What is it exactly that makes food truck fare so tempting? The short answer is probably, “calories.” But to wax philosophical, it might be that small, mobile kitchens have more freedom to try something new—really go wild with their menus. And there’s nothing foodies love more than variety. From gourmet vegan corn in Birmingham to fine-dining filet mignon sliders in Auburn, there are big flavors coming out of little windows across Alabama.
1. New South Hot Dog & Sushi, Huntsville
It takes a creative mind to top a quarter-pound Nathan’s hot dog with sushi-style fixings such as wasabi mayo or imitation crab. And, judging from the lines at the award-winning New South Hot Dog & Sushi, founder Albert Toh’s out-of-the-box cooking has paid off.
The Crunchy Dog—one of this 3-year-old truck’s wilder combos—counts pork rinds, spicy mayo, and eel sauce among its toppings. Purists can find more traditional chili-cheese and Chicago-style franks on the menu along with deep-fried sushi roll faves.
2. Thirsty Pig, Dothan
This 4-wheeled kitchen parks permanently at the taproom by the same name and specializes in eats that pair perfectly with high-quality suds.
In Thirsty Pig owner Kerry Farrell’s words, “When I opened this place 5 years ago, craft beer was new, and I didn’t want to invest in a commercial kitchen. I thought, ‘If the taproom doesn’t work out, I can drive off into the sunset.’ ” Luckily, she’s still here.
Order your spicy Wisconsin cheese curds, Sriracha carnitas, or hand-cut fries to be delivered to your barstool Tuesday through Saturday. Wash them down with a draught of ever-rotating IPAs, darks, sours, and more. (Be sure to designate a driver if you plan to drink alcohol.)
3. Aww Shucks, Birmingham
Don’t let the name fool you; there’s nothing bashful about the flavors coming out of this wildly popular, corn-focused food truck. Husband-and-wife team Avrie and Phillip Powell launched Aww Shucks in 2020 to introduce fresher and more affordable vegan and vegetarian options to the street-food scene.
Each ear is roasted over a live fire before being drizzled with Cajun Parmesan sauce and coated in a garlic-herb-Parmesan seasoning or just doused in butter. In all, diners find about a dozen varieties starting at $3 per ear. Super fans can buy mix-and-match packs in bulk.
4. Top’s Food and Catering, Mobile
A mix of home-style comfort food such as red beans specials and fried seafood platters alongside indulgent pub-fare darlings like sauce-drenched wings make Top’s a perennial fan favorite.
Anyone looking to work up an appetite—or bust a diet—should scroll the truck’s Facebook page, where owner Lavel Turner and his team diligently post locations and tempting photos of daily specials. The loaded fries topped with ground beef chili, cheese, and peppers make a meal all on their own. Good luck saving room for red velvet cake.
5. Sword and Skillet, Auburn
Burgers and bowls are nice, but Sword and Skillet is fine—as in fine dining. The highbrow food truck anchors permanently on Main Street in Midtown and offers fancy fare such as filet mignon sliders, blackened wild-caught mahimahi with lemon-dill aioli, and caprese chicken salad on its ever-changing, gourmet menu.
Co-owner with his wife, Jordan Whitley, California Culinary Academy–trained chef Torrey Hall boasts stints at Spago and the Four Seasons on his résumé. It’s no wonder Sword and Skillet won Best Food Truck 2021 in the Auburn-Opelika area. Stop in Wednesdays through Fridays.
6. SAW’s Street Kitchen, Birmingham
The “best of” list–topping barbecue joint that’s won accolades from the likes of Garden & Gun and Southern Living has taken to the streets of Birmingham. SAW’s Street Kitchen slings sandwiches packed with ’cue classics such as slow-smoked brisket piled with caramelized onions and the chain’s signature sweet tea–fried chicken.
Follow along on Facebook to be the first in line for limited runs of delicacies like the elusive (and jaw-stretching) char-griddled grilled meatloaf sandwich.
7. Blenz, Tuscaloosa
A post-graduation trip to Florida inspired University of Alabama alums Zac Rogers and Riley Voce to bring the flavors of the beach—think pineapple, coconut, and mango—back to campus. Launched in 2018, Blenz offers power smoothies laden with such health-conscious ingredients as turmeric and blue spirulina alongside fruit-based bowls topped with good-for-you goodies like granola and chia seeds.
The smoothie bowl operation now boasts locations in 4 states, a new storefront in Auburn, and its original truck, which parks on the Tuscaloosa campus on weekdays.
8. Amsterdam Café Food Truck, Auburn
Longtime community gem Amsterdam Café takes a scaled-down version of its menu mobile with this food truck. (Don’t worry, the signature turkey wrap featuring breast meat and softened lavosh cracker bread made the menu.)
The Amsterdam Café Food Truck can frequently be spotted on the Auburn University campus, where students line up for grab-and-go favorites like chicken fingers and crab cake–avocado sammies. A second spin-off—the Dam Taco Truck—adds burrito bowls and tacos filled with seasoned chicken, ground beef, steak, or pork to the mix.
Travel writer and guide author Jessica Fender will take one of everything. Follow her adventures—gastronomical and otherwise—on Instagram @travelerbroads.
AAA Travel Alert: Many travel destinations have implemented COVID-19–related restrictions. Before making travel plans, check to see if hotels, attractions, cruise lines, tour operators, restaurants, and local authorities have issued health and safety-related restrictions or entry requirements. The local tourism board is a good resource for updated information.
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