Exploding in popularity over the last couple of years on the Coast, food trucks are a great way to sample different food styles and restaurant-quality dishes without the sit-down experience of traditional eateries.
Here are some of the food trucks I’ve visited over the past several weekends. Each one has a different vibe, ranging from elevated street food to gourmet dishes made accessible to the public. While each one has its own distinct flair, they were all quite tasty.
FRANKIE FAY’S GOOD EATN
Based in Biloxi, Frankie Fay’s Good Eatn is a cheesesteak food truck owned by Ashley Thornton and Chris Searight, who started their small business after COVID impacted Thornton’s job at a local casino. When the City of Biloxi decided to let food trucks obtain a permit to set up in the city, they saw it as the perfect opportunity to start their business in mobile form.
Deciding to name the truck Frankie Faye’s after Ashley’s grandparents, Frank and Faye Thornton, who passed away when she was young, they opened in March of 2021, primarily doing events and private gatherings, and have grown from there.
One of Searight’s favorite meals is a traditional Philly cheesesteak sandwich and French fries, so they started their menu layout from there, adding their own twist such as their best-seller, the surf n’ turf, which is a cheesesteak topped with large, seasoned sautéed shrimp.
Filled with freshly shaved ribeye steak and fresh veggies made to order, their hoagie rolls come from Le Bakery, a local bakery in Biloxi. You also can get them served in a tortilla.
Also on the menu are six types of loaded French fries, topped with cheese sauce and a choice of steak, shrimp, bacon or shredded chicken. You also have the option of adding several veggie toppings to any dish, such as mushrooms, bell peppers or jalapenos.
“Come see Frankie Faye’s because we always have a great atmosphere around us and are happy to see you,” Thornton says. “We thrive on having great customer service and want people to feel like they are at home when they come to order from us.”
Frankie Fay’s Good Eatn
MEATBAWL’S FOOD TRUCK
Dain and Shatanya Clarke opened the Biloxi-based Meatbawl’s Food Truck this past August after buying a trailer and building it from the ground up.
Dain is from Montego Bay, Jamaica, and Shatanya is from Belzoni in the Mississippi Delta. With dreams of becoming entrepreneurs after working in Biloxi’s hospitality industry for the past 15 years, they devised the idea of serving authentic Jamaican jerk chicken, ribs and oxtails during their travels back and forth to Jamaica. Shatanya’s mother-in-law, who is in her late 80s encouraged them by telling Shatanya that she made some of the best jerk chicken she’d ever tasted.
“We have authentic food. We care about our customers, and we are fast. You don’t have to wait for hours to get your food,” Shatanya says. “Our food is cooked with love. We are new, so we are working on it, and I’m sure we are going to get better and better while keeping our food absolutely fabulous. We are going to grow and become a big deal here on the Gulf Coast.”
Meatbawls Food truck
KEEPING IT TASTY
Keisha Smith established Keeping it Tasty in 2017 after her son wanted to organize a fundraiser for a child battling brain cancer. Together they decided on tacos, and the fundraiser was a big success, eventually leading to her opening a food truck due to the high demand.
The philosophy behind their menu is to keep it simple and tasty with food prepared fresh to order.
“Locals and tourists should visit Keeping it Tasty because we are the place to visit for great comfort food,” Smith says. “It’s all about the flavor!”
This Pascagoula-based truck offers selections like top-notch tacos with chicken, beef, or steak; premium tacos with fish, shrimp or veggies; a variety of sliders served on grilled Hawaiian bread and topped with cheese, an onion ring, pico de gallo and special sauces; and taste-tastic hibachi, featuring a choice of protein served with a veggie blend on a bed of brown rice and quinoa and topped with pineapple salsa.
When asked about what kind of tacos she serves, she responds, “It’s a Hispanic creation with a soulful flare. It’s all in the flavor.”
Keeping it Tasty
LIZ & NOMIE’S GOURMET EATS
Raven Allen, who owns Gulfport-based Liz & Nomie’s Gourmet Eats, has been in business for three years with her catering kitchen and food truck. While Allen grew up in Gulfport, she spent many summers in the Mississippi Delta learning the chemistry and love of food by watching her maternal grandmother, Elizabeth Elder, and her paternal grandmother, Nomie Jean Allen, the business’s namesakes.
Having always loved Cajun food, Allen combined the soulful recipes of the Delta with her love for French Creole cuisine when developing her menu.
“My philosophy is to bring good quality gourmet foods that make your soul and heart smile,” she says. “We use only the best ingredients in our recipes and always cook our food to order to ensure we give your tastebuds a euphoric experience. Our slogan is, ‘French Creole cuisine with a soul food flair!’”
Liz & Nomie’s offers daily lunch specials and a weekly special that includes a free dessert or drink to show appreciation to their customers. They also sell products that you can pick up from the truck, such as sweet potato butter, charcuterie boards and baskets, baked goods, vanilla pastes, baking extracts and grab-and-go meals. They also are proud of their cake line “Nothing Bundt Love,” featuring 18 different specialty Bundt cakes.
Liz & Nomie’s Gourmet Eats
ROSITA’S FOOD TRUCK
Mother-daughter duo Tjwania Hernandez and Rosa Hernández Padilla started selling food out of a 10-by-10 canopy until they could afford their food truck, now known as Rosita’s Food Truck, which is based in Jackson County. With mom handling scheduling and the business side of things, Hernández Padilla concentrates on cooking and creating the menu.
Having lived in south Mississippi since she was 5, she would visit her father in Los Angeles every summer. Helping her aunt sell food at swap meets on the weekends there opened her eyes to different foods and unique ways to cook them. Inspired by what she saw, she decided to bring the California vibes home with her and impart them to others through her food truck.
Rosita’s serves fresh, never frozen, food. Meats are made daily, never refrigerated or left over from the day before. The truck serves menu items that can’t be found easily in the area, such as esquites and aguas frescas (street corn and fresh fruit waters). The fantastic dipping tacos are a favorite of many customers and tend to sell out quickly.
“I want to provide California vibes with the most unique, delicious food and mix in a little Southern hospitality,” Hernández Padilla says. “When you pull up to our food truck, the first thing that fills your nostrils is the smell of the tortillas on the grill sizzling in birria consomé (the meat broth). Then, you’ll hear the background music, maybe a little merengue or salsa. Imagine then being greeted by the friendliest faces, doing a dance, all while preparing your food!”
Dolce Café originally opened as a coffee, breakfast and sandwich cafe in Gulfport in 2019 just before the pandemic. Having to frequently open and close during the first year made for an uphill battle, so owners William and Brooke Rester pivoted to move the business into a food truck at their Dolce Bakeshop property in Long Beach.
Exploring American cuisine and specializing in gourmet burgers with add-ons like a fried egg and bacon jam, they want their customers to be surprised that the food is coming from a food truck. You can get a variety of sandwiches and wraps, and Dolce also offers a weekly special with items that have been so well received, they are now part of the regular menu. They also offer brunch on Saturday mornings.
“We create fresh food made with quality ingredients that locals have come to enjoy,” William says. “Dolce, whether you’re coming to the bakery or the food truck, is a destination for both tourists and locals. We recently had a customer tell us that Dolce means quality, and we have been told by another customer that one of our specialties, the garlic rosemary fries, are ‘a religious experience.’”
COASTY’S FOOD TRUCK
Based out of Vancleave but operating mostly in Biloxi, Ocean Springs and Gautier, Coasty’s Food Truck is owned by Ashley Lively and her fiancé, John Mallett, who got their start in June of 2021.
Lively always had dreamed of owning a food truck, so one day on a whim, they just went for it. After debating which direction to take the truck, they bought the trailer, planned the layout of the kitchen and created a varied menu. They wanted to go beyond traditional food truck fare with all fresh, never frozen, ingredients. Their philosophy is to put a twist on every meal dished out.
Coasty’s menu offers an array of wraps, burgers, egg rolls, birria tacos and burritos and specialty fresh-cut fries, all with truck-made sauces. You can even get the Diego rito, which is an overstuffed burrito with traditional dipping taco flavors with the surprise addition of some of the specialty fries.
“Ultimately, we like the idea of the food truck because it gives you the freedom to move around and get involved,” Mallett says. “From pairing up with local breweries to neighborhood block parties, it really has been rewarding. We love what we do.”
Most of these food trucks don’t stay put, so be sure to check their Facebook pages to keep up with specials and where they’re headed.
Coasty’s Food Truck