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Over the past few years, food trucks have become a staple in most cities around the country, and Denton is certainly no exception. From craft barbecue to Vietnamese cuisine to gyros, there’s a food truck in Denton for every taste. Here’s a look at just a few to tantalize your taste buds.
The Pickled Carrot
For the past 10 years, The Pickled Carrot has been bringing Vietnamese cuisine to Denton.
Owner Cuong “Kong” Mai says he’s always had a passion for food and Vietnamese in particular was the food he enjoyed the most.
“Not just because that’s what I grew up eating, but just because of the flavors and the layers of flavors — you always have sweet, spicy, tangy, and all the textures all in one,” he explains. “I went to school at UNT and I noticed that there was a lack of Asian cuisine. And so I really wanted to share Vietnamese cuisine with a community that wasn’t familiar with it.”
Mai says The Pickled Carrot is mainly known for its bahn mi sandwiches available in a variety of proteins, including pork, chicken, and tofu, as well as mushroom and eggplant. The truck also serves noodle bowls, salads, and egg rolls.
And Mai says they’ve recently begun offering their take on a street taco — customers select their protein, which is served with a sesame slaw, housemade aioli, hoisin sauce, sriracha, and cilantro on a corn tortilla.
“Our food is so unique … I guarantee that once people who haven’t tried our food try it, they’ll get hooked after that first bite,” Mai says.
The Pickled Carrot can be found at Denton’s Austin Street Truck Stop, as well Harvest House. “And then we have an actual drivable truck that we introduced this year, which we’ll be using for catering private events … and all the events that happen year-round,” Mai adds.
El Cucuy Burritos
“I’d been contemplating starting my own business for a while,” he says. “During the shutdown of the pandemic, I had a lot of time on my hands to further develop my ideas and bring it to fruition, so I was ready.”
Kimberlin says El Cucuy Burritos is a California burrito food truck. “It’s basically a loaded burrito,” he explains. “Typically it has steak, French fries, pico de gallo, (and) avocado. Most traditional California burritos have a sour cream, but we use a jalapeno creamy salsa instead — it’s kind of a Texas flair.”
The California burrito theme extends to other items on the menu, including the carne asada fries, which Kimberlin says are very popular. The truck also offers other protein options for its menu items including chicken, pulled pork, and barbacoa.
Additionally, El Cucuy Burritos offers bowls and vegetarian options to be as inclusive as possible. For example, they offer vegetarian versions of their burritos using sauteed gold bell pepper instead of meat. “You still get all the nutrients, you still get a really great tasting burrito, but without the meat,” he adds.
Kimberlin says everything at El Cucuy Burritos is made in-house. “We do not hand-press our tortillas and that’s probably one of the only things that we do not create,” he explains. “All the meats are trimmed, cut, and marinated in-house. All the salsas are roasted and made in-house daily, same with the guacamole.”
And if you’re looking for something sweet to end your meal with, Kimberlin also recently started a cookie company called Thicc Bois Cookies, which they sell out of the El Cucuy Burritos food truck. “They are thick, dense brownie-like cookies — one cookie is about the equivalent of four regular cookies,” he says.
Gabby Sanchez and her fiance, Sam Lopez, decided to leave their corporate culinary jobs in Chicago to start the Insurgent food truck in Denton in January 2022.
“(Sam) decided to come back to Denton where he grew up,” Sanchez says. “His family still lives in Denton and we have a big support system here. So we decided to break away and move from Chicago and come back to Denton and start our own thing over here.”
Sanchez says Insurgent’s menu focuses on highlighting local ingredients from local farmers and produce. “We work with about 12 to 13 different farmers in the DFW area, which is really awesome,” she continues. “And we do have a highly seasonal menu, so essentially, we change the menu almost every time we’re open.”
During the winter, the Insurgent truck can be found at the Coppell Farmers Market on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month. Then once spring returns, the truck will also be at the Denton Community Market each week. And occasionally Insurgent does pop-up events at Kava Culture.
Recently, Insurgent has been holding plated dinners at various places around Denton. Most recently, they provided dinner for an event at Pinned Ptera.
And on March 18th, Insurgent will be holding a Vegan Dinner at Truly Studio. “This is something that we’re really excited for and we’ve been kind of preparing for that since we’ve been open,” Sanchez says. “Essentially it’ll be six courses with a drink pairing. We’ll just be highlighting all of our amazing farmers and all the produce that we’ll have available. And then we’ll also be showcasing some of our fermentation projects as well.”
Come and Taste It
One of the newest food trucks in Denton is Come And Taste It, which just opened for business a few weeks ago.
Owner Greg Fachner decided it was time to make a career change. “I wanted to do something different,” he explains. “Barbecue is something that I know how to do, so this kind of made sense to pivot and go that way.”
Fachner describes Come and Taste It as a craft barbecue food truck. His current menu features sandwiches filled with either chopped brisket or pulled pork. Or get a meat plate with chopped or sliced brisket, pulled pork, smoked turkey, or pork ribs with sides like BBQ beans and potato salad. The meats can also be purchased by the half-pound.
What makes Come And Taste It’s barbecue unique? Fachner says it’s not just the recipe, but also the process he uses. “When to take the brisket off and how long to let it rest — just different things like that,” he explains. “Being more in tune than just the actual spices or ingredients.
And the food truck will offer some unique flavors, including Fachner’s homemade barbecue sauce. “I just started playing around with a spicy version of it, so I’ll have my regular sauce and then the spicy,” he says. “(And) I’ll be having custom sausages for my truck that you won’t be able to get elsewhere.”
Feta’s Lonestar Greek
It’s a family affair at Feta’s Lonestar Greek, which is co-owned by Alex Zarra and his father, Panteli.
“My mom’s involved too, but my dad and I run the truck every day together,” Zarra says. “Even my sister-in-law works the window most of the time. It’s definitely a family operation, it’s family recipes. We definitely care about the food that we make and I think the taste of the food reflects that.”
The Zarra family started the food truck in September 2020, which focuses on gyros — a Greek sandwich of roasted meat, vegetables, and usually tzatziki sauce served in pita bread. “The tzatziki sauce, which is the classic sauce that goes with gyros, a lot of places buy that — we make it from scratch,” Zarra says. “And that’s a recipe that’s been carried around our family for a long time.”
In addition to gyros, Feta’s serves up a variety of other Greek food through its specials, such as souvlakia and Grecian penne. “We’ll do a daily special and sometimes we’ll even branch a little bit outside of what’s known as Greek food to try to keep a wide variety of things,” Zarra adds.
And for those looking for a sweet treat, Kona Ice of Denton definitely has you covered.
Michelle Taylor and her husband, Jarrod, have owned the Kona Ice of Denton truck for about nine years. Taylor says she and her husband were not looking to start a food truck as they both had corporate jobs. However, that all changed when they first saw the Kona Ice of Denton truck when it was managed by its previous owner.
“He wanted to get out, so Jared and I saw the truck and we just couldn’t take our eyes off of it,” she recalls. “And so we were like, we want to do it, so then we bought it. We got so busy so quickly that I had to quit my job almost immediately and I’ve been doing it full-time ever since.”
Kona Ice of Denton serves treats made from shaved ice that customers can then flavor themselves using the patented Flavor Wave attached to the truck. All of the flavor syrups are gluten, dairy, and nut free. “And then we also have dye-free and sugar-free options as well,” Taylor says. “We try to make it so that we accommodate every customer that comes to the window.”
Additionally, Kona Ice now offers a crafted brand of syrups featuring flavors like blueberry mojito and lavender lemonade.
Taylor says the Kona Ice of Denton truck is mainly event-based and is rentable for all sorts of get-togethers, including birthday parties, corporate events, school events, and HOA events. And when working with youth sports teams and schools, Taylor says they donate a certain percentage back to the schools.
“If you want to bring people together, invite the Kona Ice truck out and we can definitely bring smiles to your faces and get people talking to each other,” Taylor adds.