The Water Cooler – Food Trucks

July 21, 2014 12:00 pm · 54 comments

The “Water Cooler” is a feature on where we ask you a question or provide a topic, and you talk about it!

The “Water Cooler” will be up Monday-Friday at noon!

Today’s question:

Food trucks….Do you trust them, or do you still see them as the “roach coaches” they were affectionately know as several years ago?

Also, when was the last time you ordered an item from a food truck?

Talk about it….

While food trucks are often July 21, 2014 at 12:09 PM

marketed these day’s as gourmet food, I am uncomfortable with food prepared on these moving roach coaches. So, no, I never have, most likely never will eat anything from them.

I was on 24 yesterday and saw a shiny, flashy coach moving along at about 45 MPH in the # 2 lane. Had traffic backed up for a mile or more.

If that’s how they drive, what sort of care toward cleanliness could there be?

The Mamba July 21, 2014 at 12:17 PM

Hmmm, I’ve never really worried about their cleanliness and in fact had heard they are cleaner than most restaurant kitchens. I probably get food from one about once a month.

TJ Jones July 21, 2014 at 12:21 PM

Food trucks undermine brick and mortar eateries, pay low wages, and are inherently dirty.

Once… many, many years ago.

sf July 21, 2014 at 12:27 PM

The trucks that are a part of Off the Grid are fantastic!
Amazing food and friendly workers.

Anon777 July 21, 2014 at 12:33 PM

They actually have pretty good food. FOOD TRUCK THURSDAYS at Pleasant Hill BART (on Treat) every Thursday from 11am-2pm.

Mr. John July 21, 2014 at 12:36 PM

These days, there are as many different ‘classes’ of food trucks as there are restaraunts. There are some food trucks that visit SF that have food on par with a 4 star find dining establishment. Then, there are some (like the one that sits at Concord BART) that are on par with the mom and pop place that has been struggling to survive for decades. I’m ok grabbing a soda or twinkie there, but not a sandwich or burger.

I used to eat at SF based ones 2 or 3 times a week, and never regretted it. Since my job moved to the burbs, I do not have the opportunity. I miss it.

Killjoy July 21, 2014 at 12:38 PM

There’s a roach coach that comes around work in the mornings.
I used to get a breakfast burrito. Until they changed cooks. The new one kept screwing up my order. The second time I went back and asked for my money back for both times. I gave her a month to get situated in the new truck. I ordered another, and she screwed it up again. I again got my money back, and have not been back since.
That’s probably a year ago now.

mutts July 21, 2014 at 12:39 PM

Only if they’re regulated

Sacto Rob July 21, 2014 at 12:46 PM

If people want to head off to food trucks, more power to you. There’s nothing inherently unsafe or unsanitary about food trucks. But I have noticed the following: When you go to a food truck, you have limited menu choices, no table service, no tables, nor chairs, nor shade or rain protection, and you pay about 20 percent more than you would ordering exactly the same thing from a regular old restaurant except there you get more choices, actual service, and a place to sit down while you’re eating.
But hey, if you want to jump on the food truck bandwagon, you go right ahead. That just leaves more room and shorter wait times for me over at the diner. Bon apetit!

Michelle July 21, 2014 at 12:49 PM

I would never eat food from a food truck in Concord… but I wouldn’t dine at a restaurant in Concord either.

Just ate at one in NYC.

Tom July 21, 2014 at 12:51 PM

Killjoy, you sound very cheap. Constant money back?

I don’t eat off these trucks, but if others want to, have at it.

just a concordian July 21, 2014 at 12:57 PM

I frequent two in SF, Koja Kitchen and Chairman Bao. both absolutely fantastic. Have tried several others, indian, eastern european, japanese, mexican, but somehow i just keep going back to the two i mentioned.
They are clean, because very little preparation is actually done inside the truck. Many prep their food elsewhere, in kitchens for hire, then assemble it in the truck. There is some sort of health regulation that applies to them as well and they have to comply.
an ex coworker of mine eats off of the trucks most every day, follows them on twitter and facebook as well. And in SF, at the truckstop alley on Mission the lines are long. Another nice thing about these trucks is that they go to many outdoor events around SF, making the food choices so much more appealing. So far so good, seems they will stick arund for a while.

DummitDowns July 21, 2014 at 12:58 PM

Can’t wait for this lame trend to end. Food from a guy pushing a tamale cart not a great scene as well.

Freeman July 21, 2014 at 1:04 PM

I am all about food trucks being able to sell, but they’re typically a ripoff. You pay extra for the gimmick, and I don’t understand why.

AnotherAnon--------See the movie The Chef; you'll gain a new perspective on food trucks July 21, 2014 at 1:05 PM

plus, its entertaining. Anyone for a Cuban Sandwich?

Buster July 21, 2014 at 1:05 PM

I drive from Concord to the La Primavera food truck that parks in the Ace Hardware on Pacheco in Martinez. Great food and is as clean as their restaurant in Martinez, which by the way is very clean. Never got sick from a food truck but have from brick stores.

Jerk July 21, 2014 at 1:11 PM

I don’t and won’t, But I think everyone should buy from food trucks. At normal restaurants I’m tired of getting behind a self entitled douchebag with a list a foot long ordering for the whole office staff, and if it’s not them then it’s the person that has to have everything “special” that’s NOT on the friggin’ menu!!!

Anon777 July 21, 2014 at 1:19 PM

Sacto Rob: “When you go to a food truck, you have limited menu choices, no table service, no tables, nor chairs, nor shade or rain protection, and you pay about 20 percent more……….”

NOT! I really don’t need, want or have time for table service, a chair, shade or rain protection; I’m grabbing food and going back to my desk. The food truck is cheaper and has WAY better food than the cafe in my office building that sells specials for $8.59 plus tax. I’d rather pay $5 for better and quicker!

anonanonagain July 21, 2014 at 1:20 PM

I frequent the Alameda Flea Market and there are a bevy of food trucks there each time. They seem clean and the food is outstanding. The trucks that serve specialty coffees, lattes, mochas etc. are even better than the local chains. I believe the Treasure Island Flea has these food trucks too as well as a farmers market……

The Professor July 21, 2014 at 1:34 PM

There are food trucks in WC every day at the old Le Virage parking lot. They rotate so there are different ones almost every day.

I’ve eaten there twice in the past 2 months. The lines weren’t bad and neither was the food. There were tables with umbrellas set up so you didn’t need to stand and eat. Selection from each truck was limited but there were three trucks both times that I went. The price was about in line with a comparable restaurant that sells similar food. The people were friendly but it seemed like a long wait.

I’ll definately try them out again.

Teacher Wannabe July 21, 2014 at 1:38 PM

We get our “catering truck” every morning at work. The couple who runs it is nice and the food is reasonably priced ($4 for a burrito supreme as opposed to the $8 you pay at the local taqueria). And the menu options are large. Wouldnt want table, etc. Grab my food and back to the salt mines.

Pyrrhus July 21, 2014 at 1:40 PM

Gourmet Food Trucks are fun to try new foods or old foods with a modern twist. The only draw back is the cost, they are usually pricier than a traditional establishment. My wife and I go every year to the Eat Real Festival at Jack London Square.

Also, every Saturday in Alameda they have an Off the Grid event. It’s great to grab a bite to eat there then spend an afternoon at the Pinball Museum.

@tj jones July 21, 2014 at 2:09 PM

so wrong most b&m are dirty and pay low wages. The trucks are usually family owned and very clean.

@michelle July 21, 2014 at 2:11 PM

since you hate concord so much why do you bother with claycord?

Bruce July 21, 2014 at 2:29 PM


You sound like a despicable person.

Almost never...but... July 21, 2014 at 2:42 PM

I almost wrote that I never have eaten from a food truck. But if you count the food sellers at the Farmers’ Markets, I have had tamales at the Farmers’ Markets, and Crepes at the Farmers’ Markets a couple times.

I normally never eat out, though.

My husband told me that he has tried the food trucks in Walnut Creek at the old El Virage lot, and he says the burritos are REALLY good ~ comparable to Chipotle-type food. Now I am curious.

RanchgirlCA July 21, 2014 at 2:51 PM

I’ve had some good food from todays Food Trucks. I’m all for them.

Karma July 21, 2014 at 3:06 PM

Love going to The Bend ( Walnut Creek ) It’s nice to have a varity of food trucks with one stop.
Very clean and friendly. I go every week!

Puddintain July 21, 2014 at 3:33 PM

Here we go again.

tired of taxes July 21, 2014 at 3:38 PM

Have been to the Off The Grid gathering at Willows for a couple of Saturdays now. Have not been disappointed by my choices yet. The only gripe I have is with Willows and the current state of their reconstruction project. Anybody know when the projected end date of reconstruction is?

@ Killjoy July 21, 2014 at 3:48 PM

You remind me of the guy we saw one time at Sizzler. He brought his plate [with just the bone of the steak left] back to the manager and demanded a refund because his steak was no good. The manager declined.

Concordejet July 21, 2014 at 3:54 PM

I love the taco trucks their tacos are fresh and comes in handy.

RANDOM TASK July 21, 2014 at 4:19 PM

they are regulated just like the brick and mortar places go to the willow on Saturday mornings thru noon the trucks are there and awesome right in front of Roadrunner sports check them out too….. running is a go sport ….so go

PhilthyPHRESH July 21, 2014 at 4:27 PM

iS off the grid in the willows every Saturday?

The Old Man July 21, 2014 at 5:16 PM

I’ve eaten off of food trucks in the old days when they were called roach coaches, heck, I even ate street food in Mexico and I’m still alive and kicking.
@ #10 Michelle, you ain’t lived till you’ve dined in Concord, you whippersnapper, you.

Food Truck Worker July 21, 2014 at 5:46 PM

I worked on the Kinder’s food truck.. It was actually more sanitary than the kitchen at the shop. However, that place was pretty gross in general. Once there was some rancid smelling meat and they told us to just put it into a bag of vinegar to hide it. I never ate there again. They also store their meat improperly (I.e. Stacking different meats, boxes soaked in meat juice stacked in the fridge, stacking boxes on the ground). Whatever though, they’re doing something right I guess if they’re staying in business.

SKS July 21, 2014 at 5:57 PM

Are food trucks the reason why there are no pigeons in Claycord?

And food trucks are unfair competition to brick and mortar stores. They don’t contribute to the community. It’s wham, bam, thank you ma’am, and they are gone.

Cowellian July 21, 2014 at 6:17 PM

When I worked in Martinez, I liked having the truck bring lumch to me.

Starman July 21, 2014 at 9:04 PM

Over priced for a couple dollars more I can be served at a restruant and have a place to sit with out the bugs

Walnut Creek Resident July 21, 2014 at 9:06 PM

Anon #15 Great film CHEF! You do get a real neat respect for these cool food trucks. I love them.

Snooty Frenchie July 21, 2014 at 10:29 PM

@ 26 El Virage? LOL!

Mom of the Horde July 22, 2014 at 3:03 AM

I like to patronize the Bacon Bacon and Sanguchon trucks when they’re in the area.

Futurama July 22, 2014 at 7:05 AM

Food trucks are awesome. I stop by a few each week I. The city. Great food. The willows truck stop on sat is a great place for lunch.

@ #41 July 22, 2014 at 7:25 AM

La la la la laaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

I would eat at a food truck. I will have to find one soon.

WC July 22, 2014 at 7:41 AM

My plan, once they fully legalize pot, is to have a pot truck and a food truck. Get the customers stoned, wait for the munchies and sell them some food. Can’t wait.

tired of taxes July 22, 2014 at 8:47 AM

Yes. Off The Grid is at Willows every Saturday.
It is a shame the state the Willows complex is in. Not conducive to shopping by the crowd that is drawn in by the food trucks.

Mimi (original) July 22, 2014 at 9:02 AM

@WC – you’re cracking me up!! That’s an awesome plan! LOLOL!

Marianne July 22, 2014 at 9:56 AM

That is the best idea yet, WC. You can park the truck next to “hoodies r’ us”. lol 🙂

MSorianoPhotography July 22, 2014 at 10:25 AM

Off The Grid, every Wednesday at 5-9 PM, downtown Pleasant Hill (near City Hall). Good stuff (except ‘Slightly Skewed’ took 40 minutes to bring food out), and the only place I can get real frozen custard (Lexie’s).

@WC #45 July 22, 2014 at 11:55 AM

I’m in!!!

Old Gringo July 22, 2014 at 1:24 PM

What do the cooks in these trucks do when they need to use a restroom ? Use a bottle or a bucket ?

Emily July 22, 2014 at 5:28 PM

Many of these food trucks such as those featured at off the grid are actually more sanitary then some restaurants you done in. They are closely regulated and there is health in specters when they arrive at lications versus the once in a blue moon checks that some of your favorite restaurants might clean up for. This is a great new trend and I personally enjoy the different foods you can try from these trucks! I’m all for food trucks now!

Silva July 22, 2014 at 5:53 PM

Old Gringo, That’s funny. I wonder why I never thought about that before? Some are large enough to have a full bathroom, but then there’s those dinky ones…

Marianne July 22, 2014 at 8:13 PM

WC #45
I have the name for the line of food trucks, “Grub n’ Dub” pretty cool huh! 🙂

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