Street food vendors on the rise in Detroit

George Fox
CW50 Detroit Blogger

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It’s not just the decor of this food truck that pours on the cheese. Chris Damon, Manager and Operator of the Mac Shack says the secret is the 5-variety cheese sauce. “It’s in just about everything we make.”

The mobile kitchen trailer pulled by a rust-speckled van finds its home mostly on Wayne State’s campus 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and then downtown Detroit Thursday and Friday. Get a full and updated schedule on their official site.

Macaroni and cheese is a standard of comfort foods, but there’s nothing ordinary about the menu. Patrons can select from the classic “Shack-made Mac n’ Cheese” to hand-crafted concoctions of incorporating sautéed mushrooms, chorizo, bean sprouts and the crowd-favorite … bacon. “The Bacon Made Me Do It is probably our best seller,” said Damon.

Damon and his co-worker are employed by the company who also owns El Guapo Grill, a Mexican food truck on the other side of WSU campus. The staff of the Shack are friendly and so easy-going. During the shuffle of doing my interview and getting my sizable order down, they handed me my bag and forgot to ask for money. Don’t worry, I didn’t stiff these guys. They’re too awesome.

Metro Detroit’s street food industry has seemingly been on the rise in recent years and Damon is optimistic, “I think the future is really bright for food trucks.” Maneuvering city ordinances and licensing for food truck operators is getting simpler according to Damon. “A couple years ago I would have said extremely difficult, but the city has really started to embrace it,” he added.

Damon finished out our talk saying, “Mac n’ Cheese man. Come get it!” And to that, I say “Yes sir!”

The “Critics”

My office mates and I sampled several items from the menu. Here’s the rundown of what we tried and our impressions of each dish.

The Bacon Made Me Do It – A perfect 10 on taste, but she felt too full and “a little sick.” It’s a meal meant for someone who’s going to go out and run a marathon or chop a cord of wood.

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Koh San Road – A little bit spicy, just enough heat. The sprouts take the edge off the heaviness of the rich mac.

Cheech’s Trip – Anything with chorizo, count me in. I thought I had died and gone to heaven, but on second thought
maybe I was having a heart attack.

Amaze Balls – Crispy even after a 20-minute car ride. Perfectly golden brown. It’s a treat for sure. Maybe a “once
per four months treat.” Another patron mentioned getting them with gravy for dipping. I’m in.

Parmesan Garlic Fries – Eat them immediately. You could tell they *were* crispy amazing even though the steam from the car ride was not friendly to them. The amount of cheese and spices were right on.

Dune Climber – The saltiness of the capers and artichokes may be too much for some, but thankfully I love salt and I devoured it. The noodles are perfectly cooked al dente. When (not if) I go back I’m going to opt for the Koh San Road or the Bacon.

Let us know what you think! Sound off in the comments. What’s your favorite street food?

(credit: George Fox/CW50)

(credit: George Fox/CW50)

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George Fox is a Spartan, a Michigander, and Web Producer for CBS 62/CW50 in Detroit. When I’m not working on content for the CBS Local websites, I’m probably hanging out on the boat, at deer camp or spending quality time with the fam. Follow George on Twitter @GeorgeJFox.