When Las Vegans think back on the food truck revolution, they usually start in 2010 with the charismatic crew from Slidin’ Thru and the tiny burgers that seemed to be everywhere that year. For Jorge Morales, mobile dining was hardly news. He’d been slinging fresh fare out of a truck since 1995 under the name Quality Food Service, and he still does, operating six trucks in Las Vegas. As an elder statesman of local food trucking, we asked Morales for his thoughts on the industry and his stories from life on the road.
A different kind of truck: Morales says the business has changed since food trucks hit the popular consciousness. “We used to cater to the industrial areas and the construction sites,” he says. “Now, we cater to more events. We’ve become more mainstream.” He’s added a tricked-out vehicle for special events, while the other five trucks in his lineup stick to consistent daily schedules.
Must-try tacos: When people started hailing the first generation of flashy food trucks, Morales admits he bristled. “We’ve been at it for quite a while now,” he says, pointing to his wife’s fish tacos as the standout menu item. “We prepare our own tartar sauce, our own mango salsa. If you go on Yelp, that’s what we’re known for.”
Life on the road: “We were held up once, years ago,” Morales recalls. The truck was finishing up for the day when a man flagged it down and asked to buy some cigarettes, before pulling a gun and demanding the day’s take.
Famous customers: Morales used to serve John Wayne Bobbitt (“I wish I had a cell phone with a camera”), and today, Tony Hsieh is one of his biggest customers. Morales says Hsieh likes the chicken super nachos.