These Food Trucks Dish up Gourmet Eats Around the Hudson Valley

The food these trucks are dishing up isn’t just decent—it’s amazing.

The words “food truck” might conjure up images of hot pretzels, hot dogs, and a Rocket Pop from a chest freezer. But if you look around your local roads, farmers markets, and special events, you’ll see that this stereotype is as dated as candy cigarettes. Many of today’s food trucks offer fare that’s not just worth pulling over for, but actually driving to eat: Think tender Asian noodles, gourmet mac ‘n’ cheese, and so much more.

ROAM

(Orange County)

Wherever this food truck parks—farms, wineries, breweries like Warwick’s Drowned Lands, and other fun locations—everyone’s in for an exceptional meal. ROAM’s chefs work closely with area farms, butchers, and small businesses, so its fare reflects the Valley’s bounty. If you just want a snack, opt for their sweet-pea arancini with citrus-ramp dust. The hamburger menu has fabulous bursts of creativity, including toppings like cognac-peppercorn cream sauce. Would you like some fries with that? Unbuckle your belt and try them with a vodka sauce that intermingles burrata and white truffle oil. ROAM also specializes in catering and events, as well as private dining.

Roam
ROAM. Photo by Greg Rhein.

Whale Belly

(Columbia)

Cozied up alongside the Upper Depot Brewing Company in Hudson, Whale Belly serves food that pairs perfectly with a cold beer. Smoked wings are a draw; owner Jon Spoto brines them before they’re cooked, and then tops them with a proprietary hot sauce. Pulled and smoked pork are sourced from Lovers Leap Farm in Kinderhook. Vegetarians can also find options, such as a roasted portobello sandwich with red pepper sauce, garlic mayo, and braised kale from Blue Star Farm in Stuyvesant. Even a grilled chicken sandwich is elevated by an herb mayo sauce—it’s homemade, as are all the sauces, the beer cheese for the pretzels, and the pickles.

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Whale Belly
Photo courtesy of Whale Belly.

Eat Church

(Dutchess)

Making the rounds of local establishments, and currently parked at Flying Goose Tavern in Kerhonkson Wednesday through Saturday, Eat Church is known for its Asian creations. Their signature dish is Korean chicken wings, double-fried for crispness and topped with gochujang, a red pepper paste that delivers a sweet and spicy punch. If you’re a fan of dumplings, you’ll be delighted with the variety offered; depending on the day, the fillings range from shrimp to kimchi. The menu frequently changes, but you’ll surely find many other dishes you’d never expect. Rendang, for instance, is braised beef with dry curry, sitting on a pillow of coconut rice. The spring bun salad consists of rice vermicelli, herbs, lettuce, and fried rolls, as well as “pickled things” you’ll have to discover on your own.

Eat Church
Photo courtesy of Eat Church.

Reconnect Foods

(Dutchess)

Ramen is having a moment and if you’re a fan, you’ll want to catch up with this food truck, launched out of Poughkeepsie. Its ramen floats serenely in a savory mixture of marrow broth, cabbage, and mushrooms, with a poached egg for satisfying protein. A couple of bao make the perfect side dish, and there are six varieties to choose from, including black bean, mushroom, and pork belly. But Reconnect’s menu isn’t limited to Asian offerings. The truck also serves up beloved Latin dishes such as quesadillas, street corn, and arepas. Order “The Pack” and you’ll get a bao, an empanada, and rice & beans—a true cross-continental meal. Catering trays are available, too.

Yummy Kitchen

(Columbia)

On Fifth and Warren in Hudson, you’ll find this small truck churning out meals with major flavor. Every dish has Asian flair, including the crispy chicken sandwich with cucumbers and a soy and garlic aioli. Why stop there? Don’t, because the spicy peanut noodles are tossed with cucumbers, Napa cabbage, chili oil, and other vibrant ingredients. Fried chicken sports spicy chili aioli and lime zest, and veggie lovers will be in heaven thanks to the crispy eggplant with black bean garlic sauce, tofu banh mi sandwiches, and tofu fried “wings.” Wash it all down with Taiwanese milk tea. Bonus: Yummy Kitchen can also easily make most dishes gluten free by eliminating the soy sauce.

Walter’s Hot Dogs

(Westchester)

A local legend, Walter’s Mamaroneck-based stand dates to 1919 and is a registered historic landmark. In recent years, they’ve opened a White Plains outpost and also taken the show on the road with not one, but two trucks. Hot dogs? Big deal! you might be thinking. Admittedly, they’re a food-truck staple. But taste one of Walter’s and see why these are perhaps the best you’ve ever eaten. They’re an exclusive blend of beef, pork, and veal, and both the links and the sauce they’re grilled in are trade secrets. Don’t miss a squeeze of the zippy mustard either, which makes every other kind seem too tame. And if they’re on the menu, the potato puffs will melt in your mouth, making you forget that French fries even exist. The truck can be hired for all kinds of occasions, from private parties to corporate celebrations.

Heisenburgers Food Truck

(Rensselaer)

Fans of the TV series Breaking Bad will immediately understand that the owners of this truck loved it, too—Heisenberg is the name of the drama’s protagonist. As you can imagine, burgers are a mainstay here, but they’re hardly the only delicious item you’ll find. The good eats also include birria tacos, quesadillas, pulled pork, pulled chicken, and more. If you have room for them, onion rings and flavored crispy tater tots (check out variations like hot Buffalo and garlic parm) will gladly come along for the ride. Follow Heisenburgers on Facebook to see a monthly calendar of where the truck will appear next.

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Gracie’s Bulldog Grille

(Rockland)

Make your way to Blauvelt, and on Route 303, you’ll catch sight of this mini foodie mecca. Billing itself as a restaurant on wheels, it lives up to that moniker. Exhibit A: Jen’s Strawberry Patch salad, tossed with mixed greens, goat cheese, fruit, and candied walnuts, with a drizzle of piquant balsamic dressing. If you prefer something heartier, the Jerry’s Jamming grilled chicken sandwich is nestled in a ciabatta hero along with apples, almonds, brie, baby greens, and mango chutney. The “Mrs. V” wrap would make your mom (who’s always told you to eat your veggies) very pleased. It’s filled with oven-roasted broccoli, zucchini, yellow squash, and enough other produce to fill a farm stand to overflowing. The truck is available for rental any day, and you can order catering trays to go.

Gracie’s Bulldog Grille is a Hudson Valley food truck
Photo courtesy of Gracie’s Bulldog Grille.

The Mac Factor

While the Mac Factor’s two trucks normally roam around Central New York, they often visit HV towns for events and street fairs (such as the annual Warwick Food Truck Festival)and serve up crafty takes on mac ‘n’ cheese. Purists will enjoy the traditional mac, a blend of cheeses with a crunchy panko topping. Then come the more exotic choices, like the caprese, with pesto, diced tomatoes, and mozzarella. Chili con carne is a Tex-Mex dream, piled high with homemade chili, sour cream, jalapeños, and tortilla chips. Whichever mac ‘n’ cheese you order, you’ll no doubt appreciate the out-of-the-box thinking that went into it. Find them on Facebook for updates on future locations.

Jimmy Makes Pizza

(Albany)

The concept behind this truck is simple: A wood-fired oven on wheels. That means the pies from here hold their own against anything you’d order at a traditional pizza parlor. Pepperoni is everybody’s favorite, accounting for about 80 percent of the business, according to owner Jimmy Gallagher. But there are gourmet options, too—including the White BLT. You’ll also find variations with other cheeses and even fresh greens. Additional upper-crust touches are the dough, handmade by a local bakery, and the availability of gluten-free pies. Right now, the truck is strictly doing special events; rent it out for a birthday party, community gathering, or even a wedding. Find them on Facebook.

Waffle Wagon NY

(Dutchess)

Think of this mobile venture as the Wonka of waffles. One of the newest food trucks in the region, it delights its fans with Belgian waffles paired with irresistible toppings. Think ice cream and s’mores, cookies and cream, apple pie à la mode, and even ice cream sprinkled with breakfast cereal and coated in marshmallow and Nutella. Savory options are on the menu as well: among them chicken and waffles, waffle fries, and waffle fries topped with cheese. Also available are sinfully sweet drinks such as an orange creamsicle float. Find them on Facebook.

Related: 14 Frozen Hudson Valley Treats That Go Beyond Ice Cream

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