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Five Central Mass Food Trucks To Watch For This Summer

Food Truck Throwdown was perfect for families and foodies alike

If you missed the Food Truck Throwdown, let’s just say you missed out on the start of a movement. The event harnessed the concept of healthy, food-driven competition while launching something much bigger than the celebration of great street food. Since 2015, Mark Gallant, owner of the Dogfather food truck, envisioned a city that understood the importance of a well-balanced food industry catering to a wide range of food options and structured to compete with the ever-changing food trends. The Food Truck Throwdown is the tipping point in Gallant’s mission to revolutionize how Worcester foodies eat.

Coffee and Frits during the Food Truck Throwdown
Coffee and Frits during the Food Truck Throwdown.

With over two-thousand people in attendance, Gallant’s Food Truck Throwdown stands to prove Gallant’s motto that Worcester is “food truck-friendly because of its great network of food trucks who can hold their own.”

The curated list of participating food truck vendors epitomized Gallant’s sentiment about the diverse food options in Worcester. From Sabor Latino to the Grub Guru to Big T’s Jerky House, the food was as eclectic as the people in attendance. Here’s a look at our top five food trucks of Food Truck Throwdown 2018:

Big T’s Jerky House and BBQ

This self-proclaimed bbq expert food truck thrives on over 25 years of catering experience. Using “only the best cuts of meat” slathered in their own dry rubs and mop sauces then smoked in a southern pit, Big T’s Jerky House and BBQ was a hit at the Food Truck Throwdown with a consistent wait time. The Texas brisket sandwich was among the “must-have” dishes list at the throwdown.

Cheese Pizza from Anzio’s Brick Oven Pizza
Cheese Pizza from Anzio’s Brick Oven Pizza

Anzio’s Brick Oven Pizza

Providing an authentic Neo-Neapolitan pizza – an American-born favorite recipe popularized in New Haven’s coal-fired pizzeria with the use of American unbleached flour in the dough with a bit of honey for sweetness – Anzio’s Brick Oven Pizza cooks in a traditional Italian brick oven, reflecting the quality flavors in every bit. At the throwdown, the mobile brick oven made for a great slice of cheese pizza but we hear the chicken parmigiana is also a fan favorite.

Sabor Latino

This Latin-inspired food truck was a hit at the Food Truck Throwdown with a sold-out menu by the end of the day. Offering traditional Latin dishes like empanadas, yuca fries, chorizo and Cuban sandwiches, Sabor Latino remained true to its roots with ingredients like cilantro and sofrito.

Chicken Kabob Rolls from the Grub Guru
Chicken Kabob Rolls from the Grub Guru

The Grub Guru

The Asian fusion street food truck, the Grub Guru, served an eclectic range of Asian cuisine. From samosas – a fried pastry with a savory potato and peas filling served with mint and tamarind chutneys – to chicken kebab rolls, the flavors transformed the Food Truck Throwdown experience. According to an attendee, the orange chicken with fried rice was the best dish of the day.

Pangea Cuisines

Promoting healthy eating, Pangea Cuisines specializes in Paleo-friendly foods and nutritious diets. Traveling all around the eastern half of Massachusetts, the food truck has an evolving menu. The go-to dish is the mammoth burger – a juicy, grass-fed burger topped two applewood soaked bacon, American cheese, and lettuce and tomato on a bulky roll or lettuce wrap. This burger is large in both size and flavor.

Over 13 food trucks including Say Cheese, Teddy’s Lunch Box, Patruno’s Place, Scoop Daddy, The Dogfather and the Kebob King – the newest food truck in Worcester – participated in the first Food Truck Throwdown and it left us wanting more.  Oh, and congratulations to the People’s Choice Award winner, Say Cheese and the Judge’s Choice Award winner, Anzio’s Pizza.

Uncle E's BBQ Express
Uncle E’s BBQ Express deserving an honorable mention.
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What ‘Food Truck Row’ Signifies for Worcester

People have called Worcester a lot of things over the years, but rarely have we been called dense. Density is here at last. In 2018, there is a walkable, vibrant vision afoot on account of new development downtown and no one knows it better than Mark Gallant.

In 2010 when Gallant started The Dogfather food truck, there were only 4 food trucks on the road in the entire city. Today, there are over 30.

Gallant founded WooTrucks in 2015 and built a food truck commissary at 5 Harrison Street to serve as a base of operations for him and his professional colleagues. Now, he’s taking the collaborative culture a step further by establishing “Food Truck Row,” a destination which will host a minimum of five vendors during lunch every Monday through Saturday, with the capacity for up to ten trucks. General attendance and parking will be free.

Downtown is rapidly transforming into a neighborhood on account of projects like Trinity Financial’s $55 million investment to transform the former Worcester County Courthouse into apartments. Just across the way, the Worcester Memorial Auditorium sits idly by, waiting for a “unicorn” developer to strike. On March 5th, the ‘Aud’ will surely see some action when Food Truck Row launches its soft opening. Food Truck Row will take shape in the municipal parking lot at 40 Highland Street, directly behind the ‘Aud.’

“The soft opening will include The Dogfather along with Sabor Latino, Pangea (out of Leominster), Teddy’s Lunchbox, Captain Ron’s, and Big T’s Jerky House,” Gallant shared. A grand opening is scheduled for April 2nd, barring a spring snowstorm.

WooTrucks won’t stop there. With camaraderie comes a healthy sense of competition. Gallant is organizing the first official Food Truck Throw Down, scheduled for May 5th from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Green Hill Park. A panel of “local celebrity judges” will elect the best truck in Worcester, but festivities will also include a People’s Choice Award. Ballots will cost just $1.

Beyond simply satisfying our appetites, food trucks have major spatial benefits which impact our ability to activate blank territories throughout the city. Supporting Food Truck Row means supporting Worcester in a big way.