When you think of food trucks, you probably imagine the colorful, shiny ones found at special events or outside your office, bearing everything from hot dogs to tacos. However, food on four wheels has come a long way since its late 17th century beginnings. Records of the earliest “food truck” exist as early as 1691, when New Amsterdam (modern-day New York City) began to regulate street vendors selling food from pushcarts. By the 1850s, dining cars began to feed cross-country passengers, and about 15 years later, Charles Goodnight invented the Chuck wagon, which fed Western cattlemen travelers. Fill up on the history of this dining option in the sections below.
The Low-Down on American Food Truck History
In the 1870s, Americans set up a classic diner in a horse-drawn freight wagon, allowing passerby to conveniently grab their pork and beans on-the-go. Just a couple of decades later, sausage vendors began peddling to major Eastern universities like Harvard, Princeton, and Yale. Hungry students called these “dog wagons.”
In 1917, the U.S. Army opted to feed troops via mobile canteens, also called field kitchens. Whether they were on the front-lines or in temporary encampments, soldiers could fit in a hot meal thanks to these convenient canteens. A couple of decades later, Oscar Mayer rolled out his now infamous portable hot dog cart, The Weiner Mobile. By the 1950s, children everywhere rejoiced as they dashed outside to purchase frozen treats from the very first ice cream trucks.
Americans owe a lot to Raul Martinez, who in 1974, converted an old ice cream truck into the country’s first taco truck. The Los Angeles-based enterprise quickly took off, and soon became a popular chain called King Taco. A few years later, grease trucks began rolling into Rutgers University to sell “fat sandwiches.”
In the early 2000s, food trucks became a beloved American staple. To prove it, The Street Vendor Project created the Vendy Awards in 2004, which honored NYC’s very best mobile eats. By 2006, Wikipedia took notice of the growing trend and added a page for the term “food truck.” Since then, you can probably recall how rapidly food trucks evolved and expanded. Today, they sell everything from five-star cuisine to 12 combinations of pickles and grilled cheese. In 2017, you can find a delicious food truck at events of all kinds, from company parties to wedding receptions.
The next time you dig into a fresh slice of pizza from a food truck, you can thank a long lineage of vendors. If you’re in the Monroe, CT, area, check out the delicious offerings at Pizza Pie Wagon. Whether you’re hosting a birthday party or corporate event, their premier truck will please every guest. To learn more about the team, visit the website. You can also call a friendly representative at (203) 520-1472.