In Atlanta: The Great Food Truck Race Review: The Lime Truck & Roxy’s Grilled Cheese

Foodie Friday

Jun 3, 2011 by

When was the last time you had an urban picnic?  I spent last weekend chasing Food Trucks!  Really I did.

Food Network was filming the reality challenge series The Great Food Truck Race in Atlanta. Tyler Florence is the host. I happen to love eating-on-the-street/food so it seemed like a fun weekend adventure.

Street food is not new but Food Trucks take what I call “Urban Picnics” to a gourmet level. Who remembers the ice cream truck? On hot summer days my friends and I would immediately stop playing when we heard Leo’s bell. Popsicles were for “big kid” sharing and Hoodsies were for babies.

Boston winters brought the chestnut vendors out in the Back Bay. Men huddled over little carts, with real fire, scooping roasted fruit (they’re not technically a nut) into paper cones. The fire brought out the rich, earthy but sweet taste.  Added benefit .. warm fingers.

My favorite eating-on-the-street food was pizza from the North End (Boston’s Little Italy) that I ate with my dad. Slices of hot out of the oven, thin crust cheese pizza held  the freshest tomato sauce spiced with fresh oregano and more cheese. Slices were served on wax paper.

There is an art and a tradition to eating pizza on the street. Eating pizza with a fork and knife is sacrilegious! First, carefully fold the slice in half. Next, the first bite has to be from the end to ensure you get it all … the cheese, the sauce and the crust. Caution! Be careful of roof mouth burn which happens when you cannot wait for the pizza to cool. Oh and don’t forget the napkins.

But I digress. By the time The Great Food Truck Race reached Atlanta there were three trucks (from eight) left in the completion: Roxy’s Grilled Cheese from Boston; Hodge Podge from Cleveland and The Lime Truck from Irvine.

On Saturday my Gf Bobbi and I went in search of The Lime Truck. Sunday, since my Westie pooch Max loves cheese, I took him on my search to locate Roxy’s Grilled Cheese. Sadly, I never got to try Hodge Podge.

Food Truck Race rules state that the trucks are not allowed to use social media to promote their food or locations themselves. But anyone else can and do! The tweets and blogs were our GPS.  Sometimes they worked and other times not so much.

Although it’s of course about the food, like any other restaurant, there are many elements that create your total food truck experience:  from the truck wrap to the parked location to the service.

The Lime Tree

Concept: California beach cuisine from Chef Jason Quinn The Lime Truck on Twitter

The Truck: Bright bright bright lime with white lettering gave it summery feel .. and isn’t that’s what the beach is about?  A nice touch was the way napkins, plastic ware and foil were an easy self serve on the lower part of the truck.

Pressure Cooker Service: Even under the hot Atlanta (90’) sun and a line of hungry patrons, the servers were fun and friendly rolling with the crowd. It was evident that they were having a blast.

Food Presentation: Nothing special and the paper containers were plain white.

Parked Location: Colony Square Atlanta. No shade for people waiting online on a ’90 degree afternoon. However, there was “wall seating” that was shaded.

The Food:  Bobbi and I shared several dishes included crab and bay scallops cerviche and sweet and spice steak tacos.

We both loved the cerviche. I found the flavors bright and the scallops the perfect bite texture ..not mushy or rubbery.  Homemade taco chips complemented the dish with a crispy crunch.  We both grew up near the ocean and agreed this was wonderful beach food.. California or Massachusetts! 

When it came to the steak tacos the wasabi sauce took it up a notch.  The steak was cooked well and the spices were quite lovely.  The surprise factor was the slaw that added the crunch and freshness factor. However, we the tacos were too soft and the sauce made them soggy and difficult to eat. But Gf I must admit we managed!

Roxy’s Grilled Cheese

Concept: Retro grilled cheese sandwiches taken up a gourmet notch or two from James DiSabatino, owner and chief cheese griller. Roxy’s Grilled Cheese on Twitter

The Truck: Picking up on the retro theme, the dominate element looks like a sweet little girl from the fifties. Her hair is in pigtails and she’s eating a sandwich. Edgy Surprise!  If you look closer you can see a skull and bones tattoo on her right forearm.

Pressure Cooker Service: Everyone was nice but I had the feeling that they felt overwhelmed. Perhaps it was due to a new sandwich had just been added .. the fun factor just seemed to be missing.

Food Presentation:  In the little containers were bright yellow checked paper linings that held the food. Charming and reinforced the retro feel, as well as, the yellow of the truck.

Parked Location: Virginia Highlands neighborhood of Atlanta. A few trees provided shade and relief from the hot summer sun. In addition benches offered opportunities to relax and eat.

The Food:  The flavor combination from the Boston dudes sounded delish. Aged cheddar with Applewood smoked back and peaches. The sandwich was ooey and gooey like a good grilled cheese should be with a kick up of the bacon. However, the Georgia ingredient, peaches, disappointed; there were only a few sad slices and they were crunchy not sweet and soft.  But .. Max loved the melted cheese!  

Next I tried  “southern” sweet potato fries with a drizzle of (probably) New England maple gastrique. They were fine not over the top. Done well sweet potatoes are well .. sweet and the maple really wasn’t needed

While I love Food Trucks, don’t be fooled into thinking that it’s always a quick, inexpensive meal. If the line is long your meal will take longer (of course!). We waited about 45 minutes at the Lime Truck and over an hour at Roxy’s Grilled Cheese. The prices ranged from $12 for an entrée to $4 for unlimited drinks.

Food Truck Easting Tips

  1. Keep in mind where you’ll eat. Sometimes urban areas don’t have seating e.g., benches, walls, parks etc.
  2. If you are bringing the food home or back to work take along your own bags and foil wrap too.
  3. Juggling a lot of little dishes is like eating at a cocktail party so keep in mind how many items you can safely carry.

When was the last time you had an urban picnic? Oh and Girlfriends, if you know anyone who wants to bank roll a cupcake and martini food truck venture let me know!

About the Author

Toby Bloomberg Has Written 30 Articles For Us!

Toby is Founder/President of Atlanta-based strategy and social media consultancy, Bloomberg Marketing/Diva Marketing and acknowledged by Forbes as one of the country’s most foremost bloggers. She is a widely recognized for her expertise in combining social media with traditional marketing values (strategy, customer insights, segmentation, etc.) while maintaining the authenticity of digital conversations. Toby recently wrote the first business book based on (40) Twitter interviews with marketing pros. Social Media Marketing GPS has been downloaded over 10,000 times by people all the world.
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  1. @sandisolow – gr8 to see you at #aima mobile last nite. here’s the post on the #foodtrucks review

  2. my review of #greatfoodtruckrace @thelimetruck & @roxysgrilledchz #atlanta #miami for #foodeifriday @atsgf

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