Mobile Feasts: Exploring Santa Fe's Thriving Food Truck Scene -

Longtime Santa Fe resident Ricky Allen, a principal of Ricky Allen Real Estate, is a big fan of food trucks. Fortunately for him — and us — the City Different has an abundance of choices when it comes to grabbing a meal from a local food truck. Let’s learn a little about the evolution of food trucks and what the Santa Fe food truck scene has to offer.


Origins of Food Trucks

Cowboy chuckwagons are considered the forerunners of modern-day food trucks. Those contraptions helped cowboys transport food and supplies on cattle drives. A busy cook dished out beans and biscuits to hungry cowpokes, but there was little variety in those days.

Chuckwagons worked for cattle drives, but pushcarts were the answer for urban workers who needed a quick lunch in the middle of their workday after the Civil War. Garment and construction workers in major cities relied on vendors with pushcarts full of sandwiches or meat pies to get through the rest of their workday. In some parts of the country, pushcart vendors still offer items like tamales, hot dogs, or sandwiches even today!

The 1950s saw ice cream trucks slowly driving down neighborhood streets playing a jingle that made kids stop whatever they were doing and run out to get a five-cent popsicle or other frozen confection. 

Starting in the 1960s, workers who weren’t near restaurants could count on trucks with ready-to-eat meals to show up at their work-sites. These vendors typically served packaged sandwiches or other prepared food wrapped in foil or plastic. While those workers were glad to have a meal on the spot, there wasn’t much variety, and the food wasn’t all that tasty.


Modern Food Trucks

Food trucks and food trailers have come a long way from the days of chuckwagons, pushcarts, and foil-wrapped sandwiches of the ‘60s. Sometime after 2000, these mobile kitchens became associated with good food prepared on the spot, typically offering a specific cuisine. 

Food truck areas sprang up in many cities, offering diners a wealth of choices at one location. Now, savvy travelers look for mobile food vendors when they visit a new city. Some cities may have a large selection of Asian offerings, while others might carry Mexican selections like tacos or burritos. Locals everywhere rely on them for quick, tasty food prepared with care on the spot.


Flavors and Cultures of Food Truck Cuisine in Santa Fe

According to Ricky Allen, a principal of Ricky Allen Real Estate, there’s a large selection of food trucks in Santa Fe offering a variety of cuisines in the City Different.

Whether it’s for a work lunch, a casual dinner out under string lights, or a stop during weekend shopping, Santa Fe food trucks offer a variety of cuisines to suit any palate. 

Tacos top the list of food truck offerings. From authentic El Salvadorian to Asian tacos — yes, you read that right, Asian tacos — Santa Fe food trucks have your taco craving covered. Of course, you can grab a traditional taco and burrito at some of these mobile vendors, but trying something beyond the ordinary taco might be fun.

Sandwiches are also popular in the Santa Fe food truck lineup. From meatball subs to Caribbean flavors, you can step out of your sandwich comfort zone at one of many mobile kitchens.

Check out one of the Mediterranean-style mobile kitchens in town to sample falafel with hummus, lamb gyros, kebabs, or other Middle Eastern-style entrees. 

Bar-b-que eateries make up a portion of the food truck market. Sink your teeth into brisket, ribs, pulled pork, and other options on the streets of Santa Fe.

And, of course, pizza is always a favorite. You might even find one with a mobile wood-fired oven! You can grab a slice on the go or sit down for a whole pizza. The variety of pizza types is on par with anything you could find at a pizza restaurant. Some of these pizza trucks also offer subs and salads.


Trends Shaping the Food Truck Industry

Along with the ever-expanding culinary varieties, many vendors also cater to specific dietary needs. Diners can easily find vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options at Santa Fe food trucks. 

While most packaging is disposable, look for more eco-friendly options when dining on the street. To make grabbing a quick meal easy, most mobile food vendors now accept a variety of payment methods. 

Local festivals or farmer’s markets often include several food trucks, so attendees can find delicious options when attending events or visiting breweries.


A Sampling of Santa Fe Food Trucks

It’s hard to pick just a few of these tantalizing mobile eateries, but here are some suggestions from longtime Santa Fe resident and realtor Ricky Allen:

  • Santa Fe Barbeque — Dig into some delicious barbeque at this rolling restaurant.
  • El Chile Toreado is your one-stop shop for Mexican food on the go. Check out their breakfast burritos or their lunch-time favorites.
  • The Street Food Institute offers training for potential food truck vendors. Supervised students do everything from preparing, cooking, and business planning while learning how to run a food truck. Customers get great meals and help out potential business owners when they purchase food from one of these trucks.
  • Back Road Pizza offers pizza, subs, salads, and other items on their expansive menu.



Photo of Ricky Allen, Cathy Griffith, and Tana Earley with logo.



RICKY: 505-470-8233  |  
CATHY: 505-500-2729  |  
TARA: 505-660-1734





This article was posted by Rory Macpherson

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