Summer is a great time to sample the culinary creations of Wichita’s growing fleet of food trucks.
The sun is shining. The kids are out of school. Nothing can come between you and your hot-off-the-truck slab of ribs but a few bothersome flies.
Summer, on the other hand, is the worst time to be IN a food truck.
“If you can picture what being in an oven would be like, that’s exactly what it is,” said Jeff Schauf, who along with his chef/brother Rob Schauf is about to begin his third consecutive summer inside his Flying Stove food truck. “There’s an operating oven inside of a metal box, which turns the truck into one big oven. One side of the truck is 130 or 140 degrees. Let’s just say that when you step out of the truck, and it’s 100 degrees outside, it feels nice.”
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But Wichita’s dedicated food truck operators don’t let such things get in the way of their summertime business. About a dozen of them are out right now and will be throughout the summer months, parking in various locations or stationed at special events and fundraisers serving up barbecue, brats, tacos, sandwiches, pizza and more.
The truckers will welcome three new businesses to the fleet this summer. Park-N-Pork, a new barbecue food truck, has just hit the streets. And vegan food trucks Kind Kravings and Funky Monkey Munchies, which focus on healthier fare, both hope to be rolling sometime this May.
Several of the trucks will continue to gather throughout the summer on the final Sunday of the month for food truck rallies, which always happen over lunchtime near the fountains at the WaterWalk.
Schauf, whose truck started the trend in Wichita in late 2011, said he welcomes all the new competition. The food truck community over the years has become a tight-knit group that works together to make the scene better, he said.
“We want it to grow,” said Schauf, the unofficial Wichita food truck president. “I always use this analogy: A rising tide raises all ships. At this point, the more awareness about food trucks, the better.”
Following is a list of food trucks that will be feeding Wichita this summer.
The Flying Stove: This truck, owned by the Schauf brothers, officially started the food truck trend in Wichita when it opened in December 2011. It serves sandwiches, tacos, wraps, salads and its famous truffle fries – all made with gourmet ingredients – out of an orange vehicle decorated with the Flying Stove logo. The brothers change the menu every few weeks, and fans find out where the truck is by checking either www.facebook.com/theflyingstove or https://twitter.com/theflyingstove.
B.S. Sandwich Press: Doug Buchanan and his sister Jodi are two other Wichita food truck pioneers. They run B.S. Sandwich Press, a sandwich shop on the go, out of a bright orange trailer. The truck has been in operation since April 2012 and specializes in panini, burgers, hand-cut fries and homemade chips. The truck’s location is updated daily at www.facebook.com/bssandwichpress, and twitter.com/BSSandwichPress.
Hopperoni Express: Wichita Brewing Company & Pizzeria at 8815 W. 13th St. is a stationary restaurant that last summer opened a food trailer, the Hopperoni Express. It is fitted with a full-sized, wood-fired pizza oven and serves 10-inch pizzas. The truck’s location is updated at www.facebook.com/HopperoniExpress.
Let’m Eat Brats: Manuela English owns this German food truck and serves wurst, bierocks, kraut and strudel. She updates the truck’s location via Facebook and Twitter: www.facebook.com/LetmEatBrats and twitter.com/letmeatbrats.
Rip’s Rib Shak: Steven Pittman opened this barbecue food truck last August and specializes in St. Louis-style spare ribs, pulled pork, hot links and more. He’s transitioning to a brick-and-mortar restaurant at 611 W. Harry but he’ll keep serving from his truck in that building’s parking lot until he’s ready to open sometime his summer. He’s there from 11 a.m. until 5 or 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Read more at www.facebook.com/RipsBBQ.
Baby Back Smoke Shack: This barbecue trailer, owned by Missy Shock and Chad Graves, parks at various spots around town at various times during the week serving slow-smoked meats such as St. Louis-style ribs, pulled pork sandwiches and sides such as homemade slaw and stuffed jalapenos. To find where it’s parked, visit the businesses’ Facebook page at www.facebook.com/babybacksmokeshack.
Park-N-Pork: The barbecue truck formerly known as BJs Smokeshack is owned by Jennifer and Brad Vieux, who just got the truck up and going and decided to change the name to Park-N-Pork. They’re operating out of a custom-ordered 28-foot-truck and serving all manners of barbecued meats. Find the truck by visiting www.facebook.com/parknpork.
Chino’s Parrilla: It started off mostly as a catering business, but Chino’s Parrilla has been parking for meal time at various spots around the area as well as serving at special events. The food trailer is owned by head cook Chino Herrera, his wife, Kim, his daughter, Tasha Schrant, and his son-in-law, Bill Schrant. They serve grilled meats such as carne asada and al pastor in flour tortillas with traditional toppings. The truck’s location is updated via Facebook, www.facebook.com/ChinosParrillaVENDING.
El Pollo Dorado: This taco truck is one of many that have been operating for years in north Wichita. El Pollo Dorado is parked daily at the corner of 21st and Wellington Place and serves $1 al pastor tacos and more. The truck can be reached by calling 316-559-4359. For more information, visit its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/elpollodorado.
Funky Monkey Munchies: Lisa Palacios and her husband, Eddi, hope to have this vintage food truck going this May. The menu will be focused on healthy fusion food made mostly from non-GMO, organic and locally sourced ingredients. Palacios plans to have a rotating menu featuring a variety of cuisines from Mexican to French to Asian and will open for lunch and dinner in typical food truck parking spots. Follow the progress at the Funky Monkey Munchies Facebook page.
Kind Kravings: Rochelle Collins’ is now working on her vegan food truck, which will be focused on healthy fare that tastes good. The menu will include lettuce wraps, bean wraps, rice bowls and vegan manicotti. Follow the progress at www.facebook.com/KindKravings.