Welcome Tops Truck! Soft opening at Farrugut Square today was a surprise. There was a hint of being in DC, but I'm not sure anyone got it with a tweet this morning which said "headed to metro station for lunch today". Apparently that was intended to mean Metro Center, but when they couldn't find parking, they headed off to Farrugut Square. (No surprise they couldn't find anything at Metro Center. Not sure if it was because the TV crew was going to be filming the Dangerously Delicious Pie truck today, but it sure felt like a whole lotta trucks were planning on heading that way when I saw the tweets stream in this morning.) Luckily, they pulled up just as I was crossing 17th Street.
Tops had previously only been operating in Montgomery County, and I think the two quite likable truck operators will find some differences as they get going in DC. For a simple example, the quantity (up to 60+ any given day) and quality of food bring produced from trucks in the District really is quite astonishing. I mean, look at how many trucks have risen to "4 honk" status, and a whole bunch just behind at "3.5 honks"... So, while the chili-cheese dog I ordered was tasty, other than the "So Good" there isn't much original about the menu. Details about my dog are noted in my 2.5 honk review:
Tops American Food Company (@topstrucks on Twitter) -- I want to like this truck so much. The proprietors are sweet as sugar and don't want to discourage them with a 2.5 honk rating. However as I noted in my blog post, I think they will find competition here quite different so I'm hoping constructive feedback will help. Therefore to note before anything else, my chili-cheese dog was good. It was a Nathan's Famous dog topped with a moderately spicy, award-winning homemade chili, and shredded yellow cheese on a standard sub roll for $4. Ok, I get that a large sub roll like that can "hold" more chili, but the dog was swimming in way too much bread, which didn't excite in the first place. My suggestion would be to find some nice local baker for a less generic bread option, and that dog could rock the house. My other issue is the relatively uninteresting menu, not totally dissimilar than what one can get from one of those nasty carts which have been around for a hundred years and a day. The "So Good" sounds exactly that, so good, but it's something you've got to be in the mood for. Make the terrific chili the star of the menu. How about adding some nachos? (Get your tortilla chips from District Taco!) Or chili mac? Maybe even try a chili dog pizza -- you definitely can't get that off a truck around here! I will definitely look forward to this truck maturing because I think that chili gives it some distinct possibilities to grow-up quickly.
Sorry guys, but hopefully you like one of my ideas. I'd really like to try a higher-end variation of that pizza. :-)
In other news, I was finally able to try Orange Cow yesterday, so look for that update, along with a minor update to Fojol of Merilindia's review highlighting the profile they're getting on Cooking Network's Eat Street. Plus, we learned yesterday Bada Bing will be serving up cheese steaks and spiedies in Washington soon; I'm totally looking forward to that heart attack! (Seriously!!!)