The New Food Truck Roundup: Fall Edition

Street Food Header

Aaron Fenster / Heavy Table

Though it may seem odd to cover street food this late in the season, you should trust that we have our reasons. This surprised us as well: We couldn’t believe how many new street food operations have popped up since this summer. Some Twitter chatter about truck inspections also implies that more will be coming, and sooner than later. (Also see our master directory of Twin Cities street food.)

We recently checked out five newcomers: YumMi, Cave Cafe, Messy Giuseppe, Get Sauced, and Origins Coffee & Tea. (Due to circumstance or just ill luck, we’ve never been able to intersect with Scratch Food Truck. But may God hunt us all if we do not hunt it to the death!) The mercury may be falling swiftly, but many purveyors are going to be braving it as long as they can, in true hardcore Minnesotan fashion.


YumMi Truck

Emily Schnobrich / Heavy Table

YumMi, run by culinary grad Hoa Nguyen and ex-corporate guy James Schanen, covers the classic Vietnamese banh mi sandwich. They sell four variations with adorable monikers: the Korean-style beef Moo Mi ($8), sweet braised pork belly / shoulder Oink Mi ($7.50), five-spice chicken Peck Mi ($7), and lemongrass-soy-marinated tofu Bean Mi ($6.50). They shy away from tradition, which could be a good or bad thing, depending on how much you love jalapenos and pate. Watch for seafood options and hot drinks as they plan to blast through the winter. Since their debut on October 13, they’ve camped out on Nicollet Mall & 11th St. in Minneapolis.

Cave Cafe

Cave Cafe

Aaron Fenster / Heavy Table

Ethiopian native Teddy Negash’s truck is all over St. Paul this month — we’ve spotted them outside MPR’s headquarters, in Rice Park, outside the St. Paul Police Department, and at Bandana Square. Negash has been hustling around the city to promote his “20 For East Africa” initiative, in which he has pledged to donate 20 percent of the truck’s profits to famine relief efforts.

Though the truck totes “Afro-Italian fusion” as its specialty, it seems to skew more toward Ethiopian food with some nods to American classics, such as burgers ($5.50) and Philly cheesesteaks ($6.50). We tried their chicken curry ($9), a decent mix of veggies and really tender chicken served over rice. Hands down, the best part of the dish was the herbed flatbread, which is also the medium for the truck’s wraps.

Messy Giuseppe

Messy Giuseppe's

Aaron Fenster / Heavy Table

Messy G’s is the mobile offshoot of Cafe Zia in Roseville, serving up the mothership’s signature take on the Sloppy Joe in locations around St. Paul. The truck is pretty easy to spot — just look for the decal of a Pokemon-esque Italian man on its side. The truck’s offerings include the Messy Giuseppe (above, left), hot Italian beef (above, right), a hoagie, and their Ultimate Grilled Cheese (all $6). All said, their Messy Giuseppe definitely tastes worthy of a spin-off truck, with great seasoning and an utterly addictive, buttery bun.

Get Sauced

Get Sauced

Aaron Fenster / Heavy Table

Brought to you by the same guys who helm the hot dog cart at Lake Calhoun, Get Sauced features tacos ($7, in Asian or Mexican styles), barbeque meat sandwiches, and a revolving cast of other menu items. On a recent visit, we sampled a lobster roll (above, upper left; $10) with Mexican-influenced flavors, and a cob-free take on elote, or Mexican grilled corn (above, lower left; $4). A small quibble: The cooks’ bedside manner could use a little work, but we understand how cooks can be sometimes. With its garish, graffiti-inspired paint job, the truck is easy to spot from afar. But just so you know, they’ve been at Marquette Ave. between 7th and 8th streets pretty regularly.

Origins Coffee & Tea

Origins Coffee & Tea

Aaron Fenster / Heavy Table

Deep in Starbucks, Dunn Bros., and Caribou territory, Joseph Struyk’s cart is an island of good cheer and craft drink slinging. The menu is simple — just drinks — though that encompasses a wide selection. He uses beans from Dogwood Coffee, cocoa from Valrhona, and local milk to make some of the best coffee drinks in the metro, without the fanatical attitude that tends to alienate people at other coffee shops. Minneapolis is lucky to have Struyk out on the pavement, and we highly encourage you to stop by his cart, which is always at Nicollet Mall and 5th St.

With additional reporting by Emily Schnobrich.

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  1. howard_child 10/21/2011

    Wow! just since last year there really has been a boom in food trucks. Haven’t been to Portland, but are we close to them?

  2. Kristin Thompson 10/21/2011

    I stopped by Origins last week for the first time (after walking past someone dressed up as a caribou trying to entice me into, you guessed it, Caribou). My latte was first-class and the service wonderfully personal. I asked if he had a minimum temperature for being out, and he said he’d stay as long as folks are willing to brave the cold to get in line.

  3. Brandon 10/23/2011

    I wish I knew whether these places were worth going to and which items I should get or avoid.

  4. Went to Get Sauced the other day and had the pulled pork sandwich with apple slaw and it was BY FAR one of the best barbeque sandwiches I have ever had. They aren’t the most friendly truck out there but the food is fantastic. Thanks for highlighting Origins. Super nice guy and you can’t beat the quality of the beverages.

  5. Howard,

    We’re not even close to Portland. They have 2/3rds the population and maybe 500-750 food trucks/trailers. We’ve got maybe 50?