There’s still time to dine at these Green Bay food trucks

As summer winds down, here’s a sampling of frybread concoctions and simple burgers found at markets, breweries and parking lots across the city

By Josh Koerner

A bison burger found at Taco Tone’s food truck. This is just one of many samplings available from mobile eateries across the city. Josh Koerner photo

There was a time in Green Bay when street food felt almost exclusive to fairs and festivals.

Over the past few summers the return of food trucks has been as exciting as the season itself. With 2021 returning to a semblance of pre-pandemic times, more and more food trucks were seen throughout the summer. Mobile eateries have been empowered with visibility thanks to tools such as social media and food-based selfies, guerilla marketing and on-demand services became as prevalent as the trucks themselves.

Food trucks also act as a tool for nontraditional chefs to test menus and recipes before debuting them in a brick and mortar restaurant—if that’s the route the trucks take. This offers streamlined convenience to cooks and customers alike.

No market? No problem

One place these chefs can test their recipes and quick eats are the plethora of farmers markets found throughout Green Bay. Farmers markets are natural venues for street food. With the Broadway and De Pere markets coming to a close, it can be hard to know where to turn to find some good street grub.

The Saturday morning market in downtown Green Bay may have a smaller density of trucks than other markets, but long standing local favorite Plia’s Kitchen is always a welcome sight. Plia’s has been my go-to spot for egg rolls since I first had the pleasure of discovering them, and they frequently set up for the Saturday market. Broadway eatery PhoComa is also there, taking a step back from pan-Asian dishes and serving up breakfast crepes and lightly battered cheese curds.

A Bay Area Burger Co. smash burger, as seen at a summer Downtown De Pere farmers market.

John McCracken photo

One vendor I’ll miss greatly as the Broadway market comes to a close is the Bay Area Burger Co.

Bay Area Burger Co. hosts a simple menu that frequently sells out of its iconic quarter pound smash burger.

What’s a smash burger? Smash burgers are burgers that are, well, smashed against their heat source. This increases the burger’s contact surface providing an even cook, crisp outside patty, and a moist, crumbly interior. The simple menu grants a narrow, which assures a consistently consistent burger.

Fine dining meets food truckin’

With markets fading from the picture, many trucks are turning to breweries. Since 2019, I’ve noticed more and more food trucks becoming brewery staples. (That’s how I became familiar with some of my longstanding favorites like Thermal Chaos BBQ and Osorio’s Latin Fusion of Appleton.)

One truck I always seek out at breweries is Frackin’ Hungry food truck. I first approached the bright, ostentatious truck with caution. This was an error. Despite showy paint, cartoon characters and a name that calls to mind crude oil—their food is fantastic. Featuring a from-scratch kitchen supported by Bleu Restaurant & Lounge, Frackin’ Hungry turns out street food favorites with a fine dining twist.

Since that first trip, I’ve sampled their fries, brussels sprouts, pork belly street tacos and the Cuban sandwich. With chipotle aioli, sweet scallions, bacon, and cheese, the Frackin’ fries were perfect comfort food. The fried brussels sprouts were dressed similarly and came nestled under a blanket of garlic aioli, bacon and chives.

Frackin’ Hungry, the food truck operated by fine dining restaurant Bleu Restaurant & Lounge, serves up knockout Korean pork tacos.

Josh Koerner photo

The meat on the Cuban is expertly roasted. The well-rendered fat melted in the mouth and imparted savory, meaty goodness. The accompanying, lattice-cut chips are an expressive and welcomed sight. These chips have a superior crunch and handmade flavor that leaves a lasting memory.

The Korean pork tacos had, perhaps, the most robust flavor profile of their dishes. The pork belly comes dressed in two sauces: gochujang and “Rooster Sauce.” Obscuring the pork is a bed of cabbage slaw topped by their “Truck Pickles.” With a little flavor across the board, these tacos bring something to the table for everyone.

Rustique Pizzeria is another operation where the company owns a mobile kitchen alongside a sit-down restaurant. Rustique is a staple of the Wednesday night farmers market on Broadway. Despite their pizza notoriety, their pesto fries made a larger impact for me than their pies. The fries are full of hearty pesto, balsamic and loads of cheese. The pepperoni pizza was good, while their take on the Margherita left something to be desired. Rustique has a sit-down lounge and restaurant in the Howard- Suamico area and are on the list of food truck to restaurant follow ups to venture out to.

One more for the road

I can’t talk about food trucks without speaking of Taco Tone’s.

Taco Tone’s is like a magical land where all of your favorite bar food comes on soft, decadent frybread. Tacos? Frybread. Burgers? Frybread. Gyros? Frybread. Chili dogs? You get the point.

Frybread is just what it sounds like. A midpoint between flatbread and a donut, crispy outside but soft and warm in the middle. The ideal vehicle for nearly anything edible.

Josh Koerner grew up in De Pere and has a passion for local food. He’s written for The NEWcomer and Nosh Green Bay alongside his personal Facebook food blog, Josh Eats Green Bay.

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