New York City food trucks struggle for business in winter

food truck winter new york city
Food trucks like Phil’s Truck struggle to get customers in the winter months.
Credit: Miles Dixon/Metro

With little relief from snow and freezing temperatures this winter, many New Yorkers have preferred to order lunch rather than brave the cold for a bite to eat. For the city’s many food trucks, winter means fewer customers and more reasons to look forward to spring. We spoke with food truck owners and workers about dodging potholes, shoveling snow and wearing extra layers to keep warm.

The Treats Truck
What you’ll get: Sparkly, flower-shaped sugar cookies and an array of other desserts that’ll brighten any dark winter day.
“I have a small shop in Carroll Gardens and one truck, so it’s big deal when my truck doesn’t run,” said Kim Ima, owner of The Treats Truck. Ima’s truck was out of commission for several days after hitting a pothole — more common in winter months. As far as keeping warm, “I wear three pairs of socks and lots of layers,” Ima said. “But I don’t mind selling in the cold.”

Luke’s Lobster (a.k.a. “Nauti” Mobile)
What you’ll get: The popular lobster roll is good year-round, but on a cold day, try a lobster grilled cheese and a clam chowder soup.

“There will be piles of snow on the side of the road, so we’ll have to shovel through that and it’s tough because it’s iced over,” said Josh Freeman of Luke’s Lobster. “We try to cover up the windows as much as possible and work off the grill heat [to keep warm].”

Big D’s Grub Truck
What you’ll get: Asian-inspired tacos, sandwiches and rice platters. You’ll also find tasty side dishes such as pork and chive dumplings and yuca fries.

“We have a lot of loyal followers who will still come out when it’s a little cold out,” said manager Danny Chin. Still, this winter has been tougher than last year because of all the snow. “We weren’t able to go out on some days and we had fewer customers on the colder days,” Chin said.

Phil’s Steaks
What you’ll get: A variety of hot-off-the grill Philly cheesesteaks. Go during breakfast to get your favorite sandwiches with eggs or on a platter with a side of hash browns.

“We have two trucks, and we actually took one of them off the road this winter,” said J.J. Jenson, co-owner of Phil’s Steaks. The company plans to re-launch their second truck in April, when the city thaws. “Business is very weather-dependent,” Jenson said. “Obviously, people don’t want to be standing and waiting for food in the snow.”

Gorilla Cheese NYC
What you’ll get: Warm up with a classic grilled cheese or try one of their specialties, like the smoked gouda with BBQ pulled pork on wheat bread.

“The weather has a pretty big impact on whether we do business or how well we do, whether it be rain, snow or cold,” said Stephan Meyer of Gorilla Cheese. “There are some days we don’t take the truck out because it’s just not safe to drive.”

Find the trucks and follow them on Twitter:

The Treats Truck makes stops in Midtown, the Upper West Side and Chelsea. Follow @TheTreatsTruck.

Luke’s Lobster can be found in Midtown near Grand Central Station on weekdays, or in Soho or the Upper West Side on weekends. Follow @NautiMobile.

Big D’s Grub Truck travels all over Manhattan. Follow @bigdsgrub.

Phil’s Steaks travels all over Manhattan. Follow @PhilsSteaks.

Gorilla Cheese NYC is usually in Midtown between 46th and 50th Streets. Follow @gcnyc1.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Local

K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.

National

Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.

National

Man sues hospital after surprise penis amputation

An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Movies

Review: Brett Ratner's big 'Hercules' movie is small…

The latest "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson as the half-god beefcake of Greek myth, strips its hero and tale of most of its fantastical elements.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…

U.S. Soccer

Orlando City takes shot at NYCFC over Frank…

Orlando City reminded the world how big a signing Brazilian star Kaka earlier this month with a photo of Kaka mobbed by fans juxtaposed against Lampard.

NBA

Jeremy Lin says 'Linsanity' is over as he…

Jeremy Lin lit up the NBA two years ago with his play for the Knicks but he has no desire to recreate "Linsanity" in his new career with the Lakers.

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.