Tips for Hosting a Food Truck-Catered Party (and 11 Favorites) Slideshow
Mexicue: New York City
Who doesn’t love the flavorful combination of Mexican food and southern barbecue? Wherever it’s parked in the Big Apple, you can be sure that the Mexicue food truck almost always has a line. And while this booming business has recently expanded to a brick and mortar restaurant, the truck is still in popular demand, especially for events!
Menu: All-you-can-eat sliders and tacos, drinks, chips, salsa, sides (mac and cheese, potato salad, coleslaw) and fine hospitality. A selection of margaritas, sangria, and other alcoholic drinks can be offered if proper insurance is arranged for the event.
Cost: $250 minimum for events. 22% service charge will apply to all orders. 48 hours advance notice required.
Kogi BBQ: Los Angeles
Kogi BBQ, run by Chef Roy Choi, has a fleet of five food trucks serving Mexican-Korean fusion cuisine on the streets of Los Angeles. This gourmet food truck business is famous for its use of the internet as one of the first trucks to use Twitter to alert followers to its whereabouts. Kogi trucks have catered events of all sizes, from birthday parties at private residences to meals on movie sets to great success.
Menu: A variety of options are available, ranging from their traditional a la carte menu to a full buyout. Hosts can also work with the truck to pre-determine a menu that suits their needs.
Cost: Minimum of $1,000 for most events of two hours or more. 10-20% service charge. No travel fee within eight miles of downtown location.
Skinny Pines: Easton, Conn.
Different than other food trucks (in that it’s a mobile wood-fired pizza oven pulled behind a full-sized pickup), Skinny Pines' mobile pizza oven turns out some of the most unique and delicious pies in Connecticut. Pizzaiolo and owner Jeff Borofsky, sources over 90% of the ingredients used to make the pizzas from local farms (including a “00” flour from Wild Hive Farm in Dutchess County, N.Y. that is custom-milled to order for them.
Menu: Pizza is the specialty and toppings will vary with the season and customer preference. Packages typically include fresh salads and desserts made by Peacetree Desserts, but they can also offer just pizza or roast other items like oysters and ribs, if desired.
Cost: $950 for four hours and up to 50 people on a Saturday night ($750 any other time). Includes pizza, salad, and desserts, as well as eco-friendly forks, paper plates, and napkins.
Purple People Eatery: Miami, Fla.
Since February 2011, the Purple People Eatery truck has been serving fresh, unique food on the streets of Miami. The name comes from an old thriller, and each dish on the menu has been designed to represent one aspect of the beast in the film. The truck has catered many events, starting from 75 people in size up to 300. Guests can order from the truck, or a buffet or multi-course menu can be predetermined. Additional services like a carving chef, bartender, or DJ can be brought in, if desired.
Menu: For catered events, they will work with you to create a custom menu based on current favorites and past specials that will suit your needs.
Cost: Caters events from 75-300 people in size from two to four hours in duration. Packages begin at $10-$15 per person for a sandwich, side, and a drink; additions like a carving chef or a DJ are additional.
Roli Roti: San Francisco
Run by Thomas Odermatt, this mobile rotisserie serves up delicious grilled meats and side dishes made on site with organic, seasonal ingredients from the Bay Area. The son of a Swiss master butcher, Odermatt (who also has a degree in organic farming) learned his family’s rotisserie secrets and moved to California to create Roli Roti, now known as the “Grandfather of Gourmet Street Food.” The simple and healthy cuisine is wildly popular for catered events.
Cost: Depends on the size of the event (minimum of 25 people; up to 2,000 have been served) and level of service. Flat fee of $250 for the truck (including buffet table, platters, and biodegradable silverware) $200 for the cook and $175 for the server (recommended for events larger than 40). Roli Roti’s most popular meal is (per person) one to two meat dishes, two salads, a starch, and a vegetarian option for $23 per person
Menu: Changes seasonally and includes a variety of starters, salads, grilled entrées, sides, and more.
Hummingbird Kitchen: Evanston, Ill.
As the first food truck in Evanston, the 28-foot Hummingbird Kitchen truck is a favorite among locals, college students and tourists looking for a quick and cheap gourmet meal. The menu is constantly updated and altered to mix it up for their dedicated followers. The 12-burner, a 36-inch flat top grill, fryer, and other kitchen equipment make Hummingbird Kitchen a popular truck for both casual and formal catered affairs nearly anywhere, from art galleries and beaches to a forest preserve.
Menu: The offerings change weekly. Clients can work with the truck to choose a menu that suits their needs and dietary preferences in advance.
Cost: Minimum of $1,250 for private events for two full hours, $500 per additional hour, for anywhere between 30-200 guests. Includes food, two cooks, eco-friendly food containers and/or plates, paper napkins, and corn-based utensils.
mmmpanadas: Austin, Texas
This bright red truck hit the streets of downtown Austin in 2008 and has since made its imprint on the city’s mobile gourmet food scene. Kristin and Cody Fields, artisanal empanada makers and the owners of the truck, use only fresh ingredients in their creative and yummy pocket-sized treats. The truck also offers dessert, including peach cobbler and s’more empanadas.
Menu: Clients can customize the menu, choosing a combination of the sweet and savory traditionally offered on the menu, plus optional sides, if they desire, for an additional cost. Typically each guest gets one meat/chicken empanada, one vegetable empanada, and one sweet empanada.
Cost: $368 for 50 guests (eight dozen empanadas) for two hours, plus $100 for the truck. Each additional hour is $50. Paper sleeves for the empanadas, napkins, and condiments are included. Drinks like Mexican Coca-Cola, mineral water, and soft drinks can be provided for an additional cost.
Skillet Street Food: Seattle, Wash.
Since 2007, Skillet Street Food has roamed the streets of Seattle in a vintage Airstream truck, serving up innovative American food like their signature Skillet Burger with bacon jam and Fried Chicken Sammy. Josh Henderson, the founder and chef, continues to create delicious menus that delight his hungry pedestrian followers but also wow guests at hundreds of catered events.
Cost: About $18-$35 per person (50 person minimum), plus a pre-determined service charge, for two hours. Includes prep and kitchen staff.
Menu: The truck’s menu changes weekly (but the burger and Poutine are standard) based on what fresh, seasonal ingredients are available, but they will work with you to create a customized menu that will suit the needs of your event.
Mama Kim’s Korean BBQ: Providence, R.I.
This mother-son team is dedicated to serving delicious and affordable Korean barbecue on the streets of Providence, R.I. Since starting out in early March, Sook and Hyun Kim have established quite a following and are in high demand when it comes to catering events of all sizes. Most recently, they've served their authentic gourmet Korean barbecue for numerous RISD and Brown events, covering music festivals, conferences, wedding receptions, and marathons as well. They are eagerly awaiting the arrival of their second truck which will allow them to cater even more.
Menu: The catering menu is based off what is served to those on the street and the chefs will work with you to create a custom menu suitable for your event.
Cost: Between $3-$15 per dish, no additional cost for truck rental.
PBJ’s Grilled: Portland, Ore.
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches have never been this good. Started in 2009, PBJ’s has been serving up unique grilled variations of everyone’s lunchtime favorite made with quality ingredients, organic and sourced locally when possible. Unlike other food trucks, PBJ’s grill and open kitchen allows party guests to see the prep and cooking process and the team cooking is able to interact with them (sharing samples when possible).
Menu: Clients can choose from a variety of sweet, salty, and savory sandwiches for their event. Typically, the truck will cut each sandwich into bite-sized pieces so guests can taste a variety of sandwiches without filling up too fast. And the sandwiches pair well with beer and wine!
Cost: $500 for 50 people, two hour minimum. Their “appetizer” option, for example, includes 30-40 sandwiches cut in quarters, but custom options are available. Set-up, small plates, and napkins any necessary utensils are included. Drinks (water, chocolate milk, organic drinks) can be provided at an additional cost.
Gaztro-Wagon: Chicago, Ill.
Named the Best Food Truck by Time Out Chicago, Gaztro-Wagon has revolutionized the mobile food scene in Chicago. The unique Naan-Wiches are filled with fresh, seasonal ingredients such as wild boar, braised lamb and chicken thighs. Gaztro-Wagon has catered many events downtown and is a particular favorite for late-night parties and events. Who can resist a delicious Naan-Wich at midnight?
Cost: Depends on the menu, a minimum of 50 sandwiches required. No rental fee for the truck.
Menu: The trucks menu changes daily depending on the season and what fresh ingredients are available, but clients are able to customize their Naan-Wich order. For larger events (like Bar/Bat Mitzvahs), they can also collaborate with other food trucks to create a larger menu with more offerings.