Eight Iconic Rhode Island Food Trucks
June 16, 2022
Fun fact: Rhode Island Red Food Tours was born out of a desire to showcase the extraordinary, diverse and unparalleled culinary scene of the Ocean State and Rhode Island food trucks are part of it. A tight-knit community, the food and drink folks here (and we say both food AND drink because we have women and doing amazing things on the craft brew, wine, cocktail, mocktail and zero-proof spirits front here) lift one another up, try new things together and support one another’s journeys.
Rhode Island food trucks has also seen a lot of chefs, makers and food artisans take their craft mobile with food trucks, carts, vintage campers and even converted horse trailers! You can usually scope out local food trucks locations by visiting their social media. Here are some of our favorite Rhode Island food trucks:
A Mano Pizza
There’s pizza, and then there’s authentic Neapolitan wood-fired brick-oven pizza. The Italian phrase “A Mano” means “by hand,” which is an appropriate name as each pizza is made to order. A Mano’s pillowy hand-kneaded dough, made fresh, is fired to the perfect amount of soft-meets-crisp, making it an idyllic bed for organic toppings imported from Italy.
The front of the truck is glass so hungry diners can see the pizzas and calzones being crafted then cooked. Wood stacked cords in the window, ready to keep the oven at temperature, then cooked to perfection in two minutes. The classic margarita pie is a best seller but the pie with thinly sliced prosciutto di Parma, arugula, tomato and mozzarella, easily rivals it.
A Mano can typically be found within Newport’s city lines, often on Bellevue Avenue or King Park overlooking the harbor, but it’ll also roll up to special events at Fort Adams as well as Newport Craft Brewery, Greenvale Vineyards, and other happening places about the city.
Spanglish is an effervescent food trailer serving a flavorful new take on Latin-America’s favorite comfort food: the empanada. An empanada is a flaky, crescent-shaped, easy grab and go food – a turnover, essentially – that’s usually baked or fried and filled with any number of different selections.
Spanglish’s gourmet empanadas range from savory to sweet – and some are a combination of both. With more than 18 handmade empanada offerings, there’s literally an empanada for everyone. El Camarón is made with shrimp, and The Milly, Spanglish’s most popular savory pastry, is an empanada’s take on a cheese steak, while The Margarita includes fresh pesto, mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes and sweet balsamic drizzled atop. Dessert empanadas are amazing too, as evidenced by Spanglish’s Sugar Baby (just order it…trust us). Find Spanglish at the Field of Artisans Market in Providence, Linesider Food Truck Nights, The Guild PVD Beer Garden, the weekly Food Truck Festival at Mulligan’s Island in Cranston and concerts at Providence Innovation Park.
Ri Cruisin’ Cocktails
A bar on wheels…who could ask for anything more? RI Cruisin’ Cocktails consists of “Rosie” and “Marigold” charming 1961 Shasta trailers turned mobile bars. Each a totally retro outfitted trailer contains three taps and owner Sarah Gwizdowski makes beautiful craft cocktails, often using locally made spirits including Rhodium Gin from Rhode Island Spirits and Thomas Tew Spiced Rum from Newport Craft.
RI Cruisin’ Cocktails is always a hit at weddings, parties and private events as well as at public events and festivals throughout the state. Dark n’ Stormies for a Newport regatta? Yes! Botanical blends at the Roger Williams Park Botanical Garden? Absolutely! Roll on up to Revival Brewing Company? Easy peasy. On Sunday, June 19, see Rosie or Marigold at the Summer Solstice party in Warren. Also, visit them at Hope & Main’s Schoolyard Markets on Wednesdays from 4-7, through September.
Basil & Bunny
Who says comfort food can’t also be made with really good things? Basil & Bunny is known for a menu that is full of comfort food inspired by multicultural flavors – and it’s entirely plant-based. For example, their “Hoppy Popper’ is a seasoned Impossible burger smashed and grilled then topped with melted vegan “cheeze,” crispy onions, pickled jalapenos, lettuce, tomato, house beer “cheeze,” and ranch on a toasted brioche roll. The vegan clam cakes are made with local beer and oyster mushrooms. Maybe in the mood for a sweet treat?
This month, 10% of the sales of the Pride MMMBop-Tart, a hand made strawberry filled pop-tart smeared with rainbow icing and naturally colored rainbow sprinkles, will go to RI Youth Pride. Find Basil & Bunny at Narragansett Brewery, Proclamation Ale, Hope & Main and other locales around Rhode Island. Additionally exciting, Basil & Bunny is working on their first brick and mortar location which will be opening in the new Unity Park in Bristol. Follow them on IG for updates!
Based in South Kingston, ButterHead has quickly become one of the most sought after food trucks in South County (and the region!), despite being just a year old. Helmed by Matthew Brown and Freida Sahady, ButterHead’s unique, well curated menu includes sandwiches like the Banh You stuffed with Vietnamese pork, daikon and cilantro; a kimchi hot dog, and a classic beef burger with American cheese, pickles and onions. But there are more creative takes too, including the “Sahady so Hotty” with eggplant, haloumi, arugula and chermoula made with fresh herbs and “The DTMB” (The Downton Matt Brown) featuring Peruvian chicken.
Matt and Frieda source from local farms including The Mission Farm, Brandon Family Farm, Wild Harmony Farms and many more. Popular stops for ButterHead include Tilted Barn Brewery, Whalers Brewery, Proclamation Ale, The Guild RI, Shaidzon Beer Company and other locations throughout Rhode Island.
You may have heard that the mocktail and zero-proof spirits market has been growing exponentially, but what if we told you the non-alcoholic drinks market was valued at $820 BILLION in 2020? Yep. So the timing is right for Kristi’s Kraftails to make its way around Rhode Island. Locally sourced, seasonally inspired, and balanced, these “kraft mocktails” are all of the fun and flavor but without the hangover.
Kristi’s Kraftails makes concoctions in a variety of flavors, such as the Mint To Be, a mint orange blossom “sour” with fresh mint, orange blossom, lemon and spritz of orange essence. Another refresher is the Hibiscus Lavender “Daiquiri,” a twist on the classic cocktail only with lavender, hibiscus, lime and orange essence. Sold in 12 oz. serving sizes ( serves 2) or can be purchased for your party events in 1 gallon size (serves 21) just add alcohol and you have a professionally mixed fresh cocktail mix made by a much sort after bartender in RI.
Visit their Maui the Mocktail Kart, there are 2 of them, which can be found at various markets and pop-up events around RI but is most often parked next to The Box, East Bay food truck (formerly known as the Taco Box) near Del’s Lemonade in Warren for the perfect refreshment if you’re taking in the East Bay Bike Path!
Newport Chowder Company
In the 1980s and 1990s, Muriel’s Restaurant was a Newport hotspot known for incredible dishes and its from scratch seafood chowder made by proprietress Muriel Barclay de Tolly. Her chowder won the Great Chowder Cook-off three years in a row and was then retired to the Chowder Hall of Fame. In 2019, Muriel’s daughter, Katie Potter, was inspired to revive the famous seafood chowder, first by creating Newport Chowder Company packets for retail stores and markets containing all the secret spices.
One year later, she acquired both a full scale food truck and a food cart for smaller events and venues, with a second truck debuting this summer. In addition to the iconic seafood chowder, Newport Chowder Company trucks serve up lobster rolls, seafood mac n’ cheese, authentic Rhode Island stuffies, shrimp cocktail, and for landlubbers, apple, cheddar and bacon grilled cheese as well as soft, warm pretzels from Rhode Island’s Buns Bakery. Newport Chowder Company trucks are regulars at Food Truck Fridays at Roger Williams State Park, Greenvale Vineyards, Ragged Island Brewery and special events.
It would be a crime to have a Rhode Island food truck listicle that didn’t include the granddaddy of them all: Haven Bros. Founded in 1888 as a horse-drawn lunch wagon by widower Anne Philomena Haven, the diner on wheels stayed in the family until 1953. Every evening at 4:30, the proprietor wheels the 1949 Fred W. Morse diner car to the corner of Dorrance and Fulton streets next to Providence City Hall and Kennedy Plaza. The menu hasn’t changed much over the decades” hamburger, cheeseburger, veggie burger, the Haven Dog, chicken tenders, onion rings (they’re amazing) mozzarella sticks, Texas Toast grilled cheese, Philly cheesesteak, fried dough, fries, milkshakes and root beer floats.
These are some of the very best food trucks in Rhode Island, and there are so many more. Stay on top of their locations via social media and discover new favorites along the way.