The food truckers adapted quickly to the new rules of mealtime in a pandemic, and pop-up fare has been easy to find for the past few months. Here are some of the regulars with the most hustle.
K&B GRILLED CHEESE
It doesn’t take much to make a good grilled cheese, right? Bread, cheese, that super secret layer of mayonnaise, the butter substitute that is only whispered about among people who won’t judge you. K&B Grilled Cheese bills itself as bringing gourmet sandwiches and it deviates off the beaten GC path with a spinach artichoke variation, one that adds buffalo chicken, or simply bacon. The bread is homemade — owner Kevin White said he bakes up to 50 loaves per week. This food truck has been in circulation for about six years, but in the past has mostly been on the festival circuit. In the absence of festivals, you can find K&B Grilled Cheese at Duluth Cider or Cedar Lounge. Also: they don’t even need to do the mayonnaise trick.
LOG HOME WOOD FIRED PIZZA
This traveling wood-fired pizza stand, based out of McGregor, offers a mix of pizza-pizza — ranging from classic multiple meats and mushrooms, to say, another with pesto and zucchini — and dessert pizzas, like a s’mores version or one that is like a blueberry pie. Owner Rick Herman is a self-described foodie who went from working as a teacher to wielding a pie peeler and lugging the 9,000 pound mobile restaurant from place to place. These are quick-hit pies — it takes just 90 seconds to cook one.
Herman sets up in McGregor, in addition to spots in Duluth and private events.
Mama Roots, which has ties to Juice Pharm, is Duluth’s first vegan food truck — which matches the latter’s claim on being the first local vegan restaurant. The blue bus has a beachy vibe and the menu options range from bowls to tacos to thai lettuce cups to apple butter toast, with seeds and nuts and chunks of apple. The bus tours to the usual food truck stops in the Lincoln Park area, in addition to The Back Alley.
OASIS DEL NORTE
This is a hard working pop-up food truck with Mexican fare — it sometimes shows up at two spots in one day. Eduard Sandoval Luna, the owner, grew up in Mexico where his mother ran a locals-only restaurant. He has set out to create her recipes here, according to his bio, but incorporates local touches, like marinades that incorporate local craft beers. He carries street tacos, quesadillas, tortas, nachos and more. Oasis Del Norte often sets up in the parking lots of local businesses.
Food trucks come and go, but The Rambler has maintained its consistent, rigorous green machine presence since the start. During the pandemic, the crew has delivered food to health care workers — in addition to keeping regular hours with social distancing, a dash of normalcy in strange times.
But enough about the do-gooder-ism.
Among the fan-favorites are Mahi Mahi Tacos, with caper tarter sauce and jicama slaw, and teriyaki pulled pork with pineapple. Don’t forget the Reuben fritters — just more than a bite size of corned beef and sauerkraut ball with thousand island dipping sauce.
The New Scenic is a special-occasions restaurant — whether that special occasion be an anniversary or the way the wind happens to be blowing perfectly on a certain day. This longtime North Shore favorite shut down because of the pandemic, but recently polished off an airstream trailer to create Scenic 61. This pop up kitchen has a menu that matches the unprecedented things that come out of the bricks and mortar kitchen. The airstream is sometimes on site and sometimes travels and its menu is themed according to burgers, tacos, sausages or sandwiches. During our visit to the restaurant grounds, it was tacos and the inca corn in the sweet potato variation was a crunchy pop of surprise. Pro tip: go for the add-ons. The house-made tortilla chips are well-seasoned and the seis leche cake was a creamy treat.