During a time in our country when finances were shaky, the food truck phenomenon exploded in cities across the United States, largely due to the success of the Kogi truck in Los Angeles selling gourmet on a budget.

But before the Kogi food truck, street food cred was due to the multitude of taquerias, otherwise known as taco trucks or lunch trucks, that were spread out across all of LA.

The origin of food on wheels has driven food culture in our country since the 1930s with drive-ins. Nowadays when you hear about a delicious food truck, it’s not just exciting that there’s a food truck on the corner but of the menu it boasts.

Food trucks aren’t just filled with tacos al pastor and burritos anymore. Modern-day food trucks are filled with the flavors of the world!

I decided to explore the Bakersfield street-food landscape to see what kind of food we put on wheels. It didn’t take me long to find something completely unique and delicious.

Just a stone’s throw from the Fox Theater in downtown Bakersfield, nestled in an abandoned parking corner (like all the best ones are), I found Pita Paradise. A Mediterranean food truck that fills the air with familiar fragrances of the East — fragrances of lamb, chicken shawarma, falafel, sumac, lemon and garlic. Yum!

Pita Paradise is family owned and operated with father, son and cousins working side by side. All of the staff are extremely friendly! They bring exceptional service with a smile and some garlic-sauced fries.

Though I do love the original downtown spots in Bakersfield that boast Basque influence and country grammar, it was refreshing to see something different and unique that isn’t being done anywhere else.

Pita Paradise’s menu boasts imported halal meat (which makes all the difference flavorwise) that is found in its combo plates and sandwiches. All of the menu items are freshly made, full of flavor and huge portions for a fraction of the cost. Chicken, rice, salad and pita for $9? You definitely get your money’s worth.

And that’s just the traditional Medi-combo plates. They also boast paradise fries (a play on carne asada fries), a falafel burger and a “pitaritto” (a Mediterranean burrito). All of these are $11 and under.

The modern and innovative flair that Pita Paradise plays into its menu is impressive and not to mention delicious. It is probably the best lunch spot in downtown that will fill you up, leave you with leftovers for your afternoon snack and not wipe out your wallet.

Pita Paradise is not only a Mediterranean food truck that is pushing the expectation, it is a vehicle that brings people together, regardless of race, class and ethnicity. It is selling a social experience as much as it is selling falafel burgers. Kudos to Pita Paradise for filling the streets of Bakersfield with color, the smells of chicken shawarma and for making the best falafel I’ve ever had. 

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