Moveable Feast

| June 24, 2013 | 0 Comments

Truckee’s Red Truck

Food trucks travel tasty routes around Reno and Tahoe

Written by Susan D. Rock

Now regular fixtures at area festivals, farmer’s markets and parking lots at lunch hour, food trucks have in the last few years found a loyal following hungry for their moveable feasts.

Tahoe restaurateur Ray Villaman, founder of Mobi Munch, which rolls food trucks around the country, explains the soup, nuts and bolts of these meals on wheels.

“Media attention, especially reality TV shows, has increased visibility for chef-driven trucks and the higher-end quality products they provide,” says Villaman. “Chefs are attracted to the lower cost model of owning a food truck, versus starting a brick and mortar. Restaurants are now using food trucks to enhance their existing catering and marketing programs and social media has enabled the customer and food truck operator to establish a close relationship; the communication of the truck’s location is critical to success.”

Tahoe-based trucks face more seasonal challenges during snow or in the off-season; most Reno outfits roam year round. Many will happily roll into your lot or driveway for private parties and catering gigs and, come summer, these modern-day chuck wagons circle regularly in Reno for Food Truck Fridays on Fourth Street Downtown and Reno Street Food at Idlewild Park. You can track most via their websites, Facebook and Twitter.

“Ultimately,” says Villaman, “the food truck movement continues to thrive because of the common ingredient in markets across the country—customer demand for affordable, chef-driven cuisine, at outdoor, fun and interesting locations.”

Here are some of the more popular area food trucks:





Based at the University of Nevada, Reno, campus, Beau and Heather Keenan’s BoDawgs, so named for their sweet and tangy Bodacious Sauce, sells quarter-pound beef and polish hot dogs on buns fresh from the Fifth Street Bakehouse. Toppings also include chipotle honey-mustard and neon pink pickled peppers. Ten percent of proceeds go to the Food Bank of Northern Nevada’s efforts to feed the area’s less fortunate kids.



Not sure where to start when faced with Jessie Watness and Haley Wood’s homage to the gooey comfort food we love most? GourMelt’s Bumble Brie—sliced green apples, ham, honey and melted brie on cinnamon apple bread—is one of their favorites. Or dream up your own savory or sweet hot sandwich, served with a side of parmesan garlic fries or homemade tomato soup.



Veterans of the corporate food industry, Joe Najera and Keliana Saffery named their truck for their son Kenji, and Hawaiian, Asian and Mexican offerings reflect the couple’s respective upbringings. Mainstays are Korean-style marinated beef and chicken, Hawaiian-style smoked Kalua pork, and grilled tofu with Thai chili sauce in tacos, quesadillas, nachos and rice bowls.


Sauce Wagon

BJ Mueller of Nevada Museum of Art’s Composition Café teamed up with former local golf pro Justin McDaniel to fire up the mighty, meaty Sauce Wagon. Barbecue favorites hot off this mobile grill are pulled pork, beef brisket, tri-tip, ribs and burgers. Lighter weights can opt for the chicken, veggie or Dungeness crab sandwich. Don’t forget a side of creamy, bacon-infused mac and cheese.


Traffic Jam

After years in the food biz, Phil Moore found himself in a Traffic Jam—the food truck he runs with his wife, Sally, and where they serve up Reno-inspired grilled sourdough sandwiches flavored with their own homemade preservatives. On Kietzke Lane, yield to the roast beef and provolone paired with horseradish jam and stop for the Center Street Caprese that tops tomatoes, mozzarella and provolone with basil jam.


St. Lawrence Pizza Company

From their mobile wood-fired pizza oven, Thomas and Heather Cushman serve piping hot pizza by the slice or the pie. Specialties include the Vineyard, made with fresh mozzarella, olive oil, prosciutto, arugula and balsamic vinegar. Named for St. Lawrence, the patron saint of, among others, cooks, chefs and fire, the business donates one percent of profits to local charities.


Island Ice

Inspired by the hand-shaved ice treats sold at the local markets in Lanai, Jerry and Linda Taylor brought their family business to Reno, where they now operate two trailers. The Hawaiian shaved ice sundaes are made with tropical flavors like strawberry peach, pineapple coconut, macadamia nut and pistachio; the Mauna Loa is made with a freshly made waffle bowl dipped in chocolate.


Tortas Ebenezer

Closer to the original humble taco wagon, Tortas Ebenezer serves up an entertaining array of tortas or sandwiches on oversized white bread rolls with names like the Mystery, the Lambada and the Revolutionary with mainstays like roasted chicken, chorizo, ham and eggs. Breakfast quesadillas and burritos are stuffed with ingredients including black beans, carne asada, chorizo, guacamole and green salsa.


Lazy Sundae

Lizette Rios rolls the perfect Lazy Sundae for Reno residents, selling from her truck cool treats like homemade ice cream sandwiches, packaged frozen novelties, fresh fruit raspados (Mexican-style snow cones) and root beer floats, plus hot corn on the cob and other goodies.





Elsa Corrigan’s mobile ambassador to her popular Mamasake at Squaw Valley promises to “fuel your adventure” with a menu ranging from cheesy eggs and pork belly on a four-grain maple bun to tuna, tofu and pork banh mi–style sliders, spicy salmon and soft-shell crab hand rolls. Of course, you can also find a pair of mama’s balls.


Hot and Healthy Foods

Mich Pavel and Kate Dunn-Davenport operate a mobile crêperie with the goal of serving farm fresh, local, sustainable food at affordable prices. Patron favorites include the Florentine, with eggs, spinach, mushrooms and Swiss cheese; and the Crêpe Dog with chicken sausage, cheese, sauerkraut and arugula. Folded into the Bomb: strawberries, Nutella and whipped cream.


Red Truck

The Naanwich is now part of the North Tahoe culinary vernacular thanks to Larry Abney and Ramsey Etchison’s Red Truck. Hummus, labnah, fattoush, hilbeh and tahini yogurt are bundled into naan bread with falafel, pork, beef, chicken or veggies to make the signature sandwich. Variations include spicy and sloppy dogs. If you missed the bus, visit the Red Truck Café, which recently landed at the Truckee Tahoe Airport.


The Souper Wagon

With a motto, “Make it a souper day!” Crystal Bay–based Andrea Schwartz and Chad Hayes ladle out seasonal soups made from organic meats and vegetables, including tom kha gai, creamy potato, roasted cauliflower and pork chili verde, plus heartier fare like bison beef chili and pozole. There’s also a slider selection, which may range from turkey burger and panko chicken to bison meatball and pulled pork.


The Chuck Wagon of Tahoe

Located in a parking lot adjacent to Incline Village’s Eurotech auto shop, Michael Turner’s Chuck Wagon turns out egg-and-meat filled breakfast sandwiches on Texas toast, biscuits, muffins, croissants and tortillas. The lunch bunch lines up for the Philly cheese steak sandwiches he calls “Chuckies,” as well as a long list of beef sliders and burgers and sandwiches.


Yum Truck

Mini seasoned beef patties rolled in finely ground espresso and spices then grilled and served with spicy tomato jam and chocolate-dipped bacon on freshly baked onion cheddar slider rolls is just one reason why Matt and Jen Coogan call their mobile kitchen the Yum Truck. Menu mainstays like Bombay and hippie tacos also keep ‘em coming back for more on South Shore.

Burger Me!

With locations in Truckee and Reno, Mark Estee’s Burger Me! has hit the road. Sam LeRoque, former front-of-the-house manager for Estee’s latest venture, Campo, is running the mobile outpost and will serve up four burgers daily: beef, chicken or turkey, veggie and a special “exotic” patty—bison, ostrich, wild boar or whatever else LeRoque can score fresh and local. Veggies are sourced with help from the Great Basin Community Food Co-op.


Keep on trucking

Have you spotted four wheels of culinary fun that should be listed here? Let us know by emailing If the current trend continues, summer will certainly bring a few new entrées to the local field.


Category: Wine & Dine

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