Food Truck euphoria

Josh Aronie’s restaurant-on-wheels never disappoints.

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I’ve been singing the praises of the Food Truck, parked at the M.V. Ice Arena, for some months now. A few lucky co-workers took my advice, and have become devotees as well. We took it to another level last Friday, when we all tried something from Josh Aronie’s restaurant-on-wheels. 

My own favorite from the Food Truck is the Falafel Salad, $14.50, chock-full of arugula, lettuce, pickled onions, tahini dressing, tzatziki dressing, feta, kalamata olives, roasted red pepper, and God knows what else, smothered with warm falafel that contains both mashed and whole chickpeas. You can get the same ingredients inside a wrap for what reporter Rich Saltzberg dubbed “a falafel burrito.” 

“Tasty! The falafel wrap is filled with seasoned chickpeas, both mashed and whole. These are moistened with tzatziki and tahini sauces, and jazzed up with pickled onions, olives, and artichoke hearts,” Saltzberg said. “The falafel filling has the pleasant hint of cumin and a touch of mild heat from some hidden condiment. If the Israelis celebrated Thanksgiving, this is what they would stuff their turkeys with.” 

Feature (mostly these days) writer Lucas Thors was torn when it came time for ordering. “Do I want the chicken sandwich or the brisket?” After much discussion, Lucas decided on the Chicken and Bacon Sandwich, $13.50. “Oh, this is gooood,” he said after taking his first bite. 

Reporter Eunki Seonwoo decided on the falafel salad as well, and I hoped he’d like it since I had given it such a stellar review. “The falafel salad was very tasty. The portion was large, and I especially loved the combination of the vegetables and the tzatziki sauce,” Eunki said. And he’s not kidding about the portion size. Most people could make two meals out of the salad, but we didn’t because we couldn’t stop eating it.  

Production manager Dave Plath tried for the better part of a half-hour to convince me to split a Smoked Barbecue Brisket Sandwich ($14.50) and my falafel salad with him. (I don’t do food sharing; it’s rooted in unpleasant experiences in childhood.) We compromised by ordering an extra brisket sandwich so Dave could enjoy his half-sandwich with his falafel salad. (Although I’m not sure how that was a compromise for him.) Assistant managing editor Brian Dowd decided on the day’s special: Crispy Barbecue Chicken Wrap, $14.50, with bacon, ranch dressing, pickles, onions, and tomatoes. To top it all off, I ordered a couple of bags of Rosemary Lemonsalt Fries, $5 a bag. Most of the staff hadn’t tried the fries before, and this may be the single thing that made me so popular for the rest of the afternoon. 

We ordered ahead, and Lucas picked up the goods, taking a few photos and asking Josh Aronie and Becky Minnich, his partner in making these delicious and uncommonly inexpensive options, a few questions. 

The Food Truck’s beginnings date back to when Cafe Moxie, where Josh had been working, closed, and he was looking for a new gig. “I called up to the town hall in Chilmark and asked if I could run a food truck up there, and they said sure,” Josh told Lucas. “So then I had to go find a food truck. At the time Peter Simon owned a food truck, and he rented it to me. I knew nothing about food trucks before this. It was completely random, I just decided to go for it. I think people are just really happy to be able to get a hot meal in the wintertime.”

The Food Truck has had a couple of homes, but is now parked near M.V. Community Services, the YMCA, and outside the M.V. Ice Arena, across from the regional high school. Food trucks come with challenges with permits, having a commercial kitchen, and, Josh said, “the fact that you are in a vehicle in a small space, and if something breaks, that’s it.” 

“One great thing about this location is that the commercial kitchen is right behind us, whereas in the last location, if I forgot a jar of mayonnaise, I would either have no mayo or wouldn’t be able to open for another 40 minutes. There have been times in the old location where I would have to cut chicken sandwiches after they were cooked with a plastic knife, because that’s all I had.”

Becky explained that they took over the Puck Stop concession stand in the ice rink, leased the space from the YMCA, and found a home for the Food Truck outside. 

“We’re officially here, and hopefully for many, many years to come,” Becky told Lucas. “It really has been so well received, and in this particular location, even more so because it’s across from the high school and on the Y campus. Community Services is right there, it’s really centrally located. The kids when they get out of high school, we stay open until about 2:30 or 3 pm, and they come over and order food, and then we go inside to the Puck Stop and open up there for the hockey games. Different menu, more of a concession style. We open up there for games and practices.” 

I’m pretty sure that I have created a monster among the staff appetites at the Times. Now we just have to wait for George Brennan to get back from vacation so we can do it all over again.

The Food Truck, 91 Edgartown–Vineyard Haven Road, Oak Bluffs. 508-560-5883. Check the menu Monday through Friday on Facebook, facebook.com/thefoodtruckmv. The Food Truck will be closed during the school winter break, Feb. 28 to March 4.