Food trucks have power.
Don’t believe me? Let’s flashback to a time in my life when a four-wheeled eatery rumbled into the hearts of a small seaside community, and with just one—okay, a ton of—delicious shrimp burgers served, caused a bigger uproar than a fry tossed into a swell of seagulls. These bite-sized restaurants have sway.
The same can be said for the food trucks in our landlocked state. (By that, I mean the part where they have power. No seabirds, or chefs for that matter, were harmed in the making of this story.)
Our array of food trucks beckon passersby into their long lines, cause tech-savvy customers to track them across town, and draw hungry event-goers to themed festivals.
Whether you’re in the mood for something sweet or something smoky, there’s a walk-up window serving it somewhere nearby. And this article will help you find it.
Tiny Little Donuts
We’ll start with a treat that sells like hotcakes, err, donuts. Tiny Little Donuts, to be exact. I’m not talking about donut holes. I’m talking about light, crisp, tiny, little donuts in flavors such as Fresh Lemon Glazed and Old School Powdered Sugar, piled into brown paper boxes and served with miniature forks.
To experience them for yourself, travel to French’s Shoes & Boots’ lot and pull up next to the permanently parked, Long John-shaped airstream.
Once you’ve stepped onto its porch, past the billowing American flag (that’s almost as large as the shop), under its cream-colored sign, and into its surprisingly spacious interior, you’ll be met with soft country music, generous air conditioning, and the shaking of sprinkles.
The Coffee House
I didn’t forget about caffeine. I just wanted to make sure you got your sugar fix first thing. But you may be thinking: Why would I stand in line at a food truck when I could grab a drink from the comfort of my car?
And to that, I say: Why would you want to go through any old drive-through when there’s an adorable coffee camper parked off of Columbia Avenue?
Run by The Coffee House at Second and Bridge, this mobile drive-through is stocked with hot, iced, frozen, and drip coffees, plus teas, cookies, and muffins. Chat with the barista as they bustle around the fragrant camper, concocting your drink. And be sure to honk if you love coffee when you head out.
Tchoupitoulas Street Snoballs
If you roll from one truck to the next, you’ll notice that so far, each one seems to take up fewer parking spots than the last. While Tchoupitoulas Street Snoballs might be small, its New Orleans-inspired frozen treats are not. Bring cash along when you venture to this quasi-streetcar.
As you stand under its awning, perusing the myriad of flavors—classics like Tiger’s Blood stacked above citrusy juices—you’ll hear ice tinkling and smell syrupy sweet scents from behind the thin counter. Served in stark Styrofoam, these vibrant mountains of shaved ice may come to a point, but they’re as soft as snow.
Some people traverse Franklin over time to find new foods, while others prefer to stroll, progressive dinner style. Those who enjoy the latter should visit The Factory at Franklin on a Saturday.
There, they’ll find the Franklin Farmers Market, packed with locals buying fresh produce and crowding sidewalks and open asphalt, eagerly waiting to place an order at their favorite food truck.
Yayo’s OMG is one of those favorites. It sits alongside the market’s hubbub, a block of lime green, black, and white serving gourmet Mexican cuisine.
Once you’ve chatted with a friendly server through its window screen, press back into a patch of shade against the truck.
Take in the vehicle’s hum and the clink of a bottle cap as it’s removed from a Mexican Coke—the same Coke that’ll pair perfectly with your vegetarian Gourmet Tostada.
This dish is comprised of a crispy tortilla, stacked below a smooth layer of beans, savory cheese, special slaw, and pops of sweet dried fruit (and it’ll have you dreaming about your next visit before you’ve finished your first).
Once you’ve put a tip in Yayo’s food truck-shaped jar, walk over to Hogwood BBQ. You may have gathered from my order at Yayo’s that I’m vegetarian.
And you may be wondering how I could recommend a mobile barbecue joint that draws visitors with the smell of smoked meat.
Well, aside from the fact that I grilled my carnivorous friends about their orders (and said interrogations garnered positive responses), I was able to order, and thoroughly enjoy, something from this eatery: a customized Mac & Cheese Bowl.
Hogwood’s pasta is usually covered with brisket, pork beans, and bacon, but I didn’t feel left out as I dug into the large, softshells coated with thick white cheddar cheese drizzled with tangy red sauce.
Another must-try at the market, Califarmia, serves local, farm-fresh fare from its cheerful, blue truck. A blackboard boasting hand-lettered menu items—including gluten-free, dairy-free, wild-caught Water—is posted beside one of its two wide windows.
If you’re not sure what to get, the smell of the garlic sauce on the Hopewell Hash should be enough to persuade you. The aromatic aioli tops a perfect sunny-side-up egg, crunchy kale, onion strands, and sweet potato cubes. Sip on a Strawberry-Basil Lemonade as you wait for the rest of your order to be handed down.
If you’ve had your fill of the outdoors, you can head into The Factory to experience food from more of Franklin’s mobile eateries. But don’t expect to see shiny trucks parked inside. These two spots just so happen to have brick-and-mortar locations in this popular hangout.
Pinchy’s Lobster Co.
Slide into one of the heavy, wooden chairs lining the bar at Pinchy’s Lobster Co., and you’ll see firsthand what goes on inside its artful food truck that trundles around town.
Steam wafts up from vats of chowder, and buttery brioche rolls are assembled. If you’re looking for juicy, pink lobster, but Pinchy’s truck isn’t scheduled to show up, head here. (And don’t worry, I had a meat-eating taste tester for this locale as well.)
Last but certainly not least, we’ve got a Franklin staple: Mojo’s Tacos. Plant-based or not, add its Korean Cauliflower to your combo when you arrive.
It’s on my carefully curated Favorite Meals list for a good reason—and that reason may have to do with the perfectly cooked cauliflower, spicy sauce, and cool slaw melding together inside a thin tortilla.
Whether you’re seeing Mojo’s mascot plastered on the side of its food truck or framed on its wall, when the bull is near, you know a good meal and good times are soon to follow.
Food trucks have power. They can turn a four-wheeled eatery into four walls. They can turn a mundane lot into a culinary destination. And, when you turn a corner and see one parked up the street, they can turn into one of your favorite Franklin experiences.