With street food enjoying a renaissance across the United States, it may no longer be necessary to steer clear of trailer fare. From coast to coast, top chefs are trading frenzied restaurant kitchens for the tight quarters of a mobile unit, transforming what we can expect from meals on wheels.
At a shiny Airstream in Seattle called Skillet, a quick transaction through the sliding window yields a wagyu beef burger topped with bacon jam. Owners Danny Sizemore and Josh Henderson, both trained chefs, offer high-quality food without the markup of a traditional restaurant.
“We want to provide impeccably prepared, seasonally relevant food that won’t hurt your wallet,” Sizemore says, and the instant popularity of Skillet proves that a highly designed space isn’t a prerequisite for a great meal. Of course, some people still take their first visit to Skillet with a serving of skepticism, Sizemore adds, “but once they try it, they like it.”
Head south to Austin, Texas, where Torchy’s Tacos holds true to the Tex-Mex tradition—but the tacos that come out of their aromatic “trailer park” are uncommonly good. “We see our food as gourmet cuisine on a tortilla,” says co-owner Bob Gentry. “Items such as turkey mole, fried avocado, and Baja shrimp tacos are far from the norm in other trailers or trucks.” Situated next to a busy thoroughfare, the tree-shaded clearing is an undesigned outdoor dining room with well-defined ambiance and a constant stream of patrons who take their time to taste an exceptional taco in a plastic chair by the roadside.