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Greenway Names Dozen Vendors for 2011 (Food Trucks/Carts)

http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/food/...

From an earlier (Boston.com) article, here is the lineup:

BBQSmith, a food truck that will serve "American BBQ" in Chinatown Park (near Beach Street and Surface Road).

Clover Food Lab, a food truck in Dewey Square Park (across from South Station) that features vegetarian sandwiches and soup.

DosaMobile, a food truck in Dewey Square Park (across from South Station), will serve Indian “street food."

Lefty’s Silver Cart, a trailer in Dewey Square Park between Congress Street and Atlantic Avenue, will offer sandwiches and soups with ingredients from local farms.

Equal Exchange Free Range Cafe, a bike cart, will roam from State Street to Pearl Street selling organic, locally-roasted coffee.

Silk Road BBQ, a mobile kiosk in Rowes Wharf Plaza (High Street and Atlantic Avenue), sells charcoal-grilled "global fusion" BBQ.

Grilled Cheese Nation, a food truck across from the Rings Fountain (Milk Street and Atlantic Avenue), will feature grilled cheese sandwiches, tomato soup, and salads.

Cupcake Cart, a food cart in Rings Fountain (Milk Street and Atlantic Avenue), will sell fresh baked cupcakes.

Beantown Franks ’n Spuds, a solar-powered food cart in Rings Fountain (Milk Street and Atlantic Avenue), will feature hot dogs, sausages, and roasted rosemary potatoes.

Going Bananas, a food cart at the Carousel (across from Quincy Market), will sell fresh fruit smoothies, Italian ice, and bottled drinks.

Streatery, a food cart at the Carousel (across from Quincy Market), will sell "global street food," including sausages and Greek souvlaki.

Boston Pushcart, a food cart at the North End Parks/Freedom Trail (Hanover Street and Surface Road), will offer Italian sausages, Italian ices, and lemonade.

Sounds quite promising!

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Silk Road BBQ
Rowes Wharf Plaza, Boston, MA 02110

Clover Food Lab
7 Holyoke St, Cambridge, MA 02138

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  1. thanks Matt: I particularly look forward to the dosamobile, SilkRoad (haven;t made it to Belmont) and BBQsmith.

    3 Replies
    1. re: gourmaniac

      Same here on Dosa and BBQSmith.

      Silk Road is also set up in Kendall Square I believe on Monday and Wednesdays if that's more convenient. Had a taste of the Jerk Chicken sandwich one day and was pleased with the product.

      1. re: gourmaniac

        As far as I know Silk Road is no longer in Belmont and hasn't been there for some time. I was only familiar with his old location on Trapelo road at the vacant gas station across from the movie theater.

        I enjoyed the food but found it pricey.

        1. re: PaulB

          I can confirm that Silk Road BBQ no longer is in Belmont, alas. In fact, the vacant gas station is gone too! That lot is all dug up now.

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          Silk Road BBQ
          Rowes Wharf Plaza, Boston, MA 02110

      2. where are the Korean Tacos?

        How about a cart/truck that serves lobster rolls and chowder?

        How about some Thai or Chinese? Quality egg rolls would be great.

        19 Replies
        1. re: Gordough

          1. Los Angeles.

          2. Tourists can get all the watery lobster rolls and library-paste chowder they want from Quincy Market just off the greenway, and the likelihood of getting a Chowhound-quality version of either of those products from a cart seems slim.

          3. Fair point, some Asian street food would be a treat. Although much like #2, Chinatown is right there for those who want it.

          I have no beef with any of these, except that if Cupcake Cart is the truck that's been around town for the last few months, meh. Like the others, I'm particularly intrigued by the idea of a good dosa or brisket sandwich.

          1. re: Jenny Ondioline

            1. doesn't mean they can't do a version here

            2. I really don't think it is that complex to get some fresh lobster meat and grill up some buttered buns. Perhaps the J. Hook folks could do it and finally serve their quality lobster meat in a non refrigerated roll. Despite their location 50 feet from the Greenway, many folks don't even know they serve lobster rolls. Plus, they have limited weekend hours.

            3. Chinatown is not "right there" if you are at the North End part of the Greenway and have limited time for lunch during work.

            1. re: Gordough

              2.0 It is what it is. Sure hook's could pay a guy to sit 50 feet from thier front door and toast rolls and put lobster on it; but it might be a poor use of their labor.

              As to limited hours, they run the biz to maximize their profits, not for individual's convenience.

              Pay a guy to sit at a stand and pay him $10/hr from11am til 7PM. How many extra lobster rolls will he sell? I'm sure it's a calc that Hooks does vs selling 200 lobsters to a store or a restaurant...that they might miss cuz they didn't answer the phone cuz the guy was sittng out all day in the Greenway to sell 11 lobster rolls.

              1. re: 9lives

                Sorry, but I don't buy this excuse. If J. Hook was interested in running a cart, they could absolutely turn a fine profit without sacrificing their current business.

                1. Employees are not a finite resourse. They would hire a new kid to man the cart, not take their inside sales rep off the phone thus abandoning their restaurant business....no one is that stupid and you should give them more credit that that if you like them.

                2. The article says the 6 vendors last year had 60,000 visitors, that's 10,000 per vendor during the first year of the program. Presuming they were out there for 4 months = 120 days, that's 83 customers a day! Far from the 11 you suggested. Given there are more options now and lobster rolls are pricey, it is still fair to guess they could sell 50 customers a day. Presuming the average bill would be at least $12 (it is a lobster roll), that's at least $600 to pay for a college kid looking for a summer job to toast buns and stuff rolls for $11 an hr for 8 hrs, which will cost you maybe $100 once you throw in employee payroll tax. Not sure what the rental fees are or the amortorized cost of the truck....but this doesn't look too shabby so far by most restaurant standards.

                3. Yes there are plenty places for watery lobster in Boston...and they are all full for lunch all summer long! If anything that proves the market potential not detracts from their chances.

                1. re: InmanSQ Girl

                  Your first sentence sums it up. "If they were interested." To this point, they're not.

                  Sounds like you know more about Hook's business than Hook's does..and maybe you do but they seem to be ok with selling lobster/crab rolls and chowders from the building that they own near the Greenway...and having someone else sell slush outside their door from a cart.

                  1. re: 9lives

                    "but they seem to be ok with selling lobster/crab rolls" -- and that's her whole point.. they seem to be OK with doing just that and only that.

                    but the whole point of this conversation is that if they wanted to earn MORE money, the opportunity is there for them to do just that. they could totally capitalize on their brand name recongition and open another cart down the Greenway for those people who don't have the time to walk all the way down to their storefront (and there are plenty of officeworkers who don't have such time).

                    as you say, "they run the biz to maximize their profits". if they don't want to rake in more profits, the opportunity is certainly ripe for someone else to come in and establish themselves with a cart or truck. Witness what happened in NY -- start up lobster roll purveyors with little to no overhead have overrun the market and established their own name recognition. I know it hasn't happened yet... but it certainly could.

                    http://nymag.com/guides/summer/2010/6...

                    1. re: astrid

                      As they say, "the proof is in the pudding."

                      I think both of you are missing my point. In YOUR opinion, they would make more $ if they set up a cart on the Greenway

                      To this point they seem to not share that opinion or they'd be doing it. For all I know they arelooking into it, but I can only go by what I see.. and they know far more about the lobster biz than I do. I have to surmise that the extra $ isn't worth the hassle and won't increase their instore sales enough to justify the cart. They're smart businessmen.

                      You and IS girl are both posting as if you know the business better than Hook..

                      If I owned the biz, I might put a larger sign and takeout window in the existing building to make it easier to get a lobster roll; if I thought I wanted to expand into that end of the biz. A lot easier than a free standing cart...which I know nothing of the process of licensing, cost, etc. but I'm sure the guys that own Hooks do.

                      I should add that I shop there and know them to say hello but nothing more and for all I know they're planning on opening a cart next week...and I'll be proven off base...but this is what it is now.

                      Purely my analysis and I don't speak for Hooks..:)

                      1. re: 9lives

                        I am not in the lobster business either, but it is absolutely my opinion that a truck specializing in lobster rolls would do very well on the Greenway. Food trucks are hot right now, lobster rolls are a regional specialty that tourists hone in on, lobster rolls have also received an inordinate amount of food media attention over the last few years, and the Greenway is smack in the middle of the tourist thoroughfare.

                        1. re: astrid

                          Are you aware that there already is a truck specializing in lobster rolls and hot dogs in front of the aquarium..basically across the street from the actual Greenway?

                          I live in the area and while I don't know any figurest, Hook's sells a whole lot more rolls than they do.

                          BTW, I had an excellent roll from Hook's last week and they now offer a larger version for $15...which of course I got, as well as the $12 reg size..stil no buttered bun but I don't eat the bread... so I suppose I should call it a lobster salad.

                          1. re: 9lives

                            You can't honestly be comparing James Hook to the Dog & Claw?

                              1. re: astrid

                                They were at Milk and Kilby St yesterday. in the FD. I had a proscuitto/mozzarella sub from Casa Razdora already; so passed...bit I'm curious asto how they measure up to Hook's, a few blocks away. Hook's recently upped their game by toasting the rolls.

            2. re: Jenny Ondioline

              Isn't Bon Me open at gov't center... that's Asian street food.

            3. re: Gordough

              There's a cart on Long Wharf; 100yds from the Greenway.. that sells chowder and lobster rolls; not very good and I prefer Hooks

              .I'm a fan of Silks and looking forward to BBQ Smith. Clover is good quality, well prepared..but just not my style of menu, x tthe breakfast sandwiches..purely my personal non veggie taste and nothing against Clover.

              1. re: 9lives

                I like Silk Road but afterwards always said to myself, "Self, that wasn't worth what I just paid for it". It's the same problem I have with say, East Coast Grill. I like them enough to go there now and then, but the price/performance ratio I calculate in my head keeps me from going there a lot.

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                East Coast Grill and Raw Bar
                1271 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

                1. re: jgg13

                  I noticed on my last two visits that the prices have been adjusted. The Pulled Pork is around $7, but for 2 Jerk Chicken sandwiches the price was $8, which is more than reasonable for a quality product.

                  1. re: Matt H

                    Good to know. I haven't been over there since the warm weather went away last year. It's enough of a hike for me that it's a nice day only kinda thing.

                2. re: 9lives

                  Anyone made it to BBQ Smith? Their stuff looks amazing. Apparently they are parked by the Arch in Chinatown this week through Friday: http://bbqsmith.com/

                  1. re: nsenada

                    i passed by there today on the way to getting some takeout, they did not appear to have any ribs, but more chicken and pulled pork

              2. For Asian street-food lovers, there's now a Bon Me truck over at Government Center next to the Clover Food Lab truck, a stone's throw from Faneuil Hall. The banh mi are $6, but they're pretty high quality for a non-Vietnamese purveyor, and they do rice and noodle bowls, too.

                http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

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                Clover Food Lab
                7 Holyoke St, Cambridge, MA 02138

                4 Replies
                1. re: MC Slim JB

                  I went last week and service was wretchedly slow. Of course, TV Diner was there doing there thing and Mumbles was present as well so I'm giving them a pass for now. But considering the wait in line and then after placing my order was longer than the delta between walking there and to chinatown, they're going to have to improve on that if they want my business. I'll say this though, I wanted to dislike the sandwich due to my irritation with the slowness and it being double the cost of the chinatown venders, but it won me over.

                  I noticed that the momogoose truck also has banh mi, I think they just called them baguettes or something.

                  1. re: jgg13

                    I've had two sandwiches in the last two weeks (the grilled pork and chicken). My service was super slow both times (once busy at lunch time, once very slow just before closing at 3PM). It wasn't just that they took awhile to make the order (which they did), but it seemed like they were doing everything for the first time (hooking up the credit card reader, looking for things etc.). Did they just open? If so, I hope they get things streamlined, and a bit friendlier wouldn't hurt.

                    As for the food, the bread was fantastic - really fresh, and the crust was totally devourable. Sometimes you get baguette-based sandwiches that are hard to eat because the bread is too hard. This was not like that at all. The fillings were tasty, but I ordered "double spicy" (jalepenos and spicy mayo), and it wasn't. But, with some Siracha, it was a nice sandwich.

                    1. re: jcarroll42

                      I had mine double spicy. As a chilehead, I was surprised that there was any heat to it at all but wished there was actual heat, if ya know what i mean. On the flip side, half the time when I'm in chinatown the ladies don't put my chiles on so maybe these guys were just trying to recreate an authentic experience ;)

                  2. re: MC Slim JB

                    Bon Me has been joined by Momogoose -- both are Asian. Haven't had Bon Me yet -- I always get sidetracked by Clover but after my third straight undercooked falafel, I think I may be done with them. My veggie friend raves about the Bon Me sandwich, which I can tell just by looking at is not made on a traditional crunchy vietnamese baguette (rather, a sub roll). However, doesn't mean it's not tasty.

                    Momogoose is a hodgepodge of Asian take-out -- Thai salads, bulgogi, BBQ tofu, beef ramen. Very cheap and a decent lunch option for the area. They do have something that resembles an egg roll ($1.50).

                    Regarding Korean tacos, there's a killer truck in NYC doing it better than Kogi (I've eaten at both) -- check out Korilla BBQ next time you go down there. Yes, someone could do one here... but someone would have to be motivated to do so.

                    I would love a straight-up Mexican taco truck.

                    -----
                    Bon Me
                    Mobile truck; no formal address, Boston, MA

                  3. Lefty's Silver Cart opened this week. Has anyone had a chance to check it out?

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: mkfisher

                      Lefty's has been making appearance at the Harvard University Farmers Market for some time. I did a piece on this food truck for Serious eats.

                      Creative grilled sandwiches on Iggy's bread. Local ingredients when he can. Free hula hoop use with purchase. Totally fun. The elvis, grilled peanut butter and banana with a side of fluff, the
                      The Lil' Kim-Chi: Pan de mie from Iggy's bread with sharp cheddar, kim-chi, with side of black beans. And, some soups. I don't know what's planned for the Greenway menu but it will be carefully crafted and have a sense of humor.

                      Photos here:
                      http://www.seriouseats.com/2010/07/le...

                      Penny
                      http://www.bostonzest.com/

                      1. re: BostonZest

                        Nice article Penny! thanks for the link.

                        1. re: BostonZest

                          I like the idea of this stand, but they are going to need to tighten up on consistency in the details to keep me coming back - there was no iced coffee this morning, the fresh eggs and cheddar with tomato chutney was delicious and well-prepared inside my sandwich, however, the outside (good Iggy's) bread was undergrilled and therefore soggy, and the sandwich was not cut in half as noted in the link above, making it unwieldy to eat. I'll go back again based on friendly attitude and tasty food, but hope it improves just a bit in the meantime.

                          1. re: rlh

                            Tried it again today - this time for iced coffee since they weren't out of it - not a repeat - flavorless and watery cup at $2.75 - I can do better at Starbucks (or sometimes Clover Truck) less than two blocks away.

                        2. re: mkfisher

                          We got sandwiches from Lefty's today in Dewey Sq. Park. Went early, so the only thing we had to wait for was our delicious sandwiches. Ordered the Figment (goat's cheese, fig jam, arugula salad on an Iggy's or comparable quality baguette) and a Forty Thieves (excellent homemade veggie burger--no tasteless TVP here!--topped with purple slaw and zaatar, served with a little cup of sesame black beans.) Both were WOW! If you get lemonade, though, you will need to add sugar because it is sour.

                          1. re: Isolda

                            I had a Figment the other day. It was good, but for 7-plus bucks, it was pretty small. And the chips looked like they were straight out of a Wise bag, which didn't strike me as very cartisanal. Will definitely give them another chance, and others I was with loved their sandwiches (one got a grilled cheese that looked quite good).

                            1. re: Isolda

                              I had the Forty Thieves as well. I thought it had some very nice features, but it didn't really wow me. Pluses were, as mentioned, the fact that the veggie patty (more like a rectangular-ish blob) itself tasted like real vegetables. I may have detected some large pieces of fava beans in there. The bread is definitely Iggy's (I asked) baguette, and was nicely toasted. The pickled slaw added some nice zing. However, the thing didn't really come together as a whole for me---there was too much bread relative to the filling, the goat cheese was practically nonexistent and would have been better substituted with some groovy homemade mayo. The whole thing had a mealy quality. Also, the portion is on the small side for $8. There is a supposed "side" of black beans. These are incredibly tasty, but you get 2 tablespoons' worth, in a little ketchup cup, not kidding. They shouldn't call it a "side of black beans" since that generates misleading expectations. I'm not one for huge portions, but I thought the overall value just wasn't there for $8. Compare to Clover, where $8 gets you a nicely-stuffed sandwich (egg and eggplant is my fave) AND a substantial side salad. Also I prefer the pita sandwich format, which allows for higher ratio of fillings to bread.

                          2. A co-worker and I tried Lefty's this week, mainly because we are sick of the Clover worker's attitudes/inability to give us the correct sandwich more than 1/3 of the time. We thought the sandwiches were good, but small/less filling than Clovers, for $2-3 more. I would certainly go back as everyone there was very nice but they either need to up the size or lower the price before it becomes a real go-to for me. If i am not eating meat (as their cart appears vegetarian like Clover) I need a little more volume overall to be full for the rest of the workday.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Libbypizza

                              I tried a sandwhich there today; The Figment, which was a special of goat cheese, fig spread and 'truffled' greens.

                              What I got was a nice piece of pressed bread with some very good greens (no truffle flavor), a bit of fig spread, and an unnoticable amount of goat cheese (I seriously had to look to make sure they hadn't forgotten it. I found a few small spots). And like six potato chip crumbs. Not worth the $7.50 and ten minutes it took them to make it, especially out of a cart. I'll try the grilled cheese truck up the Greenway the next time.