Last Updated on by Jeremy
Pittsburgh is home to dozens upon dozens of local food trucks, but for a city that loves to have events to celebrate just about everything, we are lacking on the food truck rally scene quite a bit.
One coffee shop in the north hills, Coffee Buddha, has stepped up to the plate to fill this void and offers a (mostly) monthly rally in their rather large backyard. To satisfy our desire to see an honest-to-God food truck rally in Pittsburgh, and try out a few trucks we've yet to enjoy, we made our way up Perry Highway to check it all out.
Get There Early – It Gets Busy
Prior to even setting foot on Coffee Buddha's property, we noticed something that ended up being very important- the food truck rallies here are a big deal. So much so that every parking spot within 5 blocks on route 19 were completely taken just about 45 minutes into the event.
We had to drive around the block not once, not twice, but three times before we were fortunate enough to find a spot within a reasonable walking distance.
In the future, we would either plan to get to Coffee Buddha right when they opened, or head out later in the day and hope that the crowds thin and the food trucks still have anything left- the traffic was that intense and would certainly be a turn-off to a lot of people.
A Good Assortment of Trucks
Naturally, the crowds that make it a bit of a nightmare to park are also there for the food trucks, meaning you should easily expect lines of up to 30 minutes or more depending on the food truck you order from. (Although this could vary based on who attends and what you're in the mood for. There were a few trucks you could walk up to and order right away that the crowd during our visit did not gravitate towards.)
During our visit the food truck rally had six food trucks in the coffee shop's backyard- Mission Mahi tacos, Driftwood Oven, The Coop Chicken and Waffles, Iron City Eats, Oh My Grill, and Jim's Smokin Que. Our original goal was to try as many trucks as we could, but after realizing the portions from our first two choices were massive, we could only end up sampling those.
The first was Mission Mahi, a “taco” truck that serves up this prized fish in massive burritos with different styles. If you have the cash the portion size of fish is worth it alone, although we have to admit that our burrito was just a bit too salty- likely an issue that was local to the rally if we had to guess due to the turnover they were getting.
Our second truck was The Coop- a chicken and waffle truck that is known for their prized fried chicken. We opted for the chicken and waffle hybrid where the chicken is baked into the waffle (almost in every bite). While tasty, it does take the fun of chicken and waffles away from having the massive hunk of bird, so I think next time we will order it separate to get the full enjoyment of the wing.
Surprisingly, Coffee Buddha was the best at managing this crowd out of all of them, and we were able to go in, order two coffees, and have our drinks in less than five minutes.
When it comes to hosting a good food truck rally, parking and lines ignored, I'll take a speedy response by the host any day.
Coffee Buddha is located at 964 Perry Highway north of downtown Pittsburgh. Food truck rallies are fairly frequent and are typically on the last Saturday of the month (although sometimes they skip a month based on their hosted calendar). Updated schedules are posted on their events page at the previous link.