In the olden days (uh, one year ago-ish), when street food usually meant ordering a gray hot dog or a mystery-source tamale from a rickety cart instead of scoring quinoa or a wood-fired pizza from a tricked out trailer, we would have been up in arms if our lunch total had climbed higher than $5, chips and drink included. Street food was dirty and delicious, like placing a cheap bet on a Central City roulette wheel. You win, and you're fed well for pocket change. You lose, and, well, it's going to be a rough afternoon.
Now, though, the new wave of mobile vendors is charging a pretty penny for lunch - on par with the likes of fast casual chains like Chipotle, sans amenities like tables and chairs.
If we're to believe the wisdom of Economics 101, the existence of low barriers to entry in this market - all you need is a credit line to cover your truck and your low-rent commissary kitchen, after all -- means it won't be long until the sheer number of vendors cruising the streets will set prices at the proper level.
In the meantime, though, we've amassed a collection of the more expensive street food offerings on the Front Range, which is followed by the question, how much would you pay?
This sexy pulled pork sandwich and accompanying slaw came from StrEat Chefs. After ordering, we had to hunt down a patch of Boulder sidewalk to enjoy it. Can you guess how much it was? This biscuit from the Biscuit Bus was loaded with bacon, eggs, and cheese. How much would you pay for that breakfast sammich? One of the GastroCart staples is this gyro. What do you think those guys charge for this classic street food item? This feast came from Comida, and included two tacos and a quesadilla. What would you deem a fair price for that? The Steuben's Food Truck occasionally brings lobster rolls and fries to the street, saving you a trip to the restaurant, where the dish is a favorite. No price discount, though, from buying from the truck. So what would you pay?
The actual prices for the above street eats are exposed on the next page.
BBQ pork sandwich: $6 Bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit: $6.50 Gyro: $7 Two tacos and quesadilla: $13 Lobster roll and fries: $20