Everyone has their favorite: Maybe it’s a taco truck or a burger joint on wheels, frozen ice or rice bowls. Followers of the food truck circuit are the new concert groupies when it comes to warm-weather dining, and far from stifling this trend, the pandemic has spurred many businesses into the mobile pivot. Organizations like PVD Food Truck Events have paved the way for new and long-standing trucks to pop up on the scene all through last year and this summer with socially distanced events that satiated communities’ cravings for fast and novel eats.
“These events helped the food trucks salvage the 2020 season while being prepared and ready to come back strong this year,” explains Eric Weiner, organizer behind PVD Food Truck Events. “We continue to support over 50 locally owned food trucks that attend our events in a rotation.” Food Truck Fridays are a staple at Roger Williams Park, but gatherings are also hosted all over the state, including South Kingstown, where Black Dog Donuts can be found.
“We opened last year in the middle of the pandemic, and it was a blessing in disguise,” recalls Black Dog Donuts owners Michelle and Charlie Colberg. “We got to ease our way into food truck life and work out a lot of the kinks. This year the response has been incredible. People are making up for lost time and have been coming out to events in droves.” A frequent flyer of the South Kingstown Food Truck Night at Extreme Airsoft, the dessert truck will also be slinging mini-donuts fresh off the fryer at the Rhythm & Roots festival in Charlestown September 3-5.
“Just like brick-and-mortar restaurants, there are good and bad food trucks, but I think that the quality and variety of food coming out of trucks has really grown,” says HG80 owner Josh Berner, who turns favorite dishes like BBQ and chicken parm into handheld tacos. “At HG80, we make everything from scratch with good quality, local ingredients, and we’re not alone.” Add music, funky lighting, dancing, and authentic interactions with guests, and you can expect an overall lively experience at HG80.
Gansett Poké has been on the scene since 2019 in their recognizable solar panel-covered cart purveying raw seafood bowls and an eco message. “We bring really fresh and healthy food,” explains owner Michelle Frank. “We also try to honor our environment. All of our food is served in compostable bowls with wood forks. We don’t sell anything in plastic. Our solar power keeps all of our food icy cold and our rice is kept hot with thermal rice warmers.”
Late summer and early fall brings plenty of opportunities to find all your favorites at festivals, farmers’ markets, breweries, and more to sample what these nimble trucks have spent the past year perfecting.