You know how this works, right?
The pop-up becomes the food truck, and the food truck becomes the restaurarant.
Or, at least many of our scrappiest, most dedicated food people have done it this way. These are the folks who may not have big money backing them, but they want it. And they're willing to start from humble roots to get it: on tables under tents, and sometimes without tents, too. These are the hustlers.
Soul 2 Go
Kesha Dent and her mom Arlen Davis run this soul food truck that’s popping up all over the place, especially at breweries. They're the ones making this little bit of magic: mac ‘n cheese empanadas. Also, watch for their “Sunday Plate,” with all the things: smothered chicken, mashed potatoes, cabbage cornbread, muffin mac & cheese, and empanadas with a guava dipping sauce. On one plate. From a food truck.
Now, just find out where they’re parking next and see if there’s a vacant apartment nearby.
Good Cajun food is difficult to come by around here. So difficult that people will travel for it and organize their schedules around finding some.
Cajun Twist used to be available as a pop-up only on Wednesdays, so they called themselves “Hump Dayz,” but with an upcoming food truck and more pop-ups in the meantime, you can get their stuff on a lot of other days, too.
They claim the best gumbo in town, red beans and rice, Muffulettas, and even family-recipe pecan candy, plus lots more.
Also, those of you in search of the ever-elusive fried catfish, Cajun Twist will have it, right next to some bomb hushpuppies, on their food truck. Watch for it in the spring.
Full Belly, Happy Heart
This husband and wife team has a food truck specializing in tostadas. Remind me why nobody else is specializing in tostadas?
These are “not your average” tostadas, and I’m pleased to see that they’re offering a focused menu of only four, with one inspired by Peru, with potato instead of a corn at the base; and another with everybody’s old favorite: tinga with avocado tomatillo.
Prairie Dogs recently shuttered, so now where are you supposed to get a good dog? Top Dog is not focused on foie gras dogs but instead on the classics, like a Polish or a good old-fashioned Chicago dog. They've got six hot dog carts scattered all around downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul right now, and the owners say they had some ordinances changed to be able to operate at night. So if you’re stumbling around after the sun goes down and you come across the irresistible aroma of grilling tube meats, you have Top Dog to thank.
Their plan is to also open a chain of restaurants, starting in north Minneapolis. We’ll keep you posted.
Wha’ Jamaican is going big or going home. The 30-foot airstream trailer converted into a food truck will be rolling out this spring, and they really want you to think of them as an instant party, DJ included. In the meantime, they’re popping up and catering with Jerk chicken, oxtails, escovitch fish (a traditional fried fish recipe with lots of chile), callaloo, and even ackee with saltfish and other difficult to come by Jamaican treats. Check out their Facebook page to get a load of that airstream.