The History of the Miami Food Trucks Part 1

With the Miami Food Truck craze in full bloom I felt it might be a good time to talk a little but about the early days. Back in November of 2009 when the rumblings started that this new truck movement was making its way to Miami very few folks knew what to expect. I had seen and read about the scenes in Seatle, Los Angeles and New York. I was excited to see what Miami was going to bring to the food truck scene.

Now before we get into the thick of things I’d like to give honorable mentions to AC’s Icees who has been serving lemonades in Coconut Grove for over 30 years and Pincho Man who is the original Miami Food Truck megastar. Both are still around today.

The gastroPod ushered in the food truck revolution here in Miami with his temporary trailer nicknamed ‘The Shiny’ Twinkie. The 1960’s Airstream Trailer everyone recognizes today did not makes its debut until January 2010. What most folks don’t know is that Chef Jeremiah’s actual 1st trailer came about back in 2005. It was a 40′ fire engine red BBQ trailer with a big pig on the side that said, “mm mmm Good”.

Mm Mmm Good!

So Jeremiah had been planning gastroPod since late 2008 and it was almost a full year til his plans were realized. On November 3rd, 2009 Chef Jeremiah posted this comment on gastroPod’s Twitter account :

welcome everyone to Miami’s food revolution

The 1st gastroPod Menu

He was right. The Old Dirt Dawg made me a believer.

At the same time that gastroPod was nearing its debut, Miami’s 1st truck “Latin Burger & Taco” was nearing completion. Jim Hein’s (the owner of Latin Burger & Taco) original plan was to do a brick and mortar restaurant but that changed in August 2009 when all plans morphed into a truck idea. In late September 2009 Food Cart USA started building Latin Burger & Taco and below is the original artwork for the truck from October 2009.

Latin Burger flames

Latin Burger Original Concept Art

Latin Burger Original Concept Art

Latin Burger caused quite a media sensation because of its initial association with Food Network star Ingrid Hoffman. It didn’t hurt that the Latin Macho was also a killer burger.

With gastroPod and Latin Burger & Taco finally on the scene and serving up some amazing food the TV outlets were beginning to give them some coverage in December of 2009.

On January 21, 2010 the Yellow Submarine showed up in Kendall and 147th Avenue (where you can still find it a few nights a week today). Yayo Alarcon (the owner) and his brother Andy brought it to life with their Colombian sandwiches and music themed truck. It originally had coffee which is now long gone from the truck. The Yellow Dog is still one of my must haves items even a year and many trucks later.

Andy & Yayo Alarcon

It was right after this that I had met Cristina. She and I had discussed creating Miami’s first Street Food Fest which we decided to call the “Miami Street Food Fest”. We were torn on where exactly to hold this event. We created the Twitter handle, Facebook page and created a blog without as much as a date and/or a location. We started hyping the event.  This was as everyone would find out, a recipe for disaster.

At this point there were only 3 “trucks” and Feverish Ice Cream, the scion car serving ice cream treats. Feverish had probably been around a little over a year at this point. They have some great popsicles plus they’re some of the nicest people around.

Felecia & Derrick

Just north of the burgeoning Miami Food Truck scene Nacho Business debuted on March 17th, 2010 in Ft. Lauderdale. It would be a while before Aaron Byers and his Nacho Bizness would get more visibility. By the way, the Yum Yum taco is the way to go here.

early shot of Aaron Byers and his Nacho Bizness

At approximately the same time Grill Master Cafe began roaming the streets of Miami and Miami Lakes. While they kept a pretty low profile they would eventually be the first truck to encounter a major issue with code enforcement. Check out their Frita, one of the best around.

Grill Master Cafe

Vendr.Tv who tours the country searching out the best street food with host Daniel Delaney decided it was time to hit up the Miami scene. All the 3 episodes were filmed within days of each other in late March but came out much later. You can watch the gastroPod, Latin Burger & Taco and Yellow Submarine in their Vendr.TV episodes below:

gastroPod:
Latin Burger & Taco:
Yellow Submarine:
I hadn’t really heard a peep about new trucks coming down the pike until Latin Burger & Taco parked at a lot that La Camaronera owned in Little Havana in early April. A few weeks later, David Garcia (owner of La Camaronera) would mention to me that he had plans to build what would eventually become The Fish Box.

Cristina and I had met with the folks at Magic City Casino about holding the Miami Street Food Fest there in October. On April 25,2010 we announced that the first Miami Street Food Fest would take place there on October 23, 2010. Feverish Ice Cream, gastroPod, Latin Burger & Taco, Yellow Submarine and the just announced Fish Box would take part in the festivities.

The question on everyone’s mind was, when are more trucks gonna show up? That answer was just around the bend as Wing Commander, The Rolling Stove, Latin House Grill, Jefe’s Fish Taco & Burgers and Nacho Mama’s Mexican Grill were about to make their first appearances in the next few weeks.

About Burger Beast

I started writing the Burger Beast food blog to tell folks about those little forgotten gems in South Florida. Over the course of the last 5 years or so I've added News, Opinions, & Tips on a variety of Food related subjects. My first love will always be Burgers but Comfort Food is where it's at. At the end of the day I’m a regular dude who writes about a bunch of things I think you should know about.
  • David

    Don’t you think it’s a little early to be writing about something less than 2 years old as if it has been around forever?

    Guess not, you wrote a post on it

    • http://www.facebook.com/burgerbeast Burger Beast

      Most folks don’t know the origins and some might not even care. But guess what? Things are sometimes forgotten, and I didn’t want that to happen. Here’s a resource for those who want to know more.

  • Patty Corp

    As in everything in life there are always multiple opinions available. It just bothers me when people are so quick to give negative ones.
    I recently started to attempt following the Miami Food Truck events. My friends seem to think I am now an expert and often ask me how this started, where it started, how do I hear about it, etc…
    In all honesty I appreciate the back ground of it & got a kick out of hearing the “history”!
    Look forward to the rest of the story & keep ‘em coming!
    Loving the food truck scene & appreciate your comments who, what where, & when (And how long ago) !!

  • Collazo

    HYPE KILLS!

  • Tim

    damn makes me want a yellow dog right now…

  • Motown

    Keep ‘em coming, I think it’s fascinating. And so do tons of folks.

  • Circle the Wagons

    A very important factor in starting this page – Circle the Wagons on Facebook – was the perception that an historical database of the explosion of the gourmet food trucks since 2008 needed to be created.

    Thank you for preserving this for the South Florida region.

  • Mike

    You forgot to mention that the latin burger wasnt only started my jim heinz but wasnt it also ingrif hoffman and because of her latin burger has the fame it does today?

  • ama

    Too bad that so sad that I freaking love you for posting this. I’m writing a paper on the food culture in Miami for a class and now I get to cite you ^____^ (happiness)

  • ama

    What I mean to say is…

    IT’S NEVER TOO EARLY TO WRITE ABOUT HISTORY!

  • http://www.SARCantina.com S.A.R. Cantina

    Love this! It is so great to know how this all came about. I try to make it as much as i can up here in the 954. Was at Potential Church Yesterday, great turnout, LOVE the food! Missed Aarons Catering & Gastro Pod….. maybe next time. Keep up the amazing work Burger Beast!!!!