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Twin Cities street food

There are one or two posts on street food in St Paul here, and I've found a few articles elsewhere about a specific truck or two, but I can't find anything that's even close to a comprehensive list of the street food scene that's starting to develop around the twin cities. Does anyone know of a list of food trucks, or restaurants that also do street food? I'm looking mostly at the more fancy-ish food, as opposed to the many "roach coaches" that still exist.

Anyone know of a list or site?

If not, what trucks/restaurants are you aware of? I know of Chef Shack, Barrio, 128, She Royal, and Foxy.

What other good food vendors are on our streets?

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Chef Shack
No formal address, Minneapolis, MN

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  1. The best "comprehensive list" that I've found so far is TC Street Food on twitter.
    http://twitter.com/tcstreetfood

    But there's not a lot to choose from. You named all but one of the big names (the ones I know about, anyway). The only one that's missing is The Magic Bus. Oh, and Meritage has a crepe stand in front of their restaurant on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

    Me, I've never seen the Barrio Taco truck - I think it's a myth. They certainly don't seem to have a regular beat.

    So what non-fancy "roach coaches" do you know about? Me, I love that kind of food, but I didn't realize that the Twin Cities has more than one or two. I know about the taco truck in front of Target on University Avenue (food is good, not great). Any others?

    Anne

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    Meritage
    410 Saint Peter St, Saint Paul, MN 55102

    8 Replies
    1. re: AnneInMpls

      I've been craving the Al Pastor Tacos from the Border Taco Truck that hangs around Target and University, but alas I haven't seen it once this year.

      1. re: Fudist

        There is a Taco truck parked in the parking lot of Bally's Health Club on University east of Target most of the time. I don't remember the name, it might be the Border Truck. There is also some sort of BBQ Truck in that area .

        1. re: ibew292

          There is some good food at the Midtown Farmer's Market........Dandelion Kitchen is creative and very good stuff. The woodfired oven pizza there is also very popular. Saw Taco Taxi set up there today too. I like the Cafe Nepal at the Mill City Market. too.

          I'm including Farmer's markets because they are outside, on the street, as it were. I recommend working your way through the food at Midtown, Mill City and Kingfield markets, then report back!

          1. re: faith

            Thanks Faith. I haven't been including farmers markets, although you're right, it does fit the definition - food on the street. For my own selfish reasons, I'm mostly interested in vendors that drive around the cities vending during the week.

            I'll follow Dandelion. I can't find sites for the others you mentioned. But I'll keep an eye out for them

            Thanks!

            1. re: faith

              Yesterday morning I had the soft shell crab sammie with ramp aioli from the Chef Shack at the Mill City Market. Fabulous. Added a few homemade pickled banana peppers (they have a nice assortment of pickled vege's, including cucumber, kohlrabi, onions, radishes, beets, and cabbage) for a perfect brunch. Friend had the sweet potato tacos, said they were yummie - sweet with a bit of heat. Love The Shack.

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              Mill City Cafe
              2205 California St NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418

              Chef Shack
              No formal address, Minneapolis, MN

          2. re: Fudist

            Border Taco has been around on University by Target most times I have driven by this summer, around lunch time.

          3. re: AnneInMpls

            Hi Anne.

            That tcstreetfood is actually a twitter account that I just set up to help me track what trucks are serving where. If I'm the authoritative source, we're in trouble. :)

            I have definitely seen the Barrio truck this year, although only at events like rock shows at the Xcel. I haven't seen it our for lunch anywhere.

            I live around a few industrial factories, so I see those roach coaches all the time. They have the pre-packaged sandwiches you get at gas stations. Not at all what I'm looking for.

            Been meaning to try the taco truck on University. It's totally out of my way, so I haven't gotten to it, but I still want to try. Even if it's not great.

            Thanks for the reply!

            1. re: ochenk

              I remember seeing a taco truck last summer at a gas station parking lot on Maryland just east of 35E, did not
              try it yet, somebody on another topic thought this may be operated by one of the Mexican restaurants on Arcade.
              Any body see a truck this year in that area?
              Also have seen a roasted corn cart on the week ends in the parking lot in front of the Mexican bakery on Whitebear
              a few blocks south of Larpenter.

          4. If you want a good sampling of food from the Minneapois trucks, check out the Uptown Market. It's on Sundays from 11AM-5PM one block north of Lake Street, running between Lyndale and Ewing. The Magic Bus, Chef Shack, the Ethiopian Food Truck Whose Name I don't Remember, and others are all there: http://www.uptownmarket.org

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            Chef Shack
            No formal address, Minneapolis, MN

            5 Replies
            1. re: Danny

              Just to clarify, it's between Lyndale and Dupont (Ewing is in the next street alphabet which would make this market stretch almost to St. Louis Park - not that I'd mind that except there's no 29th street for much of that stretch).

              1. re: MplsM ary

                You're right, I'm a doofus. Thanks for clarifying.

              2. re: Danny

                Hey Danny,

                I went to the Uptown Market yesterday. I saw: Chef Shack, Dandelion Kitchen, Foxy Falafel, Magic Bus, She Royal, and Go Green Bean.

                What's the Ethiopian truck? I'm so intrigued!

                -----
                Chef Shack
                No formal address, Minneapolis, MN

                1. re: ochenk

                  She Royal is the Ethiopian Truck.

                  ~TDQ

                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                    Ah. I thought She Royal was only coffee. I'll have to look closer next time.

                    Thanks.

              3. Hopefully, many more coming soon. Minneapolis passed an ordinance a couple of months ago allowing for up to 15 food trucks, but there has been ongoing dispute over where they are going to be allowed to park. Thus, not many permits have been approved yet. I think there was more on all of this on the board a little while back. Anyway, once the powers-that-be figure out the logistics, we should be seeing Barrio, Foxy, She, the Chef Shack ladies, and many others. I'm keeping my fingers crossed it happens before the end of summer. Would love more downtown lunch options.

                -----
                Chef Shack
                No formal address, Minneapolis, MN

                1. I think we've hit most of them, but here's my twitter feed for Food Trucks
                  (Please, keep in mind that I'm St Paul focused).

                  http://twitter.com/meritage_stpaul
                  http://twitter.com/chefshack1
                  http://twitter.com/128cafe
                  http://twitter.com/FoxyFalafel
                  http://twitter.com/sheroyalcoco
                  http://twitter.com/dandelionktchn
                  http://twitter.com/magicbushotdogs
                  http://twitter.com/Barrio_Truck

                  I saw another truck parked outside Rice Park last Thursday but neglected to remember the name. it was yellow and had the url listed outside. I'll try to catch it again.

                  I'm so happy with this upsurge of street food and am making a point of eating at one once a week (the most I can do) to support them.

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: Uisge

                    To be honest I am very disappointed with Downtown Minneapolis' street food scene. Summer is just about over and there are only 2 options...Chef Shack and Sheroyal. What happened?

                    1. re: kriminalrat

                      To be fair, the city only started allowing street food about a month ago. And it wasn't a smooth process. They are still getting their legs under them.

                      1. re: Uisge

                        Yep, Uisge's correct. And right now, the street food scene seems to be growing mostly around markets. At any farmers market, there's at least two or three, and sometimes a half-dozen or more.

                        At Uptown market last weekend, there was Foxy Falafel, Dandelion Kitchen, She Royal, Magic Bus, and Chef Shack. At Midtown on Tuesday, there was Magic Bus, Dandelion, and Crazy Puppy. For lunch, I ate at the 128 Cafe truck. Tonight driving home down University, I found a new truck - a soul food truck.

                        It's getting there. And it will get there even faster if we support the small community that is out there trying right now.

                      2. re: kriminalrat

                        To be honest, I've been disappointed by the kinds of street food trucks that have sprouted. If I wanted Zucchini Blossom quesadillas, I wouldn't be getting it at a truck - Chef Shack or not. Maybe it's because I spend 13 years in Philadelphia, where I had about 2000 breakfasts, lunches, and dinners at trucks, none of which cost more than $5, with a drink. Egg sandwiches, cheesesteaks, hot dogs, and lo mein: Yes. But an $8 burger? I don't care if it's Thousand Hills - I don't want to eat an $8 burger walking down the street off a paper plate.

                        I was hoping for more of the non-fancy, traditional kind of street food one typically finds on the street. More Border Taco, less watermelon gazpacho. (Don't get me wrong, I would enjoy both watermelon gazpacho and zucchini blossom quesadillas, just not in a styrofoam cup or paper plate).

                        I'm just not sure where along the line street food morphed from the stuff you get for cheap and eat while walking, to the stuff that is normally enjoyed at a restaurant over a leisurely meal. So I street food with foldable slices of pizza and hot dogs. Not with beef tongue tacos. Does everything have to be foodie- or hipster-ized? Even street food isn't safe?

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                        Chef Shack
                        No formal address, Minneapolis, MN

                        1. re: foreverhungry

                          I was with you, foreverhungry, until I got to the part about "not with beef tongue tacos". Beef tongue tacos are classic street food, along with many other varieties of tacos. Beef tongue isn't really that gourmet, in my mind, it's just using up the entire animal.

                          ~TDQ

                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                            i love a good beef tongue taco, it's one of my favorite comfort foods. i do not love chef shack's beef tongue taco. at all. there, i said it.

                            i do want to try sheroyal. anybody have more food reviews/sightings of this truck?

                            1. re: soupkitten

                              SheRoyal spotted at Mears Park DT St. Paul today. Not sure whether it's a regular thing.

                            2. re: The Dairy Queen

                              Good point. I erred on using beef tongue tacos as an example. In many cultures, they are symbolic of street food. In the US, not so much. But I agree with you - it was a poor example.

                      3. There is still a lot of unauthorized street food in Minneapolis, just like there always has. I saw a big grill on a trailer set up at 32nd and Nicollet yesterday. It looked like they were doing grilled chicken. 38th and Nicollet has the woman who sells a couple different Mexican treats including those tasty fried things (chips made from flour?) with chili and lime and fruit cups with chili an lime. Soon there will be elote and other tasty treats to be found throughout the city. All without a food truck or license.

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: churchka

                          anyone who whines about Chef Shack deserves to be............'forever hungry' . ok, forever, you did get my back up a bit, I lived in Philly for a decade and I bet you anything the prices are up on that $5 with drink memory of yours, unless maybe it's a hot dog or a single taco...

                          Chef Shack does some killer fries, is it going to be a problem if they are hand cut? And would you rather have a Sysco burger from them? Really? Dandelion Kitchen's stuff is mostly around $5 but might be too fancy for your tastes. I don't really get the complaint.

                          -----
                          Chef Shack
                          No formal address, Minneapolis, MN

                          1. re: faith

                            I think what Foreverhungy is saying is that some of these food trucks are bastardizing street food and the ethos associated with it. And I agree. Sorry Barrio taco truck I'm not paying 4 bucks for a freaking taco. EVERYTHING doesn't have to be organic or sourced locally or grass fed. EVERYTHING doesn't have to be fancy schmancy gourmet.

                            1. re: Fudist

                              Yes, maybe Fudist put it a better way than I did originally. Street food (to me, anyway) is meant to be cheap and fast. That doesn't mean Sysco quality, though. Many of the food trucks I went to in Philly (mostly around the Drexel and UPenn campuses) made food that was inexpensive (sure, probably more expensive now than 10 years ago), but still darned good. As Fudist said, it had the street food "ethos".

                              Hey, to each their own. But if I want 112 Eatery quality food, I'll plunk down the $50, have a tablecloth, and take 90 minutes to enjoy my meal. When I need food on the go, I'll look for something cheap and fast, that's easy to enjoy, and that I don't care if it's locally sourced or organic. And that certainly doesn't mean McD's type. But it does mean a cheesesteak from Sophie's truck on the Drexel campus when I'm in Philly.

                              Finally, what bugs me about it is that it's hijacking what was meant to be cheap and simple, and substituting nothing more than a money-making gambit on folks willing to spend $8 - $10 on a lunch because it uses words like "locally sourced" and "organic", even though most of those folks wouldn't know a zucchini blossom from a daffodil, or a duck liver from Spam. But maybe that's just the cynic in me.

                              -----
                              112 Eatery
                              112 N 3rd St, Minneapolis, MN 55401

                              1. re: foreverhungry

                                In Philly, does the annual fee for a street vendor cost $1000 like Minneapolis, or closer to $244 like St. Paul? How much is the application fee just to get a license? How much does it cost to rent a parking space there? Must the vendors have a presence 180 days a year, even if they don't get their license before mid-June?

                                The cynic in ME has nothing to say about the current vendors hijacking what was meant to be cheap food. It asks instead how anyone expects them to do otherwise, given the gambit that the City of Minneapolis is playing out right now?

                                Look at the bureaucratic and finanical threshold that has to be overcome to get a street vendor presence in downtown Minneapolis, particularly in the first year of the city's ordinance. Anyone who's going to take that on needs a serious cushion to make it through this season.

                                And if I'm Barrio or 112 Eatery or anyplace else, I'm not putting my name on a street food outlet if the wares are radically different from what I serve at the restaurant with my name on it -- why risk the cushion that I need to do the street food in the first place?

                                People in search of cheap food need to look where the cheap vendors can afford to operate on the economic margins their cheap clientele can afford to give them. It'll be some time before they find it in downtown Minneapolis.

                                -----
                                112 Eatery
                                112 N 3rd St, Minneapolis, MN 55401

                                1. re: KTFoley

                                  I completely agree that the economics were set up differently in MPLS, and definitely stacked towards one direction. I don't know what the license cost is in Philly, but as for the presence, all the trucks I was familiar with were there 5 days a week, all year. So yes, they met the 180 day threshold. And from what I understand, many restaurants in MPLS were very concerned that food trucks don't have the overhead that brick and mortar restaurants do - perhaps the downtown restaurants lobbied MPLS to have a high license fee that only they could afford, thus pricing out any competition?

                                  I wasn't separating out MPLS food trucks from ones in STP. In fact, I work in downtown St. Paul, and was specifically thinking of food trucks in that area (such as the one serving zucchini blossoms today).

                                  Again, when I think food truck, I think of the mom and pop that run that truck, 10 hours a day, 5 days a week, and serve good quality food, that's not pretentious, that's reasonably priced, and that meets the "ethos" of street food. I don't think of trucks run by top restaurants, whose menus have been crafted by award winning chefs, and who have a huge slush fund in the restaurant. In essence, are Barrio or 112 using the food truck to make money and earn a living (like the mom and pops in other cities, or the illegal trucks in MSP), or are they using it as subsidized advertising for their restaurants?

                                  1. re: foreverhungry

                                    Is street food elsewhere really higher than Sysco quality? Somehow I find that very doubtful. I wonder if your ideas of what street food should be might have more to do with what's comfort food to you. I'd far prefer to have locally/sustainably sourced, interesting street food. I don't see what's pretentious about that at all. Why should street food be so predictable? It's not like there's a shortage of hotdogs and tacos around here. You can call me a foodie or a hipster if you want, but outside of backyard grilling and a ball game, I'll take zucchini blossoms over a hotdog everytime.

                                    1. re: LiaM

                                      I think it certainly can be, though like with restaurants it can be hit or miss. I know in Madison there were regularly about a half dozen food carts operating during the lunch hour on library mall. At least one of them I still remember very fondly. An Ethiopian restaurant, Buraka, had a cart and from what I could tell, it was the same tasty food and injera that you'd get in the restaurant, but in smaller portions in to go containers. I also remember a few asian food carts that, while not fantastic, were very solid for stir frys and spring rolls. There was also a fried food cart that only set up at night on the fraternity row and I'd guess that they fell more under the Sysco quality category from the smell, but you don't need much more if you're only marketing to hungry, drunk college students.

                        2. Wow! I leave town for a day, and this thread explodes! :)

                          So many things to respond to. First, where does this idea of "street food is supposed to be..." come from? Who decided what street food is supposed to be? You might gravitate towards the "traditional" food fare (hot dogs, pizza, tacos) while others prefer something more upscale, or adventurous, or niche. There is no chef-in-the-sky saying what street food "is supposed to be," so we'll all do better to be grateful that a street food community is actually beginning to develop, and each encourage it to develop the aspects that we most want.

                          Along those lines, street food is a market, and if there really is a desire for traditional street food at low prices, all it will take is one vendor to offer that. Others will see the long lines and will follow. The best way to make that a reality isn't to boycott the current vendors, (since that discourages new entries into the market), but instead patronize the current vendors while making your voice heard.

                          Next, if we're going to talk about prices, let's compare same to same. When I get a salmon burger at the 128 truck, it comes with chips and cabbage slaw. That's for $8. So a sandwich and two sides. A Big Mac with fries and an apple pie (the crappiest fast-food analog I can think of) is over five and a half bucks. So the premium you're paying to upgrade from McDonalds to 128 Cafe is $2.50. I'll take that any day.

                          A related comment - you'd rather spend $50 on a leisurely meal than $8 on a paper plate lunch. I wouldn't. $50 is a chunk of change that I can't really afford, but I can treat myself to an $8 sandwich now and then. And I don't have a life that allows me to go out to a fancy dinner whenever I want. But I do eat lunch, and love having these sorts of options.

                          One last thing on prices. I just did a Google image search on "Philadelphia street food menus." An $8 sandwich or $2 taco is pretty easy to find. Yes, it's also easy to find cheaper options, and that will come to the Twin Cities when more vendors come.

                          Okay, enough ranting for now.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: ochenk

                            No one decided what street food is supposed to be. Like pizza, there are lots of different takes on it. But when you look at street food across multiple cultures, and multiple cities across the US, patterns emerge. To me, simply taking restaurant offerings and serving them on the street doesn't make it street food. But hey, maybe to some it does. Yes, I gravitate towards traditional street food fares. Always have. I also gravitate towards the "traditional" style pizza, and "traditional" style most things.

                            And I agree completely that boycotting vendors is no way to go. And I never suggested that. I continue to patronize street food vendors I have been for the time I've lived in Minnesota.

                            I see where you're going with your price analogy, but I don't think it quite makes it. Again, street food (and this might not be applicable to most people, but it is to just about everyone I knew in NYC and Philly that lived off food truck lunches), $5-$6 still get you a sandwich enough to fill you up, a soda, and a Tastykake or a pretzel (had that a few months ago in Philly). To someone that eats their lunches out all or most the time (I don't anymore), there's a big difference between a $9 lunch (include a drink with your salmon burger) and a $5-$6 lunch.

                            I think you hit it when you said "but I can treat myself to an $8 sandwich now and then". The street food culture here is very different than in other cities. The biggest difference is that it's largely nascent here. And because of that, it's forming very different than it did in Philly or NYC. There, it's common to see a business exec in suit and tie, a cab driver, a construction worker, a doc, and a cop all standing in the same line for a hot dog, taco, or cheesesteak, at food trucks all over those cities. Here, it's different. 128, Chef Shack, et al. are tapping a very different niche. The recent food truck openings seem more catered to the foodie-hipster sect. And that's fine. And I agree, it will likely change over time.

                            Like pizza, no one defines what food-truck food is. But, like pizza, while it's hard to put a standard definition to it, most people know what it is and what it's not when they see it. I suspect it's the same with food trucks.

                            -----
                            Chef Shack
                            No formal address, Minneapolis, MN

                            1. re: foreverhungry

                              Finally some new options....

                              Smack Shack on 1st and 4th-Lobster rolls, poy boy's, key lime pie
                              Turkey drumstick cart on Nic
                              Brothers-Pastrami-Nic

                              1. re: kriminalrat

                                Had lunch at Smack Shack. It was frustrating to wait for close to half an hour while they made a large order so those that had only been waiting 5-10 minutes got served right after those waiting 30+ minutes. I suggest going after the noon rush. It was worth the wait though. $8.50 for a 1/4 pound lobster roll is a steal.

                                1. re: kriminalrat

                                  Completely agree with kriminalrat. My colleagues and I waited for almost 40 minutes today for our food. But once it came - wow - delicious! The lobster is fresh, the bread is deliciously toasty and the sauce is light and complements the meat well. Definitely worth the $8.50 (and the po'boys looked fantastic too). But since our office is right across the street from the Smack Shack, we're just going to be more strategic in when we go there to avoid the lunch rush. Dara just tweeted about the lobster roll yesterday so I wonder if they're busier because of her positive review, but in any case, they need to work out the kinks in their service.

                                2. re: kriminalrat

                                  I ate at the Turkey-to-Go truck on Tuesday--same turkey sandwiches that are for sale at the State Fair (and drumsticks, too). You can get it plain, "buffalo," or (I think) teriyaki. I had the plain, and put some barbecue sauce on it. I love those things--just a bunch of juicy chunks of light and dark meat turkey on a soft white roll, wrapped in paper. $5.50, which is more in line with what I think of for street food. Tried to go again today and they were out of the sandwiches by around 1:30, though they still had drumsticks. The guy running the truck said it was their first week and they didn't know what to expect for volume . . . apparently it's going very well for them. I will definitely go back.

                            2. Ah HA! Found the twitter for the mysterious truck in Mears Park St Paul.
                              http://twitter.com/forkNroadtruck

                              Here's today's lunch menu (which comes with a free fresh pineapple snowcone today).

                               
                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Uisge

                                Hooray for that twitter link! My lunch today was from the Fork In The Road truck. Lovely! Cold sesame noodles with lots of minced veggies, topped with a wedge of grilled chicken. And a delicious pineapple snocone (not free).

                                This is a great addition to the upscale food carts that visit downtown St. Paul. Long may they vend!

                                Anne

                              2. Street food shouldn't be $8.00, $10.00 $12.00 and so on. It should be affordable especially in this economy. If I want to pay that much for food I will go to a restaurant. I think New York, Chicago and Philidephiaunning yourself ou were the originators of affordable street food. May we will see some affordable street food popping up by the college campuses once school starts. Lower prices means more volume customers which equals more money rather than higher prices, less volume and possibly running yourself out of business over time because the general public just doesn't want to pay that kind of money for street food.

                                12 Replies
                                1. re: ticrta

                                  Smack shack has a lobster roll for $8. See how much a roll would go for in NYC....

                                  1. re: kriminalrat

                                    I guess it depends on if the vendor is essentially being subsidized by 2 of the most popular restaurants in the city (in the case of Smack Shack, it's Josh Thoma, of La Belle Vie and Solera fame). Smack Shack (and many others in the MPLS "street food" game) can easily afford to operate at a loss, since they are essentially subsidized by a restaurant. Their food costs are less because of buying in bulk with a restaurant, as are many of their other overhead costs.

                                    It's not hard to figure out the game that was played, and who the winners and losers are. When talk began of MPLS street food vendors, many restaurant owners made a big stink that vendors can undercut them because street food vendors have reduced costs (no brick-and-mortar to pay for). Funny, in cities like NY, Chicago, and Philly, quality restaurants seem to be doing just fine even though mom-and-pop street food vendors are on every block. So what did MPLS City Council do? Stack the deck in the favor of restaurants like La Belle Vie by having high vendor fees that immigrants (many if not most street food vendors in NYC, Philly and Chicago are immigrants) can't afford, but can be easily subsidized by big restaurants. So LBV essentially extends their restaurant to the streets, easily and cheaply extending their existing food supply.

                                    So who wins? Well, existing restaurants, because they just extended their customer base. Also winners are those that spend $10 for a lunch. Losers are immigrants and mom-and-pop type vendors that can't afford the start-up or the competition against vendors that can afford to operate at a loss and are subsidized by brick-and-mortar establishments. Also losers are those that want to pay $4-$5 for a lunch and have options beyond Subway. Unlike in NYC, Philly, Chicago, or many other cities, where cheap, tasty, and a variety of ethnic street food seems to co-exist with some of the best restaurants in the US. There, everyone is a winner.

                                    -----
                                    La Belle Vie
                                    510 Groveland Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55405

                                    Solera
                                    900 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55403

                                    1. re: foreverhungry

                                      Specifically in reference to whether the bulk of our current food carts are "subsidized" by a brick and mortar store...

                                      Based on the recent article in Heavy Table (which lists carts and who's running them) and if you include Foxy Falafel (don't know why it got overlooked), it's split down the middle.

                                      Half the carts got started as a mobile version of a standing restaurant. Half started without.

                                      1. re: foreverhungry

                                        It was my impression that Josh Thoma is no longer involved with ANY restaraunts after the scandal. I believe this is a lone venture. I'm all for inexpensive ethnic food but I don't mind paying up once in awhile for locally sourced gourmet food like from Chef Shack and very affordable seafood from Smack Shack (I just read an article that Lobster rolls sell for an average of $30 in NYC)

                                        -----
                                        Chef Shack
                                        No formal address, Minneapolis, MN

                                        1. re: kriminalrat

                                          Thoma was reported to be out of Barrio and Bar La Grassa, but he's still with La Belle Vie. An article about Smack Shack says "The chefs behind Solera and the Salty Tart collaborated to make the Shack's menu. " And there is absolutely no way someone can sell lobster rolls for $8.50 that have a 1/4 lb lobster (as per an article) if they are not subsidized by a larger venture.

                                          I agree, it's nice to have the option of upscale food trucks. I'm just saying, the street food scene in the Twin Cities is very different from that in many other cities, and to some extent, the deck was stacked by the MPLS city council to appease downtown restaurants. It's feeding into the "foodie" culture. But it leaves greater variety at inexpensive prices out in the cold. In many streets in Philly and NYC, one can choose from sandwiches, kebobs, gyros, spring rolls, pad thai, sausages, or curries, for about $5, inside of 5 minutes, within a few hundred feet of each other. It'd be nice to have that here. Maybe that's what the street food scene will evolve to.

                                          1. re: foreverhungry

                                            Maybe, but they have to compete with skyway restaurants and, in the summer (when I assume they will do most or all of their business), farmers markets, patio seating, and my own garden. I'm not inclined to pay for cheap ingredients right now, personally.

                                            That aside, the early adopters here are going to be food-forward people. They aren't going to offer cheap pizza and burgers because they do not want to, even if they are profitable.

                                            That said, I would have to think Walkin' Dog or Uncle Franky's is looking into this.

                                            -----
                                            Uncle Franky's
                                            728 Broadway St NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413

                                            1. re: kevin47

                                              Agreed - the early adopters will be the more adventurous food-forward folks going after the more food-forward consumers. It will bring more people out of their Jimmy John's/Subway/Chipotle rut and into trying new things that they normally wouldn't, both because it's available outside their office and it's more affordable than a dinner version would be at a brick-and-mortar. And that's great.

                                              It will be very interesting to see how the MSP street food culture evolves over the next years. I wonder if there will be winter offerings, or if the majority of the players are fair-weather only. That's one reason I wonder about how subsidized some of these food-trucks are by brick-and-mortar (or other means), because it's hard to believe someone could earn a living working only fair weather seasons.

                                              It'll also be very interesting to see if and how MPLS and STP change their food vending ordinances - weather they continue to cater to the vendors with deeper pockets, or if they loosen up a little to let more little guys into the fray.

                                              1. re: foreverhungry

                                                Wouldn't roasted chestnuts and hot drinks like spiced ciders and hot chocolate be nice in winter?

                                                1. re: karykat

                                                  Absolutely! Now we're talking. I'll also vote for hot pretzels with the option of a good brown spicy mustard.

                                                  For folks liking their street food on "fancy" side, vendors could offer spins on the usuals, such as hot chocolate using sourced, single varietal cocoa beans, organic grown vanilla beans, and free-ranged whipped cream. How about small-batched mustards? Perhaps some imported Italian chestnuts?

                                                  Seriously though, I would love to see winter offerings from food trucks. The habitrail sky-way food culture is one I just can't seem to get used to.

                                                2. re: foreverhungry

                                                  Fork in the Road gals are planning on working through the winter!

                                                  1. re: japanabanana

                                                    ChefShack was at the Holidazzle last year.

                                          2. re: foreverhungry

                                            I really doubt the brick-and-mortar restaurants would continue to operate street carts if they have to "subsidize" them. The profit margins in the restaurant business are just not that forgiving, especially in this economy. I'm also not sure that the opposition between "mom and pop" vendors and restaurant owners holds up. For the most part these aren't chain restaurants swooping in and dominating the market. Meritage is run by a husband and wife team; Sonny's is a family business.

                                            -----
                                            Meritage
                                            410 Saint Peter St, Saint Paul, MN 55102

                                      2. Tried Smack Shack again...service is still slow but they added a cashier so their trying. It took the poor people in front of me 15-20 minutes for a hot dog.

                                        I had the shrimp po boy. Those looking for an authentic po boy need not apply but I really enjoyed it. The bread was good but not crusty on top and soft inside...I would think it would be easy to source bread from a local Vietnamese bakery. It came dressed with mayo (or premade aioli more likely) some greens, tomato and onion. The tomatoes weren't McDonald tomatoes...they were fresh and flavorful. The shrimp were of good size and lightly breaded. Overall a good Minnesota po boy.

                                        1. In case you didn't see it the Star Tribune
                                          did a story on TC street food.
                                          http://www.startribune.com/local/1006...

                                          2 Replies
                                            1. re: Brad Ballinger

                                              I think last week's City Pages also had something. Here, I found the online one: http://www.citypages.com/2010-09-08/r.... It's still at some news stands; I just saw one today.

                                          1. Satay's-to-Go in Apple Valley. Her stuff is amazing. It's seriously good eats.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: miki

                                              I love Satay-2-Go. But I think some of her items are not amazing. And some are. I really like the savory pastries. The little round pie dough dumplings stuffed with chicken curry mixture are my favorites. The satay was very good. The noodle dishes I tried were not worth ordering compared to the pastries and satay. So order with care.

                                            2. Loved the Border Tacos truck at Bally Fitness on University.

                                              I'm not looking forward to a scene dominated by overly precious (in attitude, offering and price) trucks that seem to be driving the scene in Minneapolis/St. Paul.

                                              And yes, cheap ethnic food restaurants (roach coaches sans wheels?) get a pass on the quality of their ingredients. It doesn't have to be free-range/grass fed/extra virgin if it tastes good. And it is not fair to the purveyor-centric chefs like Alex Roberts at Alma/Brasa, but it's life.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: JimGrinsfelder

                                                Pardon the interruption folks, but we've removed a number of posts discussing local policies surrounding street food and studies of street food done in other cities. Those topics are considered off-topic for our forums. Please limit your discussion in this thread on where street food can be found in the Twin Cities and its deliciousness relative to other Minneapolis-St. Paul chow options.

                                                Thank you.

                                              2. I finally tried the lobster roll at The Smack Shack. It was really nice. The meat was properly tender. The addition of fresh dill and cucumber to the light coating of mayo was good. Very good. The only thing missing was the Maine coast.

                                                The price wasn't bad, IMO, because it's lobster. $8.50 for a regular and $13 or whatever for the king seems to be in line with pricing on the Maine shore when we visited two years ago.

                                                1. world street kitchen, the truck by the chef from Saffron, opened last week at 5th and Nicollet. I've had the lamb taco and chicken bahn mi so far. both were excellent. going to try the meatball sub sometime this week.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: ffthought

                                                    Can't wait to hear about it!

                                                    Linking to WSK thread. Mitch has a nice photo to accompany his report. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7329...

                                                    ~TDQ

                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                      The Bahn Mi is great. The chicken curry goes nice with the bahn mi filling. I noticed Dandelion kitchen is open now too.

                                                  2. Good read on factors that might inhibit the presence of independent food trucks.
                                                    http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/ar...