Local Vibes

Food truck festivals are extremely popular here in New Jersey. For a lot of people I know, it’s a “Must Go To” event. When I attend one, I usually can determine who has the goods by the length of the line of people.

My colleague, Jimmy Steal attended the Food Truck Festival at Monmouth Park Racetrack and told me that on one of the hottest days of the year, Cousin’s Maine Lobster had, without a doubt the longest line out of any other food truck. If there are 40 people in line waiting to order food on a day you can literally fry an egg on the pavement, then you know the food is to die for.

When I compile and post these lists on social media, I always get called out for “forgetting” a crowd favorite. I really do appreciate the heads up, and the introduction to a place I either didn’t know existed or a place that I haven’t heard much about. So thank you for any feedback you post.

I have to start with one of the absolute best. The list isn’t compiled in any particular order, but I have to say based on word of mouth the first food truck listed is without a doubt one of the best.

  • Harry's Smokin' BBQ - 240 Dover Rd, South Toms River

    Harry’s Smokin’ BBQ truck can be found at 240 Dover Rd Tuesday through Friday from 11 am to 4 pm and 9 am to 4 pm on Saturday unless he’s at an event, or he’s busy preparing food for a catered event. You can always check his website for hours of availability, or call him at: (848) 223-9955. Sometimes he has to close early because he sells out. Harry’s Smokin’ BBQ was the clear winner of three 2022 WRAT Shore Awards for Best Food Truck, Best BBQ, and Best Wings. Try to top that!

    HARRYS TRUCK

    Harry’s Smokin’ BBQ

  • Empanada Guy -568 Park Ave. Freehold, NJ

    If you’re a food truck enthusiast, surely you’ve seen Empanada Guy in his big red truck at many places across the state of New Jersey since 2012. Empanada Guy is one of the fastest-growing gourmet food trucks and restaurants in the United States. Their specialty is empanadas,  they also serve many traditional Latin dishes. He has a  take-out restaurant on Park Ave in Freehold as well.  He’s expanded his business with more than just one truck these days, as well as selling packages of frozen empanadas for you to take home, just in case you get a craving at 2 in the morning. We’re happy for this hard-working man who has fed the RAT crew for years.

  • Mo's Kitchen - 925 Monroe Ave Asbury Park, NJ

    Egyptian and Middle Eastern street food with a flair. This review sums it up: If you’re looking for good food in or near Asbury Park, you definitely have to check out Mo’s Kitchen! Great food and the portions are big for the price you’re paying. I strongly recommend you order extra garlic sauce because it is amazing. Definitely will be ordering from here again soon!

     

     

  • Johnny's Pork Roll And Coffee Too - 8A Monmouth Street, Red Bank, NJ

    Johnny’s has a restaurant in Red Bank and the positive reviews have me wondering why lots of people love this place. I got my answer by reading comments on the social media food pages I belong to, and the many positive friends and listener reviews.  According to his YouTube page, Johnny Yarusi, New Jersey’s famous pork roll has been a lifelong love affair. Now, he makes a variety of inspired pork roll sandwiches out of his food truck, Johnny’s Pork Roll. Johnny’s food truck operates around the Jersey coast, where he serves up the traditional pork roll, egg, and cheese sandwich, as well as a pork roll Reuben, a Hawaiian-style pork roll sandwich, and more.

     

  • Caribbean Soul Food Truck - Neptune, NJ

    Rondell Donaldson, aka “Chef Smoov” is THE MAN!!  I met him a few years ago and tasted his food for the first time, and all I can say is, “Holy Flavor Blast.” Rondell has quite a bit of inspiration from his lovely lady, Renee Campbell who also has a food truck. She’s the Caribbean part, he’s the soul part of this successful business on wheels.  Rondell trained in the Food Bank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties’ culinary program and worked in restaurants before deciding to take a chance on Caribbean Soul.  The Bang Bang Shrimp, the fried fish, the Caribbean wings, and the Jerk chicken will take you places you’ve never been before. Don’t get me started with his mac and cheese recipe. Plus, the chef loads up the plate for big appetites. Keep an eye out for Caribbean Soul at Island Heights Trucktoberfest 11/15 11-6 pm, Asbury Park (Springwood Park Community Event) 10/22 11-4 pm, Jersey Shore Premium Outlets Every Friday, Saturday & Sunday-From November 1st to January 1st, 11 am to 9 pm.

    bang bang shrimp

    Caribbean Soul

    Jerk Chicken Cheesesteak

    Caribbean Soul

  • Cousins Maine Lobster -Freehold, NJ

    Locally owned, and nationally known, Cousins Maine Lobster brings authentic Maine lobster to neighborhoods across the U.S. by way of our food trucks & brick & mortar restaurants. They’re everywhere! The long lines at various festivals and stops all over New Jersey and beyond tell the true story. Their various lobster roll offerings are legendary. The lobster bisque, lobster grilled cheese, lobster tots, and lobster tacos are tasty treats and decently priced for this lobster lover. 

  • Just Desserts and Concessions - Asbury Park, NJ

    I mentioned Renee Campbell while spotlighting the Caribbean Soul food truck because she’s been a large part of that success story. Now on to another soon-to-be success, because Renee is a rock star when it comes to desserts of any kind. We’ve messaged back and forth and any time I’ve posted photos of my baked goods and decorative cakes. We share a love of baking and creating sweet treats. Earlier in 2022, Renee debuted her “Just Desserts” food truck and she’s been busy ever since. In the near future, you can find Renee and her creations at Island Heights Trucktoberfest 11/15 11-6 pm, Asbury Park (Springwood Park Community Event) 10/22 11-4 pm, Jersey Shore Premium Outlets Every Friday, Saturday & Sunday-From November 1st to January 1st, 11 am to 9 pm. By the way, her strawberry cheesecake creation is outstanding.

    Just Desserts

    Just Desserts

  • El Lechon De Negron - 1331 Magie Ave Union, NJ

    The RAT is very familiar with this fabulous food truck. El Lechon De Negron has appeared at several of our events including the WRAT- Asbury Park Beerfest. They’re a huge hit with our listeners, so I absolutely need to feature their authentic Puerto Rican cuisine. Plus when you get discovered by The Food Network, you know you’re next level. The Pernil is as authentic as it gets. Slow-roasted pork shoulder in a bath of flavorful spices. The Lechon burger is a favorite. 8 oz of handmade goodness of fresh ground beef, their famous pernil, and chorizo topped with American cheese, sauteed onions, and mayo-ketchup. If you ever see them in your travels, definitely hit them up. You need to consume the pork crackings It’s all about the chicharrones!!

  • Your Sister's Balls - Colts Neck, NJ

    Great name! It got my attention! It’s a meatball business started by Nicole Montecalvo and her mother, Debra Visciano, as her partner, and her sister, Jackie Barbarino cooking in the kitchen. According to an article in the Asbury Park Press, Your Sister’s Balls‘ menu is inspired by family recipes: meatballs made from beef, sausage, seafood, and chicken stuffed with mozzarella, all of which come with bread for dipping. She also serves eggplant Parmesan, pasta, and mini calzones.  There are seafood balls made with scallops, shrimp, and crabmeat, Gobble Gool Balls made with her specialty seasoned turkey recipe, topped with mozzarella and tomato sauce. It’s balls-to-the-wall goodness. Goodness, you need to have in your life.

  • Bake’n Bacon - South Philadelphia & New Jersey Events

    We all need bacon in our lives. I was in search of a bacon food truck and I found one. According to the Bake’n Bacon website: They’ve crafted over 20 combinations using thick-cut applewood smoked bacon, paired with a plethora of proteins, veggies, jams, sauces, and flavors that’ll have you in awe, and have your taste buds craving more. They are quite elusive, I suppose they do a lot of private catering because the only time I’ve seen them in these parts is when there’s a bacon festival. South Jersey and Philly rave about them! I’m happy about this guy’s success!