Food Trucks and Street Food to discover in Milwaukee
This story is part of our summer guide to the June issue of Milwaukee Magazine. To read our complete guide to summer fun, order your copy today!
1. Legacy MKE
A drop of fresh burrata cheese sits on a salad of heirloom tomatoes and arugula with basil pesto, honey, truffle oil and toasted pine nuts. This beauty is what I see when I open my takeout container and it seems somewhat incongruous. Owners Pete (a former Supper Club executive chef) and Jess Ignatiev were originally supposed to open a restaurant, but then, well, COVID. They’ve taken their passion for seasonal farm-to-kitchen cooking inside this bright yellow truck, adding dazzling touches to simpler dishes like burgers, fish fries (cod) and cheese in fried grains. “We also like to do fun specials during the week,” says Jess, who says their own garden is inspirational.
WHERE: From Tosa Draft & Vessel bars and The Fermentorium to Milwaukee Makers Markets.
2. Lawyer MKE
A trailer dedicated to this pop culture anthem, a toast to the avocado: how has someone not already done this here? Owner Evan Nevels grilled and crowned his first tribute to the trend last year – with a menu of 10 creations, from sweet to savory. Push me for a favorite and I’ll say Le Prosciutto, with very fine cured ham, honey, parmesan and fresh coriander.
WHERE: Brookfield and Greenfield Farmers Markets and many other events.
This 2-year-old bright green truck specializes in halal Malaysian cuisine, which means the food has been prepared in accordance with Islamic law. Co-owner Amir Ahmad Mohamed Ali is a Rohingya refugee from Burma who spent part of his life in Malaysia earning a living as a cook. He and his wife, Majedah Yusuf, make some truly delicious dishes, many of which incorporate roti, a wheat flour flatbread, and dosa, a pancake-like pancake. The breads come with sweet or savory fillings. Try the murtabak, a large crepe stuffed with chicken or beef, cut into squares and served with a tongue-tingling curry-based sauce; and the Spicy Fried Noodles, crispy cucumber slices fanned on top.
WHERE: Wilson Park (1601 W. Howard Ave) | 414-595-8994
4. don pastor
Many Mexican food trucks are in the simple business of portable classics, by which I mean street tacos – double corn tortillas wrapped around a filling of meat sprinkled with raw onion and fresh cilantro, salsa and fresh lime. And many do them well. Don Pastor makes them great, but that’s not my favorite thing to eat at this Riverwest-based truck. No, I go for the tortas stuffed with meat, queso, refried beans, lettuce and tomato, avocado and sour cream. And I seriously dig their creamy, cheesy elotes — Mexican street corn slathered in mayonnaise, a rich, flavorful treat.
WHERE: East Center and West Pierce streets.
5. Pete’s Pops
From a single cart to three permanent locations, community-focused Pete’s has delivered on its promise to spread positivity through frozen treats. He — aka founder Pete Cooney — also makes super-fine soft drinks, in summery flavors like salted watermelon and pineapple jalapeno. (Avocado was one of his first flavors and still among his best.)
WHERE: Carts are also on the move regularly, at 68th and north in Tosa and Brady and Prospect, among other spots.
6. Maya Ophelia
This nifty little culinary company fuses plant-based Asian and Latin American cuisines. As well as Thursday nights at Burnhearts Bar (4pm-10pm), they do a regular gig at Cactus Club on Sundays, with brunch (11am-3pm) – fun stuff too, including “beefy mami” – ramen vegan, Filipino-style congee (salted rice porridge) with a “faux” egg, peppery brown sauce cookies, Mexican concha cookies, and double chocolate donuts.
WHERE: Follow Maya’s whereabouts on Facebook.