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Connected Entrepreneur

Lunch Seekers: 3 Free Apps to Help You Locate Gourmet Food Trucks

Lunch Seekers: 3 Free Apps to Help You Locate Gourmet Food Trucks
Image credit: Gamma Man via Flickr

Connected Entrepreneur

Technology is transforming how modern entrepreneurs stay connected to their business, their team and their industry. In this series, learn more about the cutting edge tools and thinking allowing innovators to stay ahead of the trends.

Roach coaches aren’t really roach coaches anymore. They’re food trucks -- gourmet food trucks. Fancy finger-licking feasts on wheels that steam, bake, broil, and fry up the finer (and sometimes freakier) flavor combos in life, like fresh Maine lobster rolls, foie gras-filled PB&Js, Korean bulgogi burgers, triple cream Brie grilled cheeses, short rib empanadas and... is your mouth watering yet?

We thought so. Now that you’ve got gourmet truck grub on the brain, allow us to help you hunt down the tempting options rolling around your corner of the world, maybe even in time for your next meal.

Here’s a short menu of our favorite free food truck-finding apps. Bon appetit!

1. TruxMap Lite
There are now more than 3 million food trucks cruising around the U.S., pit-stopping and pleasing palates everywhere from L.A. to Boston on countless street corners and parking lots in between, according to Foodbeast. TruxMap Lite, which caters to 24 American cities (and two in Canada), tells you exactly where the gourmet trucks nearest you are in real-time.

Related: Food Trucks 101: How to Start a Mobile Food Business

The app pinpoints nearby food trucks on an interactive live map. The currently open/serving trucks are represented by green truck-shaped markers. Ones that are opening soon are blue. TruxMap also delivers food truck reviews, menu images and menus. You can even use it submit reviews and request specific locations for trucks. Who knows? Maybe some are willing to make house calls.  

TruxMap Lite is free and is available for iPhone and iPad.

2. Tweat.it
New York City is home to some of the best street food in the world, and food trucks are no exception. Tweat.it uses tweets, truck-reported location information, and GPS data to show users where to find food trucks on a live map. The tweets appear in two categories, Location (where a truck is now or where it’s going) and All (general info tweets).  

Food trucks are signified on Tweat.it’s map by icons bearing their company logos. Click on an icon and the food truck’s latest location-based tweet appears. Many of the vendors also tweet out phone numbers so you can order ahead and hopefully skip the often ridiculously long lines.

Some participating Tweat.it food trucks that we found catering to the hungry masses near our New York City offices when we hungrily wrote this include Sweet Chili NYC, Carl’s Steaks, Wafels & Dinges, Domo Taco, Big Gay Ice Cream Truck, and Souvlaki GR, just to name a fraction of the dozens that appeared (and only made us more famished).  

Tweat.it is free and is available for Android devices, and iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

Related: Need a Beer? These Ballpark Apps Are Changing How You Get One

3. AustinFoodCarts
This retro-kitschy, neatly organized app isn’t limited to food carts. AustinFoodCarts also locates grub-serving trailers, carts and “silver bullets” (must be a Texas thang) all throughout the Austin area. We’re not just talking Lone Star steaks, brisket and chili. Think Polish pierogies, Vietnamese pho, French crepes, Colombian arepas and a global buffet of scores of other ethnic, eclectic foods.    

AustinFoodCarts lets users quickly drill down what they really want to eat by sorting for individual food vendors by name, and by ethnic genre, meal time (breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert) and food (craving!) type (cheesesteaks, chicken wings, chocolate, etc.). And, of course, a real-time interactive map shows exactly where to find them.

AustinFoodCarts is free and is available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Kim Lachance Shandrow is a senior writer at Entrepreneur.com.

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