This week we're looking at the variety of food trucks popping up around the Ithaca area lately. There are a couple of favorites that have been here for decades -- Johnny's Hot Truck and Louie's Lunch are legendary -- but they've been joined more recently by a taco truck, hot dog stands, and now an Italian and grill truck that's open for breakfast, lunch, and even late-night weekend eats.
We've talked about the Hot Truck before, and their french bread pizzas baked to order on french bread and garlic bread with a growing variety of toppings. That's pretty much the whole menu, but they've made the most of it for over fifty years on Stewart Avenue below Cornell's west campus. They're open just a few nights a week, but you can also get your Hot Truck fix at the Shortstop Deli 24/7, or make arrangements for the Hot Truck to cater your party.
On the other side of the Cornell campus is Louie's Lunch, with a history that dates back almost a century to a Greek immigrant named Louis Zounakos who pushed around a food cart. These days it's more of a diner on wheels, open lunchtime to late night on Thurston Avenue near the north campus dorms, with breakfast sandwiches, burgers, wraps, sandwiches, and even salads.
In Collegetown check out Big Red Dogs, a semi-permanent truck outside Jason's on College Ave, offering a simple menu of hot dogs and handmade potato chips late at night. Go for a chili cheese dog or a corn dog, or share "chips on a stick," a spiral-cut potato that's fried while you wait. Expect reduced hours during the summer, when Collegetown doesn't have quite the nightly bar crowd it does during the academic year.
Another truck with very limited hours is the Good Truck, a taco truck that started out moving around town, parked on East State Street or by The Shop or in the west end, but this summer they're parked exclusively behind the Westy, on West State Street, and for now they're only open Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. They use seasonal and local meats and produce to make seriously delicious tacos and salads, for vegetarians and carnivores alike, such as the Local, a vegan taco with summer squash and zucchini. The pepita salad features avocado and pumpkin seeds. The tacos are really a snack, not a meal, and at $4 with a store-bought tortilla or $5 with a homemade one, a satisfying meal could get pricey. They've hinted that they might add a second truck to bring to the Trumansburg farmers market or elsewhere around town, too, which bodes well for expanded hours.
And the latest addition is the Circus Truck, currently parking just off Route 13 at the corner of Meadow and Seneca Streets. They're open weekdays for breakfast and lunch, and late night on weekends, with breakfast sandwiches available anytime, sandwiches like sausage and peppers, a seitan reuben, and a burger, and pasta dishes made to order. That's right -- this is an Italian restaurant on wheels, making delicious fresh pasta with a variety of sauces including pesto, alfredo, and a spicy diavolo. Recent specials have included fresh spinach fettucini.
We can also mention food carts, such as Lou's hot dog stand in Bank Alley on the Commons, joined recently by a Kilpatrick's cart. Lou's the one who's out there most, but you'll also often find a cheesesteak, a gyro, or even sushi.
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