Like any major city in the USA, Pittsburgh is home to an incredible street food scene that is growing larger by the day. Between the dozens of food trucks, mobile carts, and dedicated stands, the one thing that holds true no matter where you go is that it takes quite the effort to find the best in a sea of mostly average establishments.
When it comes to eating in Pittsburgh, we're up for the challenge of finding the best, and to chronicle our journey this roundup was born.
This list is not a collection of every street food vendor we've tried in the city. Far from it. This list only features what we think are the very best of the ones we've visited to date (we're still working our way through many as well).
By the end we hope that you'll be hopping in your car to try something right away because each business featured deserves no less than your immediate attention and visit.
What can you say about a food truck that has the Pittsburgh skyline painted across the back of it? Well, if it is Burgh Bites, the food truck / catering company, you can say a lot. This food truck has a huge offering for its size and the nightly menu often features a selection of sandwiches, loaded hot dogs, and nachos with their homemade tortilla chips- a must try item that is among the best in the city.
As a city, Pittsburgh is home to a growing barbecue scene that is significantly under-represented in the media. One outlet for barbecue that has been growing at an astounding pace is the food truck thanks to its ability to go where the people are.
We've sampled many of the new barbecue trucks in Pittsburgh, and most of them unfortunately fall into the common trend of having tough, chewy meats that were not cooked long enough to get the consistency we all know and love.
Thankfully, Pittsburgh Smokehouse is a rare exception to this as they produce melt in your mouth meats and a smoked chicken wing that is among the best in the city. For those who love it hot, be sure to add some of their Blast Furnace hot barbecue sauce on top to truly be lit up!
Pittsburgh Smokehouse does not readily publish their locations, but they do have a good publication for their dedicated restaurants of the same name!
Could you ask for anything more than meat coming out of a massive industrial smoker? We can't, and at Blowfish BBQ this is exactly what you're going to get.
The staples on the menu during our visit included smoked sausages and chicken drumsticks as well as a special item of barbecue ribs made with one of the most delicious dry rubs we've had.
A combo plate will run about $10 (the ribs combo was a bit more) and comes with two heaping portions of sides- making this food cart the best value on our list so far.
Blowfish BBQ publishes their weekly schedule on their Facebook page.
The Mac & Gold Truck
Sometimes you want to eat a big bowl of mac & cheese. Don't worry, we get it. Whenever you have a desire for this cheese fueled meal, The Mac & Gold Truck has you covered with their traditional and gourmet offerings.
During our visit we tried their roasted butternut squash and bacon mac as well as their mac topped with lump crab meat. Although the crab mac & cheese was lacking for the price, the butternut squash mac offered an incredibly complex mix of rich flavors that worked well with this otherwise basic comfort food. If they have it on their menu when you visit, it is a must try.
Blue Sparrow is a food truck that serves up international food ranging from Vietnamese banh mi to Mexican tacos, kimchi grilled cheese, and even a burger made with a ramen bun! This one likes to put a bit of a twist on every menu item they have, so do not expect a fully authentic meal when you visit.
That being said, the creations of this food truck are quite delicious so do expect to have a tasty entree no matter what you get!
Blue Sparrow publishes their locations on a calendar on their website.
Mission.Mahi is often described as a fish taco truck, but using that phrase would be doing this graffiti-laden truck a disservice. The more appropriate description for Mission Mahi's creation is a fish burrito, where the prized fish is served up packed within the massive shell.
The original comes with avocado, tomato, and sriracha mayo, and numerous other topping are available including Buffalo style and the “Yinzer” which, naturally, includes french fries.
Our only complaint about Mission Mahi would be that our burrito was significantly over salted (hopefully a one-time error), but we're happy to try their creations again for the generous portion size and ample fish inside.
Mission.Mahi keeps a list of their planned stops updated on their Facebook page.
With a truck name like PGH Po'Boy, you would expect to be able to order a po boy wherever they are. Unfortunately, it took us three tries at this particular food truck to get a po boy as the first two times we found them they were limited to gumbos and other non-sandwich products.
As delicious as the gumbos are (seriously, try it), the third time was the charm with this one where we were able to get a massive shrimp po boy for about $12. This sandwich was packed with shrimp and amply topped with Old Bay seasoning, a perfectly made remoulade, lettuce, and tomato.
The sandwich is quite large, messy, and the kind of thing that should be sought after when dining at a food truck as it sets the bar higher for everyone else. But if you wind up at this one and all they have is gumbo, do not fret, it is a worthy alternative as well.
PGH Po'Boy often shares their schedule on their Facebook page.
Las Palmas Taco Cart
One of my biggest complaints about Pittsburgh is the lack of good Mexican restaurants. This trend is being challenged with the addition of Las Palmas restaurant and grocery stores located throughout the city.
Ignoring the incredible offering inside these stores, Las Palmas also has simple food stalls located right out front of their stores and churn out delicious tacos for $2.50 each (with as many toppings as you'd like).
They're not gourmet. They don't come with the bells and whistles. But they are 100% authentic, and that is exactly what we crave in a taco.
Las Palmas has multiple locations throughout the city including in Beechview, Oakland, and Brookline. The above review was from their Beechview location at 1616 Broadway Avenue.
Okay, so maybe we're exaggerating a bit when it comes to Pittsburgh's Mexican food scene because if there is one thing we have an abundance of, it is tacos (the rest of Mexico's authentic food… not so much).
On the street food side of things some of the best include La Palapa's food truck (an offshoot of the Southside restaurant by the same name); PGH Taco Truck, Brassero Grill, and Vagabond taco truck (for more gourmet takes on tacos); Edgar's Taco (legit Mexican tacos); and Reyna's Taco Cart (located in front of the grocery store of the same name in the Strip District).
If you can't make it out to Las Palmas for the most authentic tacos in town, one of these will certainly do right by you depending on what you are looking for.
La Palapa periodically publishes their cart's schedule on their Facebook page.
PGH Taco Truck periodically publishes their schedule on their Twitter account.
Edgar's Tacos periodically updates their locations on their Facebook page.
Reyna's Taco Cart is located just outside of their store and restaurant at 2031 Penn Avenue in the Strip District.
Brassero Grill often shares their current locations on their Facebook page.
Vagabond Taco Truck periodically shares their locations on their Facebook page.
Gyros N'at is your go-to gyro food truck, serving up a massive lamb gyro that will have you dreaming of Greece. Standard toppings on this one include tzatziki sauce, lettuce, onions, and tomatoes.
Since our initial visit this food truck added french fries to their menu, and now you can do both Greece and Pittsburgh proud by putting your fries on top of your gyro (as it should be).
If you're lucky, chicken gyros are also available which are also equally delicious, and their stuffed grape leaves are also cheap and nut free for those who, like us, are allergic and cannot eat more traditional grape leave recipes. (Although, this is best to reconfirm if you have an allergy.)
Gyros N'at often publishes their schedule on their Twitter page.
Tortas are an unusual Mexican dish that is almost best described as what would happen if you put traditional taco fillings on a bun in an effort to turn it into a sandwich. Sometimes this works, other times it doesn't, and it all comes down to the type of fillings and quantities that are shoved into the doughy container.
PGH Tortas is a local Pittsburgh food truck dedicated to this cuisine type, and on our first visit we are happy to report that this one hits it out of the park.
We opted for the Verde with Portabello mushroom, which featured a generous mound of mushrooms topped with a lime slaw, tomatillo sauce, poblano crema, black beans, and cheese. Had these been in a taco the shell would've been absolutely destroyed by the quantity of the filling, and the larger sandwich bun worked perfectly. We cannot wait to try more!
PGH Tortas publishes their schedule on their website.
Gaucho Asado Truck
If you haven't enjoyed the critically acclaimed Gaucho Parrilla in the Strip District, you should close this post and head there right now. But if you have (or just can't make it down to Gaucho) they've got you covered with their mobile Gaucho Asado Truck!
We sampled the steak platter during our visit to this truck, figuring it would be the hardest to make on the go. This $15 plate comes with a 12 oz steak, Texas toast, and a salad- making it not only an incredible combination for the price, but also probably the only food truck we know of in Pittsburgh serving steak.
It was perfectly cooked, incredibly succulent, and had it not been served to us straight from the truck in a cardboard box, we would never have guessed it came from a food truck.
If Gaucho's reputation means anything to you, rest assured that their food truck lives up to it. But ignoring all that, the very best part about this one is that the line did not wrap around the block when we went to order. But if enough people find out about this mobile delight, I'm sure it will eventually.
The Coop Chicken and Waffles
The Coop is a chicken and waffle food truck that we recently checked out at the food truck roundup at Coffee Buddha. The menu here includes wings or tenders on top of freshly made waffles, an option to get the chicken pieces cooked right into the waffle, and several rotating sweet waffle options sans chicken.
We opted for the Chick-N-Waffle, the one with chicken tenders baked into the waffle. The waffle itself was crispy and sweet, but we were divided on whether we liked the way the chicken pieces were cooked into the waffle.
Jeremy said he would have preferred to just have the chicken tenders on top of the waffle (also an option) while Angie liked that they were spread throughout the waffle.
The Coop maintains a list of their upcoming stops on their Facebook page.
Pittsburgh Sandwich Society
Pittsburgh Sandwich Society features a variety of sandwiches like a chicken sandwich, burger, and veggie burger, along with a few sides like fries and salads. We love that there's also a dog menu, too!
We couldn't pass up the In-N-Aht Burger, a Pittsburgh take on a sandwich from the famous fast food chain. This one comes with two patties, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, onion jam, and animal sauce. We loved the buttery, tender buns and the thin, juicy patties. And we couldn't think of a more perfect topping combination than this one- saucy, cheezy, and crunchy, with a little spring mix to make you feel better about yourself.
It was all around one of the best burgers we've had in the city, and to think that it came from a food truck!
We'll definitely be on the lookout for this truck again so we can treat our dog (and ourselves)!
Pittsburgh Sandwich Society publishes their weekly schedule on their website.
Alberta's Pizza is a mobile brick oven often found at one of the many Pittsburgh breweries. This one offers about five pizzas whenever they're out with an average price of $13.
During our most recent sampling we tried a pie with mozarella, sopresatta, honey, and chili oil which had a nice kick of heat and flavor from the honey. The crust is incredibly thin here, and while it does not get entirely crisp the bottom has a nice char and it all comes together for one really solid pie.
Alberta's Pizza shares their locations on their Facebook page.
If you have ever thought Pittsburgh needed a Korean food truck, you're not alone. Enter Mr. Bulgogi, the truck that will satisfy all your desires for Korean fare.
This one focuses on all things bulgogi, which is thin slices of meat stir-fried with spices and served with rice and dumplings. The sauce offers a great balance of sweet and savory, and the price point is perfect for the amount of food you get as far as food trucks are concerned.
While you get three dumplings with every order, you'll do right by ordering more as the dumplings are fried bites of perfection.
Mr. Bulgogi shares their locations on their Facebook page. Get in early as this one often sells out.
Wise County Biscuits
Wise County Biscuits serves up sweet and savory homemade biscuits and biscuit sandwiches with fillings that skew towards either breakfast or dinner depending on the time of day. The Southern influence is strong here with offerings like biscuits and gravy, a grilled pimento cheese sandwich, or a Tennessee sorghum and butter option.
We checked out Wise County Biscuits at the Mellon Square Farmers Market (Fridays from 10am-2pm) where they were definitely one of the more popular vendors in the market. We opted for the greens, egg, and ham sandwich which included ham, braised greens, a fried egg, and hot sauce on a biscuit.
The salty ham complemented the bitterness of the greens, while the egg kept everything saucy. The biscuit was flaky and quite buttery – always a plus. We would have loved even more of a hot sauce kick which we could have achieved by smothering the sandwich with more of the condiment. But alas, we were so hungry that we simply scarfed down the delicious sandwich and promptly went into a food coma.
Wise County Biscuits frequently publishes their schedule on their Facebook page.
Mung Bean Pancakes at Sambok Korean Grocery
The outdoor grill at Sambok Korean Grocery in the Strip District is always busy on the weekend, and for those looking for something to eat you will do well trying out their stellar mung bean pancakes.
It is hard to describe these delicious treats, but if you follow the theory that something so odd must be good (like we do) then you absolutely must try these while snacking your way through the Strip District.
Sambok Korean Grocery is located at 1735 Penn Avenue in the Strip District.
Lucy Nguyen's Banh Mi
If you have not experienced the joys of Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches, you are missing out. This sandwich starts with french bread and comes topped with pate or shredded pork / chicken, a mound of pickled vegetables, a spicy or tangy sauce, and a generous handful of cilantro.
If done right it is one of the best sandwiches you'll ever have, and if done wrong you may not want to try them ever again.
Luckily for you Lucy Nguyen does it right at her seasonal cart in the Strip District and a large sandwich will cost roughly $6. If you spot her out and about in the Strip, do yourself a favor and buy one, or three, even if you just had lunch.
This one just may be the best street food in the city!
Lucy's banh mi stand has been recently spotted by Bar Marco in the Strip District. This hilarious website tells whether or not she is in town for the season (but not her hours).
Billu's Indian Grill
Billu's Indian Grill is the kind of place that makes you question why there aren't more Indian food trucks around Pittsburgh.
The menu here contains a nice array of appetizers, vegetarian entrees, curries, and more such that you'll likely need several visits in order to try them all.
On our first visit to Billu's we had a sampling of their spicy fried cauliflower (a must- it is truly amazing) as well as their chicken tikka masala with naan bread. The tikka is a bit heavy on the tomato sauce but is full of flavor, and the fried cauliflower is the kind of dish that will have us coming back for more time and time again.
The only downside is that with a menu so large we are not sure we can be guaranteed it'll be there. But with the quality of the food, we're oddly okay with it.
Billu's Indian Grill publishes their location on their Facebook page.
Cousins Maine Lobster
You know food trucks have gone mainstream when they start getting franchised and expand coast-to-coast, and one of the largest is Cousins Maine Lobster who made their Pittsburgh debut in 2018.
This one is all about lobster, and brings a number of reasonably priced offerings to the Burgh including two kinds of lobster rolls, lobster tacos, lobster tater tots, and lobster grilled cheese to name a few- all about $14-$16 each.
During our first visit we sampled the Conneticut lobster roll (covered in butter and lemon) as well as the lobster tacos which, while small, were packed with a generous amount of lobster proportionally speaking.
Just be sure to get a side when trying this one to make it into a meal (and if you have an extra $4 to spend, go for double meat)!
Cousins Maine shares their locations on their website.
Gus & Yia Yia's
Gus & Yia Yia's is a Pittsburgh institution and has been serving shaved ice in the North Side since the 1930s.
But when we mean shaved ice, we really mean it as the small cart houses a giant brick of ice that is shaved by hand, topped with syrup, and served by the cup full for devout fans and first-timers passing by. Simple, sugary, and hits the spot while walking around West Park on a hot summer day.
Gus & Yia Yia's is a seasonal cart that is found on West Ohio street in West Park, often just next to the tennis courts.
Stickler's Ice Pops
To finish this post, we naturally have to focus on dessert. As far as food trucks are concerned, Stickler's Ice Pops is where it is at. This food truck only serves one thing- popsicles, and makes our cut because their flavors are truly unique (including blueberry lemonade, raspberry mint, and orange mango found during our recent stop, to name a few).
Where most other popsicles taste more like flavored, frozen water, these pack a punch the whole way through and are the perfect dessert to have at any food truck rally!
Stickler's publishes their event schedule on their website.
Sinkers and Suds
We first tried this coffee and donut food truck at a preview event for the Pittsburgh Food Truck Park in Millvale (more on that below). We didn't plan on ordering anything from them since we got dinner from a few other trucks, but after eating we couldn't resist finishing our meal with something sweet.
This cute truck offers a variety of types of donuts (“sinkers”) – you can get them with a simple coating of powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar, a simple frosting, or you can go all out and try their specialties.
These include extravagant options like the s'mores with chocolate and vanilla drizzles with graham cracker crumbles or the cookies ‘n cream with vanilla drizzle and crushed cookies.
These are smaller donuts that come 13 to an order, and the best part is that you can split the order into two different flavors. On our visit we tried the sweet piggy as well as a fall special of pumpkin caramel cheesecake.
The sweet piggy had a maple icing and crumbled bacon, while the special was pumpkin donuts topped with cheesecake and caramel drizzles. The donuts were tender, light, and addicting, and the toppings were just the right amount of sweet.
Sinkers and Suds often publishes their location on their Facebook page.
Give Them a Try at the Pittsburgh Food Truck Park
Did you know that a Pittsburgh food truck park is opening in Millvale in spring 2018? This one will be opening along the river trail and should feature three to five food trucks in any given night- perfect for trying out a lot of the great spots featured here in one shot!
Keep an eye out for their launch in just a few weeks time!
Do you have a favorite street food vendor in Pittsburgh? Comment below to let everyone know about it! If we haven't been we'll be sure to venture out and try it right away, and if it ranks amongst the best we'll feature it in this article!
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