There’s a dilemma facing Capitol-area workers this summer, and it arrives at about noon every mild and sunny day: which food truck to try for lunch.
“The food truck scene provides a great alternative to the limited food options in the Capitol complex,” says Aaron Klemz, advocacy director at Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness, who eats at Capitol trucks two to three times weekly. “It’s a great meeting ground where legislators, staff and the public come together.”
Access your inner Fred Flintstone at Bacon-Me-Crazy, which offers bacon-inspired dishes that will, according to owner J.J. Degidio, “make you crazy for bacon.” He’s especially proud of the belly burger, a mix of pork belly (the cut that’s sliced into strips for bacon) and ground chuck. “The outside is crispy like bacon, but the inside submits like a hamburger,” he says. To complete that Midwestern perfection, sandwiches come with a side of tater tots.
Owned and operated by a native Parisian, Crepe and Cake brings a touch of savoir-faire to the usual Capitol offerings. The truck features a daily selection of both savory and sweet crepes. “People say my crepes remind them of trips to France,” owner Florence Aymard reports. One loyal customer is Isaac Schultz, legislative assistant to the speaker of the House. “I love eating there simply because I don’t have many opportunities to eat crepes in my everyday life,” he says.
If you didn’t know that Eritrean-Italian fusion was possible, here’s some history and a dining tip: The African country, an Italian colony for more than 50 years, is the menu inspiration for The Cave Café. “My mom is a very good Italian cook,” says owner Tewodros Negash. Look for a variety of classic sandwiches and wraps, but also authentic curries and the stew called tibsie, in both meat and vegetarian incarnations. The light, oily flatbread, served warm as a side, is especially popular with the Capitol crowd.
If you’d rather be lying on a tropical beach than heading back to the office, console yourself with a visit to Tiki Tim’s, which offers island-inspired food from a converted 1973 Chevy C60, formerly a farm vehicle for hauling horses. These days, it serves up everything from fish tacos to crab cakes, which are a particular favorite for Capitol diners. “We quickly learned that we can’t go to the Capitol without our crab cakes,” says owner Shannon Karnick.
Cuisine: All things bacon
Two most popular dishes: BLAT Sandwich (bacon, lettuce, avocado and tomato) and Belly Burger
Cost range: $7 to $14
Connect: @baconmecrazymn, 612-598-0890
Day most likely to be found around Capitol: “You never know; we like to be a rare and elusive pleasure,” owner J.J. Degidio says.
Cuisine: The only French crepe truck in Minnesota
Two most popular dishes: Crepe Monsieur with ham and gruyere cheese, Strawberry and Nutella crepe with whipped cream and sprinkles
Cost range: $5 to $8
Connect: @CrepeandCake, Facebook.com/CrepeandCake
Day most likely to be found around Capitol: Monday
Cuisine: Eritrean/Italian fusion
Two most popular dishes: Tibsie derho, a spicy chicken stew, Hot flatbread, buttered and wrapped in foil
Cost range: $7 to $11
Connect: @TheCaveCafe, Facebook.com/thecavecafefoodtruck, 651-600-6567
Days most likely to be found around Capitol: Tuesday and Thursday
Cuisine: Island-inspired food
Two most popular dishes: Fish tacos with hand-battered tilapia, Brisket sandwich topped with Asian slaw
Cost range: $7.50 to $10
Days most likely to be found around Capitol: Thursday or Friday
Connect: @TikiTims_MN, Facebook.com/TikiTimsMN, Info@TikiTimsMN.com, 612-568-8780