Columbus is a pretty friendly city. Even by midwest standards. The meeting place of several industries, from healthcare to industrial, it's a place where different kinds of people can thrive, side by side. Then drink a whole lot of beer together. Like a whole lot of beer.
Breweries have become second nature to Columbus, with the arrival of several recent, high profile acts, crafting a new culture of hospitality. It only makes sense then that Columbus grew a food culture to match (the better to visit any brewery in need). Then put that culture on wheels. The food trucks in Columbus are some of the most innovative heavy hitters not just in Ohio, but in the whole Midwest, bringing both locally-sourced and exotically spiced fare to the forefront. And it all tastes great with an IPA.
Owned & operated by the Larken family, Por'Ketta is a food truck re-inventing comfort food in Columbus. And elevating it too. It's pretty multi-talented like that. The classic Italian staple obviously rests at the menu's center, with a rotisserie pulled-chicken sandwich also drawing a cult of admirers all by itself.
Ingredients are locally-sourced whenever possible (pork from nearby farms in Sandusky, poultry from Vitale, bread from Matija), with an emphasis on organic and sustainable farming. More than that - attached to every meal is first-rate hospitality that exceeds even Columbus' norm, unmatched and unlike anything else in town. Pork'Ketta has a special way of making you feel like family every time you visit.
Classic Southern comforts have a history of making their way North to Ohio, but none with more success that fried chicken, which long ago invaded Columbus in so many forms, and with so many new seasonings, it's been practically re-invented. Then re-re-invented.
Hot Chicken Takeover has firmly established itself as a force beyond food trucks in Columbus; as much for its business model as for its recipes. Its ethics in employee benefits (favoring workers with alternative resumes, along with assisting in healthcare, housing and financial planning) has given it national attention to match its local adoration. But the food truck is still HCT's most direct route to your mouth, serving up authentic, Tennessee-style hot chicken that ranges from "cold" (seasoned with a touch of cayenne) to "HOLY" (the menu simply describes this with numbers and symbols). Whichever setting you choose, you'll be choosing quality - quality that only starts with the food.
Mya's Fried Chicken specializes in contrasting flavors - their signature fried chicken comes in an herbed honey and vinegar drizzle. To finish each plate is a healthy smattering of scratch-made sides, like flaky biscuits and decadent mac & cheese. Finally, The Cluckwagon traffics in Columbus' finest chicken and waffles, but has more than enough room on the truck for Carolina-style pulled chicken, Nashville-style chicken sandwiches, and even a chicken chorizo breakfast burrito.
When it comes to dessert trucks in Columbus, not all options are spread evenly. And that's perfectly all right. Donuts are the preferred currency here, after meals, betweens meals, or first thing in the day. In fact, in a lot of cases, they're fit to be a full meal, in and of themselves.
Since 1969, Buckeye Donuts has served Columbus' favorite pastry better than anyone else, establishing itself as a household name all throughout Ohio. Now Buckeye has a food truck ready to dispatch its wares wherever they're needed most, from street fairs to bar mitzvahs. It's a logical step forward for an institution that's devoted itself to serving the community. Mainly because now it can serve the same community a whole lot faster.
Tupelo Doughnuts, on the other hand, went ahead and started with the truck itself, but is building its empire all the same. Named for the honey trees that line the Forgotten Coast of Florida, Tupelo imports the unique sweetness up North, and infuses every inch of flavor into its jumbo-sized donuts. If you're in the mood for a different kind of southern comfort (and a different kind of donut), Early Bird Food Truck takes local bakery Four and Twenty's star attraction - authentic New Orleans beignets unlike anything else in town, and truck them straight to you. Paired with a cup of premium coffee, it's a sweet start to your day that'll have your mouth waking up with an accent - be it Southern, French or simply full.
Aromaku brings Indonesian cuisine to the streets of Columbus with a massive menu full of options, ranging from noodle dishes to rendang to a rotating array of street food snacks. Spice is the name of the game, with waves of flavor following every heat note. It's a food truck unlike any other in town, and it can take your mouth to far-off places, all without ever leaving Ohio.
Kenny's Meat Wagon celebrates a more local set of flavors, but does it no less epically - think thick cuts of meat, sauced and spiced to kingdom come and slapped into some of the meanest sandwiches Columbus has ever seen. The likes of slow-braised BBQ pork and Buffalo chicken square off with a meatless sandwich made of sweet potatoes and beets, giving you diverse options for your cravings - all united by big Midwestern taste. For an even more classic comfort staple, done up in feistier fashion than you've ever seen, check out The Angry Weiner, which grills up Columbus' finest collection of hot dogs. Varieties include peanut butter and bacon jam (The Houndog), yakisoba noodles with wasabi mayo (Angry Bird) or your simple chili and mac (Chili Mac Weiner, naturally).
As always, check out the live Raleigh-Durham food truck map above or on the Roaming Hunger app to find the most accurate, up-to-the-minute location info for all trucks listed, alongside countless more options.
From May to October, you can track down many of the food trucks listed above all in one place, every Thursday at the Columbus Commons. Other festivals and gatherings pop up regularly throughout the summer. Meanwhile, individual trucks can almost always be found where they're needed most: outside one of Columbus' many, many breweries. Four String Brewing Co, Brothers Drake Meadery & Bar, and establishments all up and down N. High street.
Columbus Food Adventures can even take you on a tour of some of the city's finest food trucks, one after the other. In fact, they've got two separate food truck tours to choose from. Sign up for one of them to get an effortless trip through some of Columbus' finest mobile institutions, with minimal effort and maximum reward.
Finally, click HERE to book any of the trucks listed for your own private event, big or small. You'll be able to grab your favorite quickly and easily, giving you time to do more important things - like drinking beer.