RI Eats: Local Food Truck Scene

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — Now more than ever, Rhode Island’s food scene is on the move.

“You’re going to where people are, instead of having to drive people to where you are,” said Max Reeves, owner of Reds Street Kitchen.

The prevalence of food trucks has exploded across the state in recent years, including in Providence’s Kennedy Plaza. 

“You can just walk, we’re just on the fifth floor. We walk down and two minutes we’re out here. They get the food out quick, it’s easy,” said Ryan Marshall, who works right on Kennedy Plaza. 

As for which trucks are here, that changes by the day. 

“We started out doing a whole lot of different kinds of foods. We kind of narrowed it down to what was selling really fast and what was going out the door, which was our cheesesteaks and hand cut fries,” said Marshall. 

Reds owner Max Reeves has been cooking since he was 15. He’s done everything from fine dining to catering, but he says this is the toughest job he’s had by far. 

“You’re everything. You’re washing your own dishes, you’re cleaning everything. Every day this needs to be washed and kept in good condition,” said Reeves. “It’s not as easy as it looks, I’ll tell you that.”

But setting up shop wherever you want has its perks too.

“It’s nice being out here in the sun, as opposed to just being in the back of a kitchen with no windows. It’s also a really good marketing piece, I think. We’re driving down the street and it’s basically a billboard,” said Reeves.

Reeves says he does change up the menu, but the one constant is that everything is made from scratch–from the cheesesteaks, to hand cut fries, to fried chicken. 

Ryan Marshall and Sawyer Duran are already sold. 

“I like to come down here because of the portions. You’ll pay 12 bucks for a small, it’s really a large. We’ll see if I can finish it today,” said Duran.

Reeves says it’s that value, that food trucks are well-equipped to deliver, that’s been key to the rapid evolution of Rhode Island’s mobile food scene. 

“I think probably 10, 15 years ago it was just seen as more of the roach coach kind of thing, with hotdog vendors and your little side vendors. There’s been a lot of really good chefs and other people coming in and starting food trucks. And I also think since the Great Recession there’s been a lot more-you know, this is so much cheaper than a sit-down,” said Reeves. 

For updates on upcoming food truck festivals in our area, visit the Providence Parks Conservancy website or PVD Food Truck Events Facebook page