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Central Standard

Food Critics: The Best Food Trucks In Kansas City

Esther Honig/KCUR

Kansas City's food truck scene has exploded over the past few years.

If you crave international fare, like Australian meat pies, Cuban sandwiches or Spanish tapas — or more down-home grub, like barbecue, tacos or waffles — you can get it from one of our local food trucks.

On KCUR’s Central Standard, we visited Bochi Food Truck, which serves up boneless chicken wings stuffed with fried rice. Then, our Food Critics sought out the best food trucks food in and around Kansas City.

Here are their recommendations

Jenny Vergara, Feast Magazine:

Eat right now:

  • Wilma’s is great; it’s a chef-driven food truck that has more of a fine dining appeal. Owner Brett Atkinson doesn’t do standard fare; he’s very creative. He’ll use squirrel meal, alligator meat. He might wrap it in a taco, but maybe the meat is a little creative and all the sauces are made from scratch.
  • Ahumado Taco Co. is an upscale fresh taco truck. All the meats are smoked, and the owners basically make their own sauces. I would call it more of a California-style taco; there’s fruit included in the taco (as well as vegetables), and the sauces have a fruit base, so it feels light and fresh. They have a dessert that’s a grilled pineapple; it’s sprinkled with their barbecue rub, then they put it on their flat-top grill and caramelize it. It smells amazing and it tastes even better.
  • Pie Hole specializes in Australian meat pies; one of the owners is of Australian descent.
  • Jazzy B’s. Brandon Simpson does a lot of Louisiana-style food; there’s a fantastic drunken shrimp po' boy that’s delicious. He also does a simple Carolina pulled-pork sandwich. He changes the menu pretty frequently, so he’s always got something interesting. He uses good quality ingredients; you can really tell that he puts a lot of love into his food.
  • Monk’s Roast Beef is a new favorite of mine. It’s like the best roast beef sandwich you’ve ever had. The owner really slow-roasts his roast beef. It’s the real thing — it’s not a pre-compressed meat hunk that he’s shaving. He also has a hot pastrami sandwich that will just blow your mind; it’s so delicious.
  • Beauty of the Bistro does a lot of salad, soup, sandwiches and incredible burgers that change all the time; the owner always changes the toppings depending on what she has. It’s a really solid, good, delicious juicy burger that’s nice and thick, and the toppings are always interesting — it might have slices of avocado or a sauce with a little bit of fruit.
  • Spanish tapas at El Tenedor.
  • Prairie Fire Oven. One of the things I just love about David White's pizza — aside from the fact it’s artisan and it’s from a wood-fired oven — is that he has this hot chili-infused honey in squirt bottles. You can drizzle it on your pizza and on your crusts.

On my list to try:

Coming soon:

  • Natasha’s Mulberry & Mott. Natasha Goellner has designs to do a dessert truck called Splits & Scoops, an ice cream and pastry truck.
  • Michael Foust, the owner/chef of The Farmhouse, is going to open the Red Wattle food truck, along with a food truck lot that’s going to be on Southwest Boulevard (next door to Don’s Discount Liquor). He'll feature whole-roasted animals that he’s going to cook in the ground in a traditional Argentinean style.

Mary Bloch, Around the Block:

  • I love Pigwich. It’s not a typical truck because it's stationary, but the food is cooked and served in a truck so, for me, it qualifies. It's a part of Alex Pope's Local Pig, and it uses the same meats that are sold in the adjacent butcher shop. It serves lunch every day. The quality if fabulous because the meats are from the butcher shop. He has about four regular menu items, including an awesome burger, a banh mi sandwich, a vegetarian falafel and a daily special (like a Reuben or a Cubano). The banh mi is unique because he uses pork meatballs (instead of a pate or pork shoulder).
  • Prairie Fire Oven. This mobile pizza oven sets up shop all over the metro. Owner David White turns out chewy, artisan pizzas topped with typical ingredients, as well as seasonal favorites.
  • Adrian Bermudez operates Indios Carbonsitos out of a tricked-out vending truck. He serves up Mexican barbecue. A favorite is the tortas ahogadas, a brisket sandwich drowned in a spicy chili sauce. He also serves barbecue nachos, which are a little unique; he uses barbecue sauce instead of salsa. It’s pretty good.
  • Plaintain District is a new truck on the scene. Jakob Polaco, a former chef at The American Restaurant, is making authentic Cubanos, using rolls sourced from a specialty store in Olathe. There are other Cuban specialties on the menu as well ... it's as close to the movie Chef as you'll find in town.
  • Cajun Cabin. Mark Drouin is all about Louisiana fare. Check out his tasty Jambalaya, red beans, and etouffee. I like the gumbo, which is just chalk-full of all the right ingredients, but you can’t go wrong with anything he makes.

Charles Ferruzza, The Pitch:

Disclaimer: I don't really like to eat from a food truck, but I do like:

  • Indios Carbonsitos
  • Plantain District is one of my favorites; it serves maybe one of the best Cuban sandwiches in the city. The Cuban sandwiches are totally traditional and the bread was really good; the ham and roasted pork are really tender. People tend to put their own culinary spin on Cuban sandwiches, and I think that’s heresy. The fried plantains are delicious.
  • I am one of those people, I have to confess, that if I go to a state fair or county fair, I will eat everything from those food trucks because: a) the food is bad for you, mostly; and b) it’s the kind of food you don’t ever see on any of the food trucks that we’re talking about. Some people wouldn’t consider fried Oreos a delicacy – I do. Whatever they’re frying up, I’m all for it. Sometimes you just have to have a fried Twinkie.

Listener Recommendations:

  • Pupuseria Lupita (usually at the corner of Independence Avenue and Hardesty).
  • Back Rack BBQ all day long.
  • For vegetarian food: The Purple Carrot in Lawrence.

Central Standard Food & DrinkBest Food KC