Apr 25, 2021 - Food and Drink

18 must-try food trucks in Charlotte, and what to order from each

tin kitchen

An array of tacos from Tin Kitchen. Photo: Emma Way/Axios

Food trucks are the perfect pandemic-era dining experience: You can order and eat all without stepping foot inside.

I love a good food truck, so I tracked down 18 for this updated guide. My favorites ranged from a juicy smash burger at Bae’s Burgers to birria tacos from Tacos Rick-O.

Here’s our roundup of 18 must-try food trucks in Charlotte, and what to order at each.

Editors note: This guide was first published on May 18, 2018, and last updated on April 27, 2021.

Ace of Spuds

Loaded jacket potatoes and potato skins stuffed with gourmet fillings.

Must-try items: Cajun shrimp potato ($12.50), cheesesteak potato ($11.50) and parmesan bacon ranch home fries ($10.50)

Find it: Schedule posted on Instagram page.

Another!? Food Truck

American-fare staples with a decadent twist.

Must-try item: Dirty Mac ($12) which is their mac & cheese topped with braised beef, collard greens, “Average sauce,” and cornbread crumble.

Find it: Schedules posted on Instagram

Another Food Truck

Bae’s Burgers

Classic smash juicy burgers.

Menu: It’s simple with four burgers plus two types of French fries — regular and garlic parmesan.

  • The Boss: Two smash beef patties, bacon, grilled onions, American cheese, garlic aioli.
  • The Gringa: Smash beef patty, lettuce, pickles, garlic aioli, American cheese.
  • The Sunburn: Smash beef patty, fried egg, American cheese, bacon, garlic aioli.
  • The Pretender: Beyond meat patty, lettuce, red onions, pickles, American cheese, garlic aioli.

How to find it: Schedule posted here

Read more: Charlotte food truck “baes” serve up the city’s prettiest smash burger

Charlotte's best burgers, Bae's burgers, the boss, Claire Connelly, Fabian Elmes
Bae’s “The Boss” burger
Bae's burgers, food truck, Charlotte food, lost and found, NoDa brewery
Garlic parmesan fries Bae’s Burgers

Cousins Maine Lobster

Fresh lobster food truck franchise.

Fame: Yes, this is the same Cousins Maine Lobster you know from Shark Tank

Backstory: After meeting Cousins Maine Lobster founders Sabin and Jim in Los Angeles, Chris and Caroline Papp decided to purchase a franchise. Their Cousins Maine Lobster food truck that hit the streets of Charlotte this past month is the franchise’s 20th.

Lobster options:

  • Maine Lobster Roll ($16.95)
  • Connecticut Lobster Roll ($16.95)
  • Lobster Tacos (3 for $14.50)
  • Lobster Tots ($14.50)
  • Lobster Quesadilla ($14.50)
  • Lobster Grilled Cheese ($14.50)
  • Maine Lobster Tail & Tots ($14.95)
  • Lobster Bisque ($6/$8)

Find it: Follow on Facebook and website

Cousin's Maine Lobster

Detour Coffee Bar

Full-service coffee shop on wheels.

Menu: Detour has a variety of seasonal drinks like the white lavender latte, coffee and espresso drinks, plus teas, sodas, and smoothies for non-coffee drinkers.

Find it: Weekly schedule posted here

Detour Coffeebar owner
Detour Coffeebar owner Mike Hargett. (Courtesy Detour Coffeebar)

The Dumpling Lady (Truck temporarily closed)

Authentic dumplings and noodles made with a family Szechuan recipe.

Dumpling options: pork & chives, sweet pork belly, chicken & mushrooms, crab & chicken, shrimp & chicken and veggie. The food truck also serves noodle and rice dishes.

Find it: The truck is off the road until further notice, but head to The Dumpling Lady‘s Optimist Hall location in the meantime.

noodles at dumpling lady in charlotte

Halal Truck

Mediterranean fare.

Must-try item: The chicken over rice. You could also go with the falafel over rice, lamb over rice, or the chicken and lamb combo.

Find it: Stationed on the corner of 101 N Tryon St.

Halal Cart Uptown


Slow-smoked barbecue 

Must-try mains: The pulled pork and the smoked brisket, both come as a dinner or a sandwich.

Must-try sides: The macaroni & cheese and red beans and rice.

Find it: Schedules posted on Instagram page.

Lobster Dogs

Seafood served in hot dog buns or in avocados.

Menu: Seafood “Dogs” are served in a toasted split-top (hot dog style bun) with a swipe of mayo and your choice of fresh chilled lobster ($15), crab ($13) or shrimp ($11) and then topped with warm lemon butter & special seasonings.

Avocado lovers: You can also get their stuffed avocado ($9) made with a fresh whole avocado topped with zesty black bean and corn salsa and pico de gallo, then drizzled with chimichurri and chipotle ranch

Find it: View schedule here or follow Lobster Dogs on Facebook or Instagram.

Maria’s CLT

Mac and cheese and chicken tenders.

Mac options: 

  • OG Mac ($7.99) – Al dente shells mixed with a creamy four-cheese sauce, topped with Parmesan panko breadcrumbs.
  • Bacon Mac ($8.99) – The OG + smokey bacon bits.
  • Veggie Mac ($9.99) – Roasted broccoli, sun-dried tomatoes, caramelized onions and sautéed spinach atop the OG.
  • Buffalo Chicken Mac ($9.99) – Juicy chunks of fried chicken tenders, tossed in buffalo sauce atop the OG.
  • Crawfish Mac ($12.99) – Tender crawfish tails sautéed in a creamy, Cajun butter sauce (chef’s choice).

Fried Chicken Tenders: Comes in 2-piece ($3.99), 4-piece ($7.99) , and 5-piece ($9.99) options.

Find it: Follow Maria’s on Instagram for the location schedule.

Maria's CLT Food Truck
Maria's CLT mac and cheese

Nacho Average Food Truck

Gourmet nachos with homemade toppings.

How it works: If you’re ordering nachos, pick your base (tortilla chips, pork rinds, or lettuce), and then pick a pre-fixe topping.

Nacho options include:

  • Buffalo Chicken ($12)
  • BBQ Pork ($12)
  • Supreme ($12)
  • Veggie ($12)

Other menu items: Chicken quesadilla ($10), beef and veggie burritos ($10), and street corn among other offerings.

Find it: Online or their Instagram page.

Romeo’s Vegan Burgers

Plant-based food truck.

The menu: Includes burgers, shakes, fries, cookies, and a kale salad and a wrap for good measure.

Popular items include:

  • Where art thou Romeo burger: house sauce, lettuce, tomatoes, grilled onions, cheese, pickles ($9.99/$12.99 combo).
  • Romeo Mac burger: onions, mac sauce, cheese, pickles ($14.99/$16.99 combo).
  • Chili cheese fries: cheese, vegan chili, onions ($6.99).
  • Oreo plant-based shake ($6.99).

How to find: Check Romeo’s Instagram to see where they’ll be next.

Related story: Romeo’s Vegan Burgers is converting carnivores

Romeo's Vegan burgers , Charlotte, Black-owned, plant based

Scratch Kitchen CLT

Brunch on wheels.

Must-try item: B.A.E., that’s the bacon egg & “chz” with hardwood smoked bacon, egg over medium, cheddar cheese and chives drizzled with chipotle ketchup and served on a warm brioche bun.

Where to find it: 8821 JW Clay Blvd.

Soul Miner’s Garden

Vegan comfort foods.

Must-try item: The loaded fries. It’s made with hand-cut fries topped with house-made queso, black beans, green onions, salsa, guacamole, jalapeños and house-made jalapeño crema.

Find it: Schedules are posted on their Instagram page.

Tacos Rick-O

Latin street food.

Menu: Choose between a selection of tacos, bowls and paps Ricko which are seasoned fried topped with queso fundido sauce, sauteed onions, pico de gallo, and jalapeños.

Must-try item: The birria tacos ($14). Three braised beef tacos served with a cup of consommé soup, topped with cilantro and onion.

To find it: Check Ricky’s Instagram for locations.

Tacos Rick-O
Birria tacos from Tacos Rick-O.

TIN Kitchen

Tacos, sliders, quesadillas, nachos and salads.

Taco options: Buffalo cauliflower, chana masala, chicken tinga, BBQ beef brisket, cilantro-lime shrimp and pork belly

Quesadilla options: Chipotle chicken, jerk pork, kimchi and three cheese

Number of Tin Kitchen trucks: Two. The trucks names are Ferdinand (the bull) and Bessie (the cow).

Fame: TIN Kitchen is the OG of food trucks in Charlotte and has been featured in Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives

Find it: Head to their website for the latest location.

Tin Kitchen

What the Fries (Truck temporarily closed)

Gourmet loaded fries and burgers.

Loaded fries: Steak and shrimp hibachi fries ($18), cheesy fries ($12) and truffle fries ($10).

Dipping sauces: Signature “yumm yumm” sauce, garlic mayo, cilantro crema, blackberry ketchup, truffle aioli and cheese sauce (choose one, additional sauce $1).

Basic fries: Seasoned fries ($5) and house-made tots ($6), you can also get 1/2 and 1/2 if you’re undecided.

What the Fries burger
What the Fries single patty burger on a brioche bun with cheese.

Yummi Banh Mi

Vietnamese sandwiches, rice bowls and tacos

Bahn Mi, explained: Vietnamese sandwich on an eight-inch baguette served with garlic mayonnaise, cucumbers, pickled carrots & daikon, jalapeños, cilantro, and choice of meat.

Options: BBQ pork ($8), lemongrass beef ($8), lemongrass pork ($8), lemongrass chicken ($7.50), Yummi tofu ($7) and sautéed veggies ($5.50)

Other options: Yummi Bahn Mi also serves Vietnamese rice bowls and tacos.


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