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Food truck illustration

Top nine

Food truck items

Favorite meals on wheels.

Claire Zulkey | Illustration by Tom Tian, AB’10

In 2011, College web manager Avi Schwab, SB’03, began tracking Hyde Park food trucks under Twitter handle @UChiNOMgo. Since 2012, when a new city ordinance allowed trucks to cook food to order, trucks have boomed on Ellis between 57th and 58th—thanks partly to Schwab’s feed, which has 2,771 followers. “It’s a lot of responsibility, but I'm happy to bear the weight,” he jokes. Schwab served up his favorites, in no particular order:

1. The Fat Shallot: BLT.

“They cook 60 pounds of bacon a day, and they deep-fry it. The sandwich is on two big pieces of challah, and it’s insane.”

2. La Adelita: Pibil Torta.

“It’s pulled pork with pickled red onions and habaneros. Get it with the guacamole and chips, which are served warm.”

3. The Roost: Nashville Hot Chicken.

“It’s hot—three different layers of peppers, and it’s fried. His slaw is really good.”

4. Caponies Express: Deep dish mini sausage pizza.

“Chicago deep dish. It starts with a great crust, then a light layer of cheese, and finishes with an amazing fresh tomato sauce and toppings.”

5. Beaver’s Coffee + Donuts: Chocolate powder mini donuts.

“These guys are always amazing. For the chocolate powdered, they take the doughnuts out of the fryer and toss them in powdered chocolate and sugar. The doughnut melts in the chocolate.”

6. Cupcakes for Courage: Maple bacon cupcake.

“I try to not really do cupcakes that much because I really don’t need to be eating cupcakes, but pretty much every time they’re here I have a maple bacon cupcake when they have it. Put it in the microwave for ten seconds first.”

7. Getta Polpetta: Polpetta Panino.

“It’s a perfect meatball sandwich. The meatballs are a nice blend of meats, the sauce is well seasoned, and the bun is sturdy enough to hold in all the sauce but not gigantic. It’s exactly what a meatball sandwich should be.”

8. Bridgeport Pasty: Veggie pasty.

“It’s a ton of spinach and béchamel cheese sauce packed into a little amazing crust. They actually went to England and won a couple of awards for British pies. They have an amazing little cube truck too—it’s about the size of a smart car.”

9. Three J’s: Rib tips and jerk chicken.

“They do a combo that’s rib tips and jerk chicken, and it has collards and mac and cheese with it, and there’s the barbecue sauce, and you mix it all together. You come out all messy and covered in sauce. They’re one of the most underrated trucks.”

Food truck as non-conceptual art. (Illustration by Tom Tian, AB’10)