1. Sunny Side Brunch
For a so-called brunch truck, Sunny Side slings a mean burger. You should eat it straightaway (standing up; watch your shoes) because it will never be better than this very second, fresh from the grill. If you are indeed in all-day brunch mode, go for a short stack of pancakes or the egg and cheese sandwich, with Sixteen Bricks bread and Eckerlin’s goetta. But anything goes, really, because this diner-on-wheels is easily as good as any brick-and-mortar. facebook.com/Sunnysidebrunch
2. Hungry Bros.
Now we can all be one degree from Kevin Bacon, or at least the Kevin Bacon seasoned waffle fries, topped with grilled chicken, bacon, and ranch dressing. It may sound like late-night frat-party food, but it’s so much more—this bright yellow truck, started by three local guys in 2015, serves inventive New American dishes with creative names. The Vladimir Poutine is another fry-based selection, but they also have pitas, like the Joe Pesci (pesto chicken with bacon, lettuce, tomato) or the vegetarian artichoke (cumin-battered artichoke hearts with cabbage slaw and balsamic glaze). hungrybroscincy.com
3. Street Chef Brigade
Let our rookie mistake save you some hassle: The veggie delight gyro and the pesto and artichoke flatbread are basically the same dish. The flatbread is neater, while the gyro adds hummus and lettuce to the toasted naan it’s wrapped in. The selections here are a bit more ambitious than a typical truck, which makes sense, since SCB is pretty much permanently parked in the lot at Streetside Brewery. streetchefbrigade.com
4. Red Sesame Korean BBQ
While the concept is fairly simple, fusing traditional Korean barbecue with Mexican presentations—tacos, burritos, quesadillas—it’s the house-made sauces, mixtures from sweet and tangy to super spicy, that make Red Sesame shine. This long-running and popular truck also has a brick-and-mortar at Jungle Jim’s in Eastgate, serving the same combos you can snatch up around town, with your choice of steak, chicken, pork, or tofu. They even serve a kimchi hot dog. redsesamebbq.com
5. Empanadas Aqui
Stuffed pockets of fried dough. What’s not to love? The Venezuelan turnovers are dished out of Empanadas Aqui’s little green bus, along with arepas, stuffed corn flatbreads.
We tried the Hairy, with shredded skirt steak, Gouda cheese, and Guasacaca sauce (an avocado cilantro sauce that’s thick like guacamole). The steak shows up in empanadas, too, but we prefer the Bad Girl, with chicken and roasted peppers, in its jacket of slightly sweet, bubbly-crisp dough. empanadasaqui.com
6. Chicken Mac Truck
Just try not to crave comfort food when you spot the fun, colorful truck with its funny name (hello, chicken and mac).
Chef duo Casey Thiemann and Jarod Maier closed their Cajun restaurant, J. Gumbo’s in Fairfield, and started piling slow-cooked chicken, stewed in spices, on a heaping bowl of homemade mac-and-cheese goodness. You can get something sweet, like the bourbon chicken or the honey sriracha, or go for high heat with buffalo or straight-up spicy chicken—because this comfort food isn’t just for the kids. chickenmactruck.com
7. Packhouse Meats
Meatballs are a special dining category in that they can be both meal and snack—which makes them perfect food truck fare. Choose your own adventure at this four-wheeled version of a former Newport restaurant: Get a hoagie, bowl, or salad with an array of daily sauces. Or, we like the slider format, which gives you the ease of a sandwich and the esprit of an hors d’oeuvre. With a meatball. packhousemeatsfoodtruck.com
8. SEA Cuisine
First of all, it’s not seafood. It’s SEA food, as in Southeast Asian. Look for regional classics like pho, banh mi (get the roast pork), and green papaya salad (a.k.a. the best summertime salad ever, with shredded papaya, cucumbers, jalapeños, and a sweet vinaigrette). Since this is mobile food, you can also walk away with Thai-inspired tacos topped with mango pico de gallo, yum yum sauce (a creamy Japanese steakhouse sauce), and sriracha. Just don’t forget to walk back: The truck is parked at West Side Brewing every Tuesday. facebook.com/SEACuisineFoodTruck
9. Surf Side BBQ
When you think of Cincinnati, you think beach vibes, right? Nope. Still, there’s something so appealing about this vacation-in-a-food-truck that serves a relatively huge menu of Southern-style items (plus, it’s cute). Look for hickory-smoked pulled pork and chicken and baby back ribs with homemade sauces, plus a supporting cast of sides like fresh-cut fries, vinegar coleslaw, mac-and-cheese, and sweet baked beans. We appreciate respectable BBQ in Porkopolis, and Surf Side stacks up. twitter.com/surfsidebbq
Cincinnati’s favorite popsicles are handmade with fresh fruit and herbs using as many local and organic ingredients as possible. Summer favorites like avocado, blueberry lemon creamsicle, and lychee coconut are a treat at $3. Find Streetpops carts at Findlay Market on Saturdays; weekly farmers’ markets in Hyde Park (Sunday), Loveland (Tuesday), and Madeira (Thursday); and numerous special events all summer long, or visit their new storefront HQ in St. Bernard. streetpops.com