Mobile Hot Spots

Sampling Madison's Street Eats
 By Candice Wagener | Photographed by Josh Witzel

In our foodie city, Madison’s food cart scene reflects our growing diversity, with over 50 unique offerings parked around town. Here are just a few standouts.

Celebrating a year in business, Joshua Barraza and Matthew Danky are the fabulous force behind El Grito Taqueria. Determined to expose Madison to real street food and authentic Mexican cuisine, they serve up deliciously elegant tacos all over town. Go for the veg-centric roasted sweet potato taco with an ancho chile orange glaze, crema drizzle and cilantro sprinkles, or make it omnivore, filled with braised skirt steak, peppery Serrano, creamy tomatillo avocado salsa and crunchy radish matchsticks. “A taco is anything you want it to be,” says Barranza.

Veering in another creative direction is So Pak “Rocky” Ho, proprietor of Soho, an Asian-American fusion restaurant in Fitchburg with a weekday mobile spinoff on the Capitol Square. Drawing from his Hong Kong roots, Ho’s rice dishes are authentic. But his dumplings, based on the “awesome” dumplings his mom and grandma made for him as a child, incorporate Midwestern influences: They’re stuffed with mac ’n’ cheese and simmered in garlic.

Deep family ties also resonate with Ribmasters—a food cart and catering service dishing up barbecue from owners Atonye and Rache Marsh at local events and festivals around Dane County. Rib or turkey tips smoked to perfection fall off the bone alongside grilled corn on the cob and Mama Earlie’s baked beans, Atonye’s mom’s recipe with ground beef, onions and green peppers mixed in.

But these good eats don’t come easy. Rache starts smoking meat at 4 a.m. and Atonye puts in 50 hours a week on top of a nursing job at St. Mary’s. We’re all happier—and sated—for the effort.

Visit each cart’s Facebook page for more details on daily locations and menus.

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