Street Eats

Your guide to local food trucks

by Jenna Hrdlicka

While food trucks in the U.S. have been serving delectable food on-the-go for over a century, their popularity began to soar in 2008 with the opening of the Kogi BBQ Truck in Los Angeles, CA. Since then, foodies have flocked to the streets to eat everything from tacos, to ice cream, to gourmet grilled cheese. This food truck craze has spread all over the U.S., and Ames is no exception.

Many ISU students are familiar with the iconic Super Dog stand after a night out on Welch or Main St., but there are various other food stands and trucks in town offering a variety of both international and American cuisine. Here’s our guide to the various food trucks in the area.

Cravin Cuban?

What it is: Macubana opened in 2014 and has been serving customers in the Ames area ever since. With a menu including empanadas, Brazilian burgers, Belgian fries, Greek gyros, slow-roasted pork cubano sandwiches and a deep-fried mac & cheese creation called “tempura mac attack,” this multi-cuisine food truck offers not only Cuban food, but various other cuisine types as well, including newly-added vegetarian options. Customers are able to order at the company’s truck, an International Harvester Metro Van from 1955 — a model designed by Raymond Loewy, who also designed the Coca-Cola bottle — or place orders online for pickup at a specific desired time.

Where to find it: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday-Friday between Carver and Beardshear Hall on campus
10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday-Saturday at the intersection of Stanton Ave and Chamberlain Ave., near Aj’s
5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday-Sunday at Alluvial Brewing Company

Good for: Lunch or supper on the go

Classic Cuisine

What it is: In 2012, Finley’s Curbside Beastro/Pizzeria became the first food truck on Iowa State’s campus. The original truck, which served American classics such as burgers, hot dogs, pulled-pork sandwiches and chicken nuggets, went out of commission after it caught fire about three years ago. After the fire, the company began using a smaller truck and temporarily downsized their menu to offer primarily pizza, wraps and sandwiches, but will soon be opening a new truck that will offer both pizzeria and bistro cuisine. Among the new menu items will be innovative burgers such as “The Elvis,” which will have peanut butter, crumbled bacon and fried bananas. The new truck is set to open this spring.

Where to find it: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday in the parking lot by Kildee Hall on campus.

Good for: Lunch on the go

Taco Time

What they are: Feelin spicy? Stop by any of the various Mexican food trucks in town for a bite of Mexican cuisine with our without extra heat. With menu

items including tacos, nachos, burritos, quesadillas and more, Rico’s Tacos, Carlos Quesadillas and Hungry Bros. all serve authentic Mexican food

Emilee Drost/Ethos magazine

items with their own twist. The trucks, which can be easily spotted with their orange and red colors, are arguably most known for their homemade sauces unique to each truck.

Where to find them: -Hungry Bros: 8 p.m. until 3 a.m. Wednesday through Saturday in Campustown

– Rico’s Tacos: 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday (except Wednesday) at 605 E. Lincoln Way and 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Saturdays at Torrent Brewing Company
– Carlos Quesadillas: 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the parking lot by Kildee Hall
Good for: A quick snack or lunch or supper on the go

Chips or fries?

What it is: Serving up British classics such as bangers and mash, steak, chicken curry, Guinness pie and of course, fish and chips, “The Mallard,” Mucky Duck’s green food truck, serves almost everything available on the menu at their pub location on Duff Avenue. While the green truck, commonly sporting multiple countries’ flags, cooks up a variety of entrees from across the pond, it also offers items outside of the typical British cuisine realm such as cheeseburgers and tenderloin sandwiches. How can you spot them? By their various flags flying high off the top of the truck. Cheers!

Where to find it: This truck primarily is only used for catering needs or at events in the Ames and Des Moines area.

Good for: Catering or supper on the go

German Gems

What it is: After a long morning of classes, you’re hungry for a salty snack when the bright red Salt & Pretzel Company food truck catches your eye. You order a soft pretzel with cheese and as your food is handed to you, you realize that it’s missing the salt! Your heart sinks slightly, until you learn that the company makes traditional German pretzels, which are soaked in milk and lye baths to give them a uniquely salty flavor. The company also offers a variety of other German cuisine items including a range of sausages and bratwursts.

Where to find it: 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Tuesday–Friday in the parking lot by Kildee Hall and at the Ames’ Farmers Market
Good for: A quick snack or lunch on the go


What it is: Campaniling at midnight, sprinting from Curtiss to Beardshear, walking around Lake LaVerne three times with your soul mate — these well-known Iowa State “traditions” have been done by many students desiring to become true Iowa Staters. Among these activities unique to Iowa State may be the act of devouring a Super Dog after a night out on Welch or Main Street.

Sam Greene/Ethos magazine

The local delicacy — a creation of beef hot dogs and various other ingredients including five sauces, potato chips and more — are sold at carts owned by the Smiles and Gyros Company. While the exact ingredient list is unknown to many fans of the dogs, the customer who asks to “hold the pineapple” will surely be met with with dirty glances and an array of protests by others in line who will probably argue that the popular dog must be eaten with all the ingredients. The company also has a cart that offers beef, chicken and vegetarian gyros and one that offers both gyros and superdogs, plus grilled cheese.

Where to find it: Between 9:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. (depending on location) until close (which is 5 minutes after the last customer leaves after 2 a.m.) in Campustown and on Main Street.

Good for: A late-night snack or meal