In Cleveland, we’ve got world-class experiences without the world-class ego. And for that, you’re welcome.
Here in Cleveland, we’ve got beef cheek in our pierogi, truffles on our hot dogs and beer in our donuts. Balance.
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By Lexi Hotchkiss
Sometimes they're self-taught cooks just coming out of a few years in the kitchen. Other times they're highly educated chefs with successful brick and mortar restaurants. Some are simply self-proclaimed foodies sharing their love of locavorian food. And others just want to share their passion for their cultural heritage.
These are the Clevelanders behind the city's admired food truck scene. And, the good news is that more opportunities are opening up for these mobile kitchens as the city has become increasingly more welcoming to this type of business.
Like with most food trucks, the food is always something special.
Peruse the menu at the 216 bistro truck, which serves (as they describe it) upscale Cleveland street food. We'd like to highlight the Alaskan salmon tacos, grilled mac & cheese and Chesapeake Bay shrimp bowl, because, frankly, we'd be cray not to.
There's the always-popular Zydeco Bistro truck and its Creole/Cajun creations like chicken jambalaya and Louisiana crawfish etouffee.
If you're into burgers, you must check out The Orange Truk, which serves half-pound angus beef monsters with drool-worthy toppings. You might also familiarize yourself with the Swenson's Food Truck, which serves its world-famous Galley Boy burger from its popular drive-in restaurants.
And, if barbeque is your thing, welcome to Cleveland. There's Beckham's B&M Barbeque, which among other things totes its own smoker. Then there's the Proper Pig Smokehouse truck, which serves (wait for it...wait for it...) brown sugar glazed smoked bacon on a stick.
For those who want a little taste of some of Cleveland's best restaurants, check out the trucks for Touch Supper Club (OMG the lobster roll), Fahrenheit (don't pass on Cleveland nachos) and Barrio Tacos (gourmet tacos).
Then, there's the Get Stuffed Solar Powered Mobile Eatery, which is more cart and less truck. But, let's not get caught up in mere details. It's here you'll find gourmet hot dogs and these deliciously mad creations called potato sundaes, which are whipped potatoes stuffed with toppings and served in a parfait cup with a cherry (tomato) on top. Seriously, lay your eyes on this.
For sweeter treats, check out the Chill Pop Shop, which makes its own ice pops with huge bursts of flavors from fresh fruits and veggies. Or, swing by the Donut Lab and watch your order be made right before your eyes. (You'll live a lifetime of regret if you pass up the cinnamon sugar.) And, of course, there's homemade small batch ice cream made from Mason's Creamery truck with flavors like roasted banana, sea salt caramel and Nutella.
We'd be nuts not to mention Hodge Podge. The truck, which is owned by Chef Chris Hodgeson, came in second place during season 2 of The Food Network's "The Great Food Truck Race." It was also the predecessor to his oh-so-tasty brick and mortar restaurant, Hodges, serving up comfort food with a sophisticated twist.
Thanks to a number of neighborhood organizations, the city government and area companies, food truck events are aplenty throughout the city. That means, you can go beyond just tracking a favorite on social media and discover a wide variety in one location.
Struggle no more to find the perfect bite on your lunch break. Here's your weekly event list:
Food Truck Mondays
Your favorite food trucks will be camped out at Legacy Village every other Monday from 11:30 - 1:30. Grab a bite to eat, shop around, and groove to the live music.
This summer lunch event goes from 11:30 - 1:30 and takes place every Tuesday in MidTown on East 46th Street and Euclid Ave. until September 22. Featuring some irresistible grub like Wok n Roll, Manna, (must try the caprese grilled cheese...) and Krav. The Korean BBQ Pork Loin [avocado + kim chi asian slaw + arugula + radish] from Krav literally melts in your mouth.
Truck Stop Tuesdays
Cleveland food trucks will be serving up lunch every Tuesday at Crocker Park until Sept. 27 from 11-2. The trucks will be parked on Main Street, near Michael Kors and Lululemon Athletica.
Located on Walnut Ave. and East 12th St. (as well as Perk Plaza), the Downtown lunch event occurs every Wednesday until Sept. 28 from 11-1:30. Perfect for the working Downtown foodies--a quick walk away, and so many options.
Held every Thursday night during the summer in Edgewater Park, this huge beach party features a number of food trucks, as well as live music, beer and fun. Edgewater LIVE runs on Thursday evenings until Aug. 14 from 5:30-8:30.
Food Truck Friday
The City of Cleveland is hosting this Friday lunchtime event by the Free Stamp statue located on the corner of East 9th and Lakeside.
Flat Out Fridays
Spend Friday night in Cleveland by the water in the East Bank Flats with live music, food trucks, and beer tents every Friday until Aug. 12. The event benefits Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland.
Our inclusion of food trucks only scratches the surface. So, Clevelanders, find your favorite street eats and tell us the food trucks that our visitors simply can't miss.
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