Main Location: Breweries, Etc (so far)
My first plan to visit Motley Crew’s was to be during a day spent with one of my fellow Minnesotan bloggers. Unfortunately, we both mistook not only the time that the brewery, which it was to be parked at, opened, but also the day the Truck was supposed to be out. Thus started a particularly complex day (see my recounting Here) that was devoid of all but one Food Truck experience.
However, the day before leaving I made a promise to write a review of Motley Crew’s Food Truck, and I’m a man of my word. So I headed out Easter morning, stopped at Indeed, and documented my experience like always.
As their name suggests, Motley Crew celebrates the attitude of the good-ol’ fashioned Rock and Roll legacy (and no, they are not the actual band… though how sweet would that be?), rolling out powerhouse comfort food to an 80’s style sound track. In the long run, there seems to be little to no commonality between menu items, with plans of paella, burgers, and whatever else the cooks decide they want to make up. Short term menu specialties, which I’m guessing will stay on in one form or another, consist of simple grinders/sandwiches slathered in cheese whiz, “motley sauce,” grilled onions and bell peppers. Their Philly has been the main draw since conception, with other options following similarly in design.
Besides a bar food-like menu, Manager Marty Richie rolls out bags of their special “Sweet and Heat” Pretzels, best designed for customers to bring home or enjoy at whichever Brewery they happen to be parked at.
All of this happens between two speakers pumping out set after set of classic 80’s Rock. Now if only other Trucks followed this example…
I won’t lie to you, the first time I read about the food they were serving, I was very dubious as to the actual quality. All I saw was simple rolls with sliced meat and melted cheese, the only interesting item being reminiscent of the “special” kind of chex mix one would find in a Williams Sonoma. My fears of banality, though, have since been happily dissuaded.
Here’s the thing about “Phillies;” I almost NEVER suggest somebody by any restaurant’s, food truck’s, or other person’s attempt at making one. Many of them can be good, but it is still apparent that they are a mere shadow of the original blueprint. However, considering my experience with the “Chubby Chick,” the only different between it and their Philly being the actual meat, I don’t think my conscious could rest if I didn’t tell you to attack either version head-on.
I don’t care how much this particular sandwich mirrors the same from Philadelphia, it is just hot-damn good. The chicken was cut into whole, juicy chunks, not just cheap slices. Combination of provolone and cheese whiz created that thick, hot, gooey spread of cheese-lava that we all know we crave when feeling naughty. I’ll admit, I have absolutely no idea what their Motley sauce is, and am not even sure if I tasted it, though I’d guess maybe a thousand-island type thing; probably added a little bit of tanginess to the overall punch. And that’s really what the sandwich flavor is, PUNCHY, with pieces of soft onion a diced-grilled red bell peppers (let me just say I love that they did this, you don’t have the long, stringy pieces of pepper that keep getting pulled out with your teeth). Overall, it was such a SATISFYING sandwich, very much reminiscent of the food feeling at Get Sauced. And they toasted the buns; I mean, you can’t tell at all with the Chicken, hell I’m not even sure it’s worth it in the end, but they still did it! Pretty good on the Philly though.
The pretzels were another fun surprise. I SO wanted to hate them, or at least be disappointed in their simplicity, but I just couldn’t do it. They’re just so good (as pretzel squares go), I’m still snacking on them, and I want more. The best part is how simple it actually is; all they use is a mix of a really good cane sugar (one of those golden/light brown colored, and no it’s not regular brown sugar… I think), some salt, and a bit of cayenne for warmth (not spicy, just a good warmth in the back). The pretzels are coated LIBERALLY, the sugar getting stuck into the many air-cells of these fellas, and then baked to adhere. Final results are variable, some having only a bit of sugar while others have this layer of more sugar than pretzel, but every single one is a tasty, fantastic version of a simple bar snack.
It’s a good thing they set up at a brewery, ‘cuz this is so not a walk-around sandwich. It’s surely possible, of course, but the amount of dripping cheese, sauce, and various meat juices just make for a deliciously messy experience. You could still do it, I guess; I suggest keeping the foil wrapped around most of it while you eat, though, but even still drippage is inevitable; even sitting down at the table I had to clean up. At the very least, the meat and veggies stay in. Pretzels purchased by themselves can walk easy, of course, but the way they sell it really conveys the feeling it should be taken home or eaten in a bar. Recent voyages have shown that the Philly isn’t quite as messy, though, in fact very easy to walk and eat; and I’m willing to bet other sandwiches may follow suit.
Ranging from $5-7 depending (though I’m unsure what future items may be charged), overall costs are pretty good, especially since one is likely to also spend some cash on beer alongside. I am still a bit dubious on the prices for the pretzels, even if they are good; $5 minimum for a small bag. Personally I’d love to see them offer something where one can get a sandwich and a small side of the pretzels (maybe just 5 of them even) for bare extra cost, just so we could sample first.
Wait wasn’t long at all, and probably seemed even shorter from the fun discussion with the two behind the counter. Not to mention I had a bag of pretzels to munch on during the wait.
The TOE: 9.5
Motley Crew’s is the cities’ very first music-focused Food Truck, and as far as I know could easily be the first of its kind in most of the Food Truck world. This is quite apparent when one visits, in the music, in the attitude, in the Food. They have officially accomplished what they set out to do here, and as such have created quite the experience for the customer. Not to mention the creation of an interesting Toe Ring of these special pretzels, though at the end of the day I would not hold these up to some of the other Toe Rings I’ve documented. My only curiosity is how this will hold once they begin selling items like paella alongside the favored sandwiches.
One of the best Trucks for enjoying with the local Breweries, though one can still eat if able to get to a park bench or other place to sit down quickly. Avoid the burgers and other basic items, I’m sure they’re good but we have better Truck versions on the street. Besides, the real draw here are the grinders, so grab one of those, get a beer and enjoy, with a bag of pretzels if you have the extra coins. Pretzels are also great when just looking for a snack during a day on the street, like those bags of roasted almonds at the farmers’ market.