If there's one thing the COVID-19 pandemic gave us, it's the resurgence of outdoor dining. There is nothing better than eating in the open air, and Tupper Lake is embracing that concept with food trucks. Tupper Lake already has a thriving food scene, but food trucks have added more diversity and convenience. For example, the town didn't have a restaurant that served Mexican food or BBQ. Now, you can find both of those things at one of the local food trucks. Currently, the town has 5 food trucks, all based out of two hubs: Raquette River Brewing and the Tupper Lake Municipal Park.
Raquette River Brewing
Raquette River Brewing is the perfect spot to quench your thirst with small-batch Adirondack ales whilst satisfying your appetite. You can choose from 3 local food trucks: Mexican from Side Hustle; burgers, sandwiches, and more from The Marketplace; and pizza from Fusion Street. There are so many different options, it's hard to believe they are all in one place.
Fusion Street Food Truck
In 2018, Magnus Stalhammar and his wife Brigit brought the first food truck to Raquette River Brewing. Fusion Street serves fast, delicious wood-fired pizza. But they don't use just any old oven. Fusion Street uses a Stefano Ferrara Napoli, considered by many to be the Ferrari of the pizza oven world. The hand-built, domed brick ovens are made by Stefano Ferrara himself in Naples and are so cool, they deserve their own article. But since this blog is about food, I have to restrain myself. Stalhammer keeps his oven around 900-1000℉, so pizzas can cook as fast as two minutes. The result is amazing - a pie that is doughy, crispy, and slightly charred. It would be easy to assume that the quality of the pizza is all thanks to the oven. And while it certainly plays a large part, it's not the only reason. Stalhammer uses high-quality, fresh ingredients, including world-class mozzarella cheese and Caputo flour, an Italian company that is considered one of the top pizza flour producers by the pizzaiolos of Naples, where pizza is a serious business with strict regulations. Add their signature sauce to their homemade dough and you have wood-fired perfection. The only thing better than that is the fact that Fusion Street is open year-round! Fusion Street Pizza is open every day at Raquette River Brewing from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Side Hustle Food Truck
Jose Alvarado and Aimee O’Connor are no strangers to the food business. The couple has a restaurant called Jose O'Connor's in Carthage, NY, but they were craving the flexibility that comes with having a food truck compared to a brick-and-mortar restaurant. That, and they just wanted to do something different. The two opened Side Hustle Food Truck in 2017, where they mostly served the Carthage area. In 2021, they relocated their food truck to Raquette River Brewing in Tupper Lake. Side Hustle specializes in authentic Mexican food, a rare find in the North Country. "Most of the recipes are my mom's recipes," says Alvarado, which includes homemade salsas and marinades. "Where I’m from in Texas, barbacoa is mostly used in street tacos, served in corn tortillas. These tacos are topped simply with cilantro and onions, a squeeze of fresh lime juice, and spicy salsa to finish." In the near future, Alvarado and O' Connor are hoping to utilize the tortilla machine they just purchased. "It's special to grow as a business, so we can share our food with more people," says Alvarado. This place is the real deal and doesn't cut any corners. You can find Side Hustle Food Truck at Raquette River Brewing four days a week, Thursday-Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. (Memorial Day weekend until Labor Day).
Marketplace Food Truck
Tupper Lake native, Kelly Facteau, is smoking up a storm at Raquette River Brewing with The Marketplace Food Truck, which has served its smoked meats for the last 5 seasons. Menu highlights include smoked chicken, pulled pork quesadillas, beef brisket nachos, beef brisket poutine, and smoked sandwiches (gluten-free bread available). For example, they have a mouthwatering Texas turkey melt with hickory smoked turkey, cheddar cheese, coleslaw, and spicy mayo. Did I mention they also have smoked chicken wings? On top of their large menu, they also offer daily specials and desserts. The Marketplace is open every day at Raquette River Brewing from 11:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. On Sundays, the truck closes at 7:00 p.m.
Tupper Lake Municipal Park
Who says lakeside dining has to be expensive? Two food trucks at the Tupper Lake Municipal Park are changing just that. Choose from Mexican food from Dos Loco Gringos and BBQ from PorkBusters BBQ, then find a picnic bench overlooking Raquette Pond. Not sure what to pick? Learn more about each of the food trucks below. If I'm being honest, you really can't go wrong.
Dos Loco Gringos
In 2019, Ed Whitman and Bryan Stearns started their retirement gig - a food truck called Dos Loco Gringos, which means two crazy foreigners in Spanish. The pair are New York natives and are long-time friends. "We wanted to start something that the area didn’t have, so Mexican food was an obvious choice," says Whitman. "Plus, we love Mexican food, so it was an easy decision. Our mole and other sauces are made from scratch daily and our beans are made from dry beans, which have better texture and more flavor than their canned counterparts," says Stearns. "The only thing we don't make is our tortillas, but we have a guy in Massachusetts who makes all of our corn tortillas fresh with whole grain corn, water, and crushed limestone. That's it, there are no bleaches or preservatives like the tortillas at the grocery store." I had the chance to sample their tacos with these fresh tortillas and I can vouch that these guys really put their money where their mouth is.
They even had Jarritos, a Mexican soda, which brought me back to my childhood days growing up in southern California. If you are an ardent lover of Mexican food, make a stop at Dos Loco Gringos. Their food truck is set up near the baseball field at Tupper Lake Municipal Park on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, starting at 11 a.m. until the food is gone. So get there early if you want to ensure a chance to indulge in their delicious food.
Mike Vaillancourt, the owner of Porkbusters BBQ, is passionate about BBQ. That's why the menu changes every week to keep things fresh, but the one thing that remains constant is the mouthwatering food. You will be salivating for more with offerings like smoked chicken, pulled pork nachos, ribs, and pulled pork mac and cheese. They even have a second food truck called Porkbuster Jr. to bring their food to even more people. You can find PorkBusters BBQ 7 days a week from 11:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the Tupper Lake Municipal Park near the baseball field (May 6 through September 2022).