Man holding food out at Ray Ray’s Reload food truck window in Columbus (photo by Chris Casella)
Food + Drink

5 Ohio Food Trucks for Legendary Eats

From Columbus’ famous mobile barbecue to landmark restaurants on a roll to small-time stands that have been around for decades, these operations have earned their “legend” status. 

Ray Ray's Hog Pit 
James “Ray” Anderson’s fleet of food trucks now includes, Ray Ray’s Reload, which puts a fresh twist on the well-known Columbus operation’s barbecue creations.

It’s difficult to imagine more humble origins than those of Ray Ray’s Hog Pit. The popular central Ohio eatery is the brainchild of James “Ray” Anderson, who in 2009, was simply smoking meats from a small trailer set up in the parking lot of a convenience store on the corner of Columbus’ Pacemont Road and High Street.

After gaining some notoriety, Anderson was asked by a reporter for the name of his business. On the fly, he came up with the name Ray Ray’s Hog Pit, and thus, the legendary barbecue pit was born.

An upgrade came in 2011, when Ray Ray’s opened its flagship location in Columbus’ Old North neighborhood, and several more quickly followed. Evan Brown, Ray Ray’s general manager, remembers visiting the truck when he was a student at Ohio State University.

“Something about Ray Ray’s always kind of struck me,” he says. “I found myself going there on the weekends all the time. The food was just incredible, … but also just the general vibe that the truck guys had. They would always leave me with a smile on my face, cracking jokes [and] playing crazy music. I was like, ‘I want to be a part of this. I want to work here.’”

Four of the six Ray Ray’s locations operate out of food trucks, with the most recent addition to the fleet being Ray Ray’s Reload, a vibrantly colored truck parked outside The Bottle Shop in Columbus’ Victorian Village. Reload takes Ray Ray’s standard menu and reinvents it with a fun, eclectic twist, turning the traditional smoked brisket into a brisket fry bread taco and the jerk chicken sandwiches into a jerk chicken fried burrito.

Brown started as a truck crew member in 2018 before working his way to his current position, although he still has a soft spot for the food truck atmosphere.

“We’re greasy, we’re smoky, we’re a little rough around the edges,” he says. “… That kind of brings an air of humility to the people that we’re serving … and [that] tends to break down barriers. [It] makes people more comfortable, more themselves, and it really leads to some awesome interactions.”


Burrito Buggy

Since 1984, the Burrito Buggy has been a staple in the college town of Athens, gracing Ohio University students with grub to enjoy after a night out on Court Street. Its Tex-Mex-inspired menu may be small, but the lineup of burritos, nachos and street tacos delivers. For just $10, you can snag a burrito that’s bursting with beef or chicken and a choice of hot or mild salsa from locally based brand Frog Ranch.

Gary Charles is the current owner of the Burrito Buggy, which he bought in 2022 to continue its legacy. Part of his plan was creating the Burrito Buggy XL, a larger version of the original yellow-and-orange buggy that can travel across the state for private rentals and community events. Charles says an important design detail was replicating the color scheme of the original Burrito Buggy.

“... It is so iconic,” he says. “Anywhere we go, even outside of town, … people are like, ‘Is that the one from Athens?’ Everybody knows it.”


Schmidt’s sausage sandwich from central Ohio truck (photo courtesy of Schmidt’s Sausage Truck)
Schmidt’s Sausage Truck

Schmidt’s Sausage Haus has been serving traditional German sausage at its Columbus restaurant since 1967, and today its fan-favorite bratwurst, knockwurst and Bahama Mama  sausage can be found at Schmidt’s Sausage Truck, which appears across central Ohio and beyond.

Schmidt’s introduced its first food truck in 2013, and the restaurant has since expanded to six. Having been a fixture at the Ohio State Fair for over 100 years, the German Village restaurant’s menu was already optimized for going mobile. The truck’s offerings include Schmidt’s classic sausage entrees as well as German potato salad and the classic Jumbo Cream Puffs.

“I’m partial, but I think we’ve got the best sausage in the state,” says company CEO Andy Schmidt. “… [Now,] it’s ‘How do we move our brand to the next generation of kids?’ And I think food trucks are a great opportunity to do that.”



Akron-area residents know the joy of pulling up to Swensons and having a curb server run up to your car to take your order. It’s the way the restaurant has done business since it opened in 1934, but in 2013, Swensons took its classic fare on the road.

The Swensons food trucks (of which there are two) are equipped with the same grill, fryers and cooking equipment that can be found in Swensons brick-and-mortar establishments, meaning you can get all your Galley Boys and Potato Teezers anywhere the Swensons food trucks park. They are available to rent for private events but they also make appearances at food truck gatherings.

“We’ve actually had people move their wedding date to ensure they can have our food truck scheduled,” says Swensons CEO Jeff Flowers. “… To be that important and that big a part of people’s lives is just super special. I don’t care how many times I hear stories like that; they never get old.”


Hamburger Wagon has been doing business for over a century (Denny Gibson)
Hamburger Wagon

With a look, location and menu that has remained relatively unchanged since it opened more than 100 years ago, it’s no wonder that Miamisburg’s Hamburger Wagon has become such an integral part of this southwest Ohio community.

After the Great Miami River flooded the city of Miamisburg in 1913, the Red Cross set up an aid station to provide relief to residents. Sherman Porter approached the organization with an offer to make thousands of what he called “meat sandwiches” using his family recipe.

When the floodwaters receded, Porter was persuaded by residents of Miamisburg to continue making and selling the burgers on the city’s Market Square. Today, the wagon still sits in that same spot, selling burgers for $1.75 ($3.25 for a double), chips for $2, and bottled water or soda for $1.50.

“I’ve often thought that I should put another wagon out there,” says Jack Sperry, who has owned the wagon for 16 years. “But my grandmother told me once that if you mess with tradition, you get something worse. So, we keep it the same.”