldwin Borough since 1984, found a way to make the business mobile — with a twist. Next week, the Sugar and Spice Ice Cream Boat (on Twitter @SSIceCreamTruck) will hit local waters, joining Sugar and Spice Ice Cream on Wheels. It will serve 10 flavors of homemade ice cream.

Late last year, Pittsburgh became an easier place to have a mobile restaurant. Food trucks are now allowed to park in metered spaces for up to four hours. They must be inspected by the Allegheny County Health Department, and, if they’re operating in the city limits, owners must receive a permit from the Pittsburgh Department of Permits, Licenses and Inspections. The application fee is $1,200.

Hungry yet? Most food trucks are active on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other types of social media. The owners list where they will be that week and often their changing menus. Mobilenom.com lists many trucks and Yelp includes user reviews. Throughout the summer, check back to discover new ones and to read reviews written by Post-Gazette interns.

Atiya Irvin-Mitchell: airvinmitchell@post-gazette.com or on Twitter @atiyawrites.

Check out our list of food trucks operating in the Pittsburgh region, compiled by Post-Gazette interns.

Twitter handles begin with @. All food trucks are on Facebook unless otherwise indicated.

Bella Christie's Sugar Sweet Truck @bellachristiez  412-772-1283

Sweet and savory cupcakes, cake pops and chocolate confections. Stores in Aspinwall and Lawrenceville.

Berlin Street Food: @BLNStreetFood  412-478-2670 

Authentic German street food including bulettes (German hamburgers made from ground meat and bread), bratwurst, currywurst and Das Lamb sandwiches.

Blowfish BBQ: @blowfishbbq  412- 685-4033 

With an owner named Hootie, the appropriately named truck serves traditional barbecue dishes such as pulled pork, brisket, ribs, sliders and macaroni and cheese.

Brassero Grill: @BrasseroGrill 

Organic Mexican food, including quesadillas, tacos, burritos, burgers and salads. Fernando Espejel is the owner.

BRGR Food Truck: brgrpgh.com/foodtruck.php @BRGRpgh brgrtruckpgh@gmail.com

Gourmet burgers with many choices of toppings and sides similar to what’s served at sit-down restaurants in the East End, Cranberry and Mt. Lebanon. Found 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Thursdays at Grant Street and Forbes Avenue. Caters events.

The Brownstone Oven: @Brownstoneoven 724-875-6036. 

Artisan pizzas on a mobile, wood-fired oven. Pizzas range from pepperoni and Margherita to barbecue smoked chicken. Based in Monroeville.

Burgh Bites: @BurghBites  412-229-7119. 

Tortillas, hot dogs, chili, sandwiches, sides and sodas. Usually found in Shadyside and will cater events. Ricci Minella is the owner.

BullDawgs: bulldawgspgh.com @BullDawgspgh 

All-beef hot dogs and homemade Italian sausage. Fresh buns daily from Mancini's Bakery. Condiments from Bylers Farm and Clarion River Organics.

ChattyCupcakes: @ChattyCupcake4u  724-986-4429 

Gourmet cakes and cupcakes. They cater events and can deliver within 72 hours.

Cool Beans Truck: @coolbeanstruck 412-321-COOL 

“Greens and beans” with sausage, chicken or salmon. Food comes from Legends of the North Shore restaurant.

Driftwood Oven: @DriftwoodOven  412-508-5096. 

Mobile, wood-fired pizza oven using naturally leavened dough. Regularly at Grist House Craft Brewery in Millvale, Staghorn Garden Cafe in Greenfield and Roundabout Brewery in Lawrenceville.

Evil Swine BBQ: @evilswinebbq (412) 906-4052 

Barbecue, nachos, homemade mac n’ cheese, and coleslaw. Willing to cater private events.

Foodoo (Voodoo Brewery): @Voodoo_Foodoo 

Tacos, burgers, vegetarian items. Appetizers include pub pretzel with beer cheese, pierogies and hummus with pita and vegetables. Two trucks, one with beer taps serving Voodoo Beer from Meadville (with a permanent Homestead location).

Franktuary: @Franktuary 

Three choices of hot dogs — standard, veggie or “under dog” made with New Zealand beef, as well as poutine and fries. A stripped-down version of menu at restaurants in Lawrenceville and Downtown.

Gus & Yia Yia’s: On Facebook but not Twitter. 412-766-7552

Ice balls (snow cones), popcorn and beverages. Open 9 a.m.-8 p.m. every day at 638 W. Ohio St., North Side.

Gyros N'at: @Gyros_N_at 412-841-7864. 

Pittsburgh-style gyros and vegetarian-friendly Mediterranean-based menu. Saturdays at Brew Gentlemen Beer Co. in Braddock.

India on Wheels: indiaonwheelspa.com @indiaonwheelspa 412-378-6611 

Northern and southern Indian food served with basmati rice, naan or freshly made chapatis. No preservatives.

Kona Ice Pittsburgh: kona-ice.com @KONA_ICE_PGH 412-925-0804. 

More than 40 toppings and flavor combinations of shaved ice. They cater events.

La Palapa: @LaPalapapgh 412-586-7015 (restaurant)

Empanadas, tacos or quesadillas filled with chorizo, ground beef, chipotle pork and chicken. Beef comes from Clarion Farms. Menu similar to sit-down restaurant on South Side. Weekdays at Penn and Seventh avenues. Run by chef José Luis.

LA Taco 412: lataco412.com @LATacos412  412-758-3376 

Classic tacos from the streets of Los Angeles, including Blu Moo skirt steak and Flying Pig with Buffalo chicken, chorizo and cheddarjack cheese. Fresh salsa. All tacos come with choice of corn or flour tortilla.

Las Chicas: @LasChicasTruck  724-234-7592. 

Quesadillas, tacos, taquitos, vegetable, chicken, steak and cheese nachos, tortilla bowls filled with beans, Spanish rice and meat or vegetables. Found in Beaver, Butler and Allegheny counties.

Leena’s Food Truck: leenasfoodtruck.com @Leenasfoodtruck (412) 480-8854

Gyros, falafel and other Palestinian cuisines.

Leona’s Ice Cream Sandwich: leonaspgh.com @leonasllc  412- 709-5275 

Lactose-free ice cream sandwiches. Flavors vary seasonal and sometimes include vanilla on chocolate chunk, vanilla on peanut butter cookies and plum on ginger molasses. Owners Katie Helbstab and Christa Puskarich distribute to local stores and eateries (list on website).

Mac and Gold: macandgoldtruck.com @macandgoldtruck 

Seasonal and special macaroni and cheese. Plain mac is house cheese sauce over cavatappi noodles with a la carte toppings. Sides include seasonal house salad and hand-cut rosemary garlic fries. Regularly in Strip District, Lawrenceville, South Side and Shadyside.

Michelle’s Mobile Meals: michelesmobilemeals.com @MichelesMeals  724-594-8668 

Haluski, fried chicken, Nathan’s hot dogs, cheeseburgers, onion rings and fries. Owner Michele Cuesta also caters events.

Mission.Mahi: @Mission_Mahi 

Specialty grilled mahi-mahi tacos, lettuce wraps and the Screamin Vegan. Owner Jimmy Woods is at 8898 Peebles Road in McCandless most Thursdays and Fridays.

Miss Meatball: missmeatball.com @eatmissmeatball  724-689-5151. 

Meatballs and meatball sandwiches made with beef, chicken and pork. Also salad and pasta dishes. Found in Pittsburgh and Westmoreland County. 

Moonlite Express: moonliteexpress.com @MoonliteExpress  412-945-0619 

Authentic Vietnamese and Chinese cuisine since 1984. Lunch 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on Carnegie Mellon University campus in Oakland, by football field

Onion Maiden: @OnionMaiden 

Asian fusion and nostalgic comfort foods and baked goods, all completely vegan. Menu changes by event.

Oh My Grill: ohmygrill.com @OhMyGrill  724-996-3955 

Grilled cheese sandwiches made with natural cheese, meats and local produce served with homemade dipping sauce. Sides include macaroni and cheese, loaded baked potato salad and spicy pasta salad.

Popsburgh: @popsburgh Info@popsburg.com. 

Fancy frozen pops with all natural ingredients for adults, kids and dogs. The bicycle cart is usually parked along Riverfront Trail on the North Side. Part of Chateau Cafe and Bakery. -

PGH Crepes: @pghcrepes  412-251-3227 

French crepes cart usually found weekdays at Bigelow Boulevard and Forbes Avenue and 20th and Penn avenues on weekends. Also caters events

PGH Halal: @PGHHALALFOOD PghHalalTruck.com  724-967-5500 

Lamb-chicken-falafel gyros, chicken over rice and loaded fries. Classic halal food with a twist.

PGH Pierogi Truck: pghpierogitruck.com @PGHPierogiTruck 

Pierogies, stuffed cabbage, haluski and other Eastern European dishes. Also sells frozen pierogies.

Pgh Po’Boy: @pghpoboy  724-900-8337

Po'boys (traditional Louisiana subs), gumbo and other Cajun-Creole dishes.

Pittsburgh Smokehouse: @snackmantim or @pittsburgh.smokehouse  412-607-4341

Pork and chicken-based barbecue and fountain drinks.

PGH Taco Truck: pghtacotruck.com @PghTacoTruck 

Seven taco options, including beef, three kinds of chicken, chorizo and vegetarian options. They claim two tacos make a meal. Additions/substitutions are free.

Pizza Boat: pizzaboatpgh.com @pizzaboatpgh

Wood-fired pizza. Only serves events of 100 or more people.

Pizzaiolo: @Pizzaioloprimo  412-575-5858.

Neapolitan pizzas with a variety of toppings and styles. Usually found on Penn Avenue. Also caters private events.

Randita's Café: randitas.com @RanditasCafe,  412-408-3907

All-vegan sandwiches and wraps, African peanut stew and mixed green salad. Permanent location in Aspinwall.

Reid’s Fresh Express: @ReidsFreshx

Soups, sandwiches, vegetarian products, grilled chicken and sides. Owner Steven P. Reid also caters events.

Rolling Cones: @rollingcones412  412-221-1576

Ten flavors of ice cream from the Penn State Creamery. Owners Michael and Kristen Baughman of Upper St. Clair also do events.

The Hot Dog Guys: @TheHotDogGuys (724) 309-2166

All-beef hot dogs with 23 free toppings. Based in Lower Burrell.

The Rolling Kitchen: @therollingkitch

Chicken, pulled beef and other sandwiches.

Saucy Mamas: @SaucyMamasPgh 

Traditional Italian-style dishes including lasagna, grilled paninis, pasta salad, meatball subs and pepperoni rolls.

Savoy on Wheels: savoypgh.com @SAVOYonWheels (412) 281-0660 .

Mobile version of Savoy restaurant in the Strip District. Southern-style soul food items including fried chicken and wings with a spicy kick.

Second Breakfast: @2ndbreakfastpgh 

Waffles, breakfast sandwiches, eggs, bacon, hash browns, chicken and waffles.

South Side BBQ: southsidebbqcompany.com @Southsidebbqco  412-892-8566

Brothers Pat and Mike Joyce use a Stump’s Smoker to make pulled pork, brisket and sammies (sandwiches) served with North Carolina slaw on top. Also wings or St. Louis-style ribs. Signature item is the Bar-B-Cone — a waffle cone filled with macaroni and cheese, pulled pork or chicken and coleslaw.

Stickler’s (formerly Pop Stop) sticklerspgh.com, @SticklersPGH  412-444-8513

Frozen pops made with fresh fruit and other ingredients; flavors include watermelon kiwi, the Elvis (peanut butter, honey and banana), and strawberry lemonade. Owners Todd and Laura Saulle also have permanent location in Millvale.

Steer & Wheel: @steerandwheel Email: info@steerandwheel.com 

At least six styles of burgers made from beef, veggies, turkey, etc.  Beer from Penn’s Corner Farm Alliance, other beverages from Full Circle and rolls from Mediterra Bakehouse 

Sugar and Spice: @SSIceCreamTruck  412-882-7326.

Ten flavors of homemade, old-fashioned ice cream served from a boat. Run by Kevin and Lori Heenan and connected to ice cream parlor in Baldwin Borough.

Swing Truck @SwingTruck 

Smoked chicken, corn on the cob or other cuisine by Bobby Fry of Bar Marco and Livermore. Mostly in Greensburg at All Saints Brewing on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Square Cafe / Uncle Charley's Brunch Truck: @BrunchTruckPGH, brunchtruckpgh@gmail.com  412-244-8002

Sammies (sandwiches) featuring Uncle Charley’s products, Yinz Love Pierogies and breakfast treats by Square Cafe in Regent Square including French toast and quiche. Caters large parties

Tartan Express: @TartanExpress

Asian fusion food including Chinese noodles, dumplings, rice bowls, soups, sides such as crispy egg rolls and bubble milk tea. Found at Margaret Morrison Street on the Carnegie Mellon University campus in Oakland.

Waffler Truck: wafflertruck.com @wafflertruck  724-719-5333 

Waffle sandwiches — both savory and sweet — and waffle fries. Run by Kennedy Ocheltree

Wok of Life: wokoflifepgh.com @wokoflifepgh

Asian cuisine food truck with chicken teriyaki, fried rice, lo mein and Asian tacos. Owner Jack Jew also offers catering.

Wood Fired Flatbreads: woodfiredflatbreads.com @woodfiredflatbreads 412-369-3500 

Gourmet pizza cooked in a mobile wood-fired oven. Also salads, appetizers and desserts. Will cater events.

If we missed your mobile food business, email your social media and food information to kkirkland@post-gazette and we'll add you to our online list.





Advertisement


Hot Topic