2022’s Best Texas Cities for Food Truck Lovers

Image of patrons ordering from and eating at local food trucks near the University of Texas-Austin campus

Tacos, barbecue, and churros – oh my! Everything’s bigger in Texas, including appetites for fresh, delicious street food.

But which Lone Star State cities are best for finding your next favorite food truck? 

LawnStarter compared 100 Texas cities to find the best for food truck lovers. We looked for cities that have:

  • Plenty of food trucks (per 100,000 residents) 
  • Highly-rated food trucks
  • High standing from the last Texas Food Truck Showdown 
  • Food truck festivals
  • A local food truck-loving community

Devour our rankings below, followed by some highlights, lowlights, expert tips, and our own roundup of ideas for how to lasso your next food truck lunch.

Table of Contents

  1. City Rankings
  2. Highlights and Lowlights
  3. Ask the Experts
  4. Methodology
  5. Lasso in Your Lunch

City Rankings 

See how each city fared in our ranking:

OVERALL RANKCityOverall ScoreAccess RankQuality RankPopularity Rank
1Austin, TX57.56421
2Waco, TX52.03716
3San Antonio, TX38.433852
4Houston, TX35.902993
5Euless, TX33.6189377
6Dallas, TX32.425884
7Spring, TX31.9814025
8Friendswood, TX31.4751477
9Georgetown, TX31.3717732
10Fort Worth, TX31.3231624
11Conroe, TX30.3651033
12New Braunfels, TX30.1211117
13Kyle, TX28.59131261
14Huntsville, TX28.0191663
15Round Rock, TX27.39211528
16San Marcos, TX27.2622040
17Little Elm, TX25.98841381
18Temple, TX25.8462449
19Wylie, TX25.55771481
20Cedar Park, TX24.56232129
21McKinney, TX24.39371743
22Harlingen, TX23.70501877
23Galveston, TX23.6810367
24Killeen, TX23.60192927
25Schertz, TX23.55392243
26Pflugerville, TX23.3834233
27The Woodlands, TX23.32671926
28Del Rio, TX22.95263072
29Denton, TX22.9246319
30Leander, TX22.91352729
31Pasadena, TX22.90652349
32Sugar Land, TX22.87422629
33Sherman, TX22.68153381
34Abilene, TX22.67323418
35Pearland, TX22.46722549
36Amarillo, TX22.21542857
37Lubbock, TX22.16483511
38Longview, TX22.04224718
39Bryan, TX21.62144366
40Grand Prairie, TX20.95733813
40Victoria, TX20.95254572
42Hurst, TX20.83783294
43Richardson, TX20.50594812
44Lewisville, TX20.48523855
45Garland, TX20.43563740
46San Angelo, TX20.28345414
47Keller, TX19.92165772
48Port Arthur, TX19.79704189
49Texarkana, TX19.67614469
50The Colony, TX19.35285669
51Arlington, TX19.34824633
52Corpus Christi, TX18.8949745
53Wichita Falls, TX18.82336317
54McAllen, TX18.81206233
55Edinburg, TX18.80664949
56Texas City, TX18.55365877
57Bedford, TX18.52765181
57College Station, TX18.52126743
59Cedar Hill, TX18.45755294
60Plano, TX18.43715437
61Weslaco, TX18.39536421
62North Richland Hills, TX18.34874965
63Brownsville, TX18.05885357
64Midland, TX17.9687337
65El Paso, TX17.45306923
66Irving, TX17.44805940
67La Porte, TX17.27746081
68Burleson, TX17.12276881
69Missouri City, TX17.03646546
70Carrollton, TX16.68936161
71Laredo, TX16.39696639
72Rosenberg, TX15.76457157
73Rockwall, TX15.45477720
74Haltom City, TX15.44817049
75Lufkin, TX15.22188089
76Atascocita, TX14.74917249
77Baytown, TX14.49248357
78Allen, TX14.31628110
79Mansfield, TX14.12557881
80Lancaster, TX14.04797594
81Tyler, TX13.96577966
82Flower Mound, TX13.80837672
83Channelview, TX13.67448294
84DeSoto, TX13.15418489
85Beaumont, TX12.93608516
86Odessa, TX12.34438648
87Grapevine, TX11.66688914
88Waxahachie, TX11.17409122
89Farmers Branch, TX11.14908781
90San Juan, TX10.92948794
91Frisco, TX10.35639046
92Mission, TX8.59859263
93League City, TX3.36869355
94Rowlett, TX0.47929494
95Duncanville, TX0.369595100
96Mesquite, TX0.25969566
97Pharr, TX0.22979572
98Mission Bend, TX0.05989569
99Deer Park, TX0.02989589
99Coppell, TX0.02989589
Infographic showing the best Texas cities for food truck lovers, a ranking based on access to and quality of food trucks and local demand
Note: We ranked 100 cities for each of the metrics above. However, the lowest-ranking position for some metrics may not be 100 due to a significant number of ties. For Average Consumer Rating, the lowest position is 94 because six cities had zero food trucks or no food trucks that were rated by consumers.

Highlights and Lowlights

Eccentric Eats

Food trucks are more than a phenomenon in Austin, our top-ranking city — they’re driving the city’s (and arguably the state’s) food culture. There’s a food truck (or two) on just about every street in ATX. With abundant, high-quality eats to appease every appetite, it’s no wonder Bat City flew to the top of our ranking.

Austin is home to the most food truck festivals in the state and — don’t hate us, Pedro Pascal — the best tacos in Texas. The food truck scene is definitely helping to Keep Austin Weird, from Bananarchy’s frozen bananas to Gourdough’s donut burgers.

Local tip: You can find several food truck parks across the city, but The Picnic is a favorite stop before chilling at Barton Springs or taking a relaxing walk through Zilker Park. 

Hungry in the Heartland

Rolling in at No. 2 is Waco, home to the Texas Food Truck Showdown. Nestled in the heart of Texas, this city is growing, thanks to its small-town feel yet close proximity to both Dallas and Austin. Waco has plenty of highly acclaimed food trucks stationed across the city — including the 2019 Showdown champion — to please the appetites of college students and tourists alike.

The city is trending, thanks to HGTV’s Chip and Joanna Gaines. Their Magnolia Market aims to bring in more visitors per year than the Alamo, and they’re pretty close. Guests have an opportunity for a bite of Waco flavor at Magnolia’s on-site food truck park.

Local tip: Be sure to track down the Grand Champion of the 2019 Texas Food Truck Showdown, Churros’ Time. You can find a variety of other local tastes at Route 77 Food Park & Bar

Bring an Alamo City Appetite

Sprawling San Antonio (No. 3) might not have as many food trucks per capita as its rival, Austin, but what the Alamo City lacks in quantity it makes up for in quality. A big percentage of highly rated food vendors helped SA rise to the top of our ranking. This also means there’s room for new trucks in this fast-growing city

San Antonio is a city of gourmands and a UNESCO-designated Creative City of Gastronomy, one of only two in the nation. It’s not hard to decide where to eat — a bunch of food influencers regularly scout out the best grub on wheels across town. 

In addition to highly rated food, San Antonio has plenty of festivals for foodies to explore different flavors of the city.

Local tip: The El Camino food truck park is the perfect place to meet up with friends for a bite and drinks before strolling along the Riverwalk. There are other food truck parks established across the city, too, including Streetfare SA, The Block, and Area 51 Food Park

Big City Bites

Texans love fast food, and food trucks offer another convenient avenue to this dining option. The state’s biggest cities and their suburbs fill out most of our top 10, with Houston (No. 4) pulling ahead of Dallas (No. 6) and Fort Worth (No. 10) for better food truck access.

Despite DFW’s and Houston’s strong standings, some of their nearby neighborhoods rolled downhill on our list. Dallas suburbs Coppell (No. 99) and Mesquite (No. 96) and Houston’s Deer Park (No. 99) and Mission Bend (No. 98) all fared poorly, falling short in nearly every metric. 

These lower-ranking regions are quiet, spread-out commuter towns (translation: less profitable compared with more densely populated areas). Commuters likely pass by more restaurants on their way home from the city, anyway. 

Local tips:

Houston’s food truck scene offers more than delicious barbecue. H-town is home to The Great State of Texas Food Truck Festival, West Houston Food Truck Festival, and Munchie Madness

Fort Worth’s Holy Frijole and Dallas’ Southern Xposures are previous Texas Food Truck Showdown winners.

Ask The Experts

With an ever-growing food truck industry, it’s hard to keep up with what goes on behind the wheel. We reached out to some food truck experts to share their industry knowledge, perspective, and tips. Read their answers below.

  1. What makes a food truck stand out among popular and trendy restaurants?
  2. What are some upcoming trends in the food truck industry? For example, some neighborhoods, apartment complexes, and even weddings have started booking food trucks.
  3. Is it better for a food truck to have variety or to stick with a small menu? And how can a food truck cater to various dietary needs?
  4. Food trucks can be hard to spot or track when they don’t have a regular location or route. What are some ways consumers can find food trucks? Are there any food truck tracker apps you recommend?
  5. What are the three best food truck snacks or meals you’ve ever had? What makes them so special?
Patrice Luoma, Ph.D.
Professor of Entrepreneurship & Strategy, Director, People’s United Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Co-Advisor, Entrepreneurship Club
Tammie J. Kaufman, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Sotiris Hji-Avgoustis, Ph.D., CHIA, CAHTA
Professor of Hospitality Innovation and Leadership
Drew Martin, Ph.D.
Professor
Patrice Luoma, Ph.D.
Professor of Entrepreneurship & Strategy, Director, People’s United Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Co-Advisor, Entrepreneurship Club
Quinnipiac University

What makes a food truck stand out among popular and trendy restaurants?

In Connecticut there has been a significant increase in the number of food trucks for events, such as retirement parties, graduation parties, etc. Food trucks are a fun and easy way to cater a party.

The pizza trucks are very popular here and appeal to a wide variety of individuals. Most even have a gluten-free pizza option.

Another trend is bar trucks that make and serve alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. These are a good accompaniment to the food truck.

We are also seeing more permanent locations designated for food trucks.

What are the three best food-truck snacks or meals you’ve ever had? What makes them so special?

My favorite food trucks are pizza trucks. They make many varieties of pizza, and they just keep coming out of their ovens. It gives you a chance to try many different toppings on pizza.

Second favorite is cupcakes because who doesn’t love a good cupcake.

Is it better for a food truck to have variety or to stick with a small menu? And how can a food truck cater to various dietary needs?

Food trucks should focus on quality food with the fastest service possible. People don’t want to stand in line for very long to wait for food. Being efficient, along with good quality, will increase popularity.

Given the limited space in a food truck, it’s best to have a smaller menu. Focus on one (or a couple) of things you do well and do variations of those foods (e.g., my pizza example above). This will help the food truck owner manage their inventory more effectively and enable them to focus on what they do best.

Tammie J. Kaufman, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Rosen College of Hospitality Management, University of Central Florida

What makes a food truck stand out among popular and trendy restaurants?

Convenience: There is no need for a reservation, and if there are several food trucks in one location, a person has a variety of choices that they most likely would not find in one restaurant.

What are some upcoming trends in the food truck industry?

Mobile meals directly to customers through pre-ordering options: An order is placed, and the food truck operator drives to a centralized location for the pickup. This is a great option to attract the dinner market by offering the customer the opportunity to order ahead and pick up their meal on the way home from work or running errands.

Is it better for a food truck to have variety or to stick with a small menu? And how can a food truck cater to various dietary needs?

A smaller menu is the best option because there is only so much space in a food truck. Also, it makes the line go more quickly when there are fewer options to choose from.

There is flexibility based on what is on the menu to be inclusive of dietary needs. A specialty burger truck could offer a meatless burger option and a gluten-free bun option.

Food trucks can be hard to spot or track when they don’t have a regular location or route. What are some ways consumers can find food trucks? Are there any food truck tracker apps you recommend?

Food trucks tend to have a presence on social media where their locations are updated. There are many food truck locator apps but Roaming Hunger Food Truck Finder is dominating the market.

What are the three best food-truck snacks or meals you’ve ever had? What makes them so special?

  1. Mac ‘n’ cheese grilled cheese: Take two of my favorite things and throw them together and I am sold.
  2. Fried shrimp poboy: One of my favorite parts of food trucks is that you are always going to get your food hot.
  3. Poutine: A dish of french fries and cheese curds topped with a brown gravy. The first time I tried it was from a food truck. I find it to be a very popular item based on lines that I see.
Sotiris Hji-Avgoustis, Ph.D., CHIA, CAHTA
Professor of Hospitality Innovation and Leadership
Miller College of Business, Ball State University

What makes a food truck stand out among popular and trendy restaurants?

The 2008 economic recession unwittingly contributed to the expansion of the culinary landscape by elevating the reputation and popularity of food trucks.

Many talented chefs, savvy restaurant owners, and aspiring entrepreneurs saw a unique opportunity to lower overhead costs, reach their customers where they work, and play and contribute to community building at the most unconventional places, such as waiting in line to order or sitting at a picnic table in a park to enjoy a food truck.

The customers keep coming back to enjoy the chef’s creativity and fulfill a need for socialization among peers.

I believe these are the two main reasons that fuel the growth of this restaurant segment, even during the ongoing pandemic.

What are some upcoming trends in the food truck industry? For example, some neighborhoods, apartment complexes, and even weddings have started booking food trucks.

Even if food trucks are no longer a novelty, they will need to continue to adapt to remain relevant.

Restaurant customers are not known for their loyalty to one establishment as they often look for something new or different. Cities and towns are creating cumbersome regulations to manage the growth of food trucks. And brick-and-mortar restaurants are putting up a fight to ensure their own survival.

I expect food truck operators to pay close attention to environmental concerns, such as avoiding palm oil and offering organic non-GMO foods than respect animal welfare, dietary trends, such as meatless and/or vegan options, and concerns over allergies by offering peanut-free or gluten-free recipes.

I also anticipate that the industry will embrace even more than brick-and-mortar restaurants the power of social media to remain connected with their customer base.

Is it better for a food truck to have variety or to stick with a small menu? And how can a food truck cater to various dietary needs?

Because of food truck physical space limitations, I anticipate smaller menus that emphasize authenticity of cuisine. I expect to see more globally ethnic offerings that accurately reflect certain cultures and traditions using cooking preparation methods that parallel that cuisine’s intention, care, and knowledge.

Food trucks can be hard to spot or track when they don’t have a regular location or route. What are some ways consumers can find food trucks? Are there any food truck tracker apps you recommend?

There are several apps that food trucks may use to support their business growth, including StreetFoodFinder and Goodfynd.

I anticipate seeing the development of many more apps soon as some will focus on a geographic location, others on authenticity of cuisine, and others on delivery options.

I mentioned earlier that food trucks will rely on social media to expand. Many are already using traditional platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Tik Tok to reach the younger customer base.

Finally, I anticipate seeing food trucks offering Wi-Fi services for their tech-savvy customers to use during their visits.

What are the three best food-truck snacks or meals you’ve ever had? What makes them so special?

My favorite food truck snacks are Indian street food, açaí bowls, and Lebanese bamwiches. What I like about these three is that they are easy to prepare, easy to keep hot/cold, and delicious.

Drew Martin, Ph.D.
Professor
College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management, University of South Carolina

Is it better for a food truck to have variety or to stick with a small menu? And how can a food truck cater to various dietary needs?

As the current environment favors takeout and some restaurants even run ghost kitchens, I expect the food trucks to be even more competitive.

Expanded menus to diversify need to be done cautiously. Straying too far from the core product leads to image, quality control, and stockout issues. These concerns can alienate existing customers. The restaurant/food truck operator needs to understand their customers and work hard to keep existing customers.

As a customer, I am always concerned about food safety. For a food truck to get my business, I need visual evidence of the highest standards in food handling.

Methodology

We ranked the 100 biggest Texas cities from best to worst (1-100) based on their overall scores (out of 100 points), averaged across all the weighted metrics listed below.

MetricWeightingMin. ValueMax. ValueBest
Access
Food Trucks per 100,000 Residents20.00139.40Max. Value
Quality
Total Points Earned from Latest Texas Food Truck Showdown4015Max. Value
Average Consumer Rating for Food Trucks33.004.76Max. Value
Share of Food Trucks Rated 4.5+ Stars (With at Least 10 Reviews)30.00%66.67%Max. Value
Total Number of Reviews for Food Trucks2059,326Max. Value
Popularity
Number of Food Truck Festivals106Max. Value
Average Monthly Google Searches for Food Truck-Related Keywords Over Past 12 Months12016,500Max. Value

Sources: Everfest, FestivalNet, Google Ads, Google Events, Texas Food Truck Showdown, and Yelp

Lasso in Your Lunch

Mobile food vendors have been feeding Texans for more than a century. Texas cattle king Charles Goodnight is credited with designing the first chuckwagon to help feed trail crews in the 1860s. 

Thankfully, you no longer have to resort to dried beans and cornmeal when your stomach growls. Whether you’re in the mood for tacos, pizza, lobster rolls, or even sushi, there’s a food truck out there calling your name.

But the Lone Star State’s food truck fanaticism isn’t reserved just for trendy bites — many foodies flock to street food vendors for authentic, ethnic flavors. The food truck scene reflects the state’s rich cultural diversity, offering immigrants a taste of home

But you don’t have to wait for the best food trucks to roll up your street. Many trucks are stationed in parking lots and food parks across Texas. Festivals and food truck competitions also give patrons a fun environment to sample a variety of the state’s best flavors.

Make sure to bring an empty stomach to the Texas Food Truck Showdown on March 19, which draws in more than 25,000 hungry mouths per year. You can also try a bite at one of the many other competitions in the state, such as the Food Truck Championship of Texas or Eighter Food Truck Challenge

Lasso in a cheap bite or level up with a gourmet treat, depending on your budget and mood.

Main Photo Credit: Lars Plougmann, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Flickr

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Sav Maive

Sav Maive is a writer and director based in San Antonio. Sav is a graduate of the University of Virginia and is a loving cat and plant mom.