FARGO — Fargo-Moorhead’s foodies have more options than ever — and not just at restaurants.
While food trucks and carts became all but invisible during the long, cold winter, they’re back out in force now.
So, where can we find delicious street food? The answer depends, but it won’t be hard to find it this year.
Since launching Taco Brothers in 2012, Octavio Gomez had to grapple with a public falling out with his business partner brother while teaching himself the ins and outs of the job.
That’s why Gomez says he’s grateful to be in this position — leading one of the most popular trucks in town.
Taco Bros sets up for the summer behind downtown Fargo’s Empire Tavern, 424 Broadway N. He’ll be there this year from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 6 to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, as well as 1 to 3 a.m. each Friday and Saturday night.
Gomez says he’s happy where he’s at now, serving up delicacies out of a tiny kitchen on wheels.
“When I see the lines and I see that they're long and I know that I’ve got somebody waiting for an hour and a half for the same taco I make every single day, it doesn’t get any better,” he says.
While Taco Bros is content staying put, Julie Walsh doesn’t want her Detroit Deli Food Truck to put down roots.
“We’re more of a moving truck than a truck that just goes and sits somewhere,” she says.
She jokingly calls herself the “owner and head dishwasher” of the business — “it’s not as glamorous as people think it is,” she says — but she’s proud of what it’s become.
Over the winter, Walsh moved her Detroit Deli brand into the Great Northern Bicycle Co. shop in downtown Fargo. But once the weather warmed up, she hit the roads again, and she’ll be a regular at the Shady Hollow Flea Market in Detroit Lakes, Minn., this summer, as well as other events around the region.
It’s a lot of work, but Walsh says it’s worth it as she brings high-quality deli sandwiches to the area.
Chad Pfau and his brother, Tony Pfau, are now working their third season as The Twisted Spork, a food trailer serving up handmade pizzas, burgers, sandwiches and more.
They’ll be busy on Friday nights running the main concessions stand at West Fargo’s Red River Valley Speedway. But their trailer will still be out and about, working corporate lunches, fundraising gigs, special events for schools and other activities.
After years of growth, Chad Pfau says he thinks the local food truck scene is “at the pinnacle,” which is why vendors are looking for ways to stand out and keep customers coming back.
“It’s a lot to put into it,” he says, adding that marketing, planning and scheduling are crucial for success. “It’s not as easy as just opening the doors of a trailer or truck and expecting people to show up.”
The Hot Dog Peddler
Bronson Lende grew up in the concessions business with his family and opened his own business in 2012 with the launch of The Hot Dog Peddler.
The food cart is a fixture in downtown Fargo, where he operates much of the year. He also sells corn dogs and cheese curds at Scheels Arena in south Fargo year-round.
In March, Lende kicked off a weekly Wednesday downtown special, “Wiener Wednesdays,” when locals will find him serving lunch just north of Fort Noks, 52 Broadway N. The Hot Dog Peddler will also pop up at local events and the Bluestem Summer Concert Series shows throughout this summer, he says.
Lende says the local food truck scene seems to be “healthy” and growing, but it’s his own customers that keep him happy.
“I enjoy getting to see all the regulars,” he says.
Pico Food Truck
Briann Grandbois already had a full-time job as a registered nurse when she launched Pico Food Truck in 2016. She’s balanced the two since, cutting her nursing schedule back to one day a week in the summer when she focuses on serving up Mexican-style food.
With the help of her husband and mom, she’s grown the business to two trucks. Grandbois says it’s helpful to find a steady spot to serve up food once or twice a week, but Pico travels more often now that it has two trucks in its arsenal.
She says she’d like to see the local food truck scene blossom even more in the years to come.
“I think we have a ways to go yet,” she says about the local scene, adding there could be appetite for a permanent food truck park.
Moorhead High School graduates Patrick Frost and his brother, Anthony Frost, have made a business around the mighty potato since 2017.
There are some changes to Potato Brothers this year. The brothers sold their former trailer and are in the process of building a new one, which should be ready later this summer.
Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks fans can get Potato Brothers fare at Newman Outdoor Field this summer, and the business will also attend festivals and other events.
Potato Brothers was often spotted at Moorhead’s Junkyard Brewing Co. in past years, but Frost says the brewery and food truck connection is changing as permanent restaurants open and brewers don’t need mobile vendors.
Frost says he’s interested in finding other “untapped areas,” including offices that want a unique lunch for their workers.
“There’s a lot of businesses in Fargo-Moorhead that haven’t been approached yet,” he says.
Fargo Food Truck Festival
There’s one place guaranteed to have several trucks all at once — the annual Fargo Food Truck Festival, set for Aug. 16-18 at the North Dakota Horse Park, 5180 19th Ave. N., Fargo.
Event Coordinator Mike Schmitz says he’s planning for 20 or so vendors at this year’s festival, the sixth festival so far.
Back in 2013, Schmitz says the event was “way ahead of ourselves” because the scene was just getting off the ground. The big problem was trying to figure out how to get food trucks from across Minnesota to come.
Now, he says locals have embraced food trucks and the unique meals they can get there, not to mention the quick service.
“It’s almost like being able to get Mezzaluna at the speed of Qdoba,” he says.
Find your food
Many local food trucks move around the community and region, meaning fans should keep up with their favorite vendors to know where to go for some grub. Here are the Facebook pages to follow for some of the community’s most popular mobile food options.
Detroit Deli Food Truck: www.facebook.com/detroitdeli
The Hot Dog Peddler: www.facebook.com/thehotdogpeddler
Pico Food Truck: www.facebook.com/picofoodtruck
Potato Brothers: www.facebook.com/PotatoBrothersLLC
Taco Brothers: www.facebook.com/TacoBros
Twisted Spork Mobile Food: www.facebook.com/thetwistedspork
Fargo Food Truck Festival: www.facebook.com/FargoFoodTruckFestival