Qdoba’s Food Truck & Why It’s Irking People

Just this morning we learned of a new truck on the road that’s affiliated with a big chain: Queso Quest presented by Qdoba. How did we learn of it? A barrage of furious calls and e-mails.

So, the Qdoba truck. It’s called the Queso Quest. They have a local Chicago improv guy named Joey Dundale acting as the face of the truck. Who approached whom to do this? It would be really cool if this guy was a queso connoisseur and wanted his own queso truck and found a way to have it financed by the chain in exchange for slapping their logo on some stuff; win-win -win. However, it looks like Qdoba just paid a sweet actor to promote their brand as usual (there is no mention of queso on any of the actors’ social presences), but instead of being on a billboard he’s live and on wheels. They have a video that shows Joey being presented with the wheels and someone showing him the stocked product, but they left out the explanation of who Joey is, why queso, why Joey, and why a truck? Is Joey a long-time employee of Qdoba? Did he win a queso fanatic contest? We are left with more questions than answers even after seeing their introduction video:

 

Nothing against Joey (truly), readers seem to like him (even though they poke fun at the fact that he pronounced the “s” in Illinois in the above video); Qdoba is the one that’s going about this all wrong. I agree. The Queso Quest’s map-heavy website doesn’t say anything about their truck menu nor show you where the truck will be, instead it shows you where Qdoba brick-and-mortar locations are and where the truck has stopped in the past. Not too useful for a food truck, very useful to push traffic to brick-and-mortar stops. So, their goals are obvious and down right offensive to some.

My issue with this is bigger than one truck or one company: what this underscores for me is that Chicago’s legislation is leaving a gaping hole of opportunity in the Chicago market for these (largely unwanted) chain trucks while they squander local culinary talent and keep their trucks at bay. Most food truck freaks appreciate the homemade, chef-level cuisine, not just the convenience of the truck. It’s about reconnecting with food and where it comes from, instead of just eating food because it’s nearby. Find me a corporate truck that’s driven by the CEO of the company (or even the corporate chef) and then we can talk seriously about chain trucks. Or, better yet, I’ll steer you towards the Macy’s Culinary Council’s travelling Food Truck A Go-Go: though it was sponsored by a chain seemingly irrelevant to food trucks, they bridged the gap and made it relevant while also connecting food truck freaks with the chefs responsible for the food they were noshing on.

If the city would alter legislation to allow trucks to cook, our talented chefs could hit the road. Given the choice between patronizing a creative truck run by local talent and a chain truck, guess which one people will choose?

While many are criticizing these corporate trucks now, somehow I think we’ll change our tune a little bit (and that’s not a hyperbole; I only forsee a subtle change in attitude) come the bitter winters, especially for those of us without restaurants nearby. There is only 1 place to grab a quick bite to eat within a 3 block radius of my workplace in the West Loop. In the winter, that feels a bit more like a 3 mile radius. So, I will welcome any food truck at anytime to rescue me from the monotony of my lunch hour.

While having corporate trucks hitting the road might serve as gateway trucks the the more mainstream market (later introducing them to our more “hardcore” trucks), that could eventually lead to having effect that big box stores had on ma’ and pa’ stores: dissolution. I know, I know, that may seem a bit histrionic, however it is an option and a possible reason for tweets like this one:

Is Qdoba yummy? Yes. Are there enough street corners and diners in Chicago for them to join our fleets? Yes. Do I expect them to be welcomed with open arms to the food truck scene? We shall see. Based on reader feedback, many people think some small changes they could make would do them worlds of good. Here’s my challenge to you, Qdoba: get an executive on board and deliver me some queso. If you do that, I’ll give you a few tips about how to play game more nicely and share with you comments from community members (who have explicitly said it’s okay to share their thoughts).

What do you think about this truck? Like? Not a fan? Indifferent? Share in the comments area below!

NOTE: We do not speak for the entire community. These thoughts are our own with a sprinkling of  comments from Chicago-area food truck freaks who have expressed their thoughts to us directly.

UPDATE: @QuesoJoey responded to our article. When we assured him that no one is against him (the person), but it’s the corporate stuff that’s not sitting well, the response got even weirder. Not sure about you, but this further solidifies for us that this is a giant corporate flop and not an innocent young guy who just wants to put cheese on stuff. We’re not hating, we’re just calling a spade a spade, Qdoba.

New Truck Alert: Culture, the Frozen Yogurt Society

Last week when we swung by the trucks in front of the Sears Tower, we noticed a new kid on the block: Culture, the Frozen Yogurt Society. We hadn’t seen this truck at any event, nor had anyone inquired about them, so we were pleasantly surprised to stumble across them. 

One thing we love about this truck is that they have a lot of goofy, fun toppings: Cap’n Crunch, Fruity Pebbles, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and gummy bears are just  a few. We love a truck with a sense of humor, and we love gummy bears in just about anything sweet, so this truck started out on our good side.

Culture's menu

After seeing their weekly schedule, our absolute favorite thing about the truck is that they go beyond the standard stops. Of course they still make stops at the big high-rises, but they also pull over at intersections where no other truck has stopped (at least, on record in the past 3 months). Roughly half of their stops are ones that were new to our site, so those of us food truck freaks who aren’t in the immediate center of the city can have hope. Some of their stops are in Bronzeville, Bucktown, River North, River East, the Loop and the Gold Coast (among others).

Have you caught this truck? How was it? Tell us what you think on our Facebook Page wall- even leave a picture if you’ve got one!

Fire It Up

Truck name
Fire It Up

What they make
“Pub grub”

Accept credit cards
Yes

Next  Scheduled Stop

No Truck Stops

Fire It Up

  • People here now: 0
  • Total check-ins: 1
  • Mayor:

 


Latest Tweets from @FireItUpTruck

  • FireItUpTruck
    Leaving 355/Boughton location in Bolingbrook at 5PM today. There's still time to pick up tacos, burgers & pulled pork before the Bears game! ReTweet Reply Favorite
    (about 4 days ago)
  • FireItUpTruck
    Ready to serve! 355 & Boughton in #Bolingbrook (Petland lot, near #IKEA) If rain, pull car up to the awning & we'll bring food out to you! ReTweet Reply Favorite
    (about 4 days ago)
  • FireItUpTruck
    Rockin' out gourmet pub grub on the truck today SUNday 10/16). 355 & Boughton in #Bolingbrook (Petland pk lot, near #IKEA.) ETA 11:30AM. ReTweet Reply Favorite
    (about 4 days ago)
  • FireItUpTruck
    Gourmet food prepared on the truck! Sun10/16. Off of 355 on Boughton Rd in #Bolingbrook (petland parking lot,near #IKEA)11AM-late afternoon. ReTweet Reply Favorite
    (about 6 days ago)


Menu


Fire It Up

Menu subject to change.

Gingo TacoA flour tortilla stuffed with our ground beef/cheese/bean filling fried to a crispy golden brown and topped with raw onion, lettuce, homemade salsa, and sour cream $3 or 2 for $5
Shrimp and Slaw TacoMarinated grilled shrimp topped with our fresh garlic lemon herb slaw. $4 or 2 for $7
Pulled Pork TacoMarinated pulled pork with carmelized onions topped with homemade slaw. $4 or 2 for $7
Green Chili Cheeseburger1/4 pound juicy beef patty covered with homemade green chili sauce and melted cheese. $5 or a double for $7
The TruckA large flour tortilla stuffed with our taco filling, four grilled shrimp, one beef patty, pulled pork, homemade green chili sauce, lettuce and sour cream. $8
BBQ Pulled Pork SandwichMarinated BBQ pulled pork with carmelized onoins topped with homemade slaw. $7
Dog WhizA juicy jumbo deep-fried beef frank covered with homemade green chili sauce and melted Cheez Whiz. $4
Soda $2
Water $2


Bridgeport Pasty Company

Truck name
Bridgeport Pasty Company

What they make
Hand-helt pot pies

Accept credit cards
Yes

Recommended dish
The chicken pasty/pot pie

Next  Scheduled Stop

No Truck Stops

Bridgeport Pasty13 reviewspowered by Yelp

Bridgeport Pasty

  • People here now: 0
  • Total check-ins: 5
  • Mayor:

 


Latest Tweets from @bridgeportpasty


Menu




Sweetie Cakes

chicago food truck cupcakes

Truck name
Sweetie Cakes

What they make
Cupcakes & baked goods

Accept credit cards
Yes

Recommended dish
4 Leches cupcake

Next  Scheduled Stop

No Truck Stops

Sweetie Cake's pastry truck

  • People here now: 0
  • Total check-ins: 6
  • Mayor:

 


Latest Tweets from @Rzjp6Cakes


Menu


Sweetie Cakes

Sweetie Cake's cupcakes $3.25 each Half a dozen $18.00 One dozen $33.00 We also offer birthday cake cupcakes Cupcakes iced to look like a rectangular cake and decorated as you wish. 12 person cup cake $35.00 24 person cup cake $63.00 Sweeties Cakes offers special pricing on large orders. Delivery Free delivery for special orders or events of 3 dozen or more. Fewer than 3 dozen delivery is $5, within 10 miles of our stops. For your convenience you can also pick up at any of our scheduled daily stops with advance notice. Ordering information Please place orders at least 36 hours in advance. Credit card payment is required when placing special orders. We do use nuts and bake in a kitchen that uses nuts and variety of flours. We have gluten, egg and nut free alternatives on the Sweetie Cakes van daily.

Red, Red WineRed velvet cake topped with a cream cheese and cream mixture. Classically a southern dessert, velvety moist cake topped with a windy city twist cream cheese and a whipped cream mixture, a southern belle.  
Spice Me UpSpiced sweet potato zucchini cake accompanied by brown butter butter cream. Mouth feel satisfying aromas fill this zucchini cake paired perfectly with a nutty brown butter butter cream.  
Coconut WomanPineapple, coconut, rum upside down mini cake. Your sweet tooth will surely be satisfied with the taste of the tropics. A smaller yet satisfying version of a pineapple upside down cake with the addition of coconut and rum …. Yes it is yum!  
Lady Marmelade TiramisuDistinctive Italian desert, that really needs not much of and introduction. Vanilla bean cake soaked in coffee with a frothy cream topping and a dash of cocoa.  
BoobiesMoist strawberry cake "supported" with sultry white chocolate mousse. A portion of all proceeds from the sale of your "boobies" goes to the Breast Cancer Foundation.  
Sugar, SugarNot tres but quarto (4) leches cake Genuinely a Mexican dessert, vanilla cake infused with 4 types of milk and a drip of Madagascar vanilla lathered with an almond light cream, ay yay ay.  
Candy GirlChocolate cake with caramel center and a caramel cream. Cocoa at its best in a cake hugging a heart of soft caramel and crowned with a soft caramel cream.  
Blueberry HillVanilla bean cake with three kinds of fresh berries and a berry whipped cream topping. Vanilla cake swirled with blueberries, blackberries and raspberries, draped with a fresh berry cream.  
"C" is for CookieChocolate cake with a blue butter cream frosting and a chocolate chip cookie. Cookie monster fans look out, chocolate cake with a blue butter cream frosting and chocolate eyes and this little guy is devouring his cookie.  
Candy ShopBanana foster New Orleans delectable sweet. Truly a fusion of flavors of ripe bananas and cinnamon with a hint of rum. Glorified only with a foster butter cream.  
Mambo ItalianoCannoli cupcake, vanilla bean cake,with ricotta filling and chocolate chips, then dusted with cocoa.  


Lillie’s Q Meat Mobile

Truck name
Lillie’s Q Meat Mobile

What they make
BBQ

Accept credit cards
Unknown…do you know? Tell us!

Recommended dish
Anything + their signature sauce

Next  Scheduled Stop

No Truck Stops

Lillie's Q310 reviewspowered by Yelp

Lillie's Q

  • People here now: 0
  • Total check-ins: 2413
  • Mayor: Tif P.

 


Latest Tweets from @lqmeatmobile


Menu




Culture Frozen Yougurt

Truck name
Culture, the Yogurt Society

What they make
Non-fat Frozen Yogurt

Accept credit cards
Yes

Recommended dish
Fruity Pebbles topping

Next  Scheduled Stop

No Truck Stops

Culture, The Yogurt Society

  • People here now: 0
  • Total check-ins: 151
  • Mayor: sandra d.

 


Latest Tweets from @Culture


Menu


Culture Frozen Yogurt

Culture yogurt comes in regular and large sizes. Our original flavor never changes, but check back often to see what signature flavors we have available! NOW SERVING: Original & Pomegranate Blueberry Below is a list of toppings. Topping are also subject to change.

Mango  
Strawberry  
Blueberry  
Watermelon  
Chocolate chips  
Carob chips  
Yogurt chips  
Coconut  
Rainbow sprinkles  
M&M minis  
Mini oreos  
Mochi  
Almonds  
Gummy bears  
Cap'n crunch  
Fruity pebbles  
Cinnamon Toast Crunch  
Milk & Honey granola  


Want food truck food but stuck at your desk? Zaarly it.

This is the delicious Rajas quesadilla, one of the 4 they were serving that day

Last week I saw that one of our newer trucks, The Adelita Truck, had some new menu items that sounded delish (quesadillas!). However, I was so swamped at work out in the West Loop that there was no time for me to walk or cab it to them. So, what did I do? I Zaarly’d it.

 

Zaarly is a new-ish start-up (in which Ashton Kutcher is an investor) that gets you what you want when you want it. It’s kind of like a real-time, reverse Craigslist: You post what you want and how much you’d pay for it. So, on Friday morning I posted a listing to see if someone would pick me up some food truck deliciousness. Sure enough, @zaarlyliz came to the rescue! At first, I thought @zaarlyliz was a Zaarly employee. It turns out she just really really likes to fulfill Zaarly listings.

So, if you ever can’t get that food truck monkey off your back, Zaarly it.

4 New Food Trucks to Hit Chicago

It’s no secret that Chicago has a lot of food trucks waiting in the wings in anticipation of a change in legislation, but we have several trucks that are going to roll with our current laws and serve up some delicious food. Here’s a few of them to keep an eye on:

Sweetie Cakes

Have you seen a super sweet pink polkadot truck on the streets this week (or at Waggin’ Wednesdays last night)? That’s Sweetie Cakes! They are a new “mobile pastry van” serving up lots of sweet goodness. Their maiden voyage was just last Friday! Website: TasteofSweetieCakes.com Twitter: @sweetiecakes

Sweetie Cakes' sweet pink van at Waggin' Wednesdays on August 24, 2011

Lillie’s Q Meat Mobile

You know them for their Wicker Park barbeque restaurant, and they’ll soon be launching a food truck slated to start truckin’ shortly after labor day. You can get a sneak peak this Saturday at the Time Out Chicago Food Truck Social. Website: LilliesQ.com Twitter: @lqmeatmobile

Tamale Foodie

Promising a “unique tamale experience,” this food truck is planning to hit the road on Monday September 19th. Once permits have gone through, they’ll be serving you street side. Website: TamaleFoodie.com Twitter: @tamalefoodie

Samich Truck

You’ve heard whispers of them for months now, but it looks like the Samich Truck is gearing up to hit the streets very, very soon! Their truck is painted and their menu is full of lots of sandwiches and tortas. Twitter: @samichtruck

Time Out Chicago’s Food Truck Social

Get ready! This Saturday we get to experience two big food trends all in one: food trucks and pop-up restaurants. Time Out Chicago will be hosting an event called the Food Truck Social. A special line-up of chefs will be there to do their own mini pop-up restaurants (see lineup below). The festivities begin at noon this Saturday and go until 10 p.m., all at 700 N. Ashland.

Pop-Up Schedule:
Bill Kim of Urbanbelly and Belly Shack (noon-2 p.m.)
Michael Carlson of Schwa (2:30-4:30 p.m.)
Justin Large of Big Star (5-7 p.m.)
Stephanie Izard of Girl & the Goat (7:30-9:30 p.m.)

Several of our staple trucks will be present (Bergstein’s Deli, Flirty Cupcakes, Haute Sausage, Southern Mac, Starfruit Café, Sweet Miss Giving’s, Sweet Ride Chicago and Tamalespaceship) as well as some hard-to-find and stationary trucks (Hummingbird Kitchen, La Isla Café, Wagyu Wagon).

What’s the biggest draw for you: getting grub from our staple trucks, the chefs’ pop-up restaurants, or finally nailing down those hard-to-find trucks?

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