Dining appears to be going mobile around town. In the last few weeks, I’ve encountered two new mobile food trailers serving burgers and dogs along busy roads in South Hill and Tacoma.
Have you seen a mobile food cart, truck or trailer pop up in town? Let readers know at blog.thenewstribune.com/tntdiner.
Both reviews below were published last week on the TNT Diner blog.
SPOTTED: MOBILE BURGERS ON MERIDIAN
Where: The gravel lot adjacent to U-Haul, 14214 Meridian Ave. E., Puyallup
Prices: $2.49-$3.59 for burgers and $1.99-$2.49 for fries
Blink and you might miss it, but tucked into a U-Haul lot off of 142nd and Meridian in South Hill is a new mobile food trailer. Out-n-About Burgers opened Wednesday Oct. 28 in the gravel lot off the always busy Meridian Avenue East.
I dropped in and casually chatted up Bob, who said he was the owner. He said it took about 18 months of L&I and health department permitting to open the mobile food trailer. (Both permits are on display.) I looked inside and saw five people cooking and taking orders inside a pristine, but tiny kitchen. I’ll be curious to see how it looks after a few months of use.
While the food at Out-n-About was quickly assembled and the ingredients looked solid, the burgers probably won’t make a burgervore swoon. At least not this one. They may, however, fill your belly with something a touch tastier than a predictable chainsville burger, and for a very fair price. The French fries and sweet potato fries ($1.99/$2.49) were of the frozen variety, and were limp and lukewarm on one visit. On the double cheeseburger ($3.99), the burger patties looked hand-formed, but were too thin and overcooked to really impress me (still juicier and more flavorful than most chain burgers, though). Leaf lettuce, grilled onions, thick-sliced tomato, American cheese and a tangy thousand island style burger sauce came on a buttered and grilled bun that reminded of how Little Holland (rest in peace) used to grill their buns until they were crunchy ($2.49-$3.99 for burgers).
Be warned: The workers here only partially paper-wrap the burgers. On one walk-up window visit, I got my order bagged and I returned home to find the half-wrapped burgers falling apart in the bag.
I’m curious with the Out-n-About location so close to Sonic – just across and down a block – how they’ll do. I still fall solidly in the “what’s the big deal?” category with Sonic. After two visits to Sonic, I’m not impressed with the burgers.
Puyallup burger tip: For about the same amount of money, my top burger choice in Puyallup would be to just drive down the hill to Don’s Drive-In, which also has a revolving menu of wonderful homemade pie. Don’s is located at 925 S. Meridian, Puyallup; 253-845-1790.
SPOTTED: MOBILE DOGS ON PACIFIC
Tommy Chicago Hot Dog
Where: 14905 Pacific Ave., Spanaway
Hours: 11:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays
Prices: $2.29-$3.29 for dogs; $2.50 for garlic fries
I had to do a double take. Another mobile food trailer? Right off 149th and Pacific Avenue in Spanaway. Like Out-n-About burgers and its small menu, Tommy Chicago has a micro menu with just six dogs, fries, chili and a few other items. As for the food, the Chicago dog ($3.29) may be small at Tommy Chicago, but they get it right. Fresh poppy seed bun? Check. Snappy Vienna dog? Check. Neon green sweet relish, yellow mustard, diced onions, sliced tomatoes, a pickle slice, sport peppers and a sprinkle of celery salt? Big, giant check. Yes, they get the traditional Chi-town dog just right. It went down easy. They might give the Red Hot a run for my favorite version of a Chicago dog.
The Taste of Philly ($3.29) came with a juicy, fat Polish dog that spilled over both ends of a poppy seed bun. A swipe of cream cheese and pile of grilled onions finished the Philly feel. A squiggle of yellow mustard added puckery bite. I don’t even want to know the calorie count. I’m sure it’s not pretty.
Garlic fries ($2.50) were limp, cold and nothing special, and be warned that if you eat just one, you’ll stink of garlic for hours.
Also on the menu: a sauerkraut dog ($2.99), a plain Jane ($2.29), a Tommy’s chili dog ($3.29) and Vienna Polish Fire Dog ($2.99).
I asked the people running the food trailer (or cart?) how long they’ve operated at that location. They said they set up shop about two months ago in the parking lot next door to Pizza Hut. I asked if they were permanently stationed there, and they said they were, but if they have a catering event, they do take the truck with them. They’re open from 11:30 a.m.-6 p.m. daily (closed Sundays).
In case you’re wondering, they do have a Pierce County health permit. It’s posted on the rear of the trailer.