Barbecue. Street tacos. Sweet treats.
Among other options, food trucks offer a variety of choices that encourage individuals to try new foods that cannot be found anywhere else.
Food trucks are growing in popularity across the United States, creating a local and authentic vibe that people of all ages can enjoy. The mobile food industry is rapidly becoming a popular sensation that almost everyone is taking part in, especially in Lubbock.
Hungry college students and residents within the community are beginning to see that some of the best food in Lubbock lies in the up-and-coming food trucks.
Hundreds of people brought their appetites to the first West Texas Food Truck Championship on Oct. 7 in south Lubbock.
The event was hosted by Hub City Food Trucks at Cook’s Garage, with all proceeds going to the Boots and Badges non-profit organization to help benefit first responders and their families who experience traumatic events.
Early in the morning, despite the windy weather, long lines quickly began to form in front of the variety of trucks available to choose from. According to many attending the event, the favorite was of course, Barbeque.
Chopped and Sliced, a food truck that has been around for almost 10 years, has become even more popular during the past three years.
“Lubbock is finally catching on to all the good food that these trucks have to offer,” says Shawn Stevens, owner of Chopped and Sliced.
“You know, I think the people of Lubbock are getting more into food trucks because there is such a wide variety of choices, and it’s something to go out and do with your friends and family,” Stevens added. “Just walk around and enjoy all there is to be offered.”
According to Stevens, the best seller on their menu is the pulled pork grilled cheese sandwiches and frito pies.
From brisket sandwiches, smoked ribs, and a variety of sausage, the employees of Chopped and Sliced all agreed that the biggest complement they have been given would be attributed to their homemade barbeque sauce.
“We try to go to as many events like this as we can,” said Rachel Wills, who attended the event. “My favorite truck so far definitely has to be the street tacos. It’s convenient that they are super cheap, but the tacos are so good.”
Josh Gutierrez, owner of Now We Taco’N, ran one of the more popular street trucks at the event.
While attending a music festival in Michigan, Gutierrez waited in line for more than 30 minutes for a $9 taco. He knew that he could make a better street taco for half the price.
After returning to Lubbock, he and his brother, Albert Gutierrez, began their business in 2014. For him, the taco business is a fulfilling way to positively impact people’s daily lives.
“I’m a person who enjoys cooking,” Gutierrez said. “Making people happy and seeing how much they enjoy your food is the best part.”
Gutierrez explains that they mostly sell their food at music festivals or food truck festivals. They have plans to expand all the way to Colorado in 2019 and bring their truck to ski resorts for the summer.
“We mainly serve tacos, burritos, and quesadillas,” Gutierrez said. “Although, we are trying to expand our menu and serve full plates with sides like beans and rice, or fajitas.”
Another food truck at the event had an interesting menu, as a crowd of people waited patiently in line to buy waffles that were mounted with sweets.
The truck was started by Texas Tech student Brandon Bell, who started experimenting with breakfast items one day with his sisters.
“I started the truck myself, and for the past three years, I have been trying to perfect my recipes for different waffles,” Bell said. “What I sent to the judges is one of my most popular items on the menu, the Mama Mia.”
It featured a waffle with a Nutella spread, layered with strawberries, bananas, a scoop of ice cream, a sprinkle of crushed Frosted Flakes, and finally a drizzle of caramel and chocolate syrup.
Bell says that he normally caters to smaller events. However, this was his first competition and is excited to have the opportunity to share his creations with others.
His mother and sisters also drove out from San Antonio to support Bell during the event.
After a full day of food, live music, fun games and more, the judges announced this year’s winners at the first West Texas Food Truck Championship. They are: Best Drink, The Coffee Can; Best Dessert, Kurbside Sweets; Best Mexican / Street Taco, Dos Hermanas Restaurant & Food Truck; Best Barbeque, Lubbock Pacific Grub; and Best Main Dish, Angel Star Food Truck.