Are food trucks morphing into food shops? The rapidly changing food truck scene has spawned a number of related storefronts and a number of related carts (as food trucks lose their prime parking spots) In New York City, Calexico, Souvlaki GR and the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck are prime examples. Calexico has a storefront in the Greenpoint and Redhook nabes of Brooklyn, Souvlaki Truck has a dedicated store on Stanton Street in the Lower East Side. The Big Gay Ice Cream Shop has just opened in the East Village, and Mexicue’s recent opening in Chelsea will soon be followed by another in Chinatown. And there are definitely more changes in the offing. Remember to follow any of these on twitter, still, to find out their daily ramblings.
Here are some of the food truck-storefront hybrids already in place:
Schnitzel and Things:It’s gotten easier to navigate the assembly line of Austrian comfort food in this storefront setting. Here’s where you can create the perfect sandwich combination of veal, chicken, or cod schnitzel. Or go for that Bratwurst you’ve been dying for, now made “healthy” with side salads like Austrian potato salad and roasted beet and feta salad.
723 Third Avenue; 212-905-0000; http://schnitzelandthings.com
Souvlaki GR: After winning the award for “Best Rookie Truck” at the 2010 Vendy Awards, there was no stopping the Souvlaki Truck from bringing the taste of Mykonos to the Lower East Side. The adorable shop oozes “Greek islands” with its blue doors and laid back vibe. Co-owner Abby Sierros takes pride in the storefront’s focus as a souvlaki shop, and not an “expected” Greek restaurant. The familiar souvlaki sandwiches and Greek fries topped with feta that have had people standing in line for hours at the recent Food Truck Rallies in Brooklyn and Manhattan are still the faves, but the menu has been expanded to add Greek salad, a pita platter with Greek dips, ouzo soda, and frappes.
116 Stanton Street; 212-777-0116; http://www.souvlakigr.com/the-restaurant.html
Mexicue:If the bright orange walls in the new Midtown West storefront aren’t enough to remind you of the Mexicue truck, the exciting fusion of Southern barbeque and Mexican fare into Mexicue’s signature tacos certainly will. Truck favorites such as the smoked short ribs, Alabama BBQ chicken, and smokey BBQ beans are on the menu as are the sliders, but the storefront has also added the Mexi-Chop salad and a smokey Caesar salad. Stay tuned for a second storefront opening on Forsythe Street later this summer.
345 Seventh Avenue; 260-639-4283; http://mexicue.com/stores.html
Big Gay Ice Cream Truck: The East Village recently welcomed the arrival of “Bea Arthur” and the “Salty Pimp,” favorites from Doug Quint and Bryan Petroff’s Big Gay Ice Cream Truck, at their new Big Gay Ice Cream Shop. Under the watchful eye of the shop’s pink unicorn, the shop is a dream-come-true for the two founders, giving them more space to create soft-serve ice cream cones, cups, sundaes, sandwiches and shakes, all with an even greater selection of creative toppings.
125 East Seventh Street; http://www.biggayicecreamtruck.com/
GO Burger:The GO Burger truck, opened in 2010, has had such success with its burgers and shakes that it opened three brick-and-mortar stores that operate out of New York and Los Angeles. GO Burger, owned by ESquared Hospitality (the parent company to BLT Restaurant Group), incorporates favorites from BLT Burger and the GO Burger truck, along with new specialties such as the UltiMELT and the Smashed Burger. The all-Kobe beef hot dog still remains a menu favorite along with the Vidalia onion rings and duck fat fries. The shop first opened in January 2011 in Los Angeles, and then the concept moved east with a second location on the Upper East Side (1448 Second Avenue between 75th and 76th Streets) in February and a third in June (310 W 38th St).
1448 Second Avenue; 212-988-9822; http://www.e2hospitality.com/go-burger-new-york/
Calexico:The Mexican-style cart started by three brothers spices things up in Brooklyn with two locations in Redhook and Greenpoint. The menu in both locations is greatly expanded from the cart selections with countless taco, torta, burrito and quesadilla offerings. Add a side of the zesty guacamole and wash down your treats with a Mexican soda or even a beer. Dave, Jesse and Brian, could you please open up one in Manhattan, too?
645 Manhattan Avenue (Greenpoint-Brooklyn); 347-763-2129;
122 Union Street (Redhook-Brooklyn); 718-488-8226
News to Watch: Cupcake Stop seems to have tried the storefront model (ex-Limelight Market) and ended their test market. We’re hoping that their planned West Village location at 70 Greenwich Avenue opens its doors soon. http://www.cupcakestop.com
Now that the Wafels and Dinges empire has sprouted with mini-Wafel trucks in scattered locations like Central Park and the Time Warner Center we’re wondering whether their in-store grocery sales and increased name recognition could lead to a sit-down café. We can only hope. Hoegaarden and Honey ice cream in a sundae? Yum. http://www.wafelsanddinges.com