It’s a hot trend in the edible world these days…food trucks are taking our cities by storm. While the ideal of selling food out of a vehicle started more than 100 years ago (think “chuckwagon” in the wild west), and likely can be traced back 130 years ago to one man in Rhode Island according to The New York Times Magazine, the modern food truck craze didn’t take off until about 2008 in California (where the National Food Truck Association operates).
We’re not talking ice cream trucks and those that sell carnival snacks such as elephant ears and caramel corn…today’s food trucks are serving up exquisite fare with ingredients often procured from local farmers.
A 2014 article from Michigan State University Extension said “food trucks may not seem like a large piece of our food economy, but according to a recent report [from National League of Cities], food trucks currently bring in $650 million every year, nationwide. This amount is expected to increase, so much so that food truck revenue is projected to account for $2.7 billion over the next five years. Despite this growth, the food truck business has some unique challenges.”
The piece by Kaitlin Koch goes on to say “in Michigan, food trucks are gaining traction through a variety of means. A popular way to highlight these businesses are community sponsored food truck rallies, which are often hosted in conjunction with other community events. These gatherings host multiple trucks and usually feature various types of cuisine. Some farmers markets will also host one or more food trucks in conjunction with market day.”
According to the Michigan Restaurant Association, in addition to free standing food truck businesses, established restaurants—especially fast casual operations—also are launching food trucks. In fact, 19 percent of fast casual restaurants say they are very or somewhat likely to launch one in the next year or two, according to National Restaurant Association research.
With attention to detail and a focus on the craft of the culinary arts, it is no wonder that Michigan breweries are jumping on the food truck bandwagon to serve up beer-complementing menus.
- Eastern Market Brewing Company in downtown Detroit is home to “Elephant Shack” with international street food featuring ingredients sourced as often as possible from the growers and producers at Eastern Market.
- Original Gravity Brewing in Milan offers “Taco Tuesday” with Caso Sabrosa year-round.
- Right Brain Brewery in Traverse City will have a guest food truck on-site all summer, until September 27, in addition to its own permanent food truck. Trucks operate Wednesdays through Sundays.
- Rustic Leaf Brewing Company in Waterford often hosts the Marconi’s Pizza Food Truck on select dates.
- Stormcloud Brewing in Frankfort is hosting two food trucks this summer at its new Tasting Room at the Production Brewery. Grow Benzie Food Truck serves up food made with fresh, local ingredients nearly every Saturday through September 8. They’re also hoping to finalize dates soon for Elberto’s Taqueria food truck on select Fridays.
- The Mitten Brewing in Northport partners with several local food trucks offer mouth-watering options.
- Ore Dock Brewing in downtown Marquette works with area food trucks to sell pizzas, coney dogs, pretzels, tacos and other menu items throughout the summer.
- Trail Point Brewing in Allendale works with local food trucks to come and set up shop and sell to its patrons.
- Witch’s Hat Brewing in South Lyon welcomes a variety of food trucks at its brewery, offering everything from wraps to burgers to authentic Spanish cuisine (and so much more).
For more information about food trucks in Michigan: