Summer in Milwaukee is a Shangri-la for street food fans. Check out this sampling of local mobile food emporiums.
The Gouda Girls
The Dairy State-proud menu trumpets the classic grilled cheese in many iterations. Their bovine-themed van heads to events across the state but they keep the home fires burning, with appearances at the U.S. Bank Center and, starting last August, a food court location at Eleven25 at Pabst (1125 N. Ninth St.).
Pete’s is icy relief-on-a-stick on summer days when your pants stick to the back of your legs. Owner Pete Cooney has built a following for avocado and pineapple jalapeno pops. The cart makes Saturday appearances at farmers markets (Tosa, Shorewood, South Shore).
Meat on the Street
Known for chicken and beef skewers over pancit (Filipino noodles) and the pork adobo bowl, this truck reminds me how much I wish there were a Filipino restaurant in this city.
Liège-style waffles are as decadent as honeycomb-patterned, iron-cooked breads get – rich, chewy brioche dough with a caramelized exterior. Toppings are as simple as powdered sugar, as complex as fig preserves, thyme and Sartori Montamore cheese. New summer toppings include peach, Brie and basil. Also look for stroopwafels (thin, cookie-like waffle sandwiches). The cart’s schedule includes the markets in Cathedral Square, Shorewood, Tosa and Morgan Park (Bay View).
Siobhan and Michael Mesenbourg rack up the mileage on their bright-yellow rig, making stops from Downtown Milwaukee (U.S. Bank Center, Red Arrow Park) to Cedarburg and serving up variations on the rotisserie chicken sandwich. My favorite chicken sandwich is also fun to say – the Mother Clucker. It’s one fine bird. Twitter: @yellow_bellies_
The Falafel Guys
The wind-caught aroma of fried food conjures up street fairs and carnivals and gloriously long days. The Guys, who do a great shawarma sandwich as well as falafel, also opened a resto in Thiensville (105 Friestadt Rd.). Facebook: FalafelGuysWI
Look for this source of tortilla ecstasy near the Chase and Oklahoma in Bay View. The menu (tacos, tortas, etc.) is simple, affordable and exquisito.
Facebook: Taqueria Buenavista
Oscar’s on a Roll
The mobile offshoot of Oscar’s, a South Side burger joint (1712 W. Pierce St.), home of the delish gut-buster chorizo-and-bacon burger, “The Big O.” The truck’s menu features that creation and others, plain to major-dolled-up. Look for The Big Foot, with boursin and blue cheese!
The truck — started by two high school students and their teacher in 2014 — focuses on deep-fried chicken with various sauces (buffalo, Thai/Malaysian, Tex-Mex, even “Naked”). They’ve since added potstickers and gua bao (pork sliders).
Sushi from a truck? Yes, and your skepticism won’t last past your first few bites of their signature sushi burrito, which comes in four delicious varieties, including The Salmonator and Tunageddon. The Sushi Go! team, a real-life couple who shares a love for raw fish, is currently working on opening a brick-and-mortar in Bay View while maintaining an ambulatory presence on four wheels.
Hidden Kitchen MKE
Featuring an ever-evolving menu, this food truck also caters events (and weddings!). Consider it farm-to-truck dining—Hidden Kitchen MKE has fostered relationships with several local farmers for the freshest produce, meat and dairy around.
Milwaukee’s first Indian food truck hit the streets in early 2017. Snag some chicken tikka masala, garlic naan and other Punjabi favorites, to go!
Where some food trucks congregate (summer-fall, weather dependent):
➸ Take-Out Tuesday in Schlitz Park (1555 N. Rivercenter Dr., 11 a.m.-2 p.m.)
➸ Food Truck Thursday at Courthouse (901 N. Ninth St.; 11 a.m.-2 p.m.)
➸ Fridays at Red Arrow Park (Water St. and Kilbourn Ave.; 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.)
➸ U.S. Bank Center, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays (11 a.m.-1 p.m.)
➸ Chill on the Hill, Humboldt Park, Tuesday nights
➸ Burnham Park, daily (35th and Burnham on the South Side)
➸ Westown Farmers Market (301 W. Michigan St.; Wednesdays, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.)
➸ Stuffed, serving a selection of pierogis; Black Shoe Hospitality, offering specialties from Maxie’s, Story Hill BKC and Blue’s Egg at Tosa Farmers Market and other events; Double B’s smoked meats truck; The Frying Dutchmen, providing bitterballen and frites; and Honeypie’s “Snack Wagon,” selling mini pies, sweet and savory hand pies and other sweet snacks.