A couple of weeks ago I visited the Town Fryer food truck (Preston Street & Louisa Street, Ottawa) for lunch. The food truck is located in a small parking lot in the heart of Ottawa's Little Italy neighbourhood on Preston Street. The brightly painted yellow truck is easy to find just north of the Highway 417 (Queensway) with friendly family owned service.
My first visit was at 11:30 A.M. for lunch. I was hoping to beat the traditional lunch rush on a Friday that hovers around 12 Noon. Instead, I ended up behind three hungry City of Ottawa landscapers who were waiting on their three large helpings of poutine doused in gravy. I put my order in with the tall gentleman working that day.
The Order: 1 Hot Dog in a Baguette and Medium Fries with a Pepsi.
The order took a little while to be prepared. That was understandable considering three large poutine orders were ahead of me with one server in a food truck doing the preparation work. I waited patiently.
The results though were less than stellar.
Sure the hot dog was delicious along with the toppings and a standard baguette. No the baguette was not freshly made, but tasted store bought. But a nice idea to use a baguette instead of the standard run of the mill hot dog bun you could get any old hot dog stand.
The fries were the big let down. Overcooked and turning brown is never a good sign. These should have been hucked and a new batch cooked. Considering three orders of poutine were right before me, warm, but not necessarily piping hot, fresh fries should have been expected. Size wise the fries were thinner than regular thin cut fries but were thicker than shoestring fries. There was promise but the overcooking killed it.
I thought about writing this review earlier but things got in the way and other reviews piled up as I enjoyed some summer time. I decided a revisit was in order on August 23rd. I reattempted a visit to the Town Fryer at 11:50 A.M. when the truck should be gearing up for a nice sunny Friday noon lunch rush. Nothing, the truck was closed.
A return visit on Friday August 30th at 11:50 A.M. again had better luck. A mother and daughter were working that day. The teenage daughter took the same order as previous, and started about working on it. The mother was on and off her cell phone while unloading the daily supplies from her car. I waited for my order which came quicker than last time. But it did help three teenagers were not looking for their large orders of poutine.
The hot dog and fries came together along with a cold can of Dr. Pepper.
The hot dog had not changed. This time though I watched it being cooked. A pan fried sausage instead of grilled, but none the less, a long with the baguette, nothing had changed in terms of quality. The sausage was standard with a little zing by adding the baguette.
The fries were significantly improved. Piping hot and fresh these fries were better than your average run of the mill fries you would find. Fresh cut? No, but freshly cooked and chewy, these fries were a good offering for a family run food truck. Things had improved.
Overall, I'm left with a conflicting reflection on this food truck. A family run food truck, complete with a tip jar renamed to "Emma's College Tuition Fund", that is trying to make a positive contribution to the neighbhourhood. But the first visit optics were not that good with the overcooked fries that supposedly were one of their best offerings and forming a consistent base ingredient in many of their offerings. An unexplained closure on a typical busy Friday lunch followed by them at the best. Being a family run operation, I can forgive them for having a possible unexplained family emergency closure. I can myself returning several times if the Town Fryer runs at it's best, but memories of that first visit's mediocre overcooked fries continues to loom.
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