You have to travel to the Iron Range to match the porketta sandwiches for sale at the new Untamed Cart stand at 10th and Nicollet Mall.
"They're definitely not what people expect," says owner and chef Joe Radaich, who also owns Sporty's Pub and Grill near the University of Minnesota campus.
He's selling porkettas and Mexican pot roast sandwiches that are much more adventurous than the burgers and fries he sells at Sporty's. Radaich says the sandwiches are so unconventional, he has a little bit of trouble describing them.[jump]
"I struggle with an adjective. Sometimes I want to say 'fancy,' and sometimes I want to say 'upscale,'" he says. "People ask, 'Can I get a hot dog? And they're pretty far away from a hot dog."
The satisfying porkettas are fennel-roasted Italian-style pork sandwiches with arugula, house-pickled onions, and a horseradish-Dijon mayo on ciabatta. Radaich grew up on the Iron Range, and he has trouble finding a good porketta in this part of the state.
"The supermarket just doesn't do them right," he said. "I'm trying to re-create the porketta I grew up with."
The Mexican pot roast sandwiches, which sold out by 12:30 on a recent Friday, feature slow-cooked beef with San Marzano tomatoes, cumin, cilantro, sliced radishes, chipotle mayo and guacamole aioli on a brioche bun from New French Bakery.
Radaich brings out Italian sausage grinders or barbecue pulled-pork sandwiches on occasion. He has also tried selling Ready Meats brats and Mexican pot roast tacos after Twins games.
Radaich decided to open up the food cart because nearly all of his sales at Sporty's come from burgers and fries.
"It's not culinarily challenging," he says. "That's not what I'm interested in. ... This is an inexpensive way to expand in a new direction, without having to spend $250,000 to open a new restaurant."
Look for another food truck from Radaich next year called Grilla Thrilla, which will sell sliders and fresh-cut fries. After purchasing the truck earlier this season, he realized he needed to retool it a bit to meet his cooking needs.
"I'm not going to rush it," he says. "That's why I decided to do the [Untamed] cart. I could get it out and running fast."