It’s the most exciting place in Boulder to eat: outside, with a view of the mountains, in the city’s first ever food truck park.
You never know who’s going to be joining you for dinner (although you can be certain the 15,000-square-foot space will be packed, because it always is) and the chefs change up constantly. So does the live music, which you can enjoy under strings of white party lights with a local brew from the beer garden.
Welcome to Rayback Collective.
This hip park is just one way to enjoy the popular food truck scene in Boulder County. If you’re new to the area, this is the best way to explore the different options and find a truck that you enjoy. Then, you can stalk that truck’s schedule, if you want more.
A food truck park is also ideal for travelers because it’s quick, generally inexpensive (especially by Boulder restaurant standards) and offers a variety of different menus for groups that can’t decide. Plus, it’s a popular community gathering spot and an easy way to make new connections; it feels like a backyard party where everyone’s invited. Pop by after an adventurous mountain bike excursion in the mountains, to refuel after a day on the Pearl Street Mall or for a sampling of the creative flavors of Boulder.
The Rayback Collective is our favorite local food truck park, located at what used to be the Rayback Plumbing Supply venue, 2775 Valmont Road.
Beyond food from a variety of trucks (check the website for the schedule), the beer garden features more than two dozen taps, many of which are local, as well as a cornhole league, a yoga class, weekly trivia games and happy hours on Monday.
Boulder County’s other main food truck park is about 30 minutes east in the unique Prospect neighborhood in south Longmont. The event, Prospect Sound Bites, claims to be the largest food truck event in Northern Colorado.
Every Monday from about mid-May through early September, thousands of people flock to the Prospect neighborhood’s main park (at the corner of 100 Year Party Court and Tenacity Drive — yes, those are the real street names) for live music and more than a dozen vendors, with everything from street tacos to Greek fare to BBQ.
Here are some (but far from all) of the food trucks you may see in or around Boulder:
Flex-Able Foods: This is about as Boulder of a food truck as you can find. The food here is all about fitness and the portions are named after fitness icons. The food is healthy and clean, predominantly featuring bowls with protein, carbs and veggies. In true Boulder fashion, you can even order an after-workout shake.
The French Twist: Some of Boulder’s finest restaurants feature French fare, and its food truck scene echoes that. While no one’s complaining about burger and pizza food trucks, it’s refreshing to fill up on lighter, healthier French food.
Verde: You can’t visit Colorado without indulging on authentic Mexican food and Verde is our favorite food truck for that mission. The founders come from the desert of Arizona near the Mexican border and they bring with them fantastic, authentic Sonoran-Mexican dishes.
Stone Lotus: This isn’t a truck, per se. It’s a food cart based out of Boulder that serves some pretty fantastic sandwiches, like the steak melt (beef, onions, peppers, baguette, mmm), plus some creative variations, like the Bomb Mi, made with curried chicken and served with sriracha mayo.
Farm and Smoke: Because sometimes you want fine cuisine on the run. Farm and Smoke is everything that’s right about food trucks. It’s founded by two brothers who create innovative, delicious food made with hand-picked ingredients from local sources. Find plenty of organic ingredients, small plates to share and comfort food to look forward to.
McDevitt Taco Supply: OK, one more taco cart. Can there really ever be too many tacos? (That’s rhetorical.) McDevitt Taco Supply is another way to do the street taco, using local and organic ingredients as much as possible. One Boulder value here: environmental responsibility, paired with tons of yum.
Rat’s Woodshack BBQ: This is old-fashioned BBQ made by a father-son chef duo. Rat’s does smoked meat like a boss, and its many awards back that up (including grand champion of the Lafayette BBQ Festival and first place for pork at the local YMCA Craft Brew and BBQ). What makes them especially unique is their style. It’s neither Texas nor North Carolina BBQ.
Look for BBQ sandwiches, ribs, pulled pork or chicken and a variety of drool-worthy sides. The most popular menu item is the three-meat platter, with your choice of beef brisket, pulled pork, chopped chicken, rib or a hot link, plus two sides. You’ll find Rat’s mostly at breweries, such as Upslope, Lefthand, Liquid Mechanics, Grossenbart or Wibby.
But Wait, There’s More.
Here are some other local food truck names to look for:
Arepas House, Cuban Fusion, Goin’ South, Bamboo Skewer, La Chiva, Rollin’ Bones, Sweet Cow, Pho Wheels (yasss, that’s the Vietnamese noodle soup, i.e. the best food in the world), Lomito Gourmet, Izote, Wheel and Whisk, Big Daddy BBQ, Rama Ramen and Comida.