We found West Coast Tacos' glossy black truck on a batteringly bright and sunny day, parked at the corner of Mass Ave and Alabama Street. A freely perspiring crowd formed a ragged line to buy West Coast's light yet spicy fare.
West Coast Tacos claims a certain pioneer status in the local food truck scene as the city's first rolling kitchen. They got their start roughly a year and half ago. Now the business has expanded to two trucks, with a third on the way.
"It's been very exciting," says David Kim, an assistant general manager for West Coast Tacos, during a quick break. "People honk at us when we drive by. They love us and we love them."
Kim's L.A. Dodgers cap reinforces the fact that he came to Indianapolis from Los Angeles to join the West Coast team at the end of the summer of 2010. "We know what the food's supposed to taste like," he says, adding that he's impressed by how open Indy diners are to trying new flavor combinations.
We tried a couple of the tacos on offer, the spicy pork ($2) and chicken teriyaki ($3). In both cases, the contents were served open-faced on a soft, four-inch taco. This is unabashed street food, so the portions, while modest, are packed with flavor and designed to be enjoyed while on foot or perched on a handy urban ledge. In other words, the contents stay wrapped and won't spill out all over your shirt or slacks.
The pork was chopped into neat little morsels and slathered with a peppery sauce that imparted a slow burn with little sparks provided by bits of green onion. The chicken was cut into larger chunks and immersed in a dark and dusky sauce that imparted a lingering afterbite. Together, these items made for a light but satisfying midday meal.
The West Coast Tacos trucks' food is prepped every afternoon at a kitchen located at 49th Street and College Avenue and then change their truck locations on a daily basis, moving from one place for lunch to another for the dinner hour. The menu, at all times, remains the same.
Asked what he likes best about his job, Kim smiles: "Talking to people and socializing, even on a hot day."