New Food Truck Roundup 2012: Minneapolis Edition
We’ve already tackled a pile of new food trucks in the great city of St. Paul; today we bring you five of the most intriguing from Minneapolis. And be sure to visit our massively updated Street Food Directory when struck by the urge to lunch on the go.
Bloomy’s Roast Beef — @BloomysRB
Ryan “Bloomy” Bloomstrom and Katie Johnson are bringing American comfort food to the streets in their diner-style food truck. Parked, almost connivingly, a block or two from the glowing Arby’s on Marquette and 7th St. in downtown Minneapolis, Bloomy’s serves roast beef, French dip, and Philly sandwiches. “There just weren’t many places to go where you could get a high-quality roast beef sandwich,” Katie says. “We thought – we can do this!”
And so far, they do it pretty damn well. “We only use top sirloin certified Hereford beef so we know not only how it was raised, but that the meat has been minimally processed with no artificial ingredients,” says Katie. The beef is cooked slowly for up to 15 hours, meaning it’s ultra tender, never stringy, and never dry.
At $4.50 a piece, Bloomy’s quarter-pound classic roast beef might be one of the most affordable food truck sandwiches in Minneapolis. And while the meat more than stands on its own, you can add a slice of melted swiss, house-smoked cheddar, or bacon for just a dollar more. Served on a griddled white bun, the sandwich is comforting, almost medicinal, especially when paired with a side ($2) of mysteriously toasty mac and cheese or mashed potatoes.
Sushi Fix — @sushifix
“My concept is Edo-style sushi, which was born on the streets of Tokyo,” explains Enkhbileg Tserenbat (he goes by Billy), owner of newbie truck Sushi Fix. It might seem counterintuitive to get expertly crafted cuisine on the go, but it’s hard to argue when the results are this fast and delicious.
From salads, to sashimi, to colorful platter combinations, Sushi Fix’s menu is impressive and always fresh. “I get my fish flown in overnight from Tsukiji fish market from Tokyo or I get it from Hawaii,” says Billy, who was the head sushi chef at Yumi’s for many years. And if you really want to experience sushi Billy-style, splurge on the 2-14 roll ($14).
“Last year on Valentine’s Day I invented it, and it’s very hard for me to say Valentine. That’s why I call it 2-14,” he says. It’s a gorgeous, almost dessert-like roll filled with sweet salmon and avocado, wrapped in delicate pink soy paper, and drizzled with a spicy tangerine-colored sauce. A dreamy midday meal, packaged like a birthday cake in a tall, clear box. Try walking down the street holding that without turning a few hungry heads.
Scratch Food Truck — @scratchfoodtrk
Scratch specializes in sandwiches with an Asian vibe, gleaned from owner Geoff King’s family-centric Filipino heritage. After King’s executive chef gig at Subo ended with the restaurant’s closure, starting a food truck seemed like a natural step: “Not only could I work for myself, but I was able to reach a wider audience,” he says. “I definitely embrace the community and am glad that we have such a great diversity of concepts.”
Scratch’s pork and shrimp patty ($7) bursts with deep, salty flavor, cooled by lots of crunchy pickled mango, papaya, and carrots. Thank goodness King knows the value of toasted bread; each sandwich is served on a cathartically crunchy, buttered roll, with a smattering of thick-cut salt-and-vinegar chips on the side. To cut the savory intensity, the ginger rice crispy bar ($2) is delightful. It’s the same chewy treat from childhood, but with the grownup addition of slightly spicy flecks of crystallized ginger.
Aussie’s Kebabs — @AussiesKebabs
By far one of the most classic street meals you’ll find downtown is at Aussie’s Kebabs. Owner Chris Millner fell for the Australian-style kebab (or gyro) while studying abroad there. His truck team includes Jesse Schultheis and Razi Ahmed, both recent culinary school grads. Fresh out of college himself, Millner’s business is the embodiment of Minneapolis’ fledgling food truck trend, growing quickly on enthusiastic new legs.
An Australian kebab is special in two ways: It’s served on slender flatbread instead of a pita, and pressed before served, making it slightly crisp, compact, and hot throughout. Aussie’s offers three different sorts: doner (lamb), chicken, and veggie. The rest of the menu encourages a number of intriguing combinations, with a variety of sauces and extra bits like mushrooms, pineapple, olives, and jalapenos.
“We have adopted many of the chili sauces that are prevalent to kebabs found in Australia,” says Millner. “We have also added everyone’s favorite tzatziki (cucumber sauce). Jesse’s passion for Middle Eastern food has also influenced a delicious roasted red pepper sauce, which might be my favorite.”
Aussie’s doner kebab ($7.25) with tzatziki and olives (25 cents), raw onions, and lettuce is mighty good. The variety of soft and crunchy textures, competing temperatures, and flavorful lamb makes it the sort of thing you’ll devour before crossing the street.
Taqueria La Hacienda
Miguel and Maria Zagal have been waiting to serve Mexican food from a truck ever since they moved here from California. For 13 years they’ve operated three brick-and-mortar Taqueria La Haciendas, in Burnsville, on Lake Street, and in the Mercado Central. This summer they’re taking it to the streets.
The Taqueria truck is a big, sunset orange rig, and can accommodate five or six employees at a time. The menu is just as major, making room for small authentic tacos, as well as tortas and quesadillas. A taco al pastor ($2), while a little dry, was blanketed with loads of fresh cilantro and onions. But an even better mobile bite is one of the flavorful tacos arabes ($2.68). Soft flour tortillas are filled like envelopes with melty mozzarella, your choice of meat, and sweet grilled onions. Doused with smoky chipotle sauce, the taco arabes is a viscerally satisfying snack.
Even after years in the restaurant business, Miguel notes the particular warmth of Minneapolis’ food truck community: “The surprise was we had a great welcome from the people to try our food,” he says.
That natural camaraderie seems palpable across the board. “We all support each other, and it’s been a blast getting to know the other food truckers,” says Katie of Bloomy’s.
Even though parking’s a wanker, and the weather’s a fickle friend, this new string of food trucks is endlessly optimistic about feeding your face.
For far more food truck and cart reviews, check out The Heavy Table’s Street Food Directory.