Pod People: Food Truck Purveyors Group Together for Great Cuisine

It’s lunchtime and you want Middle Eastern food. Lucky for you, a Halal cart is not too far from the office. But what happens tomorrow when you want something different? You might have to scour twitter to see where the hot new food truck is situated. But if you’re lucky, that Halal cart is not the only game in town. Food cart pods—a collection of various food trucks in one spot—offer a sultan’s choice of cuisine from Middle Eastern to Indian to French to Norwegian and everything in between. Here are four of the best food cart pods around the country.

Smorgasburg, Brooklyn, New York

Williamsburg denizens have long been in the know: Smorgasburg is the place to be on a Saturday afternoon. Since 2011, locals and visitors alike have been flocking to the Brooklyn waterfront to taste a variety of cuisine. From Dosa Royale—a South Indian truck selling the region’s savory crepes— to an outpost of Brooklyn hotspot Porchetta to icy, juicy People’s Pops, Smorgasburg has more than 100 vendors to delight the taste buds. Lines can be agonizingly long and the crowd a bit pretentious, but the array of food can’t be beat on a crisp fall day. Head here in the late afternoon, grab a bite and watch the sunset.

Mark’s Carts, Ann Arbor, Michigan 

Thousands of fans head to Michigan Stadium in the fall to see the Wolverines play. Why not take a detour before the game to Mark’s Carts for a bite? A group of eight ethnic and regional food trucks, Mark’s Carts is a popular tailgating hangout. From Basque-style paella to Chinese dumplings to vegan sandwiches, Mark’s has it all. Craft beer enthusiasts will love the choices at Bill’s Beer Garden—Dark Horse and Gravity brews are particularly beguiling—as well its proximity to The Big House. Head here until October 31.

Dinin’ Hall, Columbus, Ohio

Food trucks are lovely but what if you have no place to sit and eat your food? Enter Dinin’ Hall in Columbus, Ohio, a unique food truck concept that offers a indoor dining space. Diners order at specific trucks—the roster is always evolving—take a ticket, and the food is brought to them in the cool industrial dining space. Seats are communal, which allows for more convivial dining. Recent food truck options included Kinetic, a truck developed by nutritionists; Pitabilities, serving just that, and En Place, a purveyor of locally sourced cuisine.

Tidbit Food Farm and Garden, Portland, Oregon

No talk of food truck pods would be complete without mention of the city that started the phenomenon: Portland, Oregon. From downtown to Northeast to Southwest, there’s nary an area in Portland without a collection of award-winning food trucks. But the newest addition to the city’s pod scene may be its best yet. Southeast Division street has seen a renaissance in recent years, with new businesses and apartment buildings popping up seemingly overnight. Tidbit Food Farm and Garden seemed to have done just that. The food pod sprung up in late July and has been popular every since. It’s a place to savor Belizian beans and rice, Norwegian meatballs and gluten-free waffle grilled cheese at communal picnic tables. There’s even a beer truck and a vintage clothing truck. One-stop shopping at its finest. At press time, not every business was open.