Chicago Pizza Boss (Hilary Higgins )
Despite a relentless winter and brisk competition for choice parking spots, Chicago's food truck scene continues to chug along. Just in time for summer, City Council just approved Mayor Rahm Emanuel's plan to add five more designated food truck parking stands to downtown: 200 S. LaSalle St., 151 N. Franklin St., 185 N. Upper Columbus Drive, 105 E. Monroe St. and 300 S. Wabash Ave. Commingling with the veteran trucks this summer are eight new mobile eateries, several of which have already started hitting the streets. Read up on their offerings, from modern German street food to healthy comfort cuisine to "kimcheesy" rice balls. email@example.com | @redeyeeatdrink
Chicago Pizza Boss
Twitter handle: @ChiPizzaBoss
The story: "People have strong emotions about bosses," said Giuseppe Badalamenti, who started the truck along with wife Antonella so they wouldn't have to answer to anyone else. "We thought 'The Boss' was the perfect character to really grab the customer's attention. No matter who you are, you have a boss—I just happen to be the pizza boss."
Now serving: Pizza baked in a wood-fired brick oven right in the truck. Popular picks include the classic margherita, parmesan-basil-meatball or fig and prosciutto ($11-14).
Expected launch: June 7 (rolling in the suburbs since October 2013)
Frequent hangouts: To be announced upon launch. "We are working with other food trucks in the city that have been holding our hands and giving us advice [on times and locations.] It's amazing to be part of the brotherhood of the food trucks," Badalamenti said.
Most popular item: Arancini ($5 for one; $8 for two) stuffed with three different filling combos: ground beef and peas; ham, alfredo sauce and mozzarella; or spinach, ricotta and mozzarella. These tennis ball-sized beauties have a crunchy, breaded exterior and a soft, melty interior.
Twitter handle: @dmentruck
The story: This truck is serving up modern German street grub with flavors introduced to Germany by Turkish immigrants in the early 1970s. "We're not talking about classic schnitzels—this is doner kebab sandwiches and currywurst," said Shawn Podgurski, who co-owns DonerMen with Phil Naumann (they're both also in the indie rock band Sybris). "It's like Tex-Mex is in the states, but with German and Turkish food combined: Ger-Turk."
Now serving: Sandwiches such as the signature doner kebab ($10) made with spit-roasted chicken, red cabbage, bok choy and cucumber-tomato salad on toasted Turkish bread, and currywurst ($6), which features grilled pork sausage on a roll with a housemade curry sauce.
Expected launch: June
Frequent hangouts: "You'll find us specifically at bars that don't have kitchens, like the Map Room in Bucktown," said Podgurski. "We cater more to the drinking and late-night crew, but we'll also be doing lunches."
Gino's Steaks Truck
Twitter handle: @GinosSteaks
The story: This truck's name is an homage to the father and mentor of one of the truck's co-owners. "Gino was a Sicilian baker who owned his own restaurant and had a reputation for being a sticker for serving good food," said Rafael Alvarado, a 15-year service industry veteran.
Now serving: Griddle-cooked steak, chicken and vegetable sandwiches smothered in cheese. Sandwiches are $8; upgrade any menu item to "Chicago Style"—with mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, pickles and seasoning—for an extra buck.
Rolling since: December
Frequent hangouts: University of Chicago (57th Street and Ellis Avenue), Clark and Monroe streets and 600 W. Chicago Ave. at lunchtime (days vary).
Most popular item: The Fatty ($10), a steak and cheese sandwich with homemade fries, coleslaw and barbecue sauce.
Jack's Fork in the Road
Twitter handle: @JsForkInTheRoad
The story: After years of running local restaurants—including Jack's on Halsted—chef Jack Jones decided to put his fork in the road by launching a gourmet sandwich truck. "I love the excitement food trucks generate," Jones said. "It reminds me of when I was a kid and the carnival used to come to town. Even business professionals in the Loop dressed up in suits and ties—they just light up at the window."
Now serving: Specialty sandwiches ($7-$9), sweet potato fries and hand-cut potato chips.
Rolling since: May
Frequent hangouts: A regular schedule is still in the works, but 120 S. Clark St., Randolph Street and Columbus Drive and University of Chicago (57th Street and Ellis Avenue) are good bets. Jones also plans to fork over his gourmet grub to the late-night crowd in Boystown and Wicker Park starting this summer.
Most popular item: Roast pork loin sandwich with fig jam, crispy prosciutto and apple slaw ($9).