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The City Journals

Brief History of a Food Truck Nation

Aug 06, 2015 09:12AM ● By Bryan Scott

Food Truck

1691 – New Amsterdam, what we now know as New York City begins to regulate vendors selling from push carts

1850s – Cross-country travelers begin to receive food service in dining cars

1866 – Charles Goodnight, former Texas Ranger, also known to many as “the father of the Panhandle,” invented the chuckwagon (a cowboy’s portable kitchen wagon used on the cattle trails)

1872 – The first diner is set up in a horse-drawn wagon

1894 – Edible wares start being sold outside of student dorms at major universities; they were called “dog wagons”

1917 – Known as “canteens,” the U.S. Army incorporates the concept of mobile food to feed troops

1936 – The company Oscar Meyer unveils the first portable hot dog cart: the legendary Weiner Mobile

1950s – Ice cream vendors jump on the bandwagon and begin selling their frozen treats from a truck

1960s – Roach coaches (a catering truck that frequents blue collar work areas) establish a presence around construction sites

1974 – Raul Martinez converts an ice cream truck into the world’s first taco truck

January 2010 – SOCALMFVA (Southern California Mobile Food Association) is created to protect the rights of gourmet food truck owners

August 2010 – “The Great Food Truck Race” is the first television program to feature food trucks

September 2010 – Tips on how to start a street food business are added to government website 

October 2010 – Zagat announces that in 2011 they will begin providing reviews of food trucks

November 2010 – Los Angeles begins to rank food trucks with letter grades like restaurants 

June 2011 – New York City issues the first liquor license to Pera Food Truck

August 2011 – The Gap launches a nationwide ad campaign marketing a retro-style jean with the use of a food truck

February 2012 – Food trucks service fans in Indianapolis for the Super Bowl

June 2014 – The National Food Truck Association is formed