Historical Highlights of Mobile Food in the United States
Street food has been a part of Americans’ dining habits since the late 17th century, when it was found in many of the larger cities on the East Coast. Since then, food trucks have taken a front seat in the world of American street food and are part of an ongoing food revolution. Here’s a brief history of the mobile food industry in the United States:
In 1691, New Amsterdam (now known as New York City) began regulating street vendors selling food from push carts.
Charles Goodnight invented the chuck wagon in 1866 to feed cattlemen and wagon trains traversing the Old West.
In 1894, sausage vendors sold their wares outside the student dorms at major eastern universities (Yale, Harvard, Princeton, and Cornell), and their carts became known as dog wagons.
Ice cream trucks began selling frozen treats in the 1950s.
In 1974, Raul Martinez converted an old ice cream truck into the nation’s first taco truck and parked it outside an East Los Angeles bar.
In 1979, grease trucks began parking on Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, selling Fat Sandwiches to college students.
In November 2008, Kogi BBQ hit the streets of Los Angeles selling Asian-infused tacos.
The Southern California Mobile Food Vendors Association (SoCalMFVA) was created in January 2010, becoming the first organization to protect the rights of gourmet food truck owners.
In August 2010, The Great Food Truck Race marked the first television program centered on the mobile food industry.
In September 2010, the U.S. government added Tips for Starting Your Own Street Food Business to its small-business website, BusinessUSA.
In October 2010, the prestigious Zagat guide announced that it’d begin providing reviews of food trucks in 2011.
In January 2011, President Barack Obama tweeted that his favorite food truck in Washington, D.C., is D.C. Empanadas.