By Blake Matthews

(Photo by Blake Matthews)

Not long ago, I noticed a creeping trend in the city of steel. When The Goodie Truck rolled on to the scene a few years ago, I was ecstatic. It made Pittsburgh feel trendy in the food scene! But it stood alone, save the amazingly delicious Pad Thai truck that, for as long as I can remember, has served the heat from the corner of Fifth and Bigelow.

Last year, the owners of downtown’s hip hot dog shop Franktuary took their meat to the streets. So I decided it was time to check them out.

On the hottest day of the year (or maybe years…) I ventured to Oakland, my old stomping grounds, with a sweaty forehead and a growling belly. I first stumbled upon a multi-cultural collection of food trucks on Bigelow Boulevard, just where I’d left the Pad Thai truck five years ago. Typically when you see a truck, the smell of gas fumes comes to mind. But lucky for me the smell of Dosa, kabobs and curry-filled the air instead.

But I knew I was just a bit more hungry for a juicy hot dog, so I ventured across the Soldier’s & Sailor’s lawn to the Franktuary truck.

The truck boasts a limited but rotating version of Franktuary’s gourmet dog menu but I wasn’t the least bit discouraged. Without a moment’s hesitation I knew I wanted the Memphis Dog: a combination of all- beef hot dog, barbecue sauce, red cabbage slaw and crispy fried onions. Oh I’m sorry, have you never tried these ingredients together before? Well, you should. Even on a hot and steamy day this hot dog hit the spot. The cool cabbage slaw certainly helped with that a bit. And the crispy friend onions? Nice touch! So many textures and flavors on one little hot dog. My taste buds were dancing.

(Photo by Blake Matthews)

And I just couldn’t help myself, when I see a word in the world of food that I can barely pronounce let alone define, I’ve got to expand my culinary vocabulary and give it a shot, so I ordered the Poutine.

News flash: Poutine is a traditional Canadian dish (I know, you’re wondering what on earth can be classified as “traditionally Canadian,” but bear with me here) composed of French fries, gravy and cheese curds. At the Frank Truck, they used massive, well-cooked steak fries. Admittedly, this dish would have tasted much better in anything less than 100 degree weather, but I certainly recommend it for those of you smart enough to not eat outside on a 100 degree day.

In short, my brief beef experience with Franktuary has taught me one thing: Pittsburgh needs more food trucks. I know, I know – the city’s weird, wild vending ordinances make it somewhat difficult to execute such a business in the way many other city vendors can, but if Franktuary, the Goodie girls and Pad Thai Express can find a way, I would strongly encourage more entrepreneurs to give on-the-go a go.

As far as finding these food trucks goes, head to Bigelow and Fifth any weekday for delicious cultural findings or follow both Franktuary and The Goodie Truck on Twitter for truck stop updates. However, Franktuary can usually be found at these places and times:

SOUTH SIDE – Hot Metal Bridge Faith Community parking lot, 2700 Jane St, 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.

OAKLAND – Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall, side parking lot, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
FOX CHAPEL – Farmers’ Market @ Shadyside Academy, 3 – 6 p.m.

SOUTH SIDE – Hot Metal Bridge Faith Community parking lot, 2700 Jane St, 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.
EAST END – Bakery Square parking lot near Google building, 6425 Penn Avenue, 4 a.m. – 5 p.m.

OAKLAND – Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall, side parking lot, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

BELTZHOOVER – Venture Outdoors’ free Family Festival, McKinley Park, 12 – 4 p.m.

NORTH SIDE – Tree River Circus, corner of E Ohio & Cedar Ave, 12 – 3 p.m.

Monday – Friday (Storefront)
DOWNTOWN – 325 Oliver Avenue (yes, it’s in a church), 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

(Photo by Blake Matthews)

Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 3 p.m.
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Blake is the opinionated foodaholic behind the Taste of Pittsburgh restaurant review blog. As a Steel City transplant originally from Chocolatetown, USA, she’s on an adventure to find the best kept culinary secrets of the city and revel in every bite.