There are over 16,000 food trucks nationwide. Here are a few of their stories.
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Cravin’ Shallot - Boston
Natives of Morocco, Amine and Ismail Souilmi grew up around food. Their parents hosted guests frequently and, in Moroccan culture, it’s customary to prepare homemade meals for visitors. In adulthood, the brothers took different paths. While Amine worked in engineering, his brother studied culinary arts in France. Eventually, both landed in Boston, albeit for different reasons.
Amine came to the city for a software engineering job, but found himself impressed by the emerging food truck scene. Ismail worked in various restaurants, but always had an urge to go at it on his own. It was Ismail who hatched the idea of the brothers going into business together. Amine was at first hesitant to leave a stable job for a risky business venture, but a lot of pushing on Ismail’s part convinced him to take the leap. And Boston is lucky for that as the pair now serve traditional Moroccan cuisine out of the window of Cravin’ Shallot.
Falafel Factory - Los Angeles
Husband and wife team Miriam and Nael both come from Middle Eastern backgrounds. Nael, in fact, is a native of Egypt. When they both landed in Los Angeles, they expected to feel represented by the city’s diverse culinary scene. This was not the case. At the time, LA had a distinct lack of authentic, homemade falafels. The sudden absence of a dish tied to home is a jarring part of the immigrant experience often overlooked. The pair decided to make a change themselves. With that, Falafel Factory was born.
The falafels here come from a family recipe, passed down from Miriam’s grandfather to her father and now to her husband. Made from scratch each day, this truck is about so much more than just food. It’s a way for Miriam and Nael to share their culture with others, but also a means to provide comfort for other immigrants. Falafel Factory gives a sense of place to those seeking a taste of home while immersed in an unfamiliar landscape.
Big D’s Grub - New York City
The culinary offerings in Queens enchanted Dennis from a young age. From Little Colombia to Chinatown, he tried it all. At home, however, the food scene was less than impressive. Dennis’s mother wasn’t the greatest cook, so Dennis took it upon himself to make a change Borrowing cookbook after cookbook from the library, he read anything and everything he could about cooking. He even saved his allowance money to prepare meals for the family.
In adulthood, this passion became a profession. Dennis worked for years in the New York food scene himself, even landing a job in one of the biggest food trucks in the city. However, Dennis couldn’t quite shake the desire to work for himself. After some meticulous planning and preparation, he opened Big D’s Grub. With dishes inspired by everywhere from Guyana to the American South, you know the Queens influence here is strong.
Beyond the Border - San Francisco / Bay Area
When starting Beyond the Border, Feda Oweis knew opening a business carries the potential for failure. In fact, he had recently experienced failure himself. After leaving a job at the Google cafeteria to open a food truck, his business flopped in just four months. Yet, Feda decided to try again. Why? Being the son of a Palestinian father and El Salvodoran mother, he wanted his background represented in San Francisco’s diverse culinary scene.
Feda spent months mulling over his mistakes, examining what he did wrong and how to prevent it a second time. Flash forward six years, and Beyond the Border is so popular they now have two trucks and a third on the way. Feda serves tacos, bowls, salads, and more across the Bay Area. If you stop by, make sure to try the rockfish tacos. They come highly recommended.
Aunt Shirley’s - Dallas
Mother and son team Nathan Rogers and Shirley Peters’s legacy in the Dallas food scene spans decades. Shirley got her start working in the Cozy Corner Restaurant alongside her parents. Soon, Shirley made her own name by crafting delicious sweet potato-based dishes. One pie became so popular, The Cracker Barrel bought the recipe. However, Shirley eventually landed a corporate job and drifted a bit from her culinary roots. When she got laid off, this actually turned out to be an opportunity to return to what she loved.
Her son, Nathan, was hungry to get into the family business himself. What started as Nathan and Shirley selling sweet potato pies at craft shows and festivals grew into a full-fledged food truck. Now, Aunt Shirley’s Food Truck serves up old-fashioned soul food with roots to the Cozy Corner. From chicken and waffles to fried catfish, this is food made to soothe.