Lunch? There's a (Probably Inaccurate) App for That We review food-truck tracking software so you don't have to.

Navigating your Twitter feed for the food truck locations nearest you is for relative Luddites—there are at least six mobile apps to help you find your next mobile meal. Using my iPhone, I tested them out over the course of a week to determine which were the most accurate and easy to use.


Roaming Hunger

iPhone • Price: Free

Roaming Hunger, which covers 34 cities across the U.S., has a slick design with a map, list of trucks, and photo pages. You can filter your search by sweet, savory, or vegetarian as well as meal time—from breakfast to late night snacks. But on accuracy, Roaming Hunger was a bust. One afternoon as I stood in McPherson Square with 12 food trucks around me, the map failed to show a single one. During lunch another day, Roaming Hunger listed 12 active trucks, but only six showed up on the map.

Accuracy: 0
Usability: 3
Design: 3
OVERALL: 6


TruxMap

iPhone and Android • Price: Free

The design of this national app allows users to toggle between a map of their location and a list of food trucks open now, later, tomorrow, and the cryptic “past tomorrow.” But it’s slow to load, and there’s an annoying banner ad. It also doesn’t allow you to view the menu or anything more than the food truck’s very latest tweet. As for accuracy, TruxMap showed only one of 12 trucks at McPherson Square. Another day, the app only showed a total of eight trucks out in the whole city, and none in Farragut Square, which was surrounded by food trucks.

Accuracy: 2
Usability: 1
Design: 2
OVERALL: 5


The str[EATS] DC

iPhone • Price: Free

This app feels somewhat abandoned. Facebook and Twitter links led to error messages. The cuisine filter gives three choices: “Asian,” “ethnic,” and “waffles.” That’s it. I pushed the mysterious “request truck” button for The Big Cheese and Curbside Cupcakes and felt a rush of power—could I summon a truck, just like that? Alas, my request went unanswered. The design was nicely organized, but buggy. And while it does show an impressive list of D.C. food trucks with menus, which is nice, the app claimed only five were out one weekday. Doubtful.

Accuracy: 0
Usability: 1
Design: 3
OVERALL: 4


TruckToMe

iPhone • Price: Free

One of the newest D.C.-only food truck tracker apps is TrucktoMe, which launched in January and uses Twitter location-tagging from food trucks to build its map. The design is simple: A tiny map lets you zero in on your location, and trucks are listed in order of their proximity to you. But the trucks’ locations don’t actually show up on the map. You have to click on the truck name to bring up a description and its latest tweet, instead of a full Twitter feed or menu. Although its website says the app includes more than 100 D.C.-area food trucks, it only located four of the 12 trucks in McPherson Square on the map. Another day, TruckToMe claimed DC Empanadas was at Farragut when it wasn’t.

Accuracy: 2
Usability: 3
Design: 3
OVERALL: 8


Nibbler

iPhone and Android • Price: Free

Nibbler just wrapped up beta testing and is set to launch in D.C. and Chicago in April. I was impressed by the app’s straightforward simplicity and pretty design. You can view trucks near you in map or list view, sort by vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free, and bookmark trucks as favorites if you have an account. Clicking on a truck allows you to see its location on a map, schedule, menu, and full Twitter feed and Facebook page. But it’s not that accurate: None of the 12 trucks in McPherson Square showed up on the map, and Far East Taco Grille was incorrectly shown in Foggy Bottom. (There is a button, though, to send an alert that a location is wrong.) Another day, I looked for just the trucks that use GPS on their mobile devices, and Red Hook Lobster Pound was shown on the map in the exact same location it had tweeted. If more trucks make a point to use GPS when Nibbler officially launches, this could be a major contender.

Accuracy ( in beta): 1.5
Usability: 4
Design: 5
OVERALL: 10.5


Food Truck Fiesta

iPhone and Android • Price: $.99

For accuracy, Food Truck Fiesta won easily. Out of 12 trucks in McPherson Square, the app listed 10 of them on the map. Another day, it correctly identified 11 out of 16 trucks parked at Farragut. The user interface is a little clunky and hard to navigate with giant icons clustered together on the map. But it got the job done for me, showing each food truck’s Twitter feed, menu, and Yelp reviews. The app only has two pages: a map and a list, which shows food trucks that are active and not that day. Creator Kyle Johnson is planning to launch a newer version of the iPhone app in a few weeks.

Accuracy: 5
Usability: 4
Design: 3
OVERALL: 12

Our Readers Say

I'm a fan of Food Truck Fiesta -- Kyle Johnson does great work and helps keep lunchtime exciting. I don't have the app (yet), but his website FoodTruckFiesta.com is a great free resource for finding out which trucks are in the area.
naturally like your web site but you have to check the spelling on several of your posts. Several of them are rife with spelling issues and I find it very bothersome to tell the truth then again I will certainly come back again.

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