Hoosier Mama Pie Company, Chicago
Paula Haney made pastries at acclaimed Chicago restaurants like Trio before opening her Green City Market stand. She launched her adorable, and adorably named, bakery in March, but still has a stand at the market and buys produce there, including the cherries for her stellar pies.
Mogridder’s, New York City
For almost four years, Fred Donnelly’s red Mogridder’s BBQ truck has animated a nondescript section of the Bronx, where it sits in front of his auto repair shop. (The Mogridder’s special—an oil change and brake check plus a platter of slow-smoked ribs—does brisk business.) Last October, Donnelly finally opened a place to sit and eat. He makes the spectacularly sticky ribs below at home. “Anyone you make them for falls in love with you,” he says.
Kogi at The Alibi Room, Los Angeles
When Kogi’s truck first Tweeted its stops last November, no one had heard of Korean short rib tacos. Now hundreds of people line up for them, and for kimchi hot dogs. Credit Roy Choi, who cooked at NYC’s Le Bernardin and recently opened a Kogi counter at L.A.’s Alibi Room.
Boucherie, New Orleans
In 2006, chef Nathanial Zimet launched Que Crawl—a purple food truck. He usually parks it outside Tipitina’s nightclub and prepares his take on New Orleans specialties, like fried boudin balls and duck gumbo. Last December, he opened a real restaurant called Boucherie—dishes like blackened shrimp with bacon vinaigrette are more ambitious than those he still serves at his truck, but nothing costs more than $15.
Chef Justin Neidermeyer perfected his pasta-making at Antica Torre in Italy’s Piedmont region. After returning home to Seattle, he eventually set up a stand at the Ballard Farmers’ Market selling his excellent tagliatelle and gnocchi. Then, last summer, Neidermeyer opened Spinasse, an intimate trattoria with communal tables and pasta dishes like egg-yolk-rich tajarin that he sometimes tops with crisp fried sage leaves and Parmesan.