Valley food trucks are more than restaurants on wheels. They’re dialed-in passion projects serving both niche eats (think birria ramen) and tasty standbys (think bomb burgers). That’s because the focus isn’t on mood lighting or décor, it’s all on the food. Here are 10 stalk-worthy mobile standouts in metro Phoenix.
Randizzle’s Food Truck
It all starts with the bun at Randizzle’s Food Truck — a buttery, billowy brioche that elevates everything in between. “If the bun’s off, I don’t care what’s inside,” says former wide receiver Randall Gatewood, who traded in his pro football cleats for a food truck a year ago. But the bun is just the start. Gatewood flavors his ground chuck with a secret combo of five seasonings before searing it just so. Standouts include the double hatch, a meaty monstrosity topped with bacon, grilled onions, Pepper Jack, and hatch green chilies, and the Hawaiian, a combo ham, pineapple, Swiss cheeseburger topped with teriyaki sauce.
The Chicken Coop
The Chicken Coop doesn’t just promise good chicken and fries, but the “world’s best.” Yeah, right. But then out comes your order: mammoth tenders, all thick and breaded with a craggy crust, paired with golden-hued, thin-cut fries. Bite in through the sharp crunch of batter and you finally get why chicken tenders are called such. These babies are brined for 48 hours, then tossed in a special gluten-free flour mix for truly tender tenders. Fries too get the special treatment — hand-cut, brined, and blanched before their final fry. Even sauces are made from scratch. So maybe world’s best isn’t overreaching.
Not sure what’s better at Phoenix Coquí — being greeted by the warm, smiling faces of co-founders Alexis Carbaja and Juan Alberto Ayala or biting into their piping-hot empanadillas. Both provide plenty of comfort, the latter is just the deep-fried flaky kind stuffed with seasoned ground beef, chicken, mushroom, or pizza. Parked mostly outside The Rock on Seventh Avenue in the Melrose District, they serve Puerto Rican favorites like tortones (fried green plantains), pernil (slow-roasted pulled pork), and monfongo (fried plaintain mash with pork cracklings topped with shrimp, pork, or chicken). Many orders are based on family recipes and all are served with equal parts sazón and amor.
It’s not just Efrain Magdaleno you need to thank for Feednix Tacos; his mom deserves a shout-out too. She’s the one who makes the birria, an eight-hour labor of love that results in melt-in-your-mouth meat many call the best in town. Get it served in tacos, burritos, quesadillas, sopas, cheese-on-the-outside quesatacos, and even the popular ramen birria — a ridiculously rich soup that makes you think ramen was a Mexican dish all along. They also serve al pastor, pollo, and asada — it’s a meat-heavy menu — plus colorful aqua frescas to wash it all down.
The waffles at Waffle Crush aren’t just any waffles. The big pink truck serves the Belgian kind — dense and delicious Liege waffles made with imported pearl sugar so the outside is all crusty and caramelized while the inside keeps a perfect degree of fluffiness. Then add a sugar rush of toppers, including cookie butter, Nutella, giant scoops of ice cream, crushed peanut butter cups, marshmallow fluff, and even gummy worms. Or go with a savory waffle sandwich filled with ham and cheese or turkey pesto. Either way, you’ll need stamina to finish.
First Place Coffee
First Place Coffee has that neighborhood coffee feel. A weekend morning fixture outside the boutique Phoenix General on Seventh Street, the orange-and-black retro truck calls on a rotating cast of regulars — and their dogs, too. Those patrons are looking for flash-brewed iced coffee, honeycomb lattes made with local honey, and brag-worthy baked goods by The Dinersaur that includes custard-filled churrovers, standout scones, and marscapone-topped tres leches. Even your first stop in feels familiar.
Morning Kick has the breakfast burrito down. Stuffed inside those famous 14-inch tortillas, you’ll find warm and cozy fillings like fluffy scrambled eggs, local pork chorizo, crispy applewood smoked bacon, plenty of melty cheese, and the secret ingredient: tater tots. Not on the side, but stuffed right in those one-pound bundles. A popular spot at the Saturday Gilbert Farmers Market with a lineup to prove it, it also serves breakfast nachos with tater tots that make potato chips seem obsolete.
The wok is hot and the flames are flying at Flippin’ Rice, a Filipino food truck gem with a twist. Started by chef Carlo Gollon, who graduated from Le Cordon Bleu and worked his way around Phoenix kitchens before getting back to his Filipino roots, Flippin's menu is Asian focused and full of flavor. The crispy adobe fried rice sizzles with braised pork belly and (obviously) fried rice, the katsu pork impresses with a crispy cutlet over stir-fried yakisoba noodles, and the bulgogi beef pairs thinly sliced rib-eye with pickled jalapeño, kimchi, and an over-easy egg. Don’t forget to try the lumpias — Filipino spring rolls Gollon makes from scratch.
What do you get when you combine two very tall brothers, a food truck, and a sangak stone oven — the kind that uses hot river stones to make giant Persian sourdough flatbread? You get Saffron Jak, a flatbread pizza-making machine that goes way beyond pedestrian pepperoni. Slices come out rectangular with rowdy combos like Kalamata olives, pepperoncini, chopped Medjool dates, and creamy feta. Or seasoned Persian Koobideh beef, sautéed onions, and tomatoes, all on their signature sangak. While you’re there, you should also try the watermelon water, vegan cheese, and Sangak bread.
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Chinoz Grill doesn’t always post a food truck schedule because it doesn’t have to. Food truckin’ since 2016, owner Dennis “Ocean” has devoted followers who just call to track him down. Popular for their loaded carne asasa fries and Sho-down Bowl (a.k.a. orange chicken on steroids), the Asian-with-a-hint-of-Mexican menu and truck's name — a play on “chino” — comes from Ocean’s own upbringing as the only Chinese-Laotian kid in a mostly Hispanic 'hood. Expect big flavors and an even bigger personality manning the cook station.