This morning, mist rising on an emerald landscape, plants drunk on last night’s sweet rain showers. With spring finally here, and with summer soon to follow, my thoughts turn to sidewalk dining, picnics and food trucks. Fueled by delicious memories from travels in Oregon last year – where a plethora of trucks offered affordable, healthy and tasty local food around every bend, I have started hunting down food trucks when I’m out and about. And they are here in Vermont – not in large, urban food-cart pods, but scattered about, here and there, dotting our rural and small town landscape. Stationary or rolling – here’s a sampling of what I have found in person and online.
Just off highway I-91 at Exit 1 in Brattleboro, immediately on your right, a friendly and tasty fast-food stop, the Black Bear Sugarworks serves up locally produced meats and dairy products, and sells their own maple syrup. At Exit 3, by the gas station at the rotary, Taste of Thai cooks fresh food to order, with a smile, and to your degree of spiciness. Down Route 5 in a chain motel parking lot – and on my list to try – sits Steve’s Jamacian Food truck. In the center of town, Humble Kitchen is open again for the season, serving super-tasty Vietnamese street food – asian noodle bowls and sandwiches with a fresh and local twist – for both the meat and veggie lover. Around the corner on Elliot Street, Cafe a la Cart serves Vermont-raised beef burgers, quesedillas, veggie burgers and hot dogs, plus homemade pickles and fresh-squeezed lemonade. On Saturdays, the Farmers’ Market, along the Whetstone Brook on Route 9 West, offers an abundance of fresh produce and prepared foods along with lots of picnic goodies.
But food trucks come and go. An ever-changing landscape, last year’s favorite may not be back this year. A drive-by past the StrEats truck location in White River Junction took me to a back-lot where the red truck stood shuttered. Is Vermont Crepe and Waffle still serving up farmhouse galettes from their traveling cart? On my list in the Norwich area – Mama Tina’s Tamales. Might have to detour through Bridgewater my next trip north to try Chef Brad’s Crazy Side. In Rutland, Say Cheese looks like it will satisfy cravings for a melty cheesy sandwich. And BBQ can be found off Route 89 at the gas station by Exit 4 at Vermont Maple BBQ.
Further north, I think Misery Loves Co. may have traded in their truck for a brick and mortar location in Winooski. In the Burlington area, it looks like the South End Truck Stop will sponsor a weekly food truck rally every Friday through the summer – featuring tacos by Muchacho Taco, BBQ from Southern Smoke, and gourmet veggie, fish and meat creations from The Hindquarter fire truck. Northeast of Burlington, the Burger Barn on Route 15 in Jeffersonville seems to be on the list of places to go – local grass-fed meat, grilled and served with creative combos.
Vermont is rich in all things food – small-scale bakeries, coffee roasters, dairies, breweries and farms that beckon to travelers and locals. Fancy, colorful or unassuming, food shacks, stands, carts and trucks are popping up this spring – and can be found by chance and by searching online. Support Vermont’s innovative local chefs – follow them on their choice-of-social-platform for daily menus and locations, and when on the road, skip the pre-fab gas station snacks and look for freshly prepared and locally produced food. I’ll post updates and new discoveries in the comments section of this post. Hope you will too!