Selling food street-side dates back to the 17th century, although the current food truck craze is believed to have been reignited by the 2008 recession, when restaurateurs were looking for low-cost ways to grow business. Today, you’ll find food trucks selling everything from pasta and pastries to cheese curds, chicken kabobs, and more in all 72 Wisconsin counties.
Many only use locally-sourced ingredients, so your business now only support the truck owner, but a local farmer, too.
Here are a few of our favorites to add to your Wisconsin Bucket List.
4 Schmidts and Giggles BBQ
4 Schmidts and Giggles BBQ is more than just a cheeky name. This family-run food truck serves mouth-watering sandwiches and BBQ. Creatively-named choices include The Hog Schmidt, The Bull Schmidt, and the Holy Schmidt Mac and Cheese. The truck travels between Green Bay, Appleton, Neenah, Oshkosh, Manitiwoc, and more. Track its current location on Facebook or Instagram.
Among Madison’s 40+ food trucks and carts, you’ll find Banzo, a Mediterranean-focused spin-off of a popular east-side restaurant. The truck serves the same decadent falafel you’ll find at its restaurant, as well as other favorites like kebabs and shawarma. Banzo boasts high-quality ingredients from local sources, which isn’t hard to believe if you’ve tried its food. Follow Bonzo’s Facebook page to find out where they’re vending and when.
Finding authentic Caribbean food isn’t easy in Wisconsin. Track down Caribbean Taste to try regional specialities like jerk chicken, mango lime chicken, and island shrimp. The truck parks at various spots in and around Appleton, Oshkosh, and Green Bay. Follow its Facebook page for location and menu updates. Tip: For the ultimate Wisconsin-Caribbean mash-up, make sure to order the jerk mac and cheese.
If you love authentic, made-from-scratch Mexican food and find yourself in northwestern Wisconsin, head to Chicano’s in Prescott. This new food truck parks outside the No Name Saloon & Monkey Bar and serves great tacos, as well as elote and other Mexican street food favorites. Chicano’s also holds a few pop-ups during its winter off-season, so follow the truck’s Facebook page to stay in the know.
It’s no surprise that one of Wisconsin’s best food trucks centers around cheese. Curd Girl has been serving award-winning, hand-battered, fried Wisconsin cheese curds since 2014. While the truck parks itself at the Dane County Farmer’s Market every Saturday, it also serves the entire state! If you can’t make the trip to Madison to try some curds, with buttermilk ranch or Siriacha aioli dipping sauces, consider hiring the Curd Girl food truck to cater your private event.
The Fatty Patty
Lots of food trucks serve burgers, but you haven’t really had one until you’ve tried a homemade Zabiha halal gourmet burger from downtown Milwaukee’s The Fatty Patty. The truck has become a staple on Juneau Avenue, and you can order one of its gourmet burgers anytime after 5:30 p.m. until close, Tuesdays through Sundays. Tip: Try a Gloppy Burger, the most popular item on the menu.
Junior’s Eats in Sheboygan Falls has kept its menu small since opening in 2018, but it does it well. Locals claim it’s one of the state’s best food trucks and the place to stop for a sandwich, but not just ANY sandwich. Try Junior’s version of a Cuban or Philly, or order the Caprese. Side options include fries, onion rings, or cheese curds.
Lola’s Lunch Box
Although Lola’s Lunch Box is technically food truck, it doesn’t change its location. So if you find yourself in northern Wisconsin’s Price County with a hankering for delicious burgers, tacos, or sandwiches, visit the truck parked outside the R-Store in Phillips. With so many options on its giant menu, you’ll have a hard time deciding between the Mother Clucker chicken sandwich, the Mambo #5 melt, a My Thai hot dog, or all three!
If you’re looking for a little Italy in central Wisconsin, Purple Basil is the food truck for you! Their concept is simple: pick your pasta, your sauce, your veggies, and your protein. It even has gluten-free and zucchini noodles. Purple Basil frequently parks at Central Waters Brewing Company, and you can also find the truck at the Wisconsin Rapids Downtown Farmers Market.
Rosie’s Texas Outpost
Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls locals have access to a solid lineup of food trucks, especially on Eau Claire’s Food Truck Fridays, but Rosie’s Texas Outpost is among the best for tacos and burritos. Rosie’s has been serving Tex-Mex favorites for more than 20 years at Rock Fest and Country Fest in Cadott. Keep an eye on Rosie’s Facebook page for more pop-up events across the Chippewa Valley.