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March 7, 2013

Chase down that Lake Norman food truck!

Food trucks are growing in popularity uptown, but more and more of these restaurants-on-wheels are also rolling into the Lake Norman area, offering creative dishes prepared by professional cooks who are passionate about their business.

Food trucks are growing in popularity uptown, but more and more of these restaurants-on-wheels are also rolling into the Lake Norman area, offering creative dishes prepared by professional cooks who are passionate about their business. Here are four to look for.

The Homegrown Crepe

Matt Alexander started his food truck, The Homegrown Crepe, last June after working as sous chef in Davidson’s Brickhouse Tavern. He says that he chose to feature crepes after his travels in France and Europe.

“Crepes are a classic street food in France and a great medium for other flavors. It’s so simple, but as a good chef, I can make it as complex as I like.”

Homegrown Crepe sources local ingredients and makes everything from scratch. Highlights include gourmet offerings like the Guadalajara’ (smoked pork slathered in a chipotle sauce then piled with Serrano pepper and white bean salad, a cheddar/jack cheese sauce and finished with house-made crème fraiche), which is a full meal and quite a bargain for only $7.

In the warmer months, Alexander offers his twist on the Southern tomato sandwich with the French tomato sandwich crepe, which includes ripe Cherokee heirloom tomato slices with cracked pepper/goat cheese aioli, fresh sorrel and brown butter vinaigrette, finished with house-made creme fraiche.

Sunrise Grill

Mooresville native Jeremy Knox and Floridian Kevin Shiel opened Sunrise Grill and Sandwich Company last July. Knox first launched a food trailer with his father in 2010, working mostly at weekend festivals. Sunrise Grill came about by what Knox saw as a lack of decent burgers in the area.

“I just couldn’t go out and find a good burger anymore,” he says. “Everything was fast food or big corporations. We wanted to bring high-quality, high-end burgers and hot sandwiches to people.”

Using freshly baked breads, fresh ground chuck and locally sourced ingredients, Knox and Shiel offer an eclectic sandwich menu that represents different cuisines, including Japanese, Greek, Italian, Southwest and Buffalo style. They also offer scrumptious sides like grilled mac-and-cheese with breadcrumb topping and their popular tater tots.

Arturo’s Taco Truck

For an authentic lunchtime taste of Mexico, look no farther than Arturo’s Taco Truck in Huntersville. Juan Benitez opened his taco truck in 2011 after cooking in a Greek restaurant for years.

“I wanted to be my own boss and do something different,” he says.

Benitez and his staff make their sauces from scratch and use only the freshest vegetables to accompany his assortment of Mexican specialties. He offers tacos, burritos, quesadillas, tortas, sopes, taco supremes and birria (beef soup) with a variety of meats to choose from. He also makes cheese quesadillas for vegetarians. His prices are unbeatable: $2 for a taco (plenty for lunch), $2.50 for a sope and $6 for a huge burrito.

Rootdown

After graduating from culinary school in New Orleans, Dano Holcomb moved to Lake Norman last year where he opened Rootdown, a food cart offering an irresistible mix of Creole-, soul- and Southern-style food.

Holcomb says he first became interested in cooking while following his Italian mother around the kitchen – “I was a kitchen rat,” he says. His love of food and cooking shows. Some of Rootdown’s more popular selections are the roast beef debris-style po’ boy, as well as the three-legged gumbo (ham hock, smoked turkey and chicken) and of course a Creole classic, red beans and rice.

Holcomb also makes his own Boudain Blanc (fried Creole/French sausage balls coated in breadcrumbs and served with Creole mustard vinaigrette and king syrup). If that’s not enough to entice you, Rootdown makes classic Southern sides like black-eyed peas and mac-and-cheese.

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