Philadelphia's a town of seasons, and that's reflected in every aspect of daily life, especially its food truck scene. Over 150 trucks populate the city in warmer months (generally April through mid-November), with those who drive year-round catering to the most die-hard of fans, or simply the most die-hard of eaters.
Appetites run predictably large here, so cheesesteak, burger and mac & cheese trucks lead the herd of options, dispensing hearty food that warms the body, ignites the mouth, and goes great with garlic fries. Of course, far from basic, the city's home to big comfort that's also full of big ideas; whether that means locally-sourced, truffle-dusted, or fused to exotic new forms.
Diversity's another hallmark of the Philly scene, especially during summer, when night markets highlight the array of cultures all thriving next to each other, and create new stars out of trucks who push boundaries. Finally, dessert trucks mark the city's fastest rising trend, proving Philly's a city that likes to have it all; from sweet to savory and from start to finish.
Mac Mart, Philly's first and only "mac'n cheesery" takes the city's most popular side dish and moves it front and center where it belongs, warming up guests year-round with its inventive comforts. The seven-cheese, potato chip panko-crusted original recipe makes for a pretty glorious start, but where you go from there's where Mac Mart truly shines. Variations like the BBQ In A Bowl (topped with chunks of chicken, drizzled in BBQ sauce and finished with cornbread crunch) and the Fat-N-Happy (topped with crispy bacon, fried onion crunch and Pam Pam's buttermilk ranch drizzle) kick the dish into strange, adventurous territory. The Build-A-Bowl option lets you be the chef; constructing whatever your mind dreams up from the food truck's staggering resources. Beyond Mac Mart, cheese remains a prominent force on Philly's most popular trucks.
As we said, Philly's a town that loves its meats. And its cheeses. And especially together. Winning top cheesesteak accolades year after year in the press is SPOT Gourmet Burgers, Steak and Pork. It's best to plan a visit in advance, as beyond their quick-forming lines, they're often booked for private events.
Less publicized, the reigning people's champ is Say Cheese Philadelphia, a family-run food truck whose recipes make street food feel more like Sunday dinner. Meanwhile, The Cow and the Curd offers another approach entirely. The tender, juicy meat takes a backseat to the Wisconsin-style cheese curds fried to golden, delicious bliss. It's a whole new way to get comfortable with comfort food.
Making their mark against more savory options is a growing roster of sweet trucks that can hold their own, in any weather and against any hunger in town. Zsa's Ice Cream has become a mid-day (and after dinner) staple, with an award-winning collection of "seriously from scratch" ice cream and ice cream sandwiches, all dispensed from the back of a vintage beauty affectionately named Gatsby.
Undrgrnd Donuts leads the way on donut deliciousness, with flavors that range from safe and familiar to....well....the Homer, dunked in raw sugar, glazed in vanilla and finished with chocolate-dusted bacon bits. Whichever path you choose, let's just say you'll be glad you chose it. Finally, Sugar Philly classes up dessert with French flair, presenting fresh-flamed creme, macaroon ice cream sandwiches and more to hungry mouths with high standards.
Besides meat and cheese, spud trucks are the biggest business in Philadelphia, with loaded tots and fries from Chewy's, Philly Fry and the Tot Cart always hitting their mark. Elsewhere, more experimental trucks reveal the city's odder charms, with fare like the waffle banh mi from Foolish Waffles, mochi/nori-fried chicken from Poi Dog and sweet potato pierogies from Mom-Mom all vying to tickle your tastebuds from entirely new angles. Finally, if it's pizza you're craving, Pitruco delivers authentic brick-oven goodness right off the sidewalk, with big taste and no frills.
Of course, if private dining is more your scene, all these trucks and more are available to cater any function you can dream up, from weddings to birthdays to employee appreciation days. Click here to book a food truck.
Check out the live food map above or use the Roaming Hunger app to find the most accurate, up-to-the-minute location info for all the trucks listed, alongside countless more options. Food trucks have become a major staple of campus life in Philadelphia, so the areas near U Penn, Drexel and Temple remain hotspots for all ages when it comes to great eats. Center City also attracts a wide variety of trucks during lunch hour, as professionals flock to get their fix and get it fast. Most dependably, Philly's vibrant street fair and farmer's market scenes attract top-notch food trucks by the dozens, giving you a veritable playground of options to choose from.