It won’t be long before the insane number of Starbucks in Seattle will be rivaled by the number of food trucks parked in vacant parking lots around the city! Gone are the days when you’d have to be out and about in Belltown at 1:00 am to experience eating food from a cart or a truck (hope you made it home for that 1:30 am bottle!) — the world of mobile dining has come a long way in recent years, with many of Seattle’s favorite restaurants even getting their start as locations on wheels.

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So, now you’re reading this thinking — okay, we can hardly take our kids out to eat at a regular restaurant without losing our sanity and now you’re suggesting we take them to eat in a parking lot? Yes. Yes, we are. But, before you prepare to leave an “are you crazy, lady?” comment below, consider this — food truck dining is brilliant for kids. While they wait for their food, they can get their wiggles out and nobody cares. Kiddos spill their drink when reaching across the table to steal one of your fries? No big deal; the ground is concrete. Toddler who likes to sing while she eats? Let her use her outside voice. While, of course, you shouldn’t let your kids become restaurant wild things just because you’re grabbing some grub at a food truck, there’s no harm in chilling out a bit, mom and dad! The sun is shining, the food is mind-blowing and your kids are having fun. You may never go back to a real brick and mortar restaurant again.

314 Pie
Truck spotting: Out and about in Seattle during the week, 314 Pie can be found hopping between the Microsoft campus in Redmond and locations in South Lake Union and downtown Seattle. Check out the calendar on their website or their Facebook page for exact daily locations. Their truck is a pretty, bright blue!

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Order for them: Throw a pie on the barbie! The pies of 314 Pie find their roots down under, rather than in the heartland of America. Grab your kids a steak and cheese pie and some cinnamon pie fries for dessert, which are made from the leftover pie dough.

Order for you: Ask what their pie special is, because you’re not going to want to miss it. For something classic, either of the steak pies are more than worth ordering. Don’t pass up one (or more) of their chocolate chip and almond cookies — their famous for them, and for good reason.

Cash only? Cash or cards accepted

Bigfood
Truck spotting: It may be hard to find the Bigfood truck… after all, it is camouflaged. And, having just opened a permanent location at the Seattle Center Armory, the truck itself isn’t out and about as much as it used to be. Keep a close eye on their Facebook page for the latest locations.

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Order for them: Your kids are going to love noshing on Bigfood’s flatbreads — ask for one topped with a bit of their pulled chicken for your little ones. They’re happy to customize something for their mild taste buds.

Order for you: Would one of each be going overboard? Seriously. Don’t make us pick a favorite. Their vegetarian options are always just as tempting as the non-veggie offerings — don’t be afraid to give them a go.

Cash only? Cash or cards accepted

The Grilled Cheese Experience
Truck spotting: Parking all over Seattle, often times including Saturdays in Ballard, The Grilled Cheese Experience is easily identified by the very enthusiastic grilled cheese man with a spatula on the side of their colorful blue truck. Do you think he flipped himself over in the pan? Keep an eye on their Facebook page for daily locations.

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Order for them: To put it bluntly… grilled cheese! Ask for a kiddo version when you order and they’ll know to kick it down a notch. Owner, Josh, is a dad himself, so he’ll get what you mean. They also bake a lot of their breads themselves and source their cheeses locally, when possible, so don’t be afraid to let your kids dig in.

Order for you: The Grilled Cheese Experience menu is often changing, so be prepared to be flexible with your grilled cheese order. Don’t forget to order a side of their soup — after all, where are you going to dip your grilled cheese?

Cash only? Cash or card accepted

Marination
Truck spotting: This very popular mobile version of one of Seattle’s tastiest places to grab lunch has a pretty regular schedule to feed its loyal food truck fans. From South Lake Union on Mondays to Columbia City on Saturdays and everywhere in between, Marination is on the move. Visit their website for a full weekly schedule and their Facebook page for up to the minute info.

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Order for them: The miso ginger chicken is the most kid-friendly taco at Marination… or ask to have the taco deconstructed — chicken and tortillas on the side — which will make things easier for your little guys to eat.

Order for you: Our fave is the kimchi quesadilla, which perfectly marries the Korean and Hawaiian sides of the Marination menu. Also, don’t be afraid to order the SPAM — it’s gotten a major makeover. Trust us.

Cash only? Cash only

Maximus/Minimus
Truck spotting: It’s a truck. Dressed like a pig. a.k.a., this is the funnest food truck to spot in the entire city. Often times, Maximus/Minimus is in South Lake Union and downtown Seattle during the week, then the Fremont Market on Sundays. Find the changing weekly schedule on their website with need-to-know updates on their Facebook page.

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Order for them: It’s all about the pork at Maximus/Minimus… until your kids find out they have mac n’ cheese. Order it for them. It’s delicious.

Order for you: You can either go Maximus (savory and spicy) or Minimus (sweet and tangy) with your order, but whatever you do, go for it — add slaw and chips and Beecher’s for the full experience.

Cash only? Cash or cards accepted

Seattle Wood Fired Pizza
Truck spotting: With a semi-permanent home on Elliott Avenue, in between the Starbucks and vitamin store, near the Magnolia Bridge, you can even order ahead on their website and your pizza will be ready when you pull into the parking lot — although, the pizzas only take 90-seconds to bake, so your wait will be quick no matter when you get there!=. Check out their website for a full menu and location details.

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Order for them: The Four-Cheese Blend is a favorite, naturally, and you can pick from two sizes to match their appetites.

Order for you: The Veggie pizza is at the top of our list — with the crispy, but soft crust, the toppings are really the star on their pizzas. Order the bigger size — you’ll regret it if you don’t.

Cash only? Cash or cards accepted

Skillet
Truck spotting: Is it an Airstream? Is it a food truck? Is it heaven on earth? We’ll say “yes” to all three! Skillet Street Food is good at spreading the love around Seattle, hopping to locations around the city all week long. Keep an eye on their website for a detailed calendar and their Facebook page for a play-by-play daily calendar.

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Order for them: The menu at Skillet’s mobile location is always changing, so it’s hard to pin down one kid-friendly favorite for your little guys to try. Don’t be afraid to ask if they’ll whip up a mini-burger or a mild-version of one of the current menu items.

Order for you: Any burger on their menu is a must and take any and all suggestions they offer in topping it — from cheeses to veggies to sauces. Just say yes.

Cash only? Cash or cards accepted

Snout & Co.
Truck spotting: Oink, oink! The snout on the side of the black, shiny Snout & Co. truck says it all! You can typically find Snout in downtown Seattle or in Ballard… as well as at Seahawk home games. Their Facebook page is your best resource for hunting down this Cuban flavor food truck.

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Order for them: Anything with their black beans is a hit with little ones — from the Black Bean Burger (skip the onion relish) to the black beans and rice… possibly with a side of collard greens, if you can get away with it. The Cuban Sandwich is also a good choice — their sandwiches are pressed, making them easy for kids to get their hands around.

Order for you: Your first choice is going to be bowl verses sandwich. From there, pick your favorite Cuban ingredients to feature the flavors you love. We’re partial to the BBQ Pork Sandwich, for a little down-home Southern feeling… and, their coleslaw is irresistible.

Cash only? Cash and cards accepted

Mark your calendar: For Sunday, May 5, 2013 for the Mobile Food Rodeo, featuring all of Seattle’s most delicious food trucks in one spot. We’d highly suggest grabbing a VIF (Very Important Foodie) ticket in advance so that you can skip to the front of the line all day! Bust out your double stroller for the little ones — they’ll need somewhere to hang out while you wait in line for the best taco/BBQ/empanada/something with pork you’ve ever had in your life.

Food truck stalking tip: Follow your favorite food trucks on Facebook, where they often post the most up-to-date information about where they’ll be parked and what they’re serving.

Where does your family love to get their food truck on in Seattle? Be sure to share in a comment below what your kids love to order there.

— Katie Kavulla

Photos via the Facebook pages of 314 Pie, Bigfood, The Grilled Cheese Experience, Marination, Maximus/Minimus, Seattle Wood Fired Pizza, Skillet, Snout & Co., and ricardodiaz11 via Flickr