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At 9:00 a.m. on a recent Thursday in Addison, Texas, Taylor McDaniel climbs into the nine thousand pound food truck. He turns the ignition and the engine roars, bringing the vehicle to life. A reverse warning beep echoes against the concrete walls of the large garage as he carefully backs into the parking lot. The 33-year-old manages Ruthie’s Rolling Cafe, a fleet of three food trucks that serve gourmet grilled cheeses and French crepes in Dallas. His boss, Ashley Kleinert, the mother of SMU students Tyler and TJ Kleinert, started the business to commemorate her grandmother Ruthie, who was known for the delicious melt-in-your-mouth grilled cheeses she would make.

Over the past couple years gourmet food trucks have swept through Dallas like an epidemic. They’re in CVS parking lots, on college campuses and outside bars waiting to feed hungry partiers after last call. With dozens of trucks, and each boasting a different theme to mirror the food it serves, these mobile kitchens offer Dallasites an on-the-go yet better than fast-food dining option. But as patrons are placing their orders or enjoying their meals, many have little idea of what goes into making these things work.

McDaniel flips a switch toward the back of the vehicle right next to an emblem that reads “Sweet and Savory”. Water spews out onto the pavement below. That water is what melted away the night before from the ice block that serves as the cooling mechanism inside the truck’s refrigerator. In order to keep the meats used for the grilled cheeses and crepes from spoiling, a Honda generator is attached to the back of each truck to ensure the ice block remains at or below 32 degrees.

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