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Mobile Munchies

Businesses proffer an on-the-move twist to catered events.

By Ava Diaz

Mobile food carts serve a variety of tasty and efficient foods for guests to delve into. We rounded up a list of sweet and savory meals on wheels to cater convenience at your meeting or event. 

Barts Carts / Inglewood

As the one-stop shop for carnival-themed and street-food gatherings, Barts Carts has offered myriad mobile hand-held options for over 30 years. Serving up to 5,000 people, Barts Carts specializes in large events. And, tailoring the cart to the style of the event, it features 20 cart options from fryer-focused foods and carnival concessions to street-style snacks and frozen drinks. Food is what brings people together, and with choices including churros, cotton candy, Hawaiian shaved ice, hot dogs, Mexican street corn, pizza, pretzels, tacos, and popcorn—to name a few—there is truly something for everyone’s tastebuds. bartscarts.com

Gelato-go / Los Angeles 

Three Italian American friends joined forces to create a gelato store, Gelato-go, inspired by authentic Italian techniques—and quality is at the forefront. They take time to handcraft each chilled delight using fresh and raw ingredients true to the heritage of the dessert. “We make our own gelato base daily with fresh ingredients,” says Alessandro Alvino, sales and marketing coordinator of Gelato-go. “Our secret is the meticulous search of the ingredients used in each of the recipes, imported from our homeland of Italy and from all over the world. Some of the ingredients we use in the production of our gelati are pistachios from Bronte, Sicily; hazelnuts from Langhe, Piedmont; and we exclusively use Valrhona chocolate [a premium French chocolate], which sources cocoa beans of the finest variety from a plantation in Venezuela.” He adds that they acquire their fruit locally to adhere to optimal freshness for their dairy-free sorbet and gelato flavors.  

Experience true Italy with Gelato-go’s abundant gelato and sorbet flavors—from chocolate to raspberry. CREDIT Gelato-go

For catering services, Gelato-go offers three tiered levels varying in cart size and flavors (Bronze: four flavors; Silver: four flavors, and Gold: six flavors), providing an easy and delicious solution to any meeting or event for 50 to 2,000 people. Adapting to the preferences of attendees, Gelato-go gives planners the option to choose from a collection of 33 different flavors ranging from classics like pistachio and chocolate to specialty tastes of cookies and cream, marshmallow, and vanilla bourbon. For a nondairy option, 12 fruity flavors of sorbet—including passion fruit and raspberry—are also available. 

Although gelato is their forte, the three friends expanded offerings to include other iconic Italian dishes beyond the cone. Staples include pesto pastas, meatballs, risotto, and eggplant parmigiana, and Gelato-go also features other desserts like tiramisu, cannolis, and chocolate mousse. gelatogo.net

Hookt Doughnuts / San Francisco 

Family-owned and -operated, Hookt Doughnuts makes fresh, gourmet doughnuts fit for every event. Offering two lines of services, Hookt encourages planners to choose between the mini doughnut bar or the prefried mini doughnut bar. With the former, attendees can expect fresh-from-the-fryer treats for an event as long as two hours. Extra doughnuts from this configuration are displayed on an innovative and decorative wall for easy guest access. The latter, on the other hand, features a unique display of mini doughnut-filled cones for venues that may not have the capacity to accommodate frying. 

Doughnut flavors include 13 options (10 original flavors and three rotating seasonal flavors) from vanilla glaze and apple pie to ube-coconut and maple bacon, with seasonal flavors featuring tastes of pumpkin cheesecake, peppermint Oreo, and peach cobbler. 

For a minimum of 120 servings per catering request, Hookt can serve large crowds at both indoor and outdoor venues. hooktdoughnuts.com

Locolotes / Los Angeles 

Locolotes brings new meaning to corn on the cob. Delivering the best of authentic Mexican street corn with a modern twist, Locolotes slathers the cobs in creamy mayo and dresses them in savory components like Doritos and chipotle. The mobile mart offers multiple flavors spanning citrus to spice that are served on-the-cob or in a corn cup for easy eating. Flavor combinations include El Diablo with chipotle mayo, Hot Cheetos, chipotle butter, and Tabasco; or, for something that taps into your childhood taste buds, try the Queso Mess-O with chipotle mayo, parmesan, Nacho Cheese Doritos, and creamy butter. If none of the signature configurations are up to your liking, the cart also offers a build-your-own bar where attendees can choose the style, creamy base, toppings, and drizzle. 

Locolotes’ catering options include a drop off of the ingredients for self-led setup, the elote build-your-own bar, and the on-site cart for 50 to 100 servings. locolotes.com

Speak Cheezy / Belmont Heights 

For Jason Winters, owner of Speak Cheezy, something as simple as a slice of pizza is what makes him feel whole. Making fresh and tasty food from scratch, he shares his love for creating “something out of nothing with just flour and water, your hands,
and the oven.” 

Speak Cheesy creates delectable pizzas from scratch. CREDIT Sterling Reed

A fine-dining chef for most of his career, Winters says that he has always been an entrepreneur and wanted the opportunity to showcase his passions for food more directly with others—turning his dream of lugging a wood-fired oven in the back of his van into reality.  

“It gave me an opportunity to get out into the community and build it up until I was able to get a brick-and-mortar place,” he says. “Pizza takes us everywhere.” 

Winters creates handmade pizza from the convenience of a mobile van (and also his storefront location), and Speak Cheezy is well known for sourdough pizza in the region. Naturally fermented flour and fresh mozzarella curds from New York that are then hand pulled in house create the flavorful foundation for the legendary pies.  

The electric ovens used to bake Winters’ pizzas provide a cleaner energy approach to cooking with their low carbon footprints, plus, they replicate the taste of texture of a wood-burning oven. After being baked three-fourths of the way through at 800 degrees Fahrenheit, the pizzas are then finished in a low-temperature propane oven upon second bake to create the irresistibly crackly crust of a classic and iconic New York slice.
“We pioneered sourdough pizza in LA,” he says.

Speak Cheezy offers mobile catered events from the comfort of the van. Setting up in as little as 15 minutes, the van conveniently serves parties anywhere from 25 to 1,500 people. It has even set up shop for an event of  6,000 people. With flexibility for almost any event type and setting, Winters says that Speak Cheezy works with clients to create an event that is uniquely them. speak-cheezy.com 

The Traveling Saloon Mobile Bar /Contra Costa County

Laura Bernal started her career in the events industry as a wedding coordinator, but it wasn’t until she started assisting at events when she realized the lack of refreshment services available for smaller gatherings. “It was always so difficult to find people [mixologists and drink specialists], or [the bartenders] would be the same as what the caterer was offering because it was easy to use the liquor license,” she says. Bernal adds that the bartenders would not know what they were making in terms of specialty drinks until the day of the event. 

Taking these accounts into consideration, Bernal launched The Traveling Saloon Mobile Bar in 2022. The cart affords many configurations for drink service, her selections include a drink trailer, a portable bar table, a champagne cart, and a bartender to aid the creation of
the swanky sips. 

Arrange a menu of test craft cocktails on wheels with The Traveling Saloon Mobile Bar. CREDIT The Traveling Saloon

“We curate a menu for them and make it fit their theme,” she says. Crafting specialized spreads, Bernal says she is also able to create batched recipes for optimal convenience and efficiency for the guests. 

“It’s very rewarding,” she says about working with her clients, adding that her favorite part about her business is the ability to play around with unique drink concepts and recipes for each client. 

Her services cater to groups as large as 300 in the Contra Costa County region near San Francisco but go as far as Southern California with an additional travel service fee. thetravelingsaloon.com 

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