Since June, I’ve hunted down two new food trucks serving from Milton to Lakewood. One is a fried fish truck with a secondary specialty in fish tacos. The other is a soul food mobile restaurant with southern touches. Here are quick takes on both, plus news of a third truck that’s about to open in Gig Harbor.
And speaking of food trucks, Sunday (July 19) is the second Tacoma Food Truck Fest, from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. in Wright Park. Check here Friday for a story with all the details.
THE FRYING DUTCHMAN
Contact: 206-713-2210 or eatthedutch.com
Consider this a fish-and-chips shack, just one that’s on wheels.
Since May, Trent Jurgensen has been serving fried fish and fish tacos out of his little blue trailer, The Frying Dutchman. The Seattle native has loved — and caught — seafood his entire life and is a former manager of an Anthony’s HomePort.
Check the schedule at eatthedutch.com before you visit because you never know where the truck might be serving. The location changes daily. Find the truck currently serving Tuesdays in Milton at 1203 Porter Way, at the Tacoma Eastside Farmers Market on Wednesdays, at Dillanos Coffee Roasters in Sumner during lunch Fridays and at the Fife Farmers Market on Friday evenings. The truck plans to appear soon in Puyallup on Thursdays. Seating varies at each location, but I found none at my visit to the Milton site in a gravel parking lot.
My two-piece cod and chips ($7) came with a side of dill-heavy tartar that helped nudge a little more flavor into the underseasoned fish fillets. There’s also a three-piece for $9. Fries were straightforward, but nicely crisped.
My top pick from the menu: Two fish tacos ($8) in flour tortillas filled with Cajun-spiced grilled cod filets and a spicy-and-sweet mango-pineapple salsa. Skip the side of tortilla chips with average salsa, though.
Sides include fries ($3) or house-made ginger slaw ($2). Prawn and chips ($10) and chicken strips ($8) are listed, as is a nod to vegetarians with the tofu tacos ($8).
HAMHOCK JONES SOUL SHACK
Contact: 253-888-7600 or facebook.com/hamhockjonesbbq
Find a big menu of burgers, fish and soul food at the HamHock Jones Soul Shack, a tiny brick-colored trailer pushed into a side parking lot of a gas station at 9202 Washington Blvd. SW in Lakewood.
Bobby Shorts opened his truck in October, but moved just a few months ago to his current perch. He lists a menu that’s 25 items strong, about triple the length of an average truck menu. Find cheesesteak subs ($7-$12.50), ribs ($7-$10), chicken wings ($6-$11), fried fish ($8-$10), pulled pork sandwiches ($6.50-$9) and monstrous burgers ($2-$9). The truck’s generously portioned food is offered at modest prices, with many meals including a soda and a side. A sole picnic table is all you’ll find for seating, so bring your own or head to the nearby Steilacoom waterfront for a quick picnic.
I feared the Queen Labeefa burger, a half-pounder piled with bacon, a fried egg and three cheeses, would kill me. Instead, I played it safe with a three-bone order of baby back ribs, which tasted more oven-cooked than smoked, with a light application of a puckery sauce ($10) and a cheddar-laden side of mac and cheese that tasted straight out of a grandma’s oven.
I might not order those ribs again, but I would get the grilled cheese with pulled pork. The sandwich came on thick-cut bread, grilled until crispy, with a pile of pork threaded with a Carolina-style sauce and a generous side of thin-cut fries and a soda ($9).
If the lattice-topped peach pie is on the day’s menu, that’s a must order.
JW AT THE BOATYARD
The food truck from the owner of JW Restaurant in Gig Harbor, Jason Winniford, should be opening in the coming weeks adjacent to Skansie Brothers Park. The fish-focused truck plans a menu of fried fish, chowder and seafood melts. For updates, visit facebook.com/JWrestaurant.
READ MORE: A guide to Pierce County’s food trucks.