Summer's New Food Carts Sing to a Different Tune
Before coming to F&W, our amazingly talented editorial intern, Nick Pandolfi, worked at the offices of the hip music magazine Spin. While concert-hopping through Brooklyn and Manhattan this summer, he’s come upon a handful of supercreative new food carts. Here, he shares details:
The Mister Softee theme song has become a fixture in many New Yorkers’ lives, and now, as summer comes to an end, I catch myself humming it as I go to sleep. Some contend the ubiquitous tune is a rendition of “Pop Goes the Weasel” a few octaves too high, and others say it’s a variation of “Turkey in the Straw.” Regardless, with the overload of generic ice-cream trucks, it’s beginning to cause a little more irritation then nostalgia. So it’s refreshing to hear a few new food carts on the streets of New York this summer.
Matt Allen, a.k.a. Ice Cream Man, hasn’t taken much of a departure from the typical novelties you’d find on the Mister Softee truck, but thankfully, he isn’t blasting the annoying theme song. In fact, the Ice Cream Man’s mission is all about music. He’s always parked outside of music festivals and concerts, and a few days after the show, you can expect a review of whatever band you caught onstage . I grabbed a Choco Taco from him at one of the Pool Parties in Brooklyn’s McCarren Park, but he’s always traveling around the country. The music is great, but best of all: The ice cream’s free.
Also in Brooklyn is the Green Pirate juice truck. Since their launch in the beginning of July, green pirates Leesaw Andaloro and Deborah Smith have been juicing carrots, wheatgrass and cantaloupe for local Brooklynites. They stand by their belief that we shouldn’t think of frozen chemicals and sweetener as a proper summer treat. I had a cantaloupe and coconut crush that was just as refreshing, and much healthier, than a vanilla-and-chocolate twist with sprinkles. Along with their all-natural theme, the Green Pirate also uses only vegetable-based bio-diesel in its truck and sends all its lemon rinds and beet skins to a local composting facility.
Who’s next on the innovator food-truck scene? Heartschallenger, an old converted mail truck, has recently arrived in New York from L.A. It’s started showing up at a few events in the city, but soon you’ll find it all over town, toting imported ice cream and Japanese candy. Ben and Lo, the two behind the wheel, also make up the band Heartsrevolution, and it seems fitting that their single, which was just released in the U.K., is on white, heart-shaped vinyl.
Now, even the city itself is catching on to the Mister Softee theme-song abuse. With its new regulation banning the tune while the vehicles are stopped, we can all hope the new wave of summer food-truck innovators catches on, too.