Food & Drink

Top Food Trucks In Connecticut

June 19, 2013 8:00 AM

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(Photo credit: STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo credit: STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

Food trucks have become popularized and lionized by Anthony Bourdain and other well-known and respected food critics. Bourdain’s shows, along with “Man Vs. Food” and “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” to name a few, frequently feature young chefs who have taken their talents quite literally on the road. Connecticut is no stranger to this neuvo-cuisine phenomenon. Here are five local food trucks that are attracting loyal followings in the Nutmeg State.

The Local Meatball
Fairfield, CT 06824
(203) 258-6317
www.thelocalmeatball.com

“Get some balls and like us!” is the tongue-in-cheek invitation from Michael DiStassio, chef and owner of The Local Meatball. The Local Meatball serves large and tasty portions of this Italian-American favorite. DiStassio’s is one of the newest entries into the growing fleet of food trucks in the state, hitting the road for its debut on, what else, National Meatball Day (March 9). “I like to think of myself as a street gourmet,” says DiStassio, who explains he got into this trade simply because “I grew tired of searching for the perfect meatball in Fairfield County.” Recalling that perfection he found in his grandmother’s kitchen, he uses his grandmother’s recipe to turn meat, cheese, eggs and bread from local stores in Lebanon, East Haven and Saugatuck into a variety of meatballs made from beef, pork or chicken

DiStassio has put his own spin on the family recipe, and in addition to traditional old-world style meatballs for grinders, there are smaller versions for sliders as well as more whimsical and inventive offerings. His “Jewels” variant, for example, has bacon and cheddar cheese bits inside and is served with maple syrup. As with most food trucks, The Local Meatball moves around from town to town within a relatively small area. In the first week of May, for example, his little red car and the cart it pulls could be found at Unquowa Road and outside the Two Roads Brewing Company in Stratford.

Melt Mobile
Stamford, CT 06901
(203) 609-1422
www.meltmobile.com

“Take it cheesy” is the motto of this grilled cheese sandwich truck that has developed a big following in Stamford. Offering gourmet variations on the comfort food classic such as the monte cristo with ham and turkey on challah (then dipped in French toast batter) or the mademoiselle made with gruyere, owners Darlene Andersen and Diana Hall have built up a solid following. The main menu is usually limited to four sandwiches, but Melt Mobile also frequently offers some amazing desserts – notably the cheesecake melt made by putting a slice of cheesecake between two slices of pound cake, and the Samoa – based on the famous Girl Scout cookie – made with chocolate ganache, caramel, vanilla-infused cream cheese and toasted coconut on grilled Tuscan bread. The menu, like the location, changes almost daily. Fans are encouraged to follow Melt Mobile on Facebook and Twitter for updates.

The Caseus Cheese Truck
New Haven, CT 06510
(203)  850-3504
www.thecheesetruck.com

The Cheese Truck is unique among the genre, as it is an extension of New Haven’s famous cheese shop, Caseus. This truck brings quality cheese from around the world to the streets, and grills it to perfection on sourdough and other breads. While the cheese can stand alone, it can also come with imported French ham, applewood bacon, guacamole, red onions and other accompaniments. The Cheese Truck asks fans to use Facebook to track its location, as it flits among College and Church Streets in New Haven or sometimes go a little farther afield. The truck also posts the offerings of the day, including specials, and sometimes features local cheeses. Most days, there are also soups and sausages or salads, but just as with the parent cheese monger, fans come here for the cheese.

Related: Top Wine And Cheese Bars In Connecticut

GotChef
Milford Train Station
Mildord, CT 06460
(203) 490-2433
www.gotchef.com

Situated primarily at the train station in Milford, the GotChef food truck is unique in many other ways: it provides mobile and office catering and has a delivery service. Patrons can call or email and GotChef will make sure it gets to their home or office. This is no mere sandwich-to-go van. GotChef offers big meals, including lamb osso bucco, assorted raviolis and soups and other hearty Italian treats. This is to be expected, as it was started by Biagio Barone, whose Osteria in Stratford is renowned and hailed by many magazines, newspapers and critics as being one of the finest Italian restaurants in the state.

LobsterCraft
2 Meadow St.
Norwalk, CT 06854
(203) 956-5554
www.lobstercraft.com

William Michael Harden is not just a chef, he is a certified Coast Guard captain and lobsterman, and the hot buttered lobster on a roll he serves from his truck is a true taste of Maine. He not only cooks the lobster and drives the truck, he also captains the lobster boat – his very own Jennifer Lynn, “a good strong boat able to handle any weather Long Island Sound can throw at her!” The lobster “is caught daily” says Harden, and is thus always fresh. The sandwiches are priced in the low- to mid-teens. There is the traditional “Coastal” as well as the “Heat Wave” where the butter is infused with hot peppers. Harden has a California and a BLT version, the former made by adding avocado and cucumber with wasabi soy sauce, and the latter with bacon. He also has lobster bisque and something called “lobster kielbasa mac and cheese” which is a bowl of mac and cheese into which he mixes sweet polish kielbasa and fresh lobster. Lobster devotees can follow the LobsterCraft food truck on Twitter.

Related: Best Gourmet Food Stores In Connecticut

Mark G. McLaughlin is a professional and prolific writer with a proven publishing record in a wide variety of fields. An historian, novelist, freelance journalist, ghost-writer, book reviewer, magazine editor, web and magazine columnist, Mark has more than 30 years of experience. His work can be found at Examiner.com.

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