50 Best Dessert Trucks in America for 2013 (Slideshow)
September 4, 2013
50) Scoop Handmade Ice Cream — Portland, Ore.
It’s hard to find a free-standing food truck in Portland. Amid the city's army of food carts, Scoop is one of the few dessert food trucks in the city. It was opened in 2010 by Amanda Rhoads, who believed Portland would benefit from an artisan ice cream truck. The menu is organized by season. There is one large group of standard flavors available year-round; otherwise the menu plays to what is in season. Right now, the late-summer flavors are roasted sweet corn, marionberry, cherry amaretto, blueberry cinnamon, and lavender honey almond.
49) Retro Sno — Nashville, Tenn.
Nashville’s first Snoball truck, Retro Sno, takes the fluffy shaved ice to a whole new level with its sophisticated flavors and toppings. Raspberry wedding cake, vanilla toasted coconut, frozen white mocha, strawberry lemonade, blackberry pomegranate — this is more than just cherry or blue raspberry syrup. The menu is constantly evolving. Some of the latest items have included tres leches, Germantown chocolate, and peaches and cream.
48) Cookie Monstah — Boston
The Cookie Monstah comes down to one perfect cookie recipe. Missy Gale has known the secret to a perfect chocolate chip cookie for at least 20 years: Callebaut chocolate, bourbon vanilla, and farm-fresh butter. Her mission is to bring warm out-of-the-oven cookies to Bostonians. You can enjoy a cookie (or three) or an ice cream sandwich in flavors like the classic chocolate chip, or branch out and try the red velvet with white chocolate or birthday cake with sprinkles.
FACEBOOK LIKES: 1,112
LOCATION/SCHEDULE: Check Schedule
47) Batch — Boston
Batch has been around select grocery stores since 2010, but it just hit the streets in its own truck this May 5. The small company only sold a few ice cream flavors in pints to select grocery stores before, but it has now expanded to even more delicious flavors including salted caramel, ginger, and mocha chip. The key to Batch is the use of real ingredients, for instance, the Cinnamon & Chocolate Bits ice cream uses infused cinnamon sticks rather than dry powder.
46) Ice Cream Social — Austin, Texas
The Ice Cream Social bus functions like most ice cream trucks do: choose an ice cream, choose toppings, choose a cone, and dig in. Simple enough. But this Austin truck’s flavor options match the city’s "Keep Austin Weird" motto. These aren’t just boring vanilla and chocolate. The culinary team of Meredith Dockery and Lee Dockery has created interesting flavors like roasted strawberry cheesecake, peanut butter mole, Madagascar vanilla bean, and orange mint sorbet. Toppings are equally impressive, with a toasted marshmallow skewer, fried sweet plantains, chocolate-covered bacon, and more.
45) Captain Cookie and the Milk Man — Washington, D.C.
Captain Cookie isn't messing around with his cookies. A cookie fanatic since age 4, he has mastered the art of cookie-making. For example, to make a Pumpkin Muffaroon, he takes the time to roast the pumpkins and sweet potatoes to give them the best flavor possible. On the truck, usually eight cookies are featured a day and four ice cream flavors such as chocolate and black cherry. You can purchase them individually, or build an ice cream sandwich.
44) Sweet Box Cupcakes — Philadelphia
Sweet Box Cupcakes offers some of most the creatively flavored cupcakes in Philly. From pumpkin chocolate chip to strawberry champagne and chocolate chip cookie dough (which has a glob of cookie dough in the middle of the cupcake), there is plenty to tempt any sweet tooth. Not to mention the bacon-flavored cupcakes: bacon maple pancake and chocolate-covered bacon. Owner Gretchen Fantini just opened a storefront, Sweet Box Shop, in May, but the truck remains active.
43) Udder Delights' SuperTruck— Phoenix
As the adorable name implies, Udder Delights’ SuperTruck specializes in fresh ice cream from its own cows at Superstition Farm. Of the 50-some different ice cream flavors, including apple pie, candy cane, and dill pickle, the owners choose roughly five to put on the truck every day. Just recently, they created their first "Pooches ‘n Cream" ice cream for dogs. Cows-to-cone tours highlighting their dairy products are also offered.
42) Roxy’s Ice Cream Social — Oklahoma City
As one of few ice cream food trucks in Oklahoma City, Roxy’s Ice Cream Social offers some of the best gourmet hand-dipped ice cream. But what sets this truck apart from the rest is its innovative truck design. The truck resembles a melting ice cream cone, with the pink roof melting onto the yellow body and brown base of the truck. With a waffle cone bottom and dripping ice cream down the top, it catches the eye instantly and makes you crave some ice cream. Be sure to try the salty caramel ice cream or the peaches and cream.
41 Dolci Peccatti Gelato — Miami
Natalie Yepes had always found joy in gelato and ice cream, even as a graphic designer. But over time, she decided she would rather bring people happiness through her gelato and ice cream than be a graphic designer. So she quit her job, attended gelato school, pitched a thorough business plan, perfected the craft that is gelato-making, and now is one of the top dessert food trucks in Miami. Dolci Peccatti Gelato, led by the twin Yepes sisters, Natalie and Stefanie, offers creamy gelato in flavors like amaretto and pistachio. The two experiment in the kitchen, with flavors such as sweet corn and cheese, sweet potato with marshmallow and coconut, and guava merengue. They also sell ShotPops! (gelato and alcohol-infused shot), gelato sandwiches, milkshakes, dolci floats, and Popsicles.
40) Meltdown — New Orleans
Meltdown is New Orleans’ only gourmet pops truck. The converted 1971 postal vehicle first began roaming the French Quarter spring of 2008. By August 2009, a brick-and-mortar shop was in place, but the truck is still an active part of the business. Every pop is made with 100 percent natural ingredients, locally sourced when possible. Some of the ice pops flavors include pineapple basil, Vietnamese coffee, strawberry hibiscus, and peach orange blossom.
39) The Crème Brûlée Cart — San Francisco
Relax, we know cart is in the title. But The Crème Brûlée Cart has a whole fleet: Castro, the truck, Fidi, a cart, and Soma, a brick-and-mortar shop on 24th Street. Curtis Kimball founded the crème brûlée cart business in early 2009. The menu is extensive, with toppings ranging from McEvoy olive oil to bourbon butterscotch sauce, gingersnap crumble, black sesame seeds, and chocolate-covered bacon Cornflake clusters. At the truck, there are roughly six to eight base crème brûlée options, like lavender or Kentucky, which comes with a bourbon butterscotch sauce and caramel-coated pecans.
38) Sweet Ride — Chicago
While Chicago’s Sweet Ride makes cupcakes, pudding, cookies, and cakepops, the whoopie pies are the reason you should visit the truck, notably the Sweetie Pie red velvet one. "We pair the warmth and nostalgia of an old-time bakery with the bright-pink originality and carefree attitude of the Sweet Ride herself," claims the website.
37) King Kone — Los Angeles
King Kone is a family-owned business that serves classic soft-serve dipped in decadent milk chocolate. The sweet butter yellow truck has started focusing more on private events as of late, but it still serves the public on random street corners or food festivals so its spot was secure on the list. Similar to Mister Softee, King Kone has soft-serve with different coatings and toppings, like Rocky Mountain with milk chocolate coating rolled in almonds, or Strawberries ‘n Cream, which is like a strawberry shortcake bar on a cone.
36) Lil’ Pop Shop — Philadelphia
After growing up eating "sticky, fluorescent" Popsicles, Jeanne Chang discovered how natural and healthy ice cops could be delicious thanks to Locopop in Durham, N.C. So she started testing small batches of fresh ice pops made of fresh fruit, sugar, herbs, spices, milk, yogurt, and cream at Lil’ Pop Shop. Now, Chang has a brick-and-mortar shop, a mobile cart, and of course the truck. For the second year in a row, the truck won the prize for best mobile dessert at the Philadelphia Vendy Awards this year.
35) Kickass Cupcakes — Boston
Kickass Cupcakes takes regular cupcakes to the next level by doing what Americans do best: deep-frying. Dipped in bittersweet chocolate and topped with whatever you want, it’s crunchy on the outside, moist on the inside. The regular cupcakes are equally "kickass," with flavors like mojito, cinnamon chai pecan, Boston cream pie, and bananas Foster.
34) Westside Creamery — Atlanta
Westside Creamery specializes in artisan, "farm-to-bowl" ice cream. Native Georgians Maggie Rentz and Greg Smith first founded the truck in 2010 with the goal "to integrate healthy, sustainable, local food into our frozen confections, and to support and uplift our community in a collective celebration of one of the world's greatest foods." The truck utilizes milk and cream from Johnston Family Farm in Newborn, Ga., and local fruits, vegetables, and herbs from local farms including Hidden Springs Farm, Pearson Farms, The Funny Farm, and Taylorganics. You must try the butter salted caramel ice cream, blueberry buckle, and lemon buttermilk sorbet.
33 Fluff Ice Truck — Los Angeles
Fluff Ice fuses both Asian and non-Asian elements together, creating a shaved ice unlike any other. It started when Nicholas Huang and Annie Tran realized that not many people knew about this kind of shaved ice. It’s fluffy, creamy, and light, and toppings include red bean, egg pudding, yogurt chips, and mango, while the fluff varieties vary from Thai tea fluff to Taro fluff to the simple original fluff.
32) Curbside Cupcakes — Washington D.C.
Started in November 2009 as D.C.’s first mobile cupcakery, Curbside Cupcakes now has three different bright pink trucks patrolling the D.C. Streets for those in need of a cupcake fix. It is owned and operated by Sam and Kristi Whitfield, longtime D.C. residents. There are more than 30 cupcake flavors, ranging from a carrot cake or caramel apple cupcake to oatmeal raisin and tequila sunrise. Check out the cupcake calendar to see when your favorite flavor will be served.
31) Honeysuckle Gelato — Atlanta
One Southern boy wanted to stick to his roots, while also showing his love for the deliciousness of authentic Italian gelato. After working under legendary gelato maker Jon Snyder, Jackson Smith brought his own twist to a fusion of Italian gelato and Southern favorites to create Honeysuckle Gelato. Everything is made from scratch in Atlanta, using dairy from small, nearby Georgia farms. Flavors include honey lavender gelato, watermelon sorbet, bourbon pecan gelato, and honey fig gelato. "We now offer the South... an ice cream worthy of its decadent culinary roots," proclaims the website. Now, pints of the frozen treat can be purchased at the Whole Foods on Ponce de Leon Avenue, as well as at other smaller grocers.
30 Cupcake Delirium — Charlotte, N.C.
Shannon Turrell and Russ Falkowski opened Cupcake Delirium in April 2011. By 2012, it was voted best cupcake shop in Charlotte (even though it’s technically not a "shop ). Two of our favorite cupcakes both include bacon. The Elvis is a banana cake with peanut butter buttercream frosting and candied bacon, while the Vermont Jemima is a maple cupcake with maple buttercream icing and candied bacon. They also offer Delirium cakes and Build a Delirium Cupcake parties.
29) Frozen Kuhsterd — San Francisco
Denser and creamier than ice cream, frozen custard is made from a base of eggs, cream, and sugar. Frozen Kuhsterd in San Francisco, owned by Jason Angeles, has an extensive savory and sweet menu that is inspired largely from his childhood and Filipino-American background. "I grew up on a lot of Asian influences. My earliest memory of ice cream was an Asian-inspired ice cream store in the neighborhood called Coco Banana," Angeles told fare & square. Flavors such as avocado, toasted coconut, burnt caramel, and sweet corn are only a few examples of what the menu has to offer.
28) Tango Mango Ice — Los Angeles
People love the refreshing taste of Italian ice. Two brothers from Philadelphia loved it so much that they were nostalgic for the water-based ice treat they grew up with on the East Coast. After moving to LA, they decided to bring it to Californians with Tango Mango. The "water ice" has actual chunks of fruit in it that add texture and fresh fruit purée, to enhance the bold fruity flavors on the menu. They even filter the water before freezing it to make the ice base.
27 Like No Udder — Providence, R.I.
To all the vegans out there who cannot enjoy the majority of the trucks on our list thus far, Like No Udder is your answer. It is the first all-vegan soft-serve ice cream truck, located in Providence, R.I. Soft-serve, milkshakes, floats, frozen slushies, and candy bars are all available in vegan preparations. Owner Karen Krinsky first owned The Screaming Vegan, a vegan baking business, but the long and early hours as a baker steered her toward the mobile food industry. But we aren’t complaining, these treats are too good to give up!
26) Beaver’s Coffee + Donuts — Chicago
First of all, these are mini-donuts, not full size. So don’t approach Beaver’s Coffee + Donuts with the expectation of a big old Krispy Kreme donut. Now that you’ve got that, heed our advice and try the cinnamon sugar donut. It is an ultimate treat! Other flavors on the menu include turtle, strawberry, and chocolate-coconut. They're served alongside fresh imported coffee — what better way is there to start your day? Don’t forget to check out the classics like powder sugar donuts and chocolate powder donuts.
25) Sugar Philly Truck — Philadelphia
Sugar Philly Truck successful delivers "high-end desserts served street side." "We want to remove the hassle of getting gourmet desserts so that you can enjoy fine sweets when you want them," says their website. Delicate milk and honey or tiramisu macaroons, various custards, crème brûlées, cheesecakes, and more can all be found aboard the truck, which actually used to be a mobile post office parked outside the World Trade Center back in the late '80s and '90s. Most recently, the truck was featured on LIVE with Kelly & Michael! for the show’s "Truckin’ Amazing Cook-Off."
24) Flirty Cupcakes — Chicago
What makes a cupcake flirty? Is it its teasing size, perfectly manicured icing, or the carefully placed sprinkles on top? Flirty Cupcakes in Chicago has given its sweet alluring names, such as For the Love of Chocolate (a Nutella-filled chocolate cupcake topped with chocolate Nutella buttercream), Devil in Disguise (red velvet), and Paradise Island (pineapple rum cupcake with coconut cream cheese frosting). The truck now also has a Dessert Garage, a café of sorts with plenty of seating where customers can relax, study, or catch up. You can also get these cupcakes delivered or have Flirty Cupcakes cater your next event.
23) Diggity Doughnuts — Charleston, S.C.
We know, we know, Diggity Doughnuts is closed for the summer. But that doesn’t rule them out of the race, especially when they clearly state they’ll be back when it is less hot and humid outside. On a hot Southern summer day, a heavy, thick donut doesn’t stand a chance against refreshing ice cream or frozen yogurt. But that being said, when Diggity Doughnuts is on the streets, it is the best dessert food truck in Charleston. The donuts are spongy, just crisp enough on the exterior, and melt-in-your-mouth pillows of heaven inside. Try the peanut butter Sriracha or the strawberry jalapeño donuts.
22) Starfruit — Chicago
Not all frozen yogurts are created equal. The fry-yo sold at Starfruit in Chicago is made from Lifeway Kefir, an ingredient that contains 10 live probiotic cultures — bacteria that aids digestion, boosts immunity, promotes weight loss, and helps fight lactose intolerance, among other benefits. This miracle ingredient is beyond nutritious, so it was no surprise when the company branched out from storefronts to a traveling truck providing the superior frozen yogurt to the masses. The flavors are mainly fruit-inspired, such as strawberry and blueberry, but they also serve chocolate and birthday cake flavors.
21) The Parlour — Durham, N.C.
A cute miniature school bus under the name of The Parlour first hit Durham, N.C., from 2011 to 2012, but thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, it expanded to its first brick-and-mortar location. Durham customers told owners Yoni and Vanessa they wanted a permanent home for The Parlour to contribute to the city's scene, which they felt was missing a local ice cream shop. But the mini-bus is still active, thankfully. The most popular flavor on the menu is by far the salted butter caramel ice cream. Top it with pralines and you’re good to go.
20) Kara’s Cupcakes Karavan — San Francisco
Kara’s Cupcakes has nine bakeries around Northern California, but there is only one Kara’s Cupcakes Karavan. Kara Haspel Lind, daughter of a dentist, had a difficult time growing up exploring her passion for sweets. But in adulthood, she finally quit her job as an advertising sales executive to attend pastry school. Lind has more than a sweet tooth. She also actively works to give back to her community; last year she donated more than 350,000 cupcakes to multiple charities to help eliminate local hunger. The van can be found throughout the Bay Area with regular cupcakes (sweet s’mores, peanut butter milk chocolate ganache, Kara’s karrot, among others) and filled cupcakes such as fleur de sel, Meyer lemony lemon, and passion fruit.
19) Sweetery NYC — New York City
A self-proclaimed "experimental marketing company and food truck," the Sweetery NYC truck is not fooling around with what color sprinkles to use. Instead, it is promoting its ability to collaborate with corporate businesses to create mobile marketing campaigns through the use of social media. Since its launch in 2009, Sweetery has created more than 100 marketing events for major brands including American Express, Food Network, Macy’s, and MasterCard. It’s not all business, though; the menu varies with ice cream, yogurt, pastries, cookies, and of course cupcakes. But the signature treat is the Macarella — a scoop of Nutella between two thin coconut macaroon cookies, which were featured on Good Morning America in 2009.
18) Chunk-n-Chip Cookies — Orange County, Calif.
Chunk-n-Chip Cookies is a choose-your-cookie, choose-your-ice-cream-filling kind of ice cream sandwich truck. The cookies are soft, gooey, and fresh out of the oven, and the ice cream is handcrafted. You can build your own, or choose from the signature combinations such as Goodber Doober — chocolate chip and chocolate brownie cookies with mint chip and vanilla bean ice cream. The Mumbo Jumbo takes two chocolate brownie cookies and slams them together with rich peanut butter cup ice cream. The Cuba Libre includes snickerdoodle cookies and guava and goat cheese ice cream.
17) Cupcakes for Courage — Chicago
In the wake of tragic news, it certainly is courageous to start a food truck venture. But Laura Pekarik, sister of Kathryn Pekarik, knew exactly how to do it. When Kathryn was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's T-cell lymphoma in May of 2010, Laura quickly reacted with a 250-cupcake bake sale, using the profits to help pay for medical costs. The bake sale was so successful that Cupcakes for Courage soon became a regular sight in the streets. The menu rotates daily, with weekly specials such as gluten-free pistachio, chocolate-covered banana, and mama’s java — chocolate cake enhanced with coffee, filled with coffee beans and chocolate mousse and topped with mocha buttercream. There are four everyday flavors: black and white, pink velvet, vanilla on vanilla, and dark chocolate-chocolate.
16) Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream Truck — New York City
The word "artisan" has become so ubiquitous that it has kind of lost its meaning these days. People have abused the term to describe lower-quality products that are undeserving of such a description. But not Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream. This ice cream is made from egg yolks, cane sugar, milk, and cream — how your grandmother used to make it. The first two trucks were launched in 2008, and now there are six active trucks and three brick-and-mortars in Brooklyn and Manhattan serving ice cream, pastries, and coffee. There is a modest list of flavors on the menu, but that is because they are done right. You don’t need to combine chocolate, brownies, coconut, and pretzels here. Try the ginger ice cream, which tastes just like ginger with just enough of a warm kick and actual bits of ginger to chew on.
15) Mister Softee — New York City
Wikimedia Commons/ Rjsswf8
The grandfather of all ice cream trucks, Mister Softee, had to make this list. Founded in 1956 by brothers William and James Conway in Philadelphia, it has grown to one of the largest soft ice cream franchisers in the U.S. In New York, they can be seen parked at street corners throughout the city. The menu features vanilla and chocolate soft-serve ice cream, as well as chocolate- and cherry-dipped cones.
14) Denver Cupcake Truck — Denver
Cake Crumbs Bakery owns Denver Cupcake Truck, otherwise known as Clementine, the truck delivering the bakery’s finest cupcakes. The Elvis — a peanut butter, banana, and bacon cupcake — is always one of the first flavors to sell out. The Snowball cupcake is another favorite, with an almond cake, chocolate buttercream, and covered in coconut on top. Cake Crumbs will be approaching its fifth birthday very soon.
13) Sweet Cow — Denver
You can basically hear the cow mooing behind Sweet Cow’s barn brick-and-mortars —the ice cream is that fresh! But the "MooMobile" takes the treats from the barn to the streets. The truck always has its eight staple flavors: cookies and cream, chocolate chip cookie, Dutch chocolate, strawberry, super delicious vanilla, mint chocolate chip, Ozo coffee, and a daily sorbet. What makes these seemingly ordinary flavors better than those from other Colorado ice cream trucks? The finest and freshest ingredients from locals as well as a passionate following.
12) Torched Goodness — Phoenix
There’s original crème brûlée, and then there’s the crème brûlée Torched Goodness is creating in Phoenix. Flavors like lavender, sea salt caramel, s’mores, chocolate chipotle, and cappuccino are all hand-torched to order. Owner and chef Eric Ireland is constantly creating new flavors to add to a list of the 30-plus already on the rotating menu. We're not sure what more you could want from a crème brûlée truck. Plus, only organic and locally grown ingredients are used in each recipe.
11) My Delight Cupcakery Truck — Ontario, Calif.
Ontario, Calif.’s My Delight Cupcakery is home to the breakfast cupcake: a buttermilk cupcake with applewood-smoked bacon, buttery maple frosting, and crumbled bacon bits. Mother-daughter duo Melinda and Naomi Moreno started the brick-and-mortar bakery in 2009 after daughter Naomi graduated from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts with a pastry arts degree. A truck hit the streets in 2011 with a set menu, which usually sticks pretty close to the daily flavors at the store. In addition to the breakfast cupcake, other favorites include the Southern red velvet cupcake, with classic red velvet cake and topped with a Madagascar vanilla cream cheese frosting.
10) The Cupcake Collection — Nashville, Tenn.
The Cupcake Collection started out of a living room in 2008 to help dig a Nashville family out of debt. With a giant smile on her face, Mignon François grew the business from a small bakery at her house — run with the help of her two young daughters — to an established, successful cupcake business and cupcake bus. The Cupcake Collection Bus first began roaming Nashville streets in 2010 due to a demand for the cupcakes at a more convenient location than Germantown. From its beginnings, The Cupcake Collection has made a conscious effort to keep prices low, in spite of dramatic increases in ingredient costs. But even with increased prices, and a new price tier system beginning Aug. 1, the most expensive cupcake is still a mere $2.50. Through the years, François has never ceased to think of others. This summer, she launched a "Cupcakes for College Tour" to raise money for five college-bound girls who work with the bakery. The bus traveled throughout Tennessee this summer, hosting cupcake-eating contests. All proceeds made from the $5 entry fee went to the ladies’ college funds. The cupcakes, most notably sweet potato, are moist, just sweet enough, and have an approachable icing-to-cake ratio.
9) Cupkates — San Francisco
"Chief Cupcake Officer" Kate McEachern went from being an intern at Chez Panisse to a managing editor at Dwell (a modern design magazine) to the senior content editor at ChefsBest. The combination of these experiences prepared her to launch the Bay Area's first mobile cupcake truck, Cupkates. Her approach is simple, focusing on top-notch quality ingredients to consistently deliver the best cupcakes in the area. In 2011, Cupkates made SF Week's list of the Best Food Trucks. The menu is small, but thoughtful. There is a monthly special — Augusts’ is a Key lime pie cupcake with graham cracker crust and fresh Key lime curd filling, topped with toasted meringue frosting. The tiramisu cupcake is a crowd favorite with its ladyfinger crust, espresso-soaked cake, mascarpone frosting, and chocolate shavings.
8) HipPOPS Handcrafted Gelato Bars — Miami
Opened only a year ago, HipPOPS is taking South Florida by storm with its portable gelato, sorbet, and frozen yogurt. "This is the hippest way to eat gelato and sorbet," founder Anthony Fellows said. "You can hold it in one hand. It’s portable, customizable, and not the same-old frozen dessert on a stick." The truck focuses on using only locally sourced dairy and fruit from local farmers when in season. The bars are all-natural and gluten-free. Like Longboards Vintage Ice Cream, HipPOPS customers choose a base bar (either gelato or sorbet), a dip (or half-dip or drizzle), then "poppings" such as crushed pistachios, pretzels, and Oreos. The gelato and sorbet flavors menu is innovative, with unexpected flavors like Mexican chocolate chipotle gelato and green apple wasabi sorbet.
7) Tropical Shave Ice — Los Angeles
Similar to Get Shaved, Tropical Shave Ice truck has nailed the perfect consistency for shaved ice. It’s fluffy, light, and an ideal refreshing treat for a hot summer day. The Rainbow — a combination of banana, strawberry, and vanilla — is one of the best-sellers. Tropical Shave Ice just celebrated its third birthday by giving the first 300 customers a free shave ice.
6) Longboards Vintage Ice Cream — Los Angeles
The beauty of Longboards Vintage Ice Cream is the versatility — the possibilities are endless. Choose an ice cream base (such as coconut, strawberry, or coffee), select a shell to dip it in (Ghirardelli dark chocolate, caramel, etc.), and a topping or two, ranging from rainbow sprinkles to crushed up potato chips. "The Big O," the truck’s most popular combination, consists of a cookies and cream bar coated in milk chocolate then rolled in Oreo’s. In 2011, the truck won the Best Mobile Ice Cream Bar Award from LA Weekly’s "Best of Los Angeles" awards.
5) The Treats Truck — New York City
When it's well-executed, simple is the way to go. The Treats Truck, in their own words, is just that: "Not too fancy, always delicious." The truck first hit the streets in June 2007, and has since been satisfying New Yorkers’ sweet tooth with delicious, affordable treats ever since. "I love treats. I love them. A lot. I believe in treats. I believe in those little moments in the middle of an ordinary day when you treat yourself or a friend to a cookie," owner Kim Ima said. The best-selling peanut butter cookie sandwich has a rich peanut-y flavor that will pick up anyone’s midday slump. But the menu also has more cookies and cookie sandwiches, bars (try the butterscotch pecan bar), Rice Krispies treats, brownies, and pies. In 2011, The Treat Truck’s first cookbook was published, and most recently, the truck was featured on LIVE with Kelly & Michael! for the show’s "Truckin’ Amazing Cook-Off." There is also now a brick-and-mortar location in Brooklyn, The Treats Truck Stop, which also offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner with menu items such as the egg and cheese sandwich, a BLT, and mac and cheese. But even though their business is growing, the truck remains active on the streets of Manhattan and Brooklyn.
4) Get Shaved — Los Angeles
Husband and wife duo Pat and Kristin Roskowick opened Get Shaved in Los Angeles in 2008. The fluffy, Hawaiian-style shave ice is combined with sweetened condensed milk and ice cream, resulting in melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness. If you don’t want condensed milk, you can choose to instead top it off with Li Hing Mui powder (made of salty dried plums), sour spray, pico de gallo powder, caramel, or marshmallow. The menu offers "tried & true combos" of ice cream flavors that go well together, such as the "#2 Root Beer Dream" or the "#5 Sour Puss," but there is a secret menu with even more complex flavors. For instance, "Boys Make Me Nuts" features boysenberry, coconut, and melona shave ice with sweetened condensed milk, and "Evanator" consists of "tigers’ blood," melona, and strawberry shave ice with sour spray and sweetened condensed milk. Their first brick-and-mortar location opened in San Fernando Valley in May 2010, and there are now two additional shops, one in San Fernando and the other in Torrance, Calif.
3) Coolhaus — Los Angeles
Talk about expanding a business: Coolhaus, founded in Los Angeles in 2009, has spread trucks to New York City, Austin, Miami, and Dallas. It was one of the first trucks where you could build your own ice cream sandwich with soft, freshly baked cookies (potato chip & butterscotch, red velvet, s’mores, peanut butter Captain Crunch) and innovative ice cream flavors (strawberry jalapeño gelato, Peking duck, Cuban cigar). Discounts are posted online with special passwords of the day. If you aren’t located in a city where a truck roams the streets, packaged sandwiches are available in almost 40 states in more than 1,000 markets and accounts. You can also purchase their jarred fried chicken caramel, bacon-infused salt, and vanilla bean-infused sugar, among other unique products. If you're not in Los Angeles, Coolhaus also has trucks in Austin and New York City.
2) Wafels and Dinges — New York City
Wafels and Dinges started before the New York food truck craze began. In April 2007, former IBM management consultant and true Belgian, Thomas DeGeest, founded the first authentic Belgian wafel truck in the city. You get to choose between the traditional Brussels Wafel, which is light and crispy, and the Liège, a softer and chewier version. The dinges, or toppings, range from typical suspects like Nutella and strawberries to Spekuloos, a spread that looks like peanut butter but tastes like gingerbread and cinnamon. The Spekuloos spread helped defeat Bobby Flay in a Throwdown, and is now a regular item on the menu. "De Throwdown Wafel" is a Liège wafel smothered in Spekuloos spread and whipped cream. Wafels and Dinges owns multiple trucks and stands that are always popular, so they just opened a brick-and-mortar café in the East Village on July 21. Check out the daily challenges posted online to score extra free dinges if you answer the challenge correctly at the truck.
1) Big Gay Ice Cream Truck — New York City
If you’re in the New York area and have not heard of the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck, allow us to pull you out from under your rock. Started in June 2009 by Douglas Quint and Bryan Petroff, Big Gay Ice Cream was the only dessert food truck to make the list of 101 Best Food Trucks in America this year and on last year’s inaugural list. So it is no surprise then that it tops out on the dessert-centric list. Big Gay Ice Cream is known for its eclectic toppings (wasabi pea dust, Sriracha, olive oil, Trix), funky-named creations (Salty Pimp, Mexican Affo’gay’to), and classic custard. Although the truck is on hiatus this summer, the owners clearly state it is not gone for good. They encourage folks to visit their two brick-and-mortar shops while it is off the road, but it still makes our list because of its legacy, innovation, and intent to return to the streets.