2011 City Guide: Street Food
One of Lloyd's killer tacos
Downtown Buffalo has always had its fair share of hot dog vendors; we even have a few that charbroil their dogs, sending curlicues of tantalizing smoke wafting down Main Street the second the snow begins to melt. But in recent years, an appetite for the affordable no-frills edibles sold by mobile food trucks has taken what was a cottage industry in warmer climes to something of a national frenzy.
Here, and in other cities such as Chicago and Cleveland, legislation doesn’t permit the mobile selling of prepared foods, but Buffalo is making great headway in this area. Through the efforts of Common Council Member Joseph Golombek, Jr., new legislation has been introduced that may allow street food trucks to do what they were meant to do—be mobile. In the meantime, the City has asked Buffalo Place, which manages all of the city’s street vendors, to work with the food trucks, permitting licensed trucks to operate in a stationary fashion from specific downtown locations. “Basically, we treat them as if they were just a giant hot dog cart,” says Morgan Smith, Buffalo Place’s manager of public spaces.
Last summer Buffalo saw its first such truck, the delicious and queue-worthy Lloyd taco truck (whereslloyd.com), which currently calls the corner of Main and Mohawk home when it isn’t out serving up killer tacos from another location. Since then, more than half a dozen entrepreneurs have approached the city with similar plans, and this spring Buffalo Place identified four other possible “permanent” food truck locations that should make Main Street a veritable street food buffet until legislation allows the truck owners mobility. The Whole Hog’s Kathleen Haggerty hopes that one of these new spaces will go to her and her local-centric food truck, which at press time, was slated to open June 1. A CIA-trained chef, Haggerty’s truck will offer fresh food made from locally grown and sustainably raised ingredients, including vegetarian items, and—of course—pork! (Street food update: Roaming Buffalo will also open soon, you can follow them by visiting their website at www.roamingbuffalo.org)
Another delicious street food sold downtown is Riley’s Roast Beef (rileysroastbeef.com), a relatively new food cart at the corner of Court Street and Main, which churns out superb beef on weck using DiCamillo rolls and Red Osier beef. R&R BBQ (www.rnrbbq.com) is rolling around out in the suburbs, bringing hot pulled pork sandwiches to a parking lot near you, and of course, there’s always the chargrilled dog, made all the better when eaten with one hand from a napkin while strolling through Main Street’s Downtown Country Market on a sunny day.