Food trucks are a huge part of PVD’s food scene. A summer event is not complete without a line of colorful vehicles hugging the curb, and a melee of piquant, sweet and savory aromas seasoning the air.
Eric Weiner of FoodTrucksIn.com, an online database listing over 5,400 food trucks in over 1,100 cities, is excited to see the new wave of food trucks this summer.
“Summer is the season of the food truck. May to October, when you have so many outdoor events, graduations, weddings and parties is the time you’ll see new trucks on the street, which is great. I love the mixture of stories behind the trucks — there’s lots of opportunities for unique concepts,” said Weiner.
With the new city administration under Mayor Elorza showing willingness to adjust city ordinances to be much more food truck friendly, Weiner hopes that a new large scale, regular food truck meet up will be in PVD’s future. Right now you can find a great collection of trucks, between eight and 10, every Friday through June at the Carousel Village in Roger Williams Park Zoo.
Though there are some stalwart favorites among the Providence food truck roster, the exciting newcomers to the mobile muchery game this year have got Rhody tummies rumbling:
Who’s behind the wheel?: Paul Gervais
Launch Date: September 2014
Menu Ethos: Bringing truly authentic Chinese food to the streets of Providence
Favourite dish on the menu? “My favorite is the Chinese Style Crepe or Jian Bing in Chinese. It is arguably THE number 1 Chinese street food. People actually get excited when they order it from me! Or, maybe the Beijing Soup …. or maybe it’s the Buddha Wings because the sauce is AMAZING!! This is hard … I can’t pick just one!”
What’s your background, food or otherwise? “In the winter of 2008 I took my first class at JWU; just one! In 2009 I made the commitment to go full time while working a full time job. I graduated in May 2013. It was, a long, hard five years of my life, but totally worth it!”
Where to find the truck: Check out their Facebook (facebook.com/BuddhaBellyRI), Twitter (twitter.com/buddhabellyri), Foodtrucksin.com, BuddhaBellyFoodTruck.com or call 401.529.7425 for up-to-date details on where to get your Jian Bing on!
Who’s driving the truck?: Nick Lefebvre and Amy Lavoie
Launch Date: April 2014
Menu Ethos: Citizen Wing serves up gourmet wings and comfort food with a twist. Their motto is “Local, Fresh, Goodness.” CW source many of their ingredients locally and seasonally, from places like Antonelli’s Poultry on Federal Hill, Yacht club soda, Wrights dairy farm in North Smithfield and from local farmers through Farm Fresh RI. Partnering with Foolproof Brewery, their specialty Backyahd IPA beer-brined wings and Raincloud Porter BBQ Sauce are unique to the truck. Plus, everything is made from scratch!
Favourite dish on the menu? “My personal favorite creations are the VOLCANIC ASH wings, which [are flavoured with] New Harvest roasters Honduran coffee, fig jam, cardamom and habaneros. I would have to say my other favorite dish is our chicken and waffles! We top a jalapeno-cumin Belgian waffle with buttermilk-fried chicken and a scoop of our house made cheddar ice cream, which is our play on a pat of butter. We serve it with a side of maple syrup or chicken gravy. The end result is a sweet and savory dish that is messy but delicious.” – Nick
What’s your background, food or otherwise? “I am a Johnson & Wales graduate and have been cooking since 1998. I first started as a sous chef for the Alves family who owned the original Portofino’s in Warwick. I own the truck with my girlfriend Amy [Lavoie] who handles the event planning and logistics.”
Where to find the truck: You can usually find Citizen Wing serving lunch at Kennedy Plaza on Mon and Tues, and at Street Eats and Oldies in East Providence on Thurs. They are also a regular feature of city and statewide events such as The Providence Flea, Farmer’s Markets and Beer Festivals.
For more details check them out at foodtrucksin.com/citizen-wing, their facebook (facebook.com/CitizenWing), twitter (twitter.com/citizenwings), or their website: Citizenwing.com.
Ice Cream Tricycle
Who’s peddling the tricycle?: David Cass and Gio Salvador
Launch Date: May 2014
Menu Ethos: “We aim to use as many fresh local ingredients to create an ice cream sandwich that is delicious and unique. Often we get inspiration for flavors from our friends and customers or from our ice cream memories from childhood.”
Favorite dish on the menu? “That’s a tough question. Usually it’s the Callebatt Chocolate Ice Cream on a Salty Pretzel Shortbread Cookie.”
What’s your background, food or otherwise? David was born in Westerly but has called PVD home for the last 10 years. A graduate of Providence College, he teaches during the non-ice cream season at The Met School. He’s also the owner of another RI staple, Pirate Pedicab in Newport!
Gio, originally from San Diego, moved to PVD to pursue his culinary dreams. A recent graduate of Johnson and Wales University, he has always dreamed of owning an ice cream business.
Where to find the tricycle: During the summer the ice cream tricycle will be peddling up to many of Providence’s essential warm weather events such as The Providence Flea, Armory Farmer’s Market and Hope Street Farmer’s Market.
Keep up to date with everything ice cream via the Tricycle’s facebook page (facebook.com/tricycleicecreamri), twitter (twitter.com/tricycleri) or instagram (instagram.com/tricycles.ri), and salivate over past and present flavors on their website: tricycleicecream.com.
The Salad Man
Who’s driving the truck?: Russell Spellman
Launch Date: Fall 2013
Menu Ethos: The Salad Man keeps it fresh, light and healthy with juices, smoothies, rice bowls, salads, burritos, sandwiches and tacos.
Favorite dish on the menu? “I love all the items on the menu. But our customers enjoy our smoothies, our Asian rice bowl and burritos.”
What’s your background, food or otherwise? “I have always loved to cook. I started cooking when I was 5 years old! I went to culinary school in New York [then] started a catering company [there]. In 2010 we moved to RI with the passion to open a restaurant. We opened our food truck, which is serving as a stepping stone to opening our restaurant.”
Where to find the truck: Find The Salad Man all over Rhode Island! To tie him down check out his facebook page (facebook.com/ItsSaladMan), twitter (twitter.com/itssaladman) or the website itssaladman.com. If you fancy seeing what you’ll be able to order, hop on YouTube (www.youtube.com/user/Saladmanjuicebar) for some play-by-play rice bowl action!
Who’s driving the truck?: Brian Sousa
Launch Date: August 14, 2014
Menu Ethos: “Our menu is really centered around the crepe itself. We wanted to make sure that the actual crepe was delicious on its own. Then we just thought of things we would like to eat ourselves … in a crepe! Simple ingredients are key, [and] we are slowly stepping into the locally sourced realm by introducing local honey and, soon, locally sourced maple syrup.”
Favorite dish on the menu? “My favorite crepe on the menu is what we call the EP, Short for East Providence. I’m Portuguese so this crepe is [a] nod to my culture and to the neighborhood of East Providence. It has slices of Sao Jorge cheese, prosciutto, quince marmalade and [is] brushed with some butter to finish. [It’s] my crepe version of a Portuguese breakfast.”
What’s your background, food or otherwise? “I’m a graduate of Johnson & Wales (‘08) in Food Service Management and have worked in the industry in sales and management roles. This is my first go at operating my own business.”
Where to find the truck: Find the truck daily through Facebook (facebook.com/ocreperi), on twitter (twitter.com/ocreperi), or the website: ocreperi.com.