The Ultimate SoWa Food Truck Guide

The owners and personnel from SoWa’s favorite food trucks tell us how they eat. Trust us, you’ve been missing out.

SoWa food truck

Photo by Chelsea Kyle

The SoWa Market, everyone’s favorite open-air bazaar, returned on May 4, welcoming in legions of South End shoppers hungry for its annual bounty of farm fresh produce, artisanal crafts, and of course, unique food truck fare. Throughout the spring and summer, SoWa holds court to Boston’s largest collection of food truck vendors, with up to 30 mobile restaurants serving everything from macarons and ice cream, to satay and tonkotsu ramen.

With only a handful of months to take advantage of this veritable cornucopia, what’s the best way to navigate Harrison Ave.’s overabundance of options? To answer that loaded question, we asked the brains (and mouths) behind some of SoWa’s most popular food trucks and carts. Here’s the fool-proof guide to emerging fat, happy, and placated every SoWa Sunday.

May 4 – October 26, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., 460 Harrison Ave., Boston; 800-403-8305 or newenglandopenmarkets.com.

compliments

Grass-fed beef sliders at Compliments food truck. Photo by Chelsea Kyle

COMPLIMENTS FOOD CO.

Top Seller: “Cheezy Goodness” grilled cheese sandwich on sourdough bread with Vermont cheddar, swiss, and a salt-and-peppered griddled tomato.

What You Should Be Ordering: “‘We Work Well Together’” grass fed beef sliders and our fried cauliflower,” owner Bobby Maclean (not pictured) says. “We get our beef from Adams Farm out of Athol. It’s a nice place with very happy, farm-raised cows. It’s served with Vermont cheddar and layered between two slices of parm-griddled baguette from Pain D’avignon bakery, which is baked fresh for us everyday.”

frozenhoagie

Salted caramel ice cream from The Chilly Cow on owner Mary McPartland’s fudge brownie cookie. Photo by Chelsea Kyle

FROZEN HOAGIES

Top Seller: Chocolate chip cookie with Mint Explosion ice cream from The Chilly Cow in Arlington.

What You Should Be Ordering: “People should order whatever combination they like,” says owner Mary McPartland. “I usually have four or five cookies and up to 16 different ice cream choices every Sunday. My  regulars get really inventive and choose two different cookies and two flavors of ice cream squished onto one sandwich. If I had to choose a favorite though, it would be my fudge brownie cookie with salted caramel ice cream.”

tacotruck

Pescado taco made with fried catfish, red cabbage, and Pico de Gallo. Photo by Toan Trinh

THE TACO TRUCK

Top Seller: Pescado Taco

What You Should Be Ordering: “If you haven’t tried the Pescado, you must,” says Operating Partner Greg Vasey. “It’s a combination of everything we do well. It feels like a full meal because of the battered catfish, but it also has the cold, fresh red cabbage, which really lightens it up. Definitely add the guacamole and chipotle salsa, which we make fresh daily.”

stoked

Buffalo chicken pizza at Stoked Wood Fired Pizza. Photo by Toan Trinh

STOKED WOOD FIRED PIZZA CO.

Top Seller: Pepperoni pizza

What You Should Be Ordering: “The Buffalo chicken pizza combines the savoriness from the wood-roasted chicken and my house-made, slightly sweet Buffalo sauce,” says co-owner Scott Riebling. “You get that sweet and salty combination that is so prevalent in Thai and Chinese cooking. Along with the nice, charred flavor from the chicken, there’s the salty Gorgonzola that adds that blue cheese, umami component. A lot of pizza places just squirt Frank’s RedHot sauce on top of a chicken pizza, serve it with some ranch dressing, and call it a Buffalo pizza. But we make ours with love. Everything is scratch-made, including the Buffalo sauce, which is made from five secret ingredients.”

m&m

M&M BBQ manager Geovanni Lambert holds a half-rack of baby back ribs. Photo by Chelsea Kyle.

M&M BBQ FOOD TRUCK

Top Seller: Beef brisket sandwich

What You Should Be Ordering: “We pride ourselves on our ribs,” says manager Geovanni Lambert (pictured). “Sure, the ribs are a bit messy to eat, but they’re well worth the hassle, especially paired with our mac-and-cheese, collard greens, and coleslaw.”

pariscreperie

The For-Biden Fruit crepe. Photo by Chelsea Kyle

THE PARIS CREPERIE

Top Seller: S’Mores Crepe

What You Should Be Ordering: “People always order the s’mores crepe, which is good and delicious, but also a little heavy. You have a couple bites and you’re kind of over it,” Martha Griem says. “What they should be ordering is the For-Biden [yes, named after Joe Biden] Fruit which is both sweet and savory. It’s layered with apples, cheddar, and brown sugar. It’s just simple and delicious.”

grillos

Photo by Chelsea Kyle

GRILLO’S PICKLES

Top Seller: Italian Dill spears

What You Should Be Ordering: “Either our new bread and butter pickled jalapeños or the pickled ramps,” says Operations Manager Eric Grillo (not pictured). “The ramps are only available for a short period every spring and they’re amazing. It’s the first thing people look for at the stand, so we usually sell out first thing in the morning.”

bonme

Bon Me’s soba noodle salad with miso-braised pork and marinated tea eggs. Photo by Chelsea Kyle

BON ME

Top Seller: Chinese barbecue pork bahn mi

What You Should Be Ordering: “Our miso-braised pulled pork is absolutely delicious and it pairs best with the Soba noodles,” says owner Patrick Lynch. “Not only is it a healthy choice, but the flavors just meld together beautifully.” Besides the dense bed of soba, bean sprouts, chopped seasonal greens, carrots, and the nest of cilantro sprigs, Lynch also recommends adding Bon Me’s tea eggs, which are marinated overnight in a rich bath of black tea and soy sauce.

mei mei street kitchen

Mei Mei co-owner Irene Li blowtorches an ear of corn. Photo by Chelsea Kyle

MEI MEI STREET KITCHEN

Top Seller: The Double Awesome, a scallion pancake sandwich stuffed with Vermont cheddar, pesto, and eggs that have been poached and then fried.

What You Should Be Ordering: Blow-torched sweet corn that has been basted in bacon fat. “The corn typically comes from Four Town Farm in Seekonk, but we also source from a number of other farms, some that are right there at the SoWa market,” says co-owner Irene Li (pictured).

“We’re the only place you can get corn charred with a blowtorch,” Li says. “More specifically though, we love that blowtorching gets you that nice grilled flavor that is so evocative of summertime without spoiling the intense sweetness of raw corn. We love the contrast of cool, raw sweet corn with its charred, fatty exterior.”

blackmagic

Black Magic Coffee owner Dave Simon pours his specialty, malted iced coffee. Photo by Chelsea Kyle

BLACK MAGIC COFFEE CO.

Top Seller: Latté

What You Should Be Ordering: Malted iced coffee, which combines cold-steeped Tandem Coffee Roasters El Higueron Costa Rican coffee, whole milk from Shaw Farm, and owner David Simon’s specialty, liquid malt. Yes, that’s the same liquid malt used by beer brewers.

roxys

Roxy’s Grilled Cheese manager, Nicole Losata, shows off her favorite sandwich, “The Mighty Rib.” Photo by Chelsea Kyle

ROXY’S GRILLED CHEESE

Top Seller: “Green Muenster Melt” with muenster cheese, house-made guacamole, and applewood smoked bacon.

What You Should Be Ordering: “The ‘Mighty Rib’ is definitely the employee favorite,” says manager Nicole Losata. “It’s our biggest sandwich and it’s loaded with fontina, caramelized onions, and barbecue braised beef. Sometimes we like to doctor it up even further with lots of chopped fresh rosemary.”

diningcar

The Honey Truffle Goat Cheese Sandwich at The Dining Car. Photo by Chelsea Kyle

THE DINING CAR

Top Seller: Grilled chicken sandwich with avocado, cucumber, and wasabi aioli

What You Should Be Ordering: Honey Truffle Goat Cheese Sandwich made with marinated goat cheese spread, honey truffled walnuts, salad greens,and sherry vinaigrette. “Nobody does else anything like it,” says manager Jeremy Ellis. “It’s a really great salad packed into crusty French bread.”

batch

Batch’s newest flavor, Brown Sugar, Bourbon, & Pecan. Photo by Chelsea Kyle

BATCH ICE CREAM

Top Seller: Salted Caramel ice cream

What You Should Be Ordering: Brown Sugar, Bourbon, and Pecan. “What Batch is all about is that we use real ingredients without any artificial extracts or flavorings,” says co-owner Susie Parish. “Our newest flavor uses a combination of Maker’s Mark and Jim Beam bourbons, as well as organic brown sugar, and custom-roasted pecans. There’s no weird stuff in Batch, so there are no additives like carrageenan or xanthan gum. It’s just milk, cream, eggs, sugar. We’re also using local as much as possible, so all the dairy is from here in New England. It’s a great combination because it’s a little bit boozy, but it’s also sweet. You can really taste the bourbon. Maybe that’s why it’s a dessert finalist at the SOFI awards.”

bone daddy's burgers

Operations Manager Rich Cambriello holds his spicy Buffalo Burger. Photo by Chelsea Kyle

BONE DADDY’S BURGERS

Top Seller: The Lemmy, a ground beef burger topped with truck-made Jack Daniels barbecue sauce, smoked onion crisps, bacon, and cheddar cheese.

What You Should Be Ordering: The Buffalo Diablo, which is made with 100% ground buffalo, crumbled blue cheese, fried celery root, and owner Rich Cambriello’s fiery, habañero-infused buffalo sauce. “I always recommend the Buffalo because it’s just different—made as it is with lean buffalo meat—and it’s hard to get because we only make 10 a day. Also, the sauce is amazingly hot. If you like spice, you have to check it out. With every batch of my 666 sauce I just keep adding more and more dried peppers.”

benny's crepe cafe

The smoked salmon crepe and owner Frank Shear’s signature top hat. Photo by Chelsea Kyle

BENNY’S CREPE CAFÉ

Top Seller: Ham and cheese crepe filled with Black Forest ham, swiss, cheddar, sauteed crimini mushrooms, and honey mustard

What You Should Be Ordering: “My favorite is the smoked salmon crepe,” says owner Frank Shear. Inspired by the crepe trucks he frequented on a vacation in Paris, Shear makes his crepes with a traditional blend of buckwheat and white flour. He uses all Nova Scotia smoked salmon to complement the herb-studded cow’s milk cream cheese spread, red onion, and arugula. “The key is that we add a little bit of caper juice to the cheese to thin it out and give it a more manageable consistency,” Shear says. “Afterward, you don’t have that heavy, belly full of cream cheese you normally get with bagel and lox. Also, the bed of fresh baby arugula, which is crisp and peppery, is a nice contrast to the salmon.”

bacon truck

The Turkey Avo sandwich at The Bacon Truck. Photo by Toan Trinh

THE BACON TRUCK

Top Seller: “The Hangover” with bacon, bacon hash, havarti, and a fried egg.

What You Should Be Ordering: “The Hangover is a really good sandwich, but for me personally, if you’re not in the right mood, it can give you a food hangover,” says co-owner Sam Williams. “‘The ‘Turkey Avo’ on the other hand is something we can eat any day. It’s the most well-rounded with all-white meat turkey breast that we roast ourselves. We throw it on Iggy’s sourdough bread with a ton of avocado, Beefsteak tomatoes, romaine lettuce, and our signature chimichurri aioli.”

  • Ant Costa

    Just wondering where someone can get a food truck.