Revealed: Cork’s 20 best food trucks

As we continue our ‘Al fresco’ series by KATE RYAN, she rounds up some of the best food trucks in Cork right now
Revealed: Cork’s 20 best food trucks

Caitlin Ruth rolled into Ballydehob, Co Cork, to set up her pop-up food truck serving Mexican cuisine at the Levi's Corner House Bar. run by Caroline O'Donnell and Joe O'Leary. Picture: Dan Linehan

NO longer a novelty, food trucks serving tasty food to-go and gourmet coffee are everywhere. But who to make a beeline to for the best food in unexpected, quirky, and awesome locations?

What makes a good food truck? Is it good ingredient provenance, barista standard coffee, a funny/funky name, or a really good location? A food truck that can do it all will stand out from the crowd.

There’s no mistaking it, food trucks are booming right now — satisfying eager, hungry, and caffeine-deficient customers looking for some much-needed hospitality.

The new food trucks craze is testament to the creativity and determination of small food businesses to keep trading — despite the ongoing challenges.

Here’s our pick of some food trucks you will have to make a tasty stop at this summer.

1. Beara Barista, Ballydonegan Beach,

Allihies

Serving up waffles, coffee, and great sandwiches from a 1963 Sprite caravan, Beara Barista has a small menu with big love for the original artisan producers of West Cork: Gubbeen Hotdogs and Milleens melty cheese sambos; and the Macroom Buffalo Burger elevates the humble burger to something special.

The coffee is organic, with gluten-free and vegan offerings available too. But it is the idyllic oceanside pitch at the very edge of the county that makes this little blue coffee slinging caravan special indeed.

2. Glengarriff Food Truck Park

Could this be West Cork’s answer to the Portland-style food truck parks? I think so! The scenic village of Glengarriff has created a space for a fleet of independent food trucks to bolster the food and drink offering for visitors and residents. Boxed Woodfired Pizza, Coasties, Fire & Feast, Wild Hogs, Waffles and Ice Cream, La Creperie Gourmande, and Revel Culture Coffee have all set up beside Quills with picnic benches to settle down on and watch the world go by. Not all the trucks are open all day every day, so check socials for updates before making plans.

3. Nico’s Street Kitchen, Schull

Situated overlooking picturesque Schull Harbour at the park, Nico’s Street Kitchen serves easy-going, tasty and summery food truck dishes to take away and eat sat on the grass enjoying the picturesque view.

Expect unctuous brisket burger, pulled pork, fried baby potatoes and salad bowls; cakes and coffee too. Open until 8pm, Friday and Saturday, and 7pm Sunday until the end of September, it’s the perfect place to escape to on long summer evenings with friends.

4. CRAFT, Rosscarbery

RN Neil Grant, General Manager, Celtic Ross Hotel, John Boyle and Tom Edwards from Stone Valley Coffee at The Craft Food Truck. Picture: Dermot Sullivan
RN Neil Grant, General Manager, Celtic Ross Hotel, John Boyle and Tom Edwards from Stone Valley Coffee at The Craft Food Truck. Picture: Dermot Sullivan

Situated in the ground of the Celtic Ross Hotel, the food truck opened in 2020 as a way to keep the team at the hotel busy while they waited until the hotel could reopen.

The ethos here is local ingredients inspired by global street food. The menu changes weekly with specials influenced and inspired by world cuisine, as well as a weekend brunch menu with favourites such as Huevos Rancheros, The Ross Dog, American-style Pancakes, or the Irish Breakfast Hoagie.

5. The Silver Surfer, Inchydoney

Inchydoney has not one, but two, blue flag beaches, so expect huge crowds to throng to its pristine beaches on any decent weather day.

But if you’re not afraid of a little soft weather, you can enjoy the majesty of this multi award-winning beach all to yourself, and after head up to the Silver Surfer — a mirrored airstream food truck serving Java Republic coffee, pizzas, waffles, and ice cream: the bacon and maple waffles is particularly good!

Devour sat on the headland with your pick of uninterrupted Atlantic vistas.

6. 8020 Burger, Clonakilty

Are you ready for LA-style smash burgers? 8020 Burger keeps things simple, allowing space and time to do what they do so well.

Their own recipe uses an 80/20 mix of local Allshire’s mince beef, then smashed on to a hot griddle as the imperfect edges of the patty caramelise, crisp up and develop extra flavour.

Choose from double or triple hamburgers or cheeseburgers with a range of toppings, or go for everything on. Chicken tenders and a very tasty vegetarian burger are also available. The thick milkshakes are a must!

Click and collect Friday to Sunday, outdoor seating now also available.

7. Caitlin Ruth Food, Timoleague and

various locations

Creative chef, Caitlin Ruth, makes food she loves to eat and knows you will love too! Think Mexican flavours, pickles, ferments, and handmade everything — and I mean everything.

Follow @caitlinruthfood on Instagram for teasers of what she will be serving on her next food truck outing. Details appear on her stories a couple of days in advance and food sells out fast. The feverish build up never disappoints on the eating, and her creativity ensures there is always something unexpected and fun on the menu. Often known to pitch up at Timoleague Abbey but can also be found at other locations too.

8. The Quirky Kitchen, Innishannon

Siobhan Quirke's Quirky Kitchen
Siobhan Quirke's Quirky Kitchen

It’s a gorgeous little vintage Citroen van with a new lease of life! Putting the Quirke into quirkey is Siobhán Quirke O Halpín, who has created a perfect little community hang-out on the site of an unused old stone walled courtyard behind Barretts on the Innishannon main street. Picnic boxes are available to take away, as well as freshly made sandwiches, barista coffee, cakes, and salads too.

9. Sendai Asian Kitchen, Bandon

Couple Erica and Paul love nothing more than to wok sling Pad Thai, Nasi Goreng, or Katsu Curry! Inspired by their travels to Japan in 2018, the pandemic offered this enterprising couple a chance to realise their dream of starting a food business inspired by the varied and delicious cuisines of Asia. They use a technique known as ‘Wok Hei’ which they describe as “the mouth-watering aroma and flavour only established by stir frying food rapidly over intense hear and letting some flame enter the pan as you do so.” It’s fast food with theatre, and in an unlikely location too — the forecourt of Hernons Londis on the Bandon bypass.

10. The Curly Stu Pizzas, various locations (Cloghduv, Newcestown, Coal Quay)

Stuart Bowe’s pizzas are the perfect example of slow fast food! Starting with pizza dough to make the hand- formed bases, the most important part of the pizza, begins anything up to three days in advance, using a pre-ferment method that results in an easier to digest pizza.

Stuart’s masterful forming of a pizza, complete with toppings, takes mere moments thanks to deft practiced moves, and a swift 90- second bake in portable Roccbox pizza ovens ensure that you only have to hold your appetite for the shortest time before devouring!

11. Nags Head, Kinsale

A converted Rice horsebox serving “fine fodder” and great coffee in Kinsale, Garretstown Beach and surrounding areas in Co. Cork.

The Nag’s Head is the brainchild of Jonathan Wallace, who is experienced in hospitality having worked in some leading hotels all over the world, most recently Ballyvolane House.

The Nag’s Head is on hand to refresh walkers, cyclists, runners, and sea swimmers with post-activity casual al fresco fare. Jonathan’s tasty toasty sandwiches with a choice of sweet and savoury fillings are just the thing for those in need of warm up or a warm down.

12. Huck Doughnuts & Grilly McGrill Grill, Cork County Cricket Club

Grilly grills the cheese sambos while Huck fries the doughnuts. It’s almost worth getting lost on purpose for the chance to stop and ask someone directions to Grilly McGrill Grill! Big Sis and Little Bro food trucks in the evergreen setting of the county cricket club guarantee epic shots of stringy melted cheese and crisp hot donuts worthy of a spot on your ’Gram feed.

13. Toast, The Olde Faery Trail,

Ballinlough Park

Priding itself on sourcing quality fresh local ingredients, the menu at Toast changes weekly to make use of what’s in season. Gourmet Arbutus Bread sourdough toasties include The Tom Durcan (Tom Durcan Spiced Beef with Toons Bridge Dairy Smoked Scamorza, Italian Mozzarella and scallion), The Three Cheese (Smoked Toons Bridge Dairy Scamorza, Macroom Buffalo Mozzarella, Gubbeen Farmhouse Cheese and onion), The Ham & Cheese (Rosemary Ham, Smoked Toons Bridge Dairy Scamorza, Macroom Buffalo Mozzarella and scallion), and The Feta (Ardsallagh Goats Feta, Sun-dried Tomato, and Garlic Pesto).

Trading 11am-4pm, Thursday to Saturday.

14. Marina Market, Cork city

Vegan K-O, Guji Coffee Bar, Wild Hogs, Brendan’s Burritos, Burnt Pizza, Dinky Donuts, Sultan Café, Alchemy Coffee, Messy Buns, Hansum Rotisserie Chicken, Taylors Deli, Young Plant Superfoods, and Poulet Vous are just some of the resident food trucks at the market. Pop-ups, guest chefs, and visiting food trucks add extra interest and keep the peckish of Cork returning time and again.

15. The River Café, Glencree, Brook Hill, Glanmire

Could this be the most idyllic setting for this striking-looking vintage food truck? Nestled amongst the trees and beside the river at the end of the Rocky Road walking trail, The River Café serves up warming drinks, cakes, and snacks. Grab and go or settle into one of the picnic benches beside the river and rest a while.

16. Fred’s Foodtruck, Jameson Distillery, Midleton

Super-indulgent sandwiches with a touch of whiskey flair are what to expect from this sunny, bright orange food truck pitched in the grounds of the Jameson whiskey distillery and using the famous spirit as a signature ingredient in some of their more adult sounding sandwiches! The mouth-watering Jameson Whiskey Glazed Bacon BLT, or the Pulled Pork Shoulder with Whiskey Glaze are options worth making a bee line for!

17. Fry Guys, Shannagarry

Pitched up beside the The Goal Post pub in Shannagarry, Fry Guys specialise in the freshest of fish and shellfish landed straight from local day boats — from the fishing line to the fryer! Friends and owners, Colin Hennessy and David O’Callaghan promise fresh-off-the-boat specials. It’s not all fish though, as their slow-cooked BBQ beef brisket bun or free-range chicken attest. This is easy-going food using ultra-local and super fresh ingredients.

18. Ballymaloe Food Truck & Field Café, Ballymaloe Cookery School, Shanagarry

The shimmering airstream food truck that greets you on arrival to Ballymaloe Cookery School has reopened for another summer season. Serving up savoury and sweets treats, it carries the ethos of the cookery school high upon its shoulders with fresh daily sourdough breads, farm fresh eggs used in cakes adorned with fruits collected from the farm; and utilising all that grows on the many acres of farmland at the cookery school.

It’s a classic Ballymaloe experience served from a classic Airstream, and its open Monday to Saturday 10am to 4.30pm.

19. Niamh’s Larder, Ballybranigan Beach

Niamh Hegarty's food truck
Niamh Hegarty's food truck

In 2020, Niamh garnered a loyal following for her sumptuous picnic boxes — a service that is still available Wednesday to Sunday. In 2021, she added a food truck to her repertoire — and a beautifully presented one at that! Situated on Ballybranigan Beach, the food truck operates Saturday to Monday 10am-5pm from now until October, serving up those fabulous picnic boxes ready for lunch on the beach, coffee, cake, homemade water kefir, and more beside.

20. Bad Ass Hotdogs, Inch Beach

Our final stop is Conor Sweeney’s royal blue converted horsebox, on Inch Beach, from where he can be found slinging hot dogs and Java Republic barista coffees and teas.

A fitting end to our road trip that started and ended in the same way: beside the seaside!

Did we miss your favourite out? Email us at features@theecho.ie

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