LV Recommends: Food trucks in the Iowa City area

Under a new ordinance passed by the Iowa City Council in April, food truck vendors can operate from metered parking spaces any day of the week. As long as they aren’t operating in restricted areas—which include parts of downtown Iowa City, Northside Marketplace, residential zones or within 150 feet of a brick and mortar restaurant—vendors are permitted to sell any kind of food or nonalcoholic beverage.

Now, two months later, area vendors are taking advantage of the more food-truck friendly laws and offering creative, delicious dining options. Here are a few highlights currently available in and around downtown Iowa City:

The Box Lunch (Liz Wohlford)

Social: Facebook
Find it: The location varies quite a bit, with parking lot service by The Box Lunch frequently requested by large employers in the area. On days without a booking, they can be found in downtown Iowa City, or at the Iowa City Farmers Market on Saturdays.
Niche: The Box Lunch offers classic diner fare made fresh to order, including hand-pattied burgers, a great selection of hot dogs, fantastic grilled cheese sandwiches and milk shakes
Taste: Their burgers—notably the Notorious Big E burger with an egg on it.

Local Burrito (Kyle Sieck)

Social: Twitter and Facebook
Find it: A staple of the Iowa City Farmers’ Market on Wednesdays and Saturdays, they are also testing out a “Taco Tuesday” dinner option from 5-8 p.m. in downtown Iowa City (just north of Iowa Ave. on Dubuque St.) They will also come to your office or event.
Niche: As the name suggests, Local Burrito uses local, organic, seasonal ingredients to create dishes Sieck describes as “Midwestern-East-South” (Iowan-East Asian-Tex Mex).
Taste: The Chorizo Burrito, Korean Bulgogi Steak Burrito and Veggie Kimchi Burrito.

This is a photo caption --photo by John Doe
Local Burrito was one of the first food trucks in the IC area — photo by Amanda McFadden

The Wagyu Wagon (Jonathan Stirn and Tyler Bailey)

Social: Twitter and Facebook
Find it: North Liberty Farmers’ Market on Sundays, Coralville Farmers’ Market on Mondays
Niche: The Wagyu Wagon serves premium Kobe Wagyu Beef and Iowa Swabian Hall pork products. All of their beef and pork is raised and bred at their farm, Bailey American Wagyu, in West Branch, Iowa. Their ever-rotating menu includes custom burgers, Wagyu steak sandwiches, hand-cut fries, pulled-pork sandwiches, beef and pork tacos, and even poutine once the fall season approaches.
Taste: The Sumo Burger—a ⅓-lb patty, with sweet Asian slaw and sriracha aioli on a made-from-scratch bun.

Island Vybz (Kelly and Robert McLean)

Social: Twitter and Facebook
Find it: It’s hard to miss this wild, tie-dyed food truck, usually parked on Dubuque Street between Iowa Avenue and Jefferson Street on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Niche: New to the food truck scene in Iowa City, Island Vybz Mobile Rasta-rant is making a splash with flavorful food that offers a taste of Jamaica, where Robert McLean was born and raised. “Our food truck is all about my passion for cooking,” he said, “for quality cuisine, and for introducing a taste from my homeland of Jamaica to Iowa City and the surrounding areas.”
Taste: The jerk chicken, but it’s also worth checking out pork and hamburger options, all with Jamaican flavors.

This is a photo caption --photo by John Doe
Island Vybz offers can’t-miss food from a hard-to-miss truck — photo by Amanda McFadden

This article was originally published in Little Village issue 180

Thoughts? Tips? A cute picture of a dog? Share them with LV »




Summer Programs 2020

Get 150+ local restaurants delivered to your door in the Iowa City & Cedar Rapids areas!

The Future is Unwritten

You look to Little Village for today’s stories. Your sustaining support will help us write tomorrow’s.


$10/mo or $120/year
The cost of doing this work really adds up! Your contribution at this level will cover telephone and internet expenses for one month at the LV editorial offices.


$20/mo or $240/year
$240 is enough to cover one month’s costs for sending out our weekly entertainment newsletter, The Weekender. Make a contribution at this level to put a little more oomph on your support and your weekend.


$30/mo or $360/year
(AUTO-RENEW) connects eastern Iowa culture with the world. Your contribution at this level will cover the site’s hosting costs for three months. A bold move for our boldest supporters!

All monthly and annual contributors receive:

  • Recognition on our Supporters page (aliases welcome)
  • Exclusive early access when we release new half-price gift cards
  • Access to a secret Facebook group where you can connect with other supporters and discuss the latest news and upcoming events (and maybe swap pet pics?) with the LV staff
  • Invitations to periodic publisher chats (held virtually for now) to meet with Matt and give him a piece of your mind, ask your burning questions and hear more about the future plans for Little Village, Bread & Butter Magazine, Witching Hour Festival and our other endeavors.