- Griffin Swartzell
- The Bob, a perfectly reasonable turkey sandwich.
As we've said before, it takes something truly special to make a noteworthy sandwich. Springs food truck The Pickled Pit Stop stacks unremarkable portions of US Foods meats on local Sugar & Spice bread with tasty but understated house-made sauces. Owner Robin Evans, a transplant from North Dakota, fries her store-bought pickle spears in masa — think tamales, gringo — to great success. The casing remains intact, and the pickles don't slip to freedom after one bite. It's a shame that the $5 basket of pickle fries comes mostly full of tater tots. Potato chips, fried from frozen, show up delightfully crisp and substantial, though mine needed more seasoning — Cajun, in my case, one of five options.
Most sandwiches on the menu go for $8, which, for the size, sounds reasonable. This means for a sandwich and small side of chips or tots, a wholly reasonable American-sized portion, you're out $11 plus tip, a pretty standard price. Lop a buck off of that price with the Big Hammie, a no-frills ham and cheese sandwich with prominent smokiness from the ham. Or, for something that stays fresh and vibrant after two days in a bag in a sub-freezing car (thanks, April snowstorms), try the Wrap It Up! The creamy avocado plays great with the smokiness of the turkey, and though the eye-catching balsamic mustard lacks presence, the wrap doesn't suffer overmuch.
Of the four sandwiches I tried, though, the standouts were the Bob and the Fargo, both of which bear gorgeous caramelized red onions. Bob sees turkey, provolone and a tart cranberry pesto, light on berry flavor, with the oniony goodness. The Fargo pairs the onions with roast beef, provolone and a weak horseradish pesto.
But what of the titular pickles? Surely some pickle fries served in a pile of spuds aren't the sole reason the truck names itself for this fantastic fermentable. Every sandwich comes with a from-the-jar pickle spear, and those are all store-bought. Evans grows her own cucumbers, though, and does sell homemade pickles by the jar when she has them. This year's supply was decimated by last year's hail, thus their absence from the truck.
"Some years you can have a bumper crop of cucumbers, but some years you hardly have any," she says.
She plans on sourcing more from home for the next year. Her parents grow cukes, and the family has connections with a North Dakota Hutterite community, an Anabaptist sub-sect similar to the Amish and Mennonites, that grows cukes. Should she be able to make enough pickles, she plans on using them for the already solid pickle fries, which is a promising prospect.
All told, Pickled Pit Stop serves sandwiches and sides that, though not the most exciting, present no major flaws. Certainly, if they're at a craft brewery where I'm drinking, I'd happily order up something to go with my brew. But there's little reason — and with their irregular social media presence, no easy way — to beat a path to their door. If the food were better, hunting them down would be well worth the time. If Evans and crew made it easier to find their truck, well, there's nothing wrong with a safe-bet bite.
Right now, the Pickled Pit Stop stands at the unhappy corner of unremarkable and inaccessible. But a little more spice and social media savvy would make all the difference this truck needs to stand strong, cucumber crop notwithstanding.