Food trucks are springing up everywhere. Their offerings are also expanding, giving people the opportunity to step out of their comfort zone and try something new.
Antojitos Bermudez, at 21st St. and California Ave., offers shaved ice along with some exceptional Hispanic offerings.
On a recent visit, Michele Townes ordered Chilindrinas, which are a flour donut with an assortment of fresh vegetables and other toppings.
“I think it’s good and looks refreshing,” she said.
Food trucks are common in the NOTO Arts District at N. Kansas Avenue and Friday Night Flicks at Evergy Plaza, 630 S. Kansas Ave.
Sometimes they are at sports venues like baseball, softball and soccer.
They also gather, typically on the first Saturday of the month, at Helping Hands Humane Society, 5720 SW 21st St., where music is played and funds are raised for the organization.
Many trucks are simply parked in various locations around the city, although it can be difficult to pin them down without notification of their plans.
Facility in malls can be a win-win as shoppers buy from trucks, food truck regulars buy from stores, and locations become more predictable for foodies.
Chef LaMona loves the relationships that develop where she parks
Chef LaMona Scroggins serves Cajun cuisine with her own signature catfish sandwiches, shrimp sandwiches and gumbo. She usually parks at 115 SW 29th St.
“Everyone’s been really great at letting me park in the lot whenever I want,” Scroggins said. She plans to park there on Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
However, she stressed that guests should follow her truck tracking site in case plans change or she has trucks in additional locations.
Flexibility is why Scroggins chose a food truck over a more traditional restaurant.
“By opening my food truck, I’ve had more time with my family,” she said. “And it gives me the choice of when I want to work.”
It also gives her time to catering and teach cooking classes, although she plans to be in the truck as much as possible this summer.
Scroggins has been known to park their food truck at the Prairie Band Casino & Resort, particularly on Sundays and concert nights.
“I’m a native,” said Scroggins, who is a member of the Narragansett Nation. “So I like being out there like I’m on a reservation.”
The Topeka Official Food Truck Group is where you will find trucks
The Topeka Official Food Truck Group, a Facebook group owned by Duncan Lee (who owns a truck called Smokey Dunks), has compiled a list of food trucks in Topeka and encourages them to share their upcoming plans on the site.
“I’m reaching out to all the food trucks and telling them to send me all their contact info, all their menus, where they’re going to be this week, what events they have,” Lee said.
Often parked in the Owls Nest parking lot, 4311 SW Topeka Blvd., Field offers a wide variety of grilled items, including burnt ends and ribs, multiple side dishes, and cheesecake by the jar for dessert.
Why are food trucks so popular these days? Lee had several theories centered on cost, time, and the summer heat.
“When you go to the store, buy all the ingredients you need to make your meal, spend the time making your meal… that’s time you could be spending with your family,” he said. “Now that we’re in the summer, no one wants to turn on their stove. Nobody wants to turn on anything hot right now.”
The list is long but may not include all food trucks in Topeka
Though Field said he might not know all of the food trucks, he shared a few with The Capital-Journal. Here is a list of food trucks that have either had independent websites or active Facebook links.
• Pineapple Dream Topeka offers pineapple and other flavors of non-dairy cones, as well as floats and other beverages. His home base is 6750 SW 29th St. and was spotted at Evergy Center on Friday movie nights.
• Snoutherns Food Truck and Catering serves Caribbean fare with sweet potato tarts, peaches and pound cake for dessert. The schedule will be published on Facebook.
• JLG Mexi-Q brings traditional smoke with a Mexican twist, offering burritos, tacos, fajitas, fajita tacos, sandwiches and nachos.
• Lupita’s Tacos serves Mexican specialties including Sunday’s, Menudo and Sunday Elote. The truck is typically parked at SE 25th Street and California Ave.
• Poppin Minis offers mini donuts. The website is up to date with the times and locations scheduled for the week.
• Poppin Squeeze features freshly squeezed lemonade with optional flavors, smoothies, multiple flavored kettle corns, and vanilla and chocolate ice cream sandwiches
• Ronn’s Jazzy Doggs sells variations of the all-American treat, as well as smoked sausage and burgers. The Man Cave Burger stacks on top of just about anything.
• Uncle Tae’s Kitchen offers variety including cooked seafood, buffalo chicken wraps and sweet heat hot wings. Customers can pre-order.
• Tacos El Guitarron serves burritos, quesadillas, tortas and tacos. It is usually parked at 1234 SE California Ave. and 801 SW 6th Ave. The store only accepts cash.
• J Rocks Smoke House focuses on grilled chicken, pork, beef and a variety of side dishes. The truck is often parked at 3440 SE 29th St.
• The Traveling Lunch Box includes turkey drumsticks, chicken quarters, nachos with pulled pork, sausage rolls and pulled pork sandwiches, and frozen candy bars.
• The Burger Bus is a school bus style food trailer specializing in burgers and pulled pork. It also serves grilled cheese, hot dogs, and stuffed baked potato salad.
• Flavor Wagon_785 serves street tacos, pork sandwiches, flavor wings, turkey wings and salads.
• Soul Fire Food Co., which also has a store at 2511 SE California Ave. offers pulled pork, wings, ribs, brisket, etc. The company has a Track the Truck on its website.
• Kona Ice allows foodies to choose their own flavors of shaved ice.
• Dj’s Catering offers all-beef hot dogs – including Slaw Dogs, Fire Dogs and Rueben Dogs, sandwiches, corn dogs, chili and nachos.
• Last Minute BBQ is a competition team offering grilled items you’d expect, plus a turkey sandwich and a sample of their produce.
• Cities Edge BBQ features grilled dishes as well as jalapeño cheddar sausage and jalapeño cheesecorn.
• Poblanos Grill features Cemitas Poblanos, Sope, Quesadillas, Pupusas, Huaraches and Panbazos. It usually parks at 3035 SE 6th St.
• Bobby’s Food Co. stocks Burnt Ends, Philly Cheesesteak, Chicken Feta Tacos, and Chimichurri Steak Tacos, among others.
• Tod’s BBQ serves Shredd Brisket, Pulled Pork and Pulled Chicken Sandwiches, Ellie, Frito Pie and Fay’s Mac Attack.
• Stumpy’s Smoked Cheese features gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, pulled pork mac and cheese, fried cheese curds and smoked cheesecake.
• Noble House Hawaiian Plate Lunch features kalua pork, kalbi ribs, teriyaki, poke and katsu.
• The Urban Farmer offers a selection of cured meats and an ever-changing menu. The food is grown and raised locally.
Do you know other food trucks? Contact us so we can add them to the list.
Catheryn Hrenchir is a feature writer for Topeka-Capital Journal. She can be reached at chrenchir.gannett.com or (785) 817-638.