Music City is known for all-American tunes and comfort food, but it also plays host to some of our country’s very best food trucks. We recently ranked the country’s best meals on wheels for the fourth year running, and found that three live in Nashville.
In the past, our ranking was decided by combining factors like number of Twitter followers and positive Yelp reviews into a weighted algorithm, rounded out by an originality score that took into account menu innovation, overall concept, and geography. This year, we made it simple: We let you, our readers, decide, via a public poll. To compile our list of contenders, we expanded on our lists from 2012,2013, and 2014, asked readers for suggestions, took a look at the winners of the Vendy Awards, and tried to find rookie trucks. We received a whopping 2,662 responses, and we published the 101 that received the most votes.
So, now that you know how we found America’s best, let’s take a look at Nashville’s top food trucks:
#3 Riffs Fine Street Food
Neither of the co-owners of Riffs Fine Street Food
truck, B.J. Lofback (Detroit) nor Carlos Davis (Barbados), is actually from Nashville
, but at this point, their truck is probably beloved enough in the city for it to adopt them as native sons. Lofback (a self-described culinary school dropout) and Davis (a culinary school grad and hotel chef) won Nashville’s Battle of the Food Trucks with a menu that leans toward Asian flavors, but stays away from any restrictive cuisine umbrella. As they write on their website, “Riffs was born from a desire to just be creative with food, the concept being NOT having a concept.” What’s the result? Tomato sashimi in a sushi burrito, tater tots with gochujang barbecue sauce, and Tennessee Benedict, which consists of a buttermilk biscuit with fried chicken, gravy, poached eggs, and tater tots. The team recently opened Funk Seoul Brother
to focus their talents on the cuisine that made them love food trucks in the first place: Korean, but their mobile fare is so good, it was voted to the #17 spot on this year’s ranking.
#2 Smoke Et Al
No. 1. Chef and owner Shane Autrey calls his truck — which serves a variety of barbecue — a “boutique smoker.” Using real wood smoke and other techniques to flavor his barbecue fare, Autrey serves dishes such as Fiddlers Biscuits (shredded smoked chicken on sour cream-sage baked biscuits with wild flower honey and green onions) and a third of a rack baby back ribs, dry-rubbed and hickory-smoked. Keep your eye on this chef, as Autrey took first place
in the Chow Masters
challenge on the Travel Channel in 2014, and he can now add being voted #14 on our 2015 list to his accolades.
#1 The Grilled Cheeserie
Run by Los Angeles transplants Crystal De Luna-Bogan (a Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef) and her husband Joseph, the Grilled Cheeserie
has been winning Nashville over, and has more than 32,000 Twitter followers (8,000 more followers than last year
). Why? Well... it could be their fantastic specialty melts, among them a grilled pimento mac and cheese, a Buffalo chicken melt, and a "Melt of the Moment" that changes according to what’s in season. In the world of food trucks, creative takes on classics are always a good thing, and theirs is probably why they made it all the way to the #7 spot on our list, and are the highest-ranking food truck in Nashville for 2015.
Original reporting by Nikkitha Bakshani.