Main Location: St. Paul
Our cities’ first Italian-based truck, Messy G’s (as they like to call themselves… I think…) takes our childhood sloppy joe and ramps it up with the rich, spiced tomato sauce and hot… well I don’t know what kind of meat, secret recipes and all. They then top this special mix with a slice of provolone, letting the conserved heat of the sloppy melt it down to gooeyness.
Besides the Joe, Messy G’s offers quite a few other Italian-based hoagies and sandwiches, using cured and cooked meats with various toppings. Giardinara, basically a spicy Italian vegetable relish with larger cuts of various veggies, is used often, and a prize topping to get if you still haven’t tried yet. They also offer a grilled cheese with honey, basil, and tomato on Vienna bread… mmmmmm, if I go again that’s my main goal.
It all looks and sounds good, but the meat in a lot of the hoagies can seem somewhat hoagie-generic; like what you’d find in a restaurant who’s focus is something else but still serves. The sloppy joe tastes good, but the meat is very loose (well, loose for a sloppy joe). When I had mine the spicyness just seemed to stand out too much. There was not really any “depth” to the spice either, felt like just heat (and I’m good at picking out flavor depth in spicy foods, why I love curry so much).
The food is still good, and there are nice gems here and there, the grilled cheese for example. However, I still feel there might be better options out there when it comes to flavor.
You cannot walk with the Messy Giusseppe at all; you have to sit down, grab a few napkins and buckle down. If you can pick it up and eat at least half with just your hands (both are required), then good onya; but at some point you will need a fork and, possibly, knife to get the rest.
Other sandwiches are a lot easier to hold and walk with, but they are served in a basket, and some risk a little spillout from giardenera and other toppings. I debated raising the score a bit because of this, but the Messy G Sloppy Joe is the item most people get, it’s what they advertise, so that shall act as the bulk of the score.
Tends to be slightly higher around the $8-9 range. The hoagie with cured meats is probably worth it; they use some nice cuts for that.
A lot of pre-made, ready-to-assemble items; all they need to do is spread the buns, push in the meat and let the toppings explode (… sorry, I hang out with a very dirty crowd at times). The Sloppy Joe is very quick itself, so one has very little of a wait.
The TOE: 6.5
They have a great concept, they have taken a beloved childhood food and made it adult-worthy. Many of the other sandwiches are pure on-the-go focused. Truck design itself is very fun, bright, and appealing, with the people behind the booth exactly what you want to see. However, once you get the food, a lot of that just becomes… a little skewed.
Way I see it, they are VERY close to that little “wavelength” of what true “Food Trucks” feel like, but they just aren’t there. That can make it feel weird when thinking about it. It is that “ahhhh, so close!” event that seems to distort it even more than if one was just a little farther away.
I understand that a lot of people really like this truck, and that it has been voted best in the Twin Cities by one or two local magazines. To tell the truth, I am really hoping that maybe I just had a bad batch of sloppy joe, and that the other pictures taste a lot better than they look. I expect to get some flak from this particular post.
I have studied these things, been around them; I trust my taste buds, and I know grey meat when I see it.
Now, as for my suggestions: when you can sit down, certainly still get the Sloppy Joe; it may be spicy, but it’s a good fork n knife meal. When walking is required, either go to another truck, or grab the Grilled Cheese or the Hoagie; it has some nice cured meats on it.
Ultimately, there are probably a few better options out for same or similar prices; if you crave Italian or options are limited, it is still a good stop.