The taco trucks started the trend. They've been cropping up all over the Triangle in recent years, as profuse and colorful as cactus flowers after a desert rain. (In terms of appearance, best of show goes to Taqueria Rubio, a mobile eatery in a bright red converted school bus in Durham.)
Now the movable feast concept is spreading beyond the borders of Mexican cuisine. A few culinary heavy hitters are getting in on the early action, too, suggesting that the trend is here to stay.
In Durham, former Starlu chef/proprietor Sam Poley has teamed up with Durham Catering Co. owner Tom Ferguson to get a rolling burger joint, OnlyBurger (www.onlyburger.com), on the road. Their motto is "the only burger you'll ever want," and they back up that claim with 4 ounces of chuck that's ground fresh daily, grilled to order and served with your choice of toppings on a buttered and toasted bun. Burgers are available as a single or double, with or without cheese. And those are pretty much the only decisions you'll have to make. Except for house-cut fries, sodas and bottled water, burgers are, um, the only thing on the menu.
OnlyBurger generally operates 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, or until the burgers run out. For the location on a particular day, check the frequently updated Web site. You shouldn't have any trouble spotting OnlyBurger when you get near its current parking spot. It's a 14-foot truck with, as Poley puts it, "more quilted stainless steel than a diner."
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You can't miss Daisy Cakes (389-4307; www.eatdaisycakes.com) either. It's the vintage Airstream "mobile cupcakery" that's parked at the intersection of Foster and Geer Streets in Durham from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays, which happens to coincide with the nearby Durham Farmers' Market. Owner Tanya Catolos, whose day job is pastry chef at Fairview in the Washington Duke Inn, recently updated her gourmet cupcake offering to include seasonal treats such as Pumpkin Spice and Vanilla Chai. Catolos also offers a small assortment of breakfast pastries and Counter Culture coffee, and she bakes cakes (including wedding cakes) to order.
In Apex, the hot dog menu at Queenie's Weenies (334-8386) is getting seasonal updates, too. To get in the Halloween spirit, owner/operator Pam Oleszewski is dressing up her popular Carolina dog (mustard, chili, onions and slaw) as Spooky dog through the end of October.
Next month, she'll celebrate Thanksgiving with a hot dog topped with turkey dressing and cranberry mustard. Naturally, regular offerings such as the Chihuahua (jalapeños, cheese and homemade fire-roasted pepper chili) and the Queenie Supreenie (bacon, lettuce, tomato and a homemade "special sauce") are still available.
Weather permitting, you'll find Queenie's Weenies in the parking lot of Basket Tree Florist at 221 S. Salem Street, weekdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oleszewski says her mobile hot dog cart is getting more bookings for special events, too. Wherever she is, you can't miss her cart. It's the one with the hot pink umbrella.