Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >
Aug 16, 2010 12:35 PM

Food Trucks @ City Hall

This could be exciting...

City Hall Cafe
695 Main St, Fitchburg, MA 01420

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I work in the area and *would* be excited except for this focus on "healthy". Not that I hate Clover, but if it's all stuff like Clover as opposed to stuff like Speeds & Fillbellys, I'm not going to bother.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jgg13

      I hear you. I wish they would visit Austin, TX and see all the amazing food trucks there.

    2. Hope everyone had the opportunity to check out the free tasting on city hall plaza today, there was a huge turnout. Check out the contest website at where you can see the finalists and vote to have more trucks in the city

      1 Reply
      1. re: pizza girl

        went over there, line was too ridiculous

      2. I got there at 11:15 and there was already a line of about 40 people. I had a book and the time, so I waited. The line moved fairly quickly, and I got to chat with other food truck fans from all over, so the book remained in my bag, unread. There was a LOT of food if you tried everything. You received a voting slip and were told to vote for your three favorites. Some of the businesses are very well-established and others are hoping to make this their big debut. I was impressed and stuffed. Fun.

        1. To update, there are now 3 trucks that will be there Mon-Fri:

          Momogoose (lunch)
          Bon Me (lunch)
          Clover Food Lab (breakfast and lunch)

          They are located on the side closest to State Street, near the Planet Fitness.

          State Street Cafe
          114 State St, Boston, MA 02109

          Clover Food Lab
          7 Holyoke St, Cambridge, MA 02138

          23 Replies
          1. re: ebone

            When do they start? Are they there now?!

            1. re: Bob Dobalina

              They are indeed there now.

              The banh mi at Bon Me better be really damned good considering they're 2x as much as in chinatown and less than a 10 min walk away.

              1. re: jgg13

                I will report back momentarily...


                Got the pork "bon me" - by empirical comparison , this is the superior sandwich - it is a foot long sub (so 4" longer than the Chinatown standard - I am using Mei Sum Bakery for comparison), for me perfect bread, crunchy outside, soft inside - but not the brittle French bread crust, easier to eat, not as much of a bread crumb explosion. Purists may not like it quite as much.

                The roast pork was real carved roast pork - not overstuffed - just a few slices - good carrot, cucumber, mayo, jalapeno, cilantro - nice spicy bite to it.

                Given the convenience, definitely worth the $6 value. If it was side-by-side with the Chinatown-priced versions, my Yankee wallet would probably pull me to the Chinatown side, but from a chow perspective, worth the extra money.

                1. re: Bob Dobalina

                  I'm a bit torn. My basic assessment is that unless they make themselves about an order of magnitude faster, I'm not going to bother. it takes me 15 mins to walk to chinatown and pay $3 for a good banh mi handed to me immediately. Today I walked 5 minutes, waited in line about 5 mins, paid $6, and then waited about 10 minutes for my sandwich. So all in all it took me longer to pay more.

                  That said, it *was* tasty. I was already biased against it due to the wait and as you say it's not a purist's dream. But by the time I finished it I realized I had completely forgotten about all that and had actually quite enjoyed it. I can't decide which I like better if everything was equal, which isn't good for Bon Me considering things *aren't* equal.

                  If they pick up the pace, it'd be more worth it for me.

                  On a side note, I noticed that the Momogoose truck also had banh mi on their menu (forget what they called it). Considering that the line for that truck was about 3-4x as long as for Bon Me, I wasn't about to try it.

                  1. re: jgg13

                    I was there as well, and got a pork "Bon Me" on the early side, a little before noon. It was a long wait despite the fact that there was nobody in line in front of us, and pricey as you note, but quite good. The pork was nice n'juicy, and very well cooked, though I wish I'd gotten them to ease off the onions. Didn't detect daikon in the sandwich, and the heat level was a bit tame, despite asking for the spicy mayo and the jalapenos. Considering it is a pretty quick walk to my office, it was worth it.

                    Hizzoner was there with a camera crew, which I thought was a bit odd given that there were only three trucks there. A friend of mine loudly said something about the lack of more carts in Boston being "an Alcatraz around his neck." If I don't post again soon, tell my family I love them.

                    1. re: nsenada

                      I would have liked it to be spicier but at the same time I was pleasantly surprised at what they did provide considering that I figure most mainstream oriented food items are going to be super bland when labeled as "spicy". Now that I got a good read on things I can use the cock sauce they have there to tweak it.

                      OTOH I have always had a devil of a time getting the old ladies making my sandwiches in chinatown to actually add the bird chiles, so while they'll sometimes be spicier sometimes they're not spicy at all :)

                      Speaking of bird chiles, I always prefer that over jalapenos.

                      1. re: jgg13

                        I should have used the cock sauce, in retrospect, but it was still tasty despite the lower heat. Agreed on the bird chilies, they are the best on a banh mi.

                      2. re: nsenada

                        I was there right at that same time. I got a Vietnamese iced coffee at Bon Me and I hate to say, but it was awful. They claim to use chicory coffee but it had a disconcerting metallic taste and was nowhere near as thick as it should be. Makes me think they didn't actually drip it Vietnamese style. They also poured a tiny bit of condensed milk in and then didn't bother stirring it and didn't provide spoons so I had to take off the lid and use a fork handle and then ask for more milk when I saw that it was not the right proportion. With summer coming, I was really hoping they'd be good so I don't have to walk all the way down to New Saigon, but sadly I had to toss it out because it was undrinkable. They are friendly folks, but seem very green.

                        I think the big, slow-moving line at Momogoose was because they were giving out free samples.

                        1. re: misscucina

                          Had the same experience with the iced coffe, but tried to use the bubbling method to incorporate the sweetened condensed milk. It wound up mostly on my coat, and with limited success. My last sip was pure eagle brand, and practically caused a diabetic coma.

                          1. re: misscucina

                            oh yeah, i forgot about that. the coffee was a total waste of money.

                            1. re: misscucina

                              I waited in the Momogoose line around 12-12:15 yesterday and it moved at a decent pace. The problem was that Billy Costa's TV Diner crew pulled one of the workers out of the cart to do a spot for the show right in the middle of the lunch rush. So, that probably took ten minutes to shoot and the cart was a man down right in the middle of the rush. My experience with them so far has been that if you know what you want it moves quickly, but some people don't and ask a lot of questions, which seems to slow things down considerably.

                              1. re: ebone

                                That was exactly when I was there, I was standing next to the worker for a while when they were setting up and figured I was getting in the way so went somewhere else :)

                            2. re: nsenada

                              With the mention of carts I have to add: it bothers me that the carts get short shrift and so much focus is on the food truck trend. I've seen these guys pulling heavy carts out every morning through all seasons. The carts are better for the environment than the trucks, and many of them have great stuff. I'm hoping the focus on the trucks will eventually benefit these mobile food purveyors too.

                              1. re: Niblet

                                To me, there seems to be a class difference between the carts and the trucks.

                          2. re: Bob Dobalina

                            I got in line for a bahn mi at Momogoose, but the line was not moving (the press seemed to be a distraction), so I had to push past Mayor & entourage to get a falafel sandwich from Clover. I was pretty happy with it. No bag, so it was gone by the time I got to work .

                            1. re: cindywho

                              I didn't even notice Mumbles there. Maybe the crowds won't always be like that. Of course, once it gets warm, it'll probably be worse.

                        2. re: Bob Dobalina

                          They are there now, started on Monday. Lunch seems to start at 11 and I have noticed Clover there at least by 8am.

                          They all have twitter feeds that update openings and what they are serving etc.

                          1. re: ebone

                            BTW, thanks for the update. The lunch options in the area are not the best. Maybe the Kay-o greek chicken cart can move over there too.

                            1. re: Bob Dobalina

                              Definitely nice to have some new blood (no offense Clover) in the area. I am looking forward to sampling what they have to offer. Not many places you can get a popover for breakfast (Clover has them).

                              What is the Kay-o greek chicken cart? I have had Karros (sp?) BBQ, but not Kay-o...

                              1. re: ebone

                                Karo's not Kayo's - brain cramp from the Bon me

                              2. re: Bob Dobalina

                                Isn't that where the Karo chicken cart (I believe Armenian) is located?

                                1. re: El Guapo

                                  Same side of the Plaza, but Karo is right near the Corner of State and Washington and the food trucks are further into the plaza near the top of the stairs from Congress Street/Faneuil Hall.

                          2. re: ebone

                            As someone who works in the building next to the food trucks and is a vegetarian, having Clover right outside my office is the best food related news I've had in quite some time.

                          3. I had a nice breakfast sandwich($3) from Clover today, a soft-boiled egg with a nice sharp chedder cheese and ripe tomatoes on pita...Good stuff

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: phatchris

                              Nice to know that the Clover truck I spotted on my commute in was not a mirage. =)


                              1. re: content

                                Popovers....for breakfast....from a truck.

                                Friggin A for Awesome!

                                1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                  Couldn't agree more. I had a popover and some fresh coffee yesterday morning and loved it. A bit expensive at $4, but was a nice treat.

                                  Tried the korean BBQ chicken at Momogoose today and came away impressed. $5 for a good amount of chicken (white and dark meat) over white rice, with a fresh salad of lettuce, carrot, bean sprouts, cauliflower and broccoli. If you work in the area it is definitely worth it.

                              2. re: phatchris

                                Had this for breakfast today - it was stuffed into some sort of a whole wheat bun - it was truly outstanding and blows away the comparable $3 breakfast sandwiches offered by DD and SB.

                                1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                  I know you probably know this already, but that chickpea fritter sandwich from Clover is awesome. Sorry to be late to the game on that...
                                  Shrouded in foil...peeling back the layer and what's this? Purple cabbage, cucumber salsa, fritters galore! Like a technicolor dream on this gray slate of a day...Tasted as good as it looked, presumably healthy, and for $5 - I am a little in love with the food trucks.

                                  Also recently had the Korean BBQ chicken from the Asian Bistro truck - also great taste and a good value - ton of food for $5.

                                  Asian Bistro
                                  100 Market St, Rockland, MA 02370

                                2. re: phatchris

                                  I am an extremely long time-lurker, first time poster. Thanks to these boards, I learned about the Clover Food truck coming to City Hall Plaza, so I stopped by this morning and got the aforementioned breakfast sandwich. I thought it was superb. The egg was perfectly cooked, and seemed like a bargain at $3. I might have liked them to warm the pita bread a little, and I might ask them if they can do that next time, as I will definitely be back. The man who ordered after me got the popover, which looked good and was pretty huge, but I don't know if I'll be able to resist the breakfast sandwich to try it.