They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. So make it count! Turn your first meal into an all-out adventure and hunt down a food truck. Most of Chicago’s food trucks wheel around in the afternoon and evening, but a select awesome few have eggs, pancakes and donuts covered when the sun comes up. Here are our favorite options with kid-friendly choices.
photo: Eastman Egg Company Facebook page
The Eastman Egg Company
The grub: The food menu might be small (only four items!), but it’s mighty. Choose from made-to-order egg sandwiches on La Farine Bakery bread that’s baked fresh every morning. Choices include The Doc (egg, bacon, white cheddar on an English muffin) and the more elaborate The Eastman (egg, ham, Egmont cheese, cucumber, house sweet chili sauce on an English muffin). Eggs and meats come from the local Slagel Family Farms. The iced and hot coffee on offer is roasted weekly by Chicago’s own Sparrow Coffee Roastery.
The kid appeal: The Scoundrel — a pretzel roll filled with egg, smoked turkey, white cheddar, wilted spinach and honey mustard — is so big you’ll also have lunch taken care of!
The route: Find it mostly in the Loop and West Loop during the week, but expect it to roll north to Lincoln Park and Lakeview on the weekends. Follow them on Twitter for up-to-date route info or go to eastmanegg.com.
photo: Babycakes Facebook page
The grub: These aren’t your everyday flapjacks. Chef/owner Leah Wilcox has more than 200 inventive pancake recipes under her belt — including crazy-cool flavors like pepperoni pizza and birthday cake — and the fun is seeing which pop up on the food truck menu. For $5 a stack, you can’t go wrong. If you get addicted to them (highly possible), order the pancakes to be delivered to you ($25 minimum order; within Chicago city limits only). The delivery menu also includes sides like bacon gorgonzola hash and maple bacon.
The kid appeal: Did you read the part about birthday cake flavored pancakes?
The route: The Babycakes truck has been spotted everywhere from Old Town to the South Loop to Tinley Park. Follow them on Twitter and go to babycakestruck.com for more info.
photo: Beavers Donuts Facebook page
The grub: Hot and fresh mini donuts are sold by the half dozen, dozen and box. Choose from “regular” toppings (cinnamon sugar, powdered sugar and chocolate powder) or go whole hog and get a “gourmet” variety. We are suckers for the Nutella Dream, made with strawberry sauce and Nutella; and Loco Coco, an unlikely but delicious combo of chocolate sauce and coconut. Beavers also sells bottled water and coffee.
The kid appeal: Mini donuts are the perfect size for kids’ hands (and bellies). If they’re hankering for a campfire treat first thing in the morning, order a S’mores donut which is as gooey-good as it sounds.
The route: This truck sticks close to downtown, spreading its wings to Little Italy and West Town and beyond at times. Follow the truck’s route on Twitter or go to beaversdonuts.com for info. Beavers also has a permanent home in Chicago French Market.
photo: La Boulangie Facebook page
The grub: Make like the French and go out to buy your morning bread. Perfectly crispy-on-the-outside, chewy-on-the-inside fresh baguettes are on offer from this new food truck affiliated with the Lakeview store of the same name. Owner and Frenchman Vincent Columbet is known for his quality baked goods, including an inventive twist called the “crognet,” which is a cross between a croissant and beignet. Pastry selections range from mini seasonal tarts to macarons.
The kid appeal: Let you kiddo carry the baguette back home (a few nibbles here and there are okay) for the cutest photo opp ever. Just add beret!
The route: This truck stops mostly in the Loop for breakfast, but for lunch and afternoon snack time you can catch it in front of local schools, like Francis Parker and Lycée Français. Follow the truck’s path on Twitter and go to laboulangeriechicago.com for details.
photo: Doughnut Vault’s Twitter feed
The grub: This is your key to donut heaven. The on-wheels component of the shop that usually sells out very early sells a select variety of gourmet donuts — many of them creative takes on classics. They take the average old fashioned and turn it into a sweet dream. Imagine peach, blueberry, pistachio and pineapple varieties. Pair your ‘nut with a Bow Truss hot or iced coffee.
The kid appeal: This donut peddler has more fruit flavors than most, and we all know how kids feel about sweet stuff.
The route: You can spot the truck at places ranging from Clark & Monroe to Green City Market in Lincoln Park. Follow them on Twitter or go to thedoughnutvault.tumblr.com for info.
What is your favorite food truck in Chicago? Let us know in the Comments!
— Kelly Aiglon