If you live in a city, there's a good chance you've noticed the explosion in gourmet food trucks over the past several years. The numbers support what your eyes, and stomach, have been telling you: "According to Smart Money, trucks accounted for 37 percent of the $1.4 billion in street vending revenue nationwide last year — a 15 percent increase over the past five years," notes Arthur Bovino, Editor of The Daily Meal.
The growth of food trucks continues despite regulatory obstacles thrown up by cities still trying to determine how to classify such businesses. "New Orleans, for example, requires mobile food vendors to change locations after 45 minutes in one spot. Among other restrictions, Chicago’s food trucks have had to fight to cook onboard, Washington, D.C.’s are technically supposed to vacate once their line of clients clears, LA’s have to park within 200 feet of a bathroom where workers can wash hands, New York’s got booted from Midtown, and in cities like Atlanta and Austin, where trucks have largely been relegated to group parks, even those sometimes face shutdown."
The trucks topping Bovino's list have managed to overcome such obstacles, and the opposition of brick-and-mortar establishments to create some of the most dynamic, progressive, and downright yummy food in the country. Congrats to this year's winner - L.A.'s Kogi BBQ, "the little Korean-taco-truck-that-could" that began operations in 2008.
What else did Bovino's colleagues discover?
"You’ll have to peruse the list, or watch the slideshow for specifics, but it’s interesting to note that Kogi’s birthplace of Los Angeles lead all cities with 18 trucks. San Francisco, New York, and D.C. were runners-up with 13, 11, and eight respectively. Asian fusion, tacos, burgers, sandwiches, pizza, and lobster, were predictable leaders, but there are some impressive chef-y menus, too."