Food-truck season is fast approaching, which means you can soon start feasting upon all sorts of alfresco delicacies handed to you from someone ensconced inside a cramped kitchen on wheels.
Until prime food-truck season gets here, however, you can prepare mentally and culinarily by visiting Vermont restaurants that trace their roots to trucks or carts. Some kept the same name as their wheeled business, some opted for new monikers; a few continue to operate trucks or carts while others left their portable operations in the dust.
Several of those erstwhile truck-and-cart eateries responded to email pleas from the Burlington Free Press asking them to spill the beans on their business backgrounds and provide a look ahead to what 2022 might bring. (Some responses have been edited for clarity.) Take a seat and get ready to eat…
Restaurant roundup: New restaurants, breweries, coffee shops that have opened in Vermont
Can chicken bones be composted?: How and why to compost the right way in Chittenden County
The Skinny Pancake
Michael Cyr, director of marketing
When did the food truck/food cart begin? 2003. On Church Street during (Burlington Discover) JazzFest!
When did the restaurant begin? 2007 was the first one on the Burlington Waterfront.
Do you still run a food cart? Sure do! Right on Church Street.
Anything new for 2022? Oh yeah! Improving the inside and outside of existing restaurants, introducing some new menu items, and excited to get back on the road for our festival tour!
Information: Hours for all locations (Burlington near Waterfront Park; Burlington International Airport; University of Vermont in Burlington; Montpelier; Quechee; Stowe/Mountain Road; Stowe/Spruce Peak; and Albany, New York) available at www.skinnypancake.com.
Susie Ely, co-owner
When did the food truck/food cart begin? Dolce VT Food Truck began September 2013.
When did the restaurant begin? April 2019.
Do you still run a food truck? No.
Labor shortage solution?: Vermont high school programs train tomorrow’s chefs as restaurants scramble to hire them
Anything new for 2022? We are looking forward to a busy summer season and working with our local farmers.
Information: Restaurant Poco, 55 Main St., Burlington. 5:30-9 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday, 5:30-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday. www.restaurantpoco.com
Maudite Poutine/Tiny Community Kitchen
Joe Collier, co-owner
When did the food truck/food cart begin? We registered our business in September 2016, hand-built the cart that fall and started slinging poutine on Church Street in December 2016. Our first full season was summer 2017. My brother Michael, my sister, Leah, and I own it together. Michael’s title is Chief Poutineologist. Leah is Senior Partner in Poutine Logistics. I am the Principal French Fry Technician and heavily involved in R & D as well.
When did the restaurant begin? We just passed our health inspection (at the end of March)! So hopefully quite soon. Without putting hard dates on anything, we are shooting for a mid-April opening.
Do you still run a food cart? Yes. We have three. One cart operates on Church Street. And we have two roaming carts that do everything from weddings, to renaissance fairs, to music festivals etc. Most recently we had a cart stationed at the bottom of The Gondola at Stowe Mountain Resort for weekends through the winter.
From ovens to palm trees: A tour of Hula’s award-winning building on Burlington’s lakefront
Anything new for 2022? We have a lot of big plans for 2022. The Church Street cart will make its triumphant return (after a long COVID absence), we have a busy lineup of events and caterings all over Vermont, and we are opening a restaurant! The restaurant will operate as a poutinerie/fry shack/burger bar, as well as an incubator/shared space with other Vermont-based micro-food businesses. We will open under the dual name Maudite Poutine and Tiny Community Kitchen.
The Tiny Community Kitchen will be available to other small businesses on a per-hour/per-day rental basis for prep, pop-ups, or for selling prepared foods. We will also feature weekly residents. We had the good fortune of being able to share space with other Burlington restaurants over the years, and now that we are opening our own we figured we should keep it going. It’s a fun way to learn, collaborate, try new foods, experience other cultures, and from a practical standpoint — share costs and responsibilities.
‘We’re not babysitters.’: Vermont early childhood educators seek professional status
Information: Tentatively — Church Street cart: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday. Maudite Poutine, 156 N. Winooski Ave., Burlington, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; Tiny Community Kitchen, 156 N. Winooski Ave.; weekly resident schedule along with rotating schedule of pop-ups. We’ll have a physical calendar on the restaurant window along with one on our website. www.mauditepoutine.com
Darrell Langworthy, owner
When did the food truck/food cart begin? May 2018.
When did the restaurant begin? October 2018.
Do you still run a food truck? Yes we now have three food trucks — MARK BBQ, Skreet Doggs And MARK BBQ Tacos.
Anything new for 2022? The three food trucks and the fact that we are going for a world record July 2 for most ribs cooked and sold in one day by a single restaurant. We have two more practice dates April 9, 500 racks of ribs; May 14, 750 racks of ribs. On all those days we will be giving 20% of our total profits to Aunt Dot’s Place in Essex, a food shelf that deals with food insecurities.
Information: 34 Park St., Essex Junction. 11:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. www.markbbqvt.com
Charlie Sizemore, owner
When did the food truck/food cart begin? We started the food cart the summer of 2014 at the ArtsRiot Truck Stop. We established our spot on Church Street the following summer.
When did the restaurant begin? We opened the restaurant Dec. 3, 2018.
Do you still run a food cart? No. We sold the mobile units to Carte Blanche in 2018 and they are currently owned and operated by Chile Colorado.
THINKMD: Here’s what this Vermont-born company is working now
Anything new for 2022? At the restaurant we are potentially expanding our hours to be open more late night, although that is still in the works. At the Creemee Stand, we recently started making hard-pack ice cream as well as soft serve. So we’ll no longer be offering food, and instead focusing on creemees, hard-pack ice cream, house-made toppings and mixin’s, choco tacos, etc.
Information: Taco Gordo — 208 N. Winooski Ave., Burlington. 5-10 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. (Taco Gordo posted April 5 on social media that it will be “taking the next few weeks off to rest, recharge, and make some renovations to our space.”)
Little Gordo Creemee Stand — 71 S. Union St., Burlington. 3-10 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday. www.tacogordovt.com
More: Some creemee stands are already open for the season. Here’s your guide.
Pioneer Lakeshore Café
Lindsay Taylor Matécat, part-owner/front-of-house manager
When did the food truck/food cart begin? Pioneer was formed in the winter of 2017, when we decided to purchase the food truck, and we spent the winter developing the logo, menus and getting our website and social media up and running. We then had our first day out on the truck at the Maltex building, and spent our first season vending there and at the ArtsRiot Truck Stop. Eventually we added Foam Brewers to the circuit as well as Summervale.
When did the restaurant begin? We ended up selling our Food Truck to help fund our build-out at our brick and mortar, which opened in spring of 2021. We spent the winter getting everything cleaned, painted and organized and opened May 2021.
Pull up a chair? Or maybe not?: Would you eat at these restaurant locations: gas station, garden center, top of gondola?
Do you still run a food truck? No.
Anything new for 2022? This year we have spent some time improving our espresso menu and will continue to grow it as the year progresses. There will be some new menu items coming out of the kitchen this spring that we are getting very excited about as well! We have also spent some time expanding our retail selection, filled with locally made goodies such as scarves, jewelry, maple syrup and granola.
Information: Pioneer Lakeshore Café, 824 W. Lakeshore Drive, Colchester. 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Wednesday-Friday, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. www.pioneerfoodvt.com
Jenn Bird, co-owner
When did the food truck/food cart begin? Taco Truck All Stars began in 2012.
When did the restaurant begin? Tacocat Cantina opened in November 2020.
Do you still run a food cart? Yes, Taco Truck All Stars has no plans to retire. It is a totally separate enterprise than the shop. We have a very busy season ahead of us, receiving 4-10 event requests daily. We will be back at our many regular events that we attend each season, plus so many more public, corporate, and private events as well.
Anything new for 2022? YES! Our newest venture: We recently purchased a building at the Champlain Valley Expo — Fat Daddy’s! We now operate 3 food businesses. When an opportunity arises, we grab it! So look for us at the 100th annual Champlain Valley Fair this year. We will be specializing in Fat Daddy’s onion rings, smoked turkey legs, and more.
More: Champlain Valley Fair concert schedule takes shape with Dropkick Murphys announcement
Information: Taco Truck All Stars, based out of the Burlington area. People often ask where the truck is parked “normally”. We do have some regular weekly events, however, the nature of the business is that we are on wheels, so we are not “normally parked in any one particular spot. We are a mobile business and travel all over Vermont and love every minute of it! www.tacotruckallstars.com
Tacocat Cantina, 21 Merchants Row, Randolph. Noon-7 p.m. Friday-Monday. We are a take-out shop and will be opening our patio with (first-come, first-serve) seating available hopefully early May (weather dependent). www.tacocatcantina.com
My Favorite Things
Lea Ann Macrery, owner
When did the food truck/food cart begin? Food truck started July 4, 2019.
When did the restaurant begin? Restaurant started November 2021.
Do you still run a food cart? No.
Anything new for 2022? So much new stuff! We now have beer and wine, a large dining area, new additions to the menu such as smoothies and milkshakes as well as pizza and wings along with our full regular menu.
Information: My Favorite Things, 158 Main St., second floor, Jeffersonville. 4-8 p.m. Thursday-Sunday. https://facebook.com/pg/myfavoritethingsvt/menu/
The full story: Comfort food truck grows into new eatery in Jeffersonville
Contact Brent Hallenbeck at [email protected]. Follow Brent on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BrentHallenbeck.
This article originally appeared on Burlington Free Press: Missing food trucks? 8 Vermont restaurants that started on the road