And, it’s not just our country’s largest metropolitan cities that are fertile ground for food trucks. In the last couple years, our sister city down the road, Durham, has incubated more than 20 kitchens-on-wheels, selling to students, families, festivals and urban dwellers.
Over the past several years, food trucks have taken off, with reputations for transforming—shall I say “derelict”?—areas into trendy blocks for innovative entrepreneurs and creative bites. They have a multi-faceted approach toward their success – an affordable start-up cost for entrepreneurs, the flexibility for creative menus and track records for turning mobile kitchens into brick and mortar restaurants. With the ability to build off a community’s assets, they showcase a community’s diversity, provide delicious treats and create much needed jobs.
A couple weeks ago, I spent an evening on the 1618 Wine Lounge’s mobile kitchen, hidden behind a strip of buildings on Battleground Avenue. The kitchen is a new addition to the space, after a decision with which the owners toyed – a financially burdening kitchen renovation or a smaller investment in a kitchen trailer that could both feed their bar patrons and cater events. They took a risk that is beginning to pay off by turning 100 plates a night on Lawndale and the potential of expanding their catering to corporate parking lots for lunch service.
The 1618 Mobile Kitchen is made up of a pair of budding gastronomists preparing snazzed-up versions of our favorite bar food guilty pleasures. From fried calamari to tuna tacos, pomme frites and chicken wings, they are cooking everything from scratch and weaning young folks from asking for hot dogs. But in honor of all those youthful requests, I’ve asked 1618 to add my local chorizo dog to their menu for a couple weeks. They’ll be sprucing up my recipe and I can’t wait to try one!
Food trucks currently are not permitted inside Greensboro’s center city without a Special Event Permit. To get your fix, you can visit the 1618 Wine Bar to check out their mobile kitchen – or travel to Spring Garden and Chapman streets for a taco at the Taqueria El Azteca Taco Truck in the Fordham Cleaners parking lot. As this culture grows, I can’t wait to share its fruits, along with the many great things about Greensboro—perhaps in Center City before I’m 30?
Meadows Family Farm Chorizo Dogs with Grilled Corn and Pickled Okra Relish
- 8 Meadows Family Farm Chorizo Sausages
- 8 hotdog buns
- 2 poblano peppers
- 2 ears fresh corn
- 10 to 15 pickled okra, sliced
- 1/4 cup diced red onion
- spicy mustard, for serving
Shuck fresh corn and place on a hot grill until tender and beginning to caramelize. Once cooled, cut the corn kernels off the cob into a bowl.
Meanwhile, place poblano peppers directly on an open flame – either on your grill or on a gas stove. Allow the peppers completely blacken. Once the poblano peppers are blackened, toss into a paper bag and shut close for about 15 minutes or until cool to the touch. This process will steam the skin off the peppers. Using your hands, rub off the skin (do not rinse the flavor away!). Dice the pepper. Add to the corn.
Add sliced okra and diced onion to the poblano peppers and corn kernels. Toss together.
Grill chorizo until crisp. Place inside your favorite hot dog bun and top with relish and a slathering of spicy mustard.