Food trucks are everywhere. Sure, some cities lag behind, and in others, laws prevent nascent scenes from taking off. But in major cities, odds are good that if you stroll down busy streets, you'll stumble across a food truck (if it's not Midtown Manhattan). Indeed, competition can be fierce. For this reason many incorporate gimmickry. Catchy names and witty slogans are effective ways to win attention. It's also the only time you could name an eatery Shrimp Pimp or Me So Hungry, and expect business not just to survive, but thrive.
Still, some trucks take that license, that "I'm the youngest child and can get away with anything" entitlement up to the edge of tolerability when it comes to the realm of brazen, eyeroll-inducing, pun-upon-pun chuckling. There's the almost-use of foul language, sex references, penis jokes, the point where your eyes roll around in your head so violently you almost think Tyler Florence's ties from last season's series of The Great Food Truck Race actually looked good. "Killer Street Food," "Shrimpin' ain't easy, but it sho is fun," "Shut Up And Eat," the list goes on.
In pictures: Food Truck Names That Should Be Banned
When it comes to food trucks, puns are without a doubt the most common rhetorical devices ever. Still, the sex-charged meat puns that "pop up" on the sides of food trucks catering to the masses are kind of endearing, even when they're beyond the pale when it comes to being obnoxious, obvious, and completely over-the-line. Sure, there's a sense of humor only teenage boys (or most linecooks) would love, but you have to appreciate the overboard qualities inherent to many food truck slogans.
With respect for the ridiculous, and getting away with what most serious restaurants would never consider trying, here are truck slogans and names whose cleverness and puns put them in a category of names that "should be banned" for being over-the-top and too good at their own game.
- Arthur Bovino, The Daily Meal
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Think Hit n' Run's name is over the top? How about the Houston food truck's slogan? "Killer Street Food." Roadkill, hit and runs, automobile death, and mayhem — all wrapped up in six words and a 27-foot 1973 Winnebago Chieftan that the folks behind it affectionately call “Winnie.” The same playful spirit can be found on the Winnie's menu. There's the "Killer Burger" with "coked up onions" and the "Drunken Squealer," which sounds good: Shiner Bock-braised pulled pork, from-scratch cole slaw, sliced onions, pickles, and homemade habanero peach barbecue sauce on a "super soft onion bun." But their fish dish wins the best-name prize — “We Found Nemo” — a fish taco with Nemo spice and Nemo sauce. "You may now throw rocks at other fish tacos," their menu advises. Related: Food Trucks, The New Marketing Platform
Taglines include, "big fat sandwiches with East-coast flair" and "belly-busting Italian comfort food" aren't overly clever, but in the case of this Portland food cart, it's the name that doesn't mess around: Shut Up And Eat. Shut Up And Eat serves Italian comfort food including meatballs, roast pork, and lasagna. Related: Best Food Trucks: LA, DC, and NY
Props to "best wieners on wheels." You really have to tip your hat to any entrepreneur behind a food enterprise who can pull off the genitalia references and sexual innuendo that The Greasy Wiener seems to. With menu items like "The Package," "Sack'a' Nutz," and "Box 'A' Curly's" the slogan, "Loads of fun... in a bun!" will take on any contender when it comes to a lewd turn of phrase. Related: Best Food Trucks in Los Angeles
The Shrimp Pimp — it rhymes, there's a sex reference, and a catchy slogan: “Shrimpin’ ain’t easy, but it sho is fun!” What more could you want? The Shrimp Pimp's founder is Neil Macleod, a former New York City restaurateur whose bio notes experience working with Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Mario Batali. The Pimp rolls through Los Angeles streets peddling menu items including: sashimi tuna tacos, shrimp and chips, po boys, "drunken" shrimp tacos, and Greek shrimp sandwiches. For all the true pimps out there, the truck's website leaves fans with a last bit of innuendo, "And for those seeking a Happy Ending, the Pimp promises not to disappoint, with a full offering of Ho-Ho’s for dessert." Related: Tasting New Orleans' Cuisine (Outside NOLA)
The name isn't that outlandish, but the presentation takes a page out of the Fojol Bros. of Merlindia's book: get-up. In the case of Baby's Badass Burgers, Eater LA noted that means tiny booty shorts, tight tank tops, and high heels worn by the "burger babes," who you can view here. But the truck, the creation of ex-New York restaurateur Erica Cohen and event planner Lori Barbera, does have a mysterious section named, "View the Goods," and the logo features a scantily-clad girl holding up two burgers near where, well, where the strap of her bra is falling off. Related: 25 Essential Burgers Checklist
Look, it's a husband and wife team, and the product is innocent enough — Hawaiian-style shave ice — so get your mind out of the gutter. Pat and Kristin Roskowick have been selling Hawaiian-style shave ice in Los Angeles since starting their Get Shaved truck in 2008. They've since opened a brick-and-mortar location in Northridge, Calif., and have a second planned for Torrance. Besides, with Monkey Brains (strawberry and banana shave ice with sweetened condensed milk) and the Sour Puss (watermelon, lemon, live shave ice with sour spray) as the most outlandish menu items, there's little else on the menu to give any indication that there are any double-entendres at work. Related: Most Bizarre Ice Cream Flavors
Truckin’ Good Food truck sells crêpes and frites in Phoenix. Where'd they come up with the the name? "We want to make people happy and excited for what we do. After the first glance, after the first words, ‘Hi, what can I get for ya’? And after the first bite, the reaction had to be... whoa! This is truckin’ good food!” The slogan is a variation: Holy Truckin' Good. Related: 101 Best Restaurants in America
Meatballs and gentialia references, people just can't help themselves. Joseph Galluzzi tried it on America's Next Great Restaurant with "Saucy Balls," and in the an episode of The Next Food Network Star, one of the contestants pushed for "Balls on the Roll" as a food truck name. Out in the real world Great Balls On Tires (G-BOT, the truck's site notes) rolls through the mean streets of Los Angeles. Founded by Clint Peralta and Michael Brombart, "G-BOT serves meatballs and other savory balls of food." (They were then joined by former Comme Ça restaurant Executive Chef Michael David.) The jokes continue: "Meat our balls," "Ball Gogi," "Ball Mi," "Sweet Balls," and more, all served two balls at a time. And as the site notes, "If you think you can make a Great Ball... stop by their truck and join the reBallution, one ball at a time!" Related: 25 Best Celebrity-Owned Restaurants
What is it about Los Angeles? Seems like several of these trucks originate in L.A. "Get ready for the bite of your life," claims the Me So Hungry website. Me So Hungry. Me So Hungry. Hmm, what could that possibly refer to? Still, after the name, the menu gets pretty tame. There are "Big Monsters" (burgers and sliders), "Lil' Monsters" (sides), "Sweet Monsters" (desserts), and "Monster Sauces." Drinks don't get monsterfied — they're just called "beverages." What's that all about? Related: When Food Trucks Jump the Shark: 10 Signs
Dumplings. Food truck. The Dump Truck. You get it, you get it. But there's another joke there somewhere and it's probably not something you want to affiliate with food. Just saying. Related: Dim Sum Toolbox: Dumpling Essentials
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