What is it that makes food trucks inherently kid-friendly? The casual, outdoor environment that lets littles ditch silverware and inside voices? The trendy menus and modest portions that please picky eaters and tiny tummies? We think it’s all of the above. Not to mention that anything served on wheels is automatically cool. Break up your usual dinner routine with a meal concept sure to please the transportation-loving tykes in your clan. From sloppy and scrumptious barbecue sliders to gratifying grass-fed burgers, we found the most kid-friendly food trucks in and around Dallas-Fort Worth.
Where they frequent: AT&T Performing Arts Center, Truck Yard on Greenville Avenue in Dallas
The rundown: What could be more kid-friendly than mini-cheeseburgers? Serving them on wheels, of course. Kids and adults love these sliders with traditional and exotic flavor combinations. In addition to regular appearances at local restaurants, Easy Slider visits many school carnivals and youth sporting events. See their website for a schedule.
Kids’ favorite: The Classic with beef, cheddar and fixings or The Plain Jane with beef and cheddar only
Adults’ favorite: The Sweet & Lowdown marries savory beef and bacon with sweet strawberry jam and goat cheese
Cost: $8 for two sliders, $2 for chips and drinks
Where they frequent: AT&T Performing Arts Center in Dallas, Levitt Pavilion in Arlington and AMLI Campion Trail apartments in Las Colinas, 214/923-0389
The rundown: Since JBirds Chicken came rolling into Dallas-Fort Worth in May, we’ve all been salivating over these perfectly-marinated birds. Besides popular menu sandwiches served on a brioche bun such as 310 Bird and Buffalo Bleu Bird, you can Build Your Own Bird, or BYOB, with a wide variety of sauces, toppings, cheeses and styles. With many menu options for gluten-free, dairy-free and vegetarian eaters, this meal on wheels is a winner, winner chicken dinner.
Kids’ favorite: Try the Little Birds meal with grilled chicken strips and sweet potato fries or BYOB for more adventurous eaters
Adults’ favorite: The Big “D” Bird combines chicken, turkey bacon, veggies, peppers, cheddar and deliciously tangy JBirds sauce
Cost: Entrees range from $7−$10 and Little Birds cost $6.25
Kelly Family Farms
Where they frequent: 1989 W. Lucas Road, Parker; Tuesday−Saturday 10:30am−8pm, 972/754-7974
The rundown: Ditch traditional beef for good old-fashioned, grass-fed, hormone-free, free-range burgers from Kelly Family Farms. Their modest menu boasts burgers from cows raised responsibly in Collin County. With picnic tables, washers and beanbag toss games, the whole family will love refueling at this burger stand. Can’t get enough of their appetizing meat? Ground beef, roasts, brisket, ribs and more are available for purchase in bulk.
Kids’ favorite: The Lil’ Kicker burger with applesauce or chips and a drink
Adults’ favorite: Ditch the bun and go off-menu with a lettuce wrap burger
Cost: Kids meals cost $5−$6; all other burger combos cost $8−$13, including chips and a drink
The Bucher’s Son
Where they frequent: Klyde Warren Park in Dallas, 512/466-1749
The rundown: This aptly-named truck serves up brats, sausages, chopped beef, beef patties, fried chicken and bacon in a variety of sandwiches, quesadillas and sliders. Plain Jane items will please little eaters while adventurous creations will have you licking your chops. But don’t get so caught up in the carnivorous options that you overlook the tasty tater tots served up many ways.
Kids’ favorite: The Mac-N-Beefy slider with mac ‘n’ cheese, beef and BBQ sauce
Adults’ favorite: The Pan Handle Po’Boy sammie with beef, sausage, onion and pepper jack cheese or the Mama Mia meatball slider
Cost: Sliders are about $3 each
Where they frequent: Richardson Food Truck Park, 214/548-8553
The rundown: Combine smoky barbecue, homemade rubs and sauces and hidden bits of bacon goodness and put it all on a mobile truck. OinknMoo BBQ is best known for private rentals but also makes appearances at local events and food truck parks. Picky eaters can chow down on staples such as brisket, pulled pork and baked beans while adventurous diners chomp on barbecue grilled cheese and pork and green chile hominy.
Kids’ Favorite: Bacon mac ’n’ cheese. Need we say more?
Adults’ Favorite: The El Diablo spicy barbecue sammie or pork-stuffed, bacon-wrapped jalapeño smoke bombs
Cost: A sandwich plate with one side is $10
Ruthie’s Rolling Café
Where they frequent: Klyde Warren Park in Dallas, 972/380-4233
The rundown: Whether you’re raising a gourmet foodie or the world’s pickiest eater, Ruthie’s serves up the best grilled cheeses on wheels in Dallas-Fort Worth. Bonus: Gluten-free bread from Local Oven in Carrollton is available upon request.
Kids’ favorite: Plain Jane with American cheese
Adults’ favorite: With a name like The Boss, it’s no wonder this barbecue and cheddar grilled sammie tops the menu
Cost: Sandwiches range from $5.75−$8.75 and extras such as chips or cakeballs range from $1.50−$5
Don’t Mess With Texas BBQ
Where they frequent: 1515 W. State Highway 114, Grapevine, 503/766-5348
The rundown: For a tiny truck, this stop has massive smoky and umami flavor. This stand-alone truck in the Best Buy parking lot in Grapevine sells brisket, pork and sausage – both by the pound and on sandwiches – on Saturdays and Sundays from 11am until they sell out. Your Texans-in-training will especially love the sweet tea.
Kids’ favorites: Brisket or pulled pork sandwich and homemade banana pudding
Adults’ favorites: Try the Dirty Texan sandwich with brisket and sausage, or a TX Pack, which is basically a Frito chili pie, only, you know, way better.
Cost: Meat starts at $15 per pound, sandwiches start at $7, and sides start at $2 per serving.
Where they frequent: Clearfork Food Park, Food Park at Thistle Hill and Fort Worth Food Park
The rundown: Gorgonzilla takes grilled cheeses to a gargantuan level by grilling up sammies with thick-cut bacon, pulled pork, goat cheese and grilled mac ’n’ cheese. That’s right — grilled mac ’n’ cheese on a sandwich. Stick to classic flavors such as American or cheddar cheese or venture into more daring ingredients such as brie, hanger steak or pears. Plus, the monster-themed truck is sure to excite your little critter lovers.
Kids’ favorite: The Fruitzilla with strawberries, cereal and whipped cream is basically stuffed French toast (only better).
Adults’ favorite: The Gorgie with tomatoes, spinach, goat cheese, provolone and bacon
Cost: $4−$11 per sandwich
Where they frequent: Clearfork Food Park, Fort Worth Food Park
Why pick between sliders and tacos when you can have both? Serving up portions perfect for little eaters, Rollin’ Stone offers sliders and street tacos with staple sides such as chips and salsa and french fries. All tacos are served either “street style” with cilantro, lime and queso fresco or “truck style” with pico de gallo, Mexican cheese, peppers, jalapeño cream and cilantro.
Kids’ favorite: Street corn or The Classic Slider
Adults’ favorite: Shredded brisket tacos served truck style or La Caliente slider with grilled jalapenos and chipotle aioli
Cost: Mix and match two sliders or tacos for $8; sides are $3.
Where they frequent: 1311 W. Magnolia Ave. and 700 Carroll St. in Fort Worth
The rundown: These kid-sized street tacos are made for breakfast and dinner. Try a breakfast taco with all your tried-and-true ingredients, such as egg, bacon, Mexican potatoes and chorizo, or a dinner option with carnitas, brisket, chicken or veggies on flour or corn tortillas. Plus, if your kiddo wants to customize his or her own order, Taco Heads will name this new creation after your little taco lover.
Kids’ favorite: Quesadillas with slow-roasted chicken
Adults’ favorite: Mexicana brisket tacos with cabbage, cilantro and onions
Cost: Each taco is $2.50−$3.50.
The Waffle Wagon
Where they frequent: Austin Street Truck Stop in Denton. 940/781-8570
The rundown: Thanks to the rise of brunch and brinner (you know, breakfast for dinner), waffles are free to be eaten long after the rooster crows. With classic menu items for the tots plus savory and unexpected items for you, these waffles make for a delicious meal any time of the day.
Kids’ favorite: Chocolate Chip waffle with whipped cream
Adults’ favorites: Besides the crowd pleaser Chicken & Waffles, check out the Monte Cristo-inspired Ham, Turkey & Swiss waffle with raspberry jam.
Cost: Waffles range from $4−$10.
Where they frequent: Austin Street Truck Stop and Mulberry Street Cantina in Denton, 940/367-2332
The rundown: Kid-friendly food doesn’t always mean fried chicken nuggets and ketchup overload. Lean Machine focuses on fresh vegetables and lean proteins as a healthy alternative to fried or fast food. Let your kids channel their creativity by picking their favorite ingredients and building their own taco, quesadilla, sandwich or bowl.
Kids’ favorites: Stick to tried-and-true items such as cheese quesadillas or chicken tacos, or mix and match veggies and meats for any menu item. Don’t miss fresh fruit smoothies and hand-squeezed lemonade.
Adults’ favorite: Try the Chicken Avocado sandwich as a spinach bowl.
Cost: Entrees range from $7−$9, sides from $2−$3 and drinks from $2−$5.
Published October 2015