New Haven’s Long Wharf food truck guide

The scenery along Long Wharf in New Haven is a familiar sight to anyone driving on Interstate 95. Long lines of brightly lit food trucks with Mexican and Puerto Rican flags fluttering in the wind. At lunchtime on sunny weekends, the senses are dazzled by fluttering fabric banners advertising specialties such as biria tacos and churros, the smell of meat being cooked on a flat-top grill, and upbeat salsa and reggaeton music playing from the car stereo. It’s an inspiring experience.

‘Food Truck Paradise’ is a collection of mobile eateries overlooking the waterfront on Long Wharf Drive, offering a variety of dining options with a focus on Latin American cuisine. For over 20 years, Long Wharf has been home to a growing list of trucks serving affordable meals like burritos, empanadas, quesadillas and Cuban sandwiches.

longwharf food truck
Daytime view of ‘Food Truck Paradise’ on Long Wharf Drive in New Haven. Alexander Soul/Hearst Connecticut Media

The destination has grown over the past 20 to 25 years, city officials said, with the first vendors to park a flower salesman and Sweeney’s Hot Dogs (which still serve hot dogs today). pointed out that it was

“There was an organic group of food trucks taking advantage of the highway location,” said Michael Pissiteri, economic development manager for New Haven. Officials, including former mayor Toni Harp and city engineer Giovanni Zinn, have helped revitalize the area with investments in infrastructure, including the installation of power plants to eliminate the use of gas generators by trucks.

On August 6, 2021, Robert Sweeney, 81, has operated a food truck in Long Wharf, New Haven since 1960 with his brother Ed Sweeney, 83. Peter Vizdak/Hearst Connecticut Media

“I think the first phase of this work on Long Wharf was to create a balance between giving it something of a formality while still retaining a bit of its organic beauty and character,” Piscitelli said.

Scroll down to see the list of food trucks in ‘Food Truck Paradise’.

longwharf food truck
Aerial view from the top of the giant expo wheels at the New Haven Food Truck Festival on the Long Wharf waterfront May 30, 2015. Hurst Connecticut Media File Photos

Trucks will obtain parking licenses through the city’s special sales district program and pay an annual fee for the right to park in a specific location, said Steve Fontana, the city’s deputy director of economic development.

According to the city, 28 trucks will be permitted to park at Long Wharf in 2023. Official sales hours are from 7am to 7pm, but otherwise business owners are free to choose any day of the week they wish.

New Haven's Long Wharf
NEW HAVEN, CT – Saturday, June 1, 2019: The New Haven Food Truck Festival takes place Saturday afternoon on Long Wharf Drive along the New Haven Harbor coastline. Peter Vizdak/Hearst Connecticut Media

“On summer weekends, I dare say, all 28 trucks will be there, because then thousands of people will come,” Fontana said.

New Haven is also planning future developments for the site thanks to a $12.1 million grant announced in April. Long Wharf Drive will be replaced by a 6-foot-wide promenade along the water with extensive lawns, markets and more substantial dedicated areas dedicated to the food trucks that have made Long Wharf a hot spot in recent years. Jin said at the press conference announcing the project.

Pastor Tacos at Sweeney El Charro Feliz in New Haven.
Reverend Tacos at Sweeney El Charro Ferris in New Haven, Thursday, April 20, 2023. Andrew Darosa/Hearst Connecticut Media Group

According to Gin, instead of Long Wharf Drive as a through road, the area has a Dutch-style slow drive “oonerf” or “living street” with a mix of car, pedestrian and bicycle traffic. ‘ is scheduled to be established. Construction of the project is scheduled to begin next year.

Gibarito from La Chickey Manci
May 7, 2023 (Sun) Jibarito at La Chickey Manci. Andrew Darosa/Hearst Connecticut Media Group

La ChickyMunchy co-owners Eduardo Aguayo and his wife Jenny have been parked at Long Wharf for six years. Their food truck serves Puerto Rican “grandma-style” food, and the truck is named after Ms. Aguayo’s mother. His nickname was Chicky, short for Chiquita. Before moving to a waterfront location, it had a vending machine in Criscuolo Park in New Haven.

The husband and wife work in pairs, with Jenny cooking and Eduardo ordering and paying. Regular customers abound, including truck drivers traveling along Interstate 95 who stop for homemade delicacies such as pintxos (meat skewers), empanadas, and fresh tropical his fruit his juice.

Due to its commitment to fresh, cooked-to-order food and what Aguayo calls a “perfect, shiny, clean” truck, Long Wharf’s hours are limited to Thursday through Sunday. ing. He said it would be too difficult to operate every day without additional staff.

Aguayo said he welcomes the city’s planned redirection of food trucks. “It’s great to work at Long Wharf,” he said. “We need more amenities, things like that, places where people can sit and eat.”

longwharf food truck
NEW HAVEN, Connecticut – June 2, 2018: The New Haven Food Truck Festival takes place on Saturday at Long Wharf Park in New Haven. Peter Vizdak/Hearst Connecticut Media

Below is a list of recently confirmed trucks on Long Wharf (on three separate occasions) and mobile eateries that have received permits for 2023.

Note: Truck appearances on Long Wharf are often subject to weather and owner schedules.

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