The next few days, I'm going to write about restaurants with outdoor dining to enjoy our stretch of warm weather - because who knows when it will just poof, leaving us with soggy socks under our sandals (I've seen waaaaay too much of that bad fashion lately). Today's featured al fresco dining spot is another mobile truck - Barrel No. 51. This will be the third al fresco season for the truck and I've appreciated watching its evolution. Right now, the truck is parked at Cedar and South 23rd, near Target in the old movie theater parking lot.
The truck started out serving quick food - Sloppy Joes and chicken sandwiches - a few summers ago - first splitting time between South Tacoma Way and American Lake in Lakewood, then it found a home in a parking lot in the Lincoln District. Last summer it moved just off Cedar and South 23rd, not far from Target. Over two seasons, Barrel No. 51 has built its arsenal of slow-smoked meats to include pulled pork, brisket and sometimes even ribs and smoked chicken. Although, in the past, the slow-smoked ribs and brisket can be sporadically offered, they always seem to have pulled pork sandwiches. Last week, I popped by and found the pulled pork sandwich much the same as always - piled generously with a tangle of slow-smoked pulled pork and hit with a mild barbecue sauce (my advice: order up the heat level). The hint of smoke on the pork was subtle, which is typical for this truck. I was glad to see they're still flavoring their creamy slaw with a dose of chili powder. It's a bargain lunch, too. A pork sandwich with a side is $6. New on the menu are burgers. I spotted a blue cheese burger and a Cajun burger made with ground Andouille and beef - both $6, and come with a side.
Hours are sporadic for now - usually 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesdays-Fridays, according to their Facebook page. Because they're mobile and a small operation, you should call ahead to make sure they're operating and to find out what they have for the day. Or, check their Facebook page for the latest updates. Here's something pretty cool. Barrel No 51 has partnered with Wingman Brewers, which opened its new taproom in the Dome District last month. Barrel No. 51 is serving barbecue outside the taproom on Friday and Saturday nights.
Barrel No. 51Where: in the parking lot at 3102 23rd S. 23rd St., Tacoma (right now, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesdays-Fridays, but call ahead)Also serving: Outside the Wingman Brewers taproom on Friday and Saturday nights, 509 1/2 Puyallup Ave., TacomaContact: Call 253-224-7588 or 253-906-0583
Our pledge to readers: Sue Kidd dines anonymously and The News Tribune pays for all meals.