Steve Ramlow has been busy lately.
The other day, the owner of the new Minneapolis food truck Simply Steve's was rummaging around his kitchen as he finished up a batch of Strawberry Shortcake Sliders for the Minneapolis Farmer's Market last Thursday. The dessert is a new addition to his ever-changing, unique menu.
Though Ramlow claims his food is simple, there's more to it than he admits.
Ramlow has worked at the Nicollet Island Inn, the Monte Carlo Bar & Grill, the Somerset Country Club, and several other restaurants around town, but he most recently ran the River Bank Cafeteria, serving up his home-cooked fare to the office workers in the building. When his lease was up, he considered buying a new restaurant, but after reading an article about food trucks and then having his son also mention the idea to him, Ramlow set his sights on the street. Now, you can usually find him parked somewhere around 11th and Nicollet during the week, cooking breakfast and lunch/dinner sandwiches to order from his large, white converted delivery truck.
At the cart's heart, Simply Steve's specializes in, as Ramlow put it, "hot, short-order grill sandwiches." Sure, you could get a burger or a hot dog at a million other places in the Cities, but Ramlow's truck stands out because of the small, unique touches he adds to this traditional food.
Ramlow's approach to the classic bacon cheeseburger is a good example: He uses gouda cheese, not the typical cheddar or American cheese. The Simple Gouda Bacon Burger came out piping hot on a nice sourdough bun, and the locally sourced beef was well-cooked and flavorful. Rather than thin, greasy slices of bacon, this burger boasted thick, crunchy strips mixed in with lettuce, tomatoes, and gooey melted gouda.
Ramlow also always features a few vegetarian options on his menu, from black bean burgers to the grilled portabella mushroom sandwich.
And let's not forget dessert. Simply Steve's always features a unique dessert option, from homemade scones to the Strawberry Shortcake Sliders, which he sold during last week's Farmer's Market.
Besides keeping up with the growing demand for his food, Ramlow believes that the uncannily cold weather has been the biggest challenge since opening in January at the St. Paul Winter Carnival and taking the truck to downtown Minneapolis this spring. "We've been going full time for the past month now, but the weather has been the biggest obstacle so far," said Ramlow. (Keeping up with this pattern, Minneapolis caught a patch of thunderstorms last week, forcing Ramlow to close early).
Though the large white truck has been known to frequent the 11th and Nicollet Mall area, it's easiest to find Steve and company through Twitter or Facebook. His daughter runs both, and provides up-to-the-minute information about the truck's location, menu, and hours.
Find Simply Steve's online, and on the streets, through his website.