Food & Drink

Street eats: Locals recommend their favorite food trucks serving Manatee County 

Manatee Eats! Foods in Manatee County

A diverse variety of foods are available in Manatee County, and everyone has their own ideas about what's best.
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A diverse variety of foods are available in Manatee County, and everyone has their own ideas about what's best.

Food truck dining isn’t just a fun and trendy new way to eat.

It’s actually the latest take on an American tradition.

According to online food truck community Mobile Cuisine, the mobile food industry in North America dates to at least the late 1600s. That’s when the Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam (now New York City) began regulating vendors selling food from push carts.

Mobile eateries went on to take many forms over the centuries, including train car dining, horse-drawn chuckwagons, Army field canteens, ice cream trucks and finally the world’s first taco truck in 1974.

Today, you can get greasy, gourmet and everything in between at the window of a street eatery.

We asked our Facebook group “Manatee Eats” for advice on food trucks to seek out in Manatee County.

Here’s where they recommend. Catch them in a street or parking lot near you.

bowled life.jpg
Bowled Life, also known as the “Purple People Feeder,” is a food truck serving fruit bowls, salad bowls, smoothies and more in Manatee and Sarasota counties. Photo courtesy of Bowled Life

Bowled Life

Food truck dining doesn’t have to be unhealthy.

Bowled Life takes that philosophy to heart with fresh, nutritious and tasty food that will give you a boost.

The menu includes a variety of acai berry bowls layered with fruits, yogurt, honey, granola and other wholesome ingredients.

Also try green salads (a quinoa bowl or a keto bowl), chicken fajita soup, avocado toast or one of four smoothies.

There’s also a Bowled Life Cafe at 929 10th St. E., Palmetto.

keto bowl bowled life.jpg
The Keto Bowl at Bowled Life is designed to comply with the ketogenic diet, but it makes a tasty salad for all. Photo courtesy of Bowled Life

Keep up with the Bowled Life food truck at, or call 941-257-9235.

Grandma Wan

Grandma Wan gets high marks from locals for her authentic Thai food and friendly conversation.

The food truck’s offerings include appetizers, soups, entrees and desserts.

Spring rolls, chicken skewers with peanut sauce, garlic soy pulled chicken and stir fry are a few options on the menu.

Daily specials like Thai sweet and sour chicken (Tuesday), pad Thai (Wednesday) and Thai noodle soup (Sunday) will keep you coming back for more.

Find Grandma Wan in the parking lot of Pirate’s Den Bait & Tackle Tuesday through Sunday at 2711 Manatee Ave. E., Bradenton, or call 813-476-2760.

Weisswurst (minced veal and pork bacon sausage) with a pretzel and sweet mustard as served by The Schnitzel Trailer. Photo courtesy of The Schnitzel Trailer

The Schnitzel Trailer

The Schnitzel Trailer takes the best of traditional German cooking on the road around Bradenton and Sarasota.

All food is made fresh to order, and a rotating menu keeps things exciting.

Schnitzel (pounded, breaded and fried meat) is at the heart of the menu and prepared in many ways. There’s also plenty of brats, pretzels, sauerkraut and potato salad to spare.

The Schnitzel Trailer often visits local breweries, and it’s a good thing, because this food deserves to be paired with a beer.

Keep up with The Schnitzel Trailer at, or call 941-779-8080.

Doña Betty Tacos

Reviewers rave that Doña Betty’s offers great tacos on the cheap.

It’s no wonder the truck attracts crowds nightly.

Tacos start at $2.15 (tax included) and there are eight different meats to choose from, including beef, seasoned pork, chorizo and barbacoa (beef cheeks).

Aside from tacos, try tortas (a sandwich served on a buttered roll), quesadillas, tostadas and pambazos (a sandwich made with bread dipped in pepper sauce).

Doña Betty Tacos parks at 5510 14th St. W. Bradenton and is open 9 a.m.-3 a.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Call 941-580-4730.

Other recommendations:

Parrish Cuban Grill (traditional Cuban food), 941-404-7483

TK Grill (wings, barbecue, burgers, hot dogs), 941-722-4111

Spice Boys Kitchen (modern Israeli cuisine), 941-928-0125

POLPO Pizza Co. (wood-fired pizza made with organic ingredients), 941-993-5263

Taste Time to Love Us (Philly cheesesteaks and hot subs), 570-704-6177

Funky Fusion (Filipino fusion),

Sarasota Thai Soup (traditional Thai dishes and soups), 941-355-6622

Peachey’s Baking Co. (doughnuts, pretzels, baked goods), 574-361-4867

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Ryan Ballogg covers arts, entertainment, dining, breaking and local news for the Bradenton Herald. He won first place for feature writing in the Florida Press Club’s 2018 Excellence in Journalism Competition. Ryan is a Florida native and graduated from University of South Florida St. Petersburg.
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