Food trucks are the perfect pandemic-era dining experience: You can order and eat all without stepping foot inside.
I love a good food truck, so I tracked down 18 for this updated guide. My favorites ranged from a juicy smash burger at Bae’s Burgers to birria tacos from Tacos Rick-O.
Here’s our roundup of 18 must-try food trucks in Charlotte, and what to order at each.
Editors note: This guide was first published on May 18, 2018, and last updated on April 27, 2021.
Loaded jacket potatoes and potato skins stuffed with gourmet fillings.
Must-try items: Cajun shrimp potato ($12.50), cheesesteak potato ($11.50) and parmesan bacon ranch home fries ($10.50)
Find it: Schedule posted on Instagram page.
American-fare staples with a decadent twist.
Must-try item: Dirty Mac ($12) which is their mac & cheese topped with braised beef, collard greens, “Average sauce,” and cornbread crumble.
Find it: Schedules posted on Instagram
Classic smash juicy burgers.
Menu: It’s simple with four burgers plus two types of French fries — regular and garlic parmesan.
- The Boss: Two smash beef patties, bacon, grilled onions, American cheese, garlic aioli.
- The Gringa: Smash beef patty, lettuce, pickles, garlic aioli, American cheese.
- The Sunburn: Smash beef patty, fried egg, American cheese, bacon, garlic aioli.
- The Pretender: Beyond meat patty, lettuce, red onions, pickles, American cheese, garlic aioli.
How to find it: Schedule posted here
Fresh lobster food truck franchise.
Fame: Yes, this is the same Cousins Maine Lobster you know from Shark Tank
Backstory: After meeting Cousins Maine Lobster founders Sabin and Jim in Los Angeles, Chris and Caroline Papp decided to purchase a franchise. Their Cousins Maine Lobster food truck that hit the streets of Charlotte this past month is the franchise’s 20th.
- Maine Lobster Roll ($16.95)
- Connecticut Lobster Roll ($16.95)
- Lobster Tacos (3 for $14.50)
- Lobster Tots ($14.50)
- Lobster Quesadilla ($14.50)
- Lobster Grilled Cheese ($14.50)
- Maine Lobster Tail & Tots ($14.95)
- Lobster Bisque ($6/$8)
Full-service coffee shop on wheels.
Menu: Detour has a variety of seasonal drinks like the white lavender latte, coffee and espresso drinks, plus teas, sodas, and smoothies for non-coffee drinkers.
Find it: Weekly schedule posted here
The Dumpling Lady (Truck temporarily closed)
Authentic dumplings and noodles made with a family Szechuan recipe.
Dumpling options: pork & chives, sweet pork belly, chicken & mushrooms, crab & chicken, shrimp & chicken and veggie. The food truck also serves noodle and rice dishes.
Find it: The truck is off the road until further notice, but head to The Dumpling Lady‘s Optimist Hall location in the meantime.
Must-try item: The chicken over rice. You could also go with the falafel over rice, lamb over rice, or the chicken and lamb combo.
Find it: Stationed on the corner of 101 N Tryon St.
Must-try mains: The pulled pork and the smoked brisket, both come as a dinner or a sandwich.
Must-try sides: The macaroni & cheese and red beans and rice.
Find it: Schedules posted on Instagram page.
Seafood served in hot dog buns or in avocados.
Menu: Seafood “Dogs” are served in a toasted split-top (hot dog style bun) with a swipe of mayo and your choice of fresh chilled lobster ($15), crab ($13) or shrimp ($11) and then topped with warm lemon butter & special seasonings.
Avocado lovers: You can also get their stuffed avocado ($9) made with a fresh whole avocado topped with zesty black bean and corn salsa and pico de gallo, then drizzled with chimichurri and chipotle ranch
Mac and cheese and chicken tenders.
- OG Mac ($7.99) – Al dente shells mixed with a creamy four-cheese sauce, topped with Parmesan panko breadcrumbs.
- Bacon Mac ($8.99) – The OG + smokey bacon bits.
- Veggie Mac ($9.99) – Roasted broccoli, sun-dried tomatoes, caramelized onions and sautéed spinach atop the OG.
- Buffalo Chicken Mac ($9.99) – Juicy chunks of fried chicken tenders, tossed in buffalo sauce atop the OG.
- Crawfish Mac ($12.99) – Tender crawfish tails sautéed in a creamy, Cajun butter sauce (chef’s choice).
Fried Chicken Tenders: Comes in 2-piece ($3.99), 4-piece ($7.99) , and 5-piece ($9.99) options.
Find it: Follow Maria’s on Instagram for the location schedule.
Gourmet nachos with homemade toppings.
How it works: If you’re ordering nachos, pick your base (tortilla chips, pork rinds, or lettuce), and then pick a pre-fixe topping.
Nacho options include:
- Buffalo Chicken ($12)
- BBQ Pork ($12)
- Supreme ($12)
- Veggie ($12)
Other menu items: Chicken quesadilla ($10), beef and veggie burritos ($10), and street corn among other offerings.
Plant-based food truck.
The menu: Includes burgers, shakes, fries, cookies, and a kale salad and a wrap for good measure.
Popular items include:
- Where art thou Romeo burger: house sauce, lettuce, tomatoes, grilled onions, cheese, pickles ($9.99/$12.99 combo).
- Romeo Mac burger: onions, mac sauce, cheese, pickles ($14.99/$16.99 combo).
- Chili cheese fries: cheese, vegan chili, onions ($6.99).
- Oreo plant-based shake ($6.99).
How to find: Check Romeo’s Instagram to see where they’ll be next.
Related story: Romeo’s Vegan Burgers is converting carnivores
Brunch on wheels.
Must-try item: B.A.E., that’s the bacon egg & “chz” with hardwood smoked bacon, egg over medium, cheddar cheese and chives drizzled with chipotle ketchup and served on a warm brioche bun.
Where to find it: 8821 JW Clay Blvd.
Vegan comfort foods.
Must-try item: The loaded fries. It’s made with hand-cut fries topped with house-made queso, black beans, green onions, salsa, guacamole, jalapeños and house-made jalapeño crema.
Find it: Schedules are posted on their Instagram page.
Latin street food.
Menu: Choose between a selection of tacos, bowls and paps Ricko which are seasoned fried topped with queso fundido sauce, sauteed onions, pico de gallo, and jalapeños.
Must-try item: The birria tacos ($14). Three braised beef tacos served with a cup of consommé soup, topped with cilantro and onion.
To find it: Check Ricky’s Instagram for locations.
Tacos, sliders, quesadillas, nachos and salads.
Taco options: Buffalo cauliflower, chana masala, chicken tinga, BBQ beef brisket, cilantro-lime shrimp and pork belly
Quesadilla options: Chipotle chicken, jerk pork, kimchi and three cheese
Number of Tin Kitchen trucks: Two. The trucks names are Ferdinand (the bull) and Bessie (the cow).
Fame: TIN Kitchen is the OG of food trucks in Charlotte and has been featured in Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives
Find it: Head to their website for the latest location.
What the Fries (Truck temporarily closed)
Gourmet loaded fries and burgers.
Loaded fries: Steak and shrimp hibachi fries ($18), cheesy fries ($12) and truffle fries ($10).
Dipping sauces: Signature “yumm yumm” sauce, garlic mayo, cilantro crema, blackberry ketchup, truffle aioli and cheese sauce (choose one, additional sauce $1).
Basic fries: Seasoned fries ($5) and house-made tots ($6), you can also get 1/2 and 1/2 if you’re undecided.
Vietnamese sandwiches, rice bowls and tacos
Bahn Mi, explained: Vietnamese sandwich on an eight-inch baguette served with garlic mayonnaise, cucumbers, pickled carrots & daikon, jalapeños, cilantro, and choice of meat.
Options: BBQ pork ($8), lemongrass beef ($8), lemongrass pork ($8), lemongrass chicken ($7.50), Yummi tofu ($7) and sautéed veggies ($5.50)
Other options: Yummi Bahn Mi also serves Vietnamese rice bowls and tacos.