- Griffin Swartzell
- The Joint’s Pioneer; the food truck trials new edibles for its brick-and-mortar parents.
The Joint Food Truck, Mobile business, 331-1237, facebook.com/thejointfoodtruck
The Joint Food Truck is the inversion of the typical food truck business trajectory: not a small food biz run by folks who one day hope to start a brick-and-mortar option, but instead an offshoot launched by a pair of established brick-and-mortar spots. Jenny and Tyler Sherman own both Odyssey Gastropub and The Bench, and their truck serves as a joint effort between the two restaurants, dishing some of the best parts of each place’s menus. According to business development manager Charlie Wofford, it’ll also allow the team (which includes executive chef Doug Pitts) to test new menu items.
The truck crew has been good about posting where they’ll be on Facebook well in advance, which makes them easy to find, though they’re only out a few days a week. Price-wise, most items land under or around $10, sans sides.
We like a good plate of chicken and waffles, soul food earnest or hipster elevated, and we’ve long enjoyed Odyssey’s take on the dish. The Joint swaps the fluffy Belgian waffle for a scallion-studded waffle cone, which holds chunks of fried chicken, guajillo butter, strawberries, blueberries and green onions. We pay an extra buck to add a smattering of crispy diced bacon, because why not? The chicken’s crispy and juicy, but we don’t get much of the guajillo butter’s flavor, though smoky bacon plays nice with the rest of what’s going on. The crisp cone’s a good holder for the dish, sweet and sturdy, too crunchy for fork-and-knife eating.
We also enjoy two sound sandwiches from this truck: the Pioneer burger and the Buffalo chicken club wrap. The former comes with provolone cheese, bacon, fried onions and fast-food-inspired “burger sauce,” all on a brioche bun. It’s a damn good burger, with peppery bacon and biting onion cutting cheesy, beefy richness with ease. The latter pairs more crispy, juicy fried chicken with punchy Buffalo sauce, provolone, bacon, lettuce, pickles and tomatoes in a red chile tortilla. Acid from the bright pickles and tomatoes cuts richness and amps up the tang of the hot sauce, which we find a curiosity. One of my dining companions has always been sensitive to spicy food, and without feeling the spice in his mouth, noticed his nose running and face getting warm. Then a delayed burn arrived minutes later. So be warned: It definitely sneaks up on ya, and there’s no bleu cheese or ranch to soften the blow if you’re sensitive.
We share a side of Brussels sprouts, here served fried with a lemon balsamic reduction and big shavings of Parmesan cheese. The fried sprouts’ nuttiness pairs with the Parm beautifully and lets the cheese’s salty and tangy notes shine, counterbalanced by the sweet, citrusy reduction. Less healthy, the Chislic cheesesteak fries win our affections with South Dakota-style fried sirloin steak bits — the name-granting Chislic dish — atop punchy sautéed peppers and onions that provide plenty of veg flavor and umami alongside crisp shoestring fries and rich, spicy queso. It’s a great fusion of Odyssey’s already fusion-y menu items with The Bench’s gussied-up sports bar gut bombs, leaving us curious about menu items Pitts and co. will test out on The Joint next.