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Where are they now? Checking up on the first wave of Las Vegas food truckers

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Fukuburger co-owners Colin Fukunaga (right) and Robert “Mags” Magsalin.
Photo: Justin Massongill

Fukuburger

No truck has rolled these streets as consistently as Fuku, and no truck has a stronger, more dedicated following. Colin and Mags have been on national TV, partnered for a restaurant in LA and served Japanese-American burgers and Jazz Fries at every type of festival across the Valley in the past three years … and they just keep showing up. You can still catch the truck regularly in Chinatown and Downtown, and yes, Fuku-fam, a Las Vegas restaurant, is in the works.

Slidin’ Thru

Most credit the “slider truck” with jump-starting the local craze in 2010, and creator Ric Guerrero had big plans to capitalize on what seemed like overnight success. After helping launch Vegas StrEATs and opening a short-lived but stylish restaurant near the airport, Slidin’ Thru laid the groundwork for two more local mini-burger joints. In the process of expanding, Guerrero became disillusioned with fast food life and struggled with his new partners, finally deciding to walk away. But the show goes on: The truck is still sliding through events and catering gigs, and the drive-thru restaurant at North Durango and the Beltway is open for business.

Curbside Cafe

Restaurant veteran Doug Porter jumped into the food truck game when the economy drowned his Joey’s seafood restaurant, and Curbside Cafe—known for Angus beef burgers and blackened mahi tacos, among other dishes—is one of the few local trucks still going strong since 2010. Curbside is a daytime regular around Downtown’s Regional Justice Center and evening fests like First Friday.

Sloppi Jo’s

Jolene Mannina's food adventure just keeps getting more interesting.

Jolene Mannina's food adventure just keeps getting more interesting.

Jolene Mannina became an even bigger part of the local dining scene after she sold her scrumptious New Mexico green chili-based food truck in 2011. She created the Saturday Night Truck Stop and Back of the House Brawl events at Tommy Rockers and was tapped as chief of food for October’s Life Is Beautiful Festival. Rumor has it she’s planning a Sloppi Jo’s pop-up diner sometime soon.

Lulu’s On The Move

Metro Pizza’s truck was always going to be a temporary gig to promote its bakery and cafe, now open in Centennial Hills. Many of the truck’s delicious dishes—like the pulled pork-covered dirty chips—made the menu at the restaurant, Lulu’s Bread & Breakfast.

Top Notch Barbeque

Chef and owner Jimmy Cole at his Top Notch Barbeque restaurant at Serene and Eastern avenues. The restaurant is in the same building but is separate from the Doc Holliday's tavern.

Chef/trucker Jimmy Cole made the leap from truck to restaurant late last year, opening up in the Doc Holliday’s space at Eastern and Serene. That’s a good thing, because it’s much easier to eat a slab of ribs sitting down than standing in a parking lot.

Grouchy John’s

Our favorite little yellow coffee trailer also went the brick-and-mortar route, setting up shop on Maryland Parkway at Wigwam. But the Grouchmobile still hits the streets, mostly at office parks and for special events.

Philly’s Famous Italian Ice

Jim and Tanya Morris—who beat most everyone to the mobile vending game by a couple of years—renovated their truck in order to sell tasty cheesesteaks with their Philly-style Italian ice. They relocated to Florida, but not before selling their ride to Pop’s cheesesteaks, which turned it into the Pop’s truck. Circle of life.

LBS Patty Wagon

This burger-slinging truck is still around, but Block 16 Hospitality (operators of LBS, Holsteins, Pink’s, Public House and more) uses it as a mobile kitchen to cater private events. It still says LBS on the truck, but there’s no set menu.

Tags: Dining
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Brock Radke is Las Vegas Weekly's food editor and author of the Strip-focused column The Incidental Tourist. He has written ...

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