Proving yet again that the region is ravenous for food trucks, JW at the Boatyard, Gig Harbor’s newest mobile restaurant, was swamped immediately after opening April 1.
And lines for the truck’s fish and chips, fish tacos and fried calamari have not let up since.
The food truck is focused on seafood, tacos and sandwiches, with at least one menu item that’s tough to find here — lobster rolls.
The restaurant is an outpost of JW, an upscale Gig Harbor restaurant Jason Winniford opened in 2011. He’s still involved in the restaurant and food truck, but daily operations are handled by his sister-in-law, Jamie Lindsey.
It’s this newspaper’s policy to avoid criticism of a restaurant’s food and service in its first month, which is why this report focuses on descriptions and the concept. Here’s what a first-bite visit found.
Location: Why, yes. The food truck is a trolley car. It’s probably the neatest-looking , and most unusual, food truck of all those operating in Pierce County (more than 30, at my last count). As Winniford described last summer, the trolley is about twice the size of a regular food truck, which translates into a bigger kitchen and thus a bigger menu for a food truck. Ordering is to the right, pick-up is to the left.
Dining al fresco: A handful of tables, shaded by umbrellas, with a tiered concrete wall backing two sides of the dining courtyard. Planter boxes, filled with spring flowers, frame the other side of the dining courtyard. The trolley is located down a driveway at the Gig Harbor Marina and Boatyard.
Additional seating: Nearby at Skansie Brothers Park in the grassy area, or at picnic tables at Jerisich Dock.
Menu: Heavy on the seafood, but with chicken, pork and brats, too.
Seafood: Cod tacos, $12; calamari strips, $9; cod and chips, $11; lobster roll, $14.
Starters: Salmon chowder with bread, $6; Caesar or garden salad, $7; chicken-bacon corn dog, $5.
Beyond seafood: Bratwurst, $7; blackened chicken tacos, $11; apple cider pulled pork, $10.
For kids: Corn dog and fries, or cheese quesadilla and fries, both $4.
Drinks and dessert: Soda, plus Whidbey Island ice cream bars, $3.50.
First bites: Fish and chips ($11) came with three pieces of cod dipped in a puffy batter made with 7 Seas beer, with thinner-cut fries and a large dish of tartar sauce. A lobster roll ($14) was served on a soft roll with a tangle of arugula, a drizzle of a creamy dressing, chopped tomatoes and lightly fried lobster pieces.
Best to visit: During off-peak times or when it rains, which conveniently keeps crowds away from outdoor restaurants.
Why so delayed? It originally was scheduled to open last July, but delays in getting permits forced it to skip last year’s al fresco dining season.
JW at the Boatyard
Where: 3117 Harborview Drive, Gig Harbor; 253-432-9991; facebook.com/JWBoatyard.
Hours: 11:30 a.m.-dusk daily.