Rev up your engines. The food truck phenomenon is a $2.7 billion industry that’s captured the hearts of Americans nationwide. With little more than a flat top and a fryer, aspiring entrepreneurs are serving up rock-star fare at bargain-basement prices.
The Springs is no exception. With more than 120 trucks to choose from, the possibilities are seemingly endless. So come along as three local fan favorites share the secrets to their success.
Black Forest Chew-Chew Gastrotruck
The all-girl team at Black Forest Chew-Chew (bfchewchew.com) loves what they do. And it shows.
They’ve won the People’s Choice Award in the Small Business Week Food Truck Cook-Off three years in a row. And last year, they beat out four teams from Denver, Boulder, and Fort Collins to win the pilot episode of "Food Truck Fan Fight" on the Food Network with host (and super hunk) Eddie Jackson.
So what’s their secret? "We work so well together," says owner Deanna Johnson. "We’re all super positive, and we lift each other up."
Oh, and their food is outrageous. They offer international street food with a simple premise: big, bold flavors with a mix of crunchy, sour, sweet, and salty in every bite.
Growing up, Deanna worked in her family-owned restaurants in California. They traveled all over the world, cooking wherever they went and shopping from local markets. "I wanted to bring a taste of my travels in an approachable form," she says.
The top seller is Korean bulgogi steak tacos. Bursting with flavors and textures, this taco is addictive with a hint of sriracha for heat and a refreshing ponzu slaw for acid and crunch—you’ll be begging for more.
Looking for five-star flavor? Try the sushi-grade ahi tuna poke bowl: fresh tuna mixed with watermelon, mango, wasabi microgreens, and fried avocado. But come early—they always sell out!
Lucy, I’m Home: The Flavor of Cuba
For a taste of Havana right here in the Springs, you’ll love Lucy, I’m Home: The Flavor of Cuba (facebook.com/lucyimhomefoodtruck). It’s a true family affair with authentic Cuban recipes.
Owner Hector Diaz was born in Cuba and joined 14,000 other kids who were sent to the United States after the revolution in 1961. He brings a passion for his home country in every bite of his food.
"The roast pork is our bread and butter," says Elyse Diaz, manager and operator. "It’s slow roasted overnight for nine hours until it melts in your mouth."
The Cubano earns rave reviews. Juicy roast pork, ham, Swiss cheese, and mustard are hot-pressed in buttered bread till crispy. The signature mojo sauce, with hints of sour orange, onions, and garlic, adds a flavor explosion to every dish. But don’t ask for the recipe. It’s top secret!
The empanadas are buttery, flaky, little packets of heaven. Filled with a tasty mix of spiced ground beef, pork, and pimento-stuffed olives, they’re the perfect party food.
As you taste the flavors of their home, the Diaz family hopes you’ll experience the warmth and camaraderie of their country—from the salt sea breezes to the rhythm of the salsa beat.
Scratch Mobile Kitchen and Catering
"I’ve always wanted to be in the food industry," says Jillian Lovelace, co-owner of Scratch Mobile Kitchen (scratchmk.com).
When she met her husband Bryan, an executive chef, she married her event-planning experience with his professional cooking chops, and Scratch Mobile Kitchen was born.
They offer comfort food with an elevated twist. Their signature pork belly sandwich packs a wallop of flavors. Slow cooked for six hours, the pork belly is seared on a flat top to get its crisp on, combined with a crunchy red onion slaw, then topped with a hint of homemade blueberry barbeque sauce. It’s definitely a four-napkin experience.
The three-cheese grilled cheese on buttery sourdough with Muenster, white cheddar, and cream cheese is every kid’s dream. Add the spicy-sweet jalapeño raspberry jam, and you’ll have adults clamoring for more.
The chipotle ranch chicken wrap is fast becoming a favorite. Chicken is marinated in spices and chile peppers, then cooked fresh to order and placed in a spinach wrap with a lettuce mix, shredded cheese, and homemade chipotle ranch dressing.
"Feeding people is like a love language for me," says Jillian. "I love seeing customers’ eyes light up when I serve them my food."
Looking for Your Favorite Food Truck?
It’s simple. Download the WTF!?! Where’s the Food
Truck app. It’s available in the App Store and on Google Play. You’ll see profiles and locations for all your favorites throughout the city.
Also, don’t miss these events:
FOOD TRUCK TUESDAYS
West lawn, Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum
215 S. Tejon Street / 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Every Tuesday through October 29, 2019
THE 719 HUMP DAY FOOD TRUCK RALLY
2165 Academy Place / 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. / Every Wednesday (for info on trucks and location changes, go to Facebook.com/719 Hump Day Food Truck Rally)