Main Location: Minneapolis
After a miniature torrent of new trucks which are trying to start up or sound like they’re from a restaurant, we finally have another mobile operation that’s (gasp!) actually BASED off one! (well, these guys and Falafel King… but that’s really more of a deli chain…)
Expanding from the Triple-D-made-famous Jake’s City Grille, Jake’s STREET Grille hits the… ummm, street, in flame-covered glory. With multiple locations under their belt already, it seems Jake’s has decided to take their attitude and shove it in the middle of our Food Truck lineup. And so far, one can’t argue that they don’t stand out (at least as far as colors go).
One of the closest trucks we have to a “gastropub” vibe, Jake’s picks some of their favorite and most Street-worthy items from the varied and bar-based Restaurant Menu; along with a couple new twists of course. Top of the list includes their all-famous Jakewings, and Cajun Tilapia or Lobster/Shrimp Tacos. Following these are some Jake Burgers turned Mini, a popular Chicken Cobb shoved in a big Pita, their favorite Chowder, and a homemade Cookie! I actually got a picture of it!
Then one of the employees decided they wanted to pose for me…
It was a bit of a rainy day the time I actually visited, and luckily for customers they have their very own awning! And not just that miniature tent often used in farmer’s markets. After placing one’s order AWAY from the truck, customers can then take their ticket up to the window to hand in-person, where we can clearly view the highly cramped and crowded kitchen. Half of the space being taken up by the big man Jake himself (or someone else who got their picture taken with Guy Fierri…).
I had to of course get the two items named after the restaurant, the Wings and the Mini Burgers! I would have liked to get the Lobster Tacos, but they’re a touch out of my price range. Did get to take a picture of them though:
An interesting looking “Taco,” if I have to say so. If anything it sort of reminds me of a Mexican-inspired “Lobster Ravioli” that so many high-end restaurants like having on their menu to use up knuckle and other tasty lobster meat. Considering the quality of the other foods I’ve received, the flavor combinations, and the noted grill marks on the tortillas (flour, but it’s not a traditional taco filling or wrapping anyways, so I’m okay with it), I think we can assume a good level of quality to these.
Wings were sticky, sweet, tangy, with that nice little “spicy wing” flavor in the background. Grilled to a juicy tenderness, the black skin imparting that nice little smoky flavor to the rest of the sauce. Other than a possibility of a couple wings being too “fatty” (I know, it’s weird to say about wings… but they actually might not have been cooked enough for a little more fat to render like it should), it was a very enjoyable and delicious experience.
Sliders are certainly something. A mosaic of sesame over the buns, its inside toasted properly before being filled with the cheese and fried onion-covered meat. Though medium-well, an overall sense of dryness is notably absent, most likely helped by the “JakeSauce” flavoring the burger (can’t actually see or feel it; almost like it was soaked in… so good), which is very BBQ-ish in nature. Onions are nice, crispy and spice-flavored of course. Though I would definitely not compare it to some of our Best Truck Burgers, as a burger-based-slider its flavors stand loaded and high.
As for the fries: crispy outside, soft in, not SPECTACULAR compared to the street’s best but no negative qualities. Very SOLID and well-made potatoes. Just need to eat them soon after ordering or risk softening. I’m not sure about the Cookie, but it’s handmade and certainly LOOKS delicious…
Based off a restaurant as it is, most of this stuff isn’t exactly clean. Not necessarily sit-down food, though; with a single basket one easily only need both hands. However, wings are quite the messy, sticky beast; they even come with wetnaps (which I accidentally tossed, agh!), which one could say is quite nice for those wanting a messy meal on the street but still needing to get somewhere. The unique roll on the Tacos are actually quite perfect for the street, with little to no worry of fillings spilling out. Though I find the pile of salsa on top sort of odd and out-of-place for any street-food item (at least the Tomatillo and Guac were in cups…).
I DEFINITELY want to give special mention and props to their Salad. Still, still, I do not understand those people who go all the way out on the street, to a Food Truck in all its Foodie-based “Eat me with your hands” glory, and order a SALAD of all things… I mean seriously you can get that anywhere. However, Jake’s is the first place that has actually taken their salad and shoved it into something like a pita wrap (and boy did that shove a LOT of it into a BIG pita). Not only has this created an item salad-lovers can eat while walking, but they’ve transformed one of the most boring of items (a Cobb) into something fully indicative and representing of Food Truck items. In fact, I’m somewhat considering it for “Toe Ring” nomination.
Other items hold themselves in similar levels of two-handed-ness. The chowder itself comes as a nicely-sized paper bowl which THEN put into a cardboard basket.
There are a couple higher priced items, but unlike certain other trucks Jake’s has a fantastic VARIATION, offering a great range of different prices so one can find the right fit if needed. Whether this be a $5 Chowder, $12 Lobster Taco (which actually costs LESS than the at-restaurant version, unlike a certain other Lobster-item I know), or everything else in between, all of it seeming pretty right on the money with what they offer.
Slightly above average speed, not surprising considering the full kitchen behind the window.
The TOE: 9
Though its restaurant ties are clear in their menu, Jake’s attitude and personality shine in the same way as the best Trucks. Their menu may not be united in a singular style or cuisine, but each item shows an excitement and “Signature” to it that others easily miss. Not to mention the fact they’ve actually put some effort in insuring most of their offerings tie well into the Street Scene.
I refer to the picture of the employee posing for the cookie. Fact is these guys are fun, energetic, and practically make the visit an experience.
Probably the best truck so far for those who want that “restaurant experience” without sacrificing the ability to eat while mobile. Also one of the very few places (Moral Omni the other) that I find it not only acceptable, but I SUGGEST one get the Salad – Chicken Cobb in Pita.
Most items are definitely of great suggestibility. Lobster Taco should be tried for those willing and able to spend the extra few bucks. On the lower-priced end, the Chowder looks amazing, easily in the same league as AZ’s Gumbo. The Wings are great, but only for those who don’t mind the stickiness. Mobility wise, both the Mini Burger and Cajun Tilapia Tacos fit the bill, I probably suggest the taco more; it looks amazing, I really want to go back to get it.
One final note, for those who looking to get a cookie on the street, I would certainly say this is one of the Trucks to grab it from.