In recent years, America’s food truck scene has exploded — and Rockland County is no exception. From classic American fare to tasty Spanish eats, these three local food trucks are serving up some of the best meals on wheels.
Gracie’s Bulldog Grille Food Truck (Blauvelt)
Running a business in the food industry is never easy. Opening a food truck during the pandemic is even harder. But Gracie’s Bulldog Grille is no stranger to bold moves and big flavors. Started in 2020 and owned by husband-and-wife duo AJ and Jen Servidio, the truck serves a range of comforting street foods.
AJ is the head chef, with an impressive resume to boot. He graduated from Hyde Park’s Culinary Institute of America before working as an executive chef at the Rockland Country Club and heading his own catering company. “It’s good food done with love,” AJ said. “It’s such a different experience than working in any other kitchens or any other places. I really love going to work; it makes a big difference.”
Jen is a massage therapist by day and helps run the business in her free time. In both her careers, her focus is making sure people have a good time. “In a way we’re kind of making people happy and joyful with food, and it really reflects on our end too,” Jen said. “It’s nice to see people smile — really, that’s the bottom line.”
And the team wouldn’t be complete without their third member, Gracie, the family’s English bulldog for whom the truck is named.
The truck boasts weekly specials and does catering on the weekends. They also partner with local businesses like Jillypie’s Creations, which sells homemade sweets and treats.
For newcomers, AJ recommends the blackened chicken sandwich, made with his own blackening spice. “The spices, the mixture of the bacon and the cheese and chipotle mayo … everything goes together,” he said. “That’s my favorite sandwich, and that’s usually what I promote to everybody if they come to the truck for the first time.”
Gracie’s Bulldog Grille: American Comfort Foods
600 New York Highway 303, Blauvelt, NY
5 Senses Food Truck (Haverstraw)
If you’re in the mood for Spanish food, be sure to check out the 5 Senses Food Truck in Haverstraw. Melissa Llanos is the sole owner, chef, and proprietor, and she does everything by hand.
On the menu are a variety of quesadillas and sandwiches, as well as yucca fries and warm churros. Llanos recommends the jibarito, a Puerto Rican sandwich in which the bread is replaced with fried plantains. Inside is tender steak, guacamole, lettuce, tomato, and cheese. This is something you won’t find on many food trucks, but that’s how Llanos prefers it.
“I like being the one that stands out, to be honest,” she said. “I make my food with love, and everyone can taste it.”
Llanos has an unconventional culinary background. She worked in a pizzeria for around 15 years, starting at the age of 17. She worked her way up from delivery driver to pizza maker to manager. But when she bought her food truck in 2015, she decided to take the menu back to her roots.
“I’m Dominican and Puerto Rican, I come from a Spanish household, so I’ve always made Spanish food, but I never thought of actually making this a career,” she said. “I live in a Spanish community, so my goal was to serve the community and make different styles of food.”
5 Senses Food Truck: Authentic Spanish Cuisine
Tues-Fri, 11:30 am-5 pm / Sat, 12-5pm
56 W Broad St, Haverstraw, NY
A&J’s Lunch Wagon (Sloatsburg)
A&J’s Lunch Wagon in Sloatsburg is no frills, but don’t let that fool you. The man behind the grill is a serious kitchen vet. Owner John Nahas has worked in the restaurant industry for over 50 years. He’s a culinary-school dropout with a resume better than most graduates.
Working in this business since 1977, Nahas has co-owned a bar in Brooklyn; privately owned a Brooklyn pizzeria/retaurant, and privately owned another pizzeria in Pearly River. When he bought the food truck around 2011, his goal was to slow down the pace but keep cooking what he loves.
“As I got older, I wanted something more simple and easier, and I felt like it could be a one-man show,” he said. “When you love what you do, it’s not work.”
Nahas has owned three different trucks over the past decade. In a plain white truck with a simple menu printed on its side, Nahas is also the only one working at A&J’s nowadays.
This is pretty impressive considering his massive menu spots over 15 types of sandwiches, subs, and heroes. Meatball, chicken cutlet, and Philly cheesesteak subs are just some of the toasty treats you’ll find aboard the truck, along with all-day breakfast sandwiches.
But the homemade chicken parm isn’t the only hero you’ll find on the truck. Nahas himself is a Vietnam veteran and a family man. The truck is named after his sons, Anthony and John. At the end of the day, it’s Italian food done simple and right — just the way Nahas likes it.
“If you have the right stuff, even if you’re not a chef, it’ll be delicious,” he said. “But if you know how to put it together, forget it.”
A&J’s Lunch Wagon: Classic Italian
15A Route 17, Sloatsburg, NY