Trucks, Wagons, Carts and Counters: a Who’s Who in Lunchtime Cuisine.
With new mobile eateries opening every year, there is just no denying that a food-truck craze is sweeping Bermuda. It started with only a few: DeGraff’s Lunch Counter and Keith’s Kitchen were the founding fathers of a fad that favours service, selection and speed. Add Karen’s Lunch Wagon and Jor Jay’s Takeout to the mix and the mobile-food business seemed to have cornered the market on quality Bermudian favourites. Fish cakes? Perfected. Burgers? Down to an art. Was there any room for newcomers alongside the veterans of the food-truck business? The answer has been a resounding yes.
Welcome to a new era in lunchtime cuisine. Food carts, while less mobile than their predecessors, have been popping up throughout Hamilton, offering a variety of quick and exciting bites. Dying for a Portuguese chorizo dog layered with peppers and onions and served with a smile? Look no further than Winky Dinky Dog. How about a loaded vegetarian burrito and a side of fresh salsa? Little Mexico is the place for you. Do not forget about the unbeatable Middle Eastern menu at Hal’s Kebab Grill or the sweet treats served at Dandy Donuts. There is even a Caribbean-themed barbeque selection offered by the Smokin’ Barrel food truck parked on Front Street. Day and night, these mobile culinary masters are preparing hot meals for hungry patrons and growing a devoted following at the same time. With the number of new faces on the scene, who is to say what we can expect next?
DeGraff’s Lunch Counter
Location: North corner, City Hall parking lot
Hours: Monday to Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
From the outside, it’s not much: a white truck, a pop-up tent, maybe a table and a few chairs. You would never know that, hidden in the back corner of City Hall parking lot, this family-owned lunch business is cooking up some of the best fast food on the island. DeGraff’s Lunch Counter was founded in 1939, making it the oldest food-truck business on the island. Originally parked on Front Street, DeGraff’s was also the first to convert from horse-drawn cart to motorized vehicle. Nowadays, lunch-truck king Nealson DeGraff is best known for his homemade beef pies and delicious burgers. His extensive menu also includes lunchtime staples such as Steak-umms, fish cakes and chicken fillets. When hunger strikes, you can count on DeGraff’s Lunch Counter for friendly people, fast service and quality cuisine.
Specialties: Beef pies, burgers and fish cakes. Menu: Bermudian breakfast and lunch classics.
Contact: 295-1310 / “Keith’s Kitchen” on Facebook / email@example.com
Location: 48 Woodlands Road, BAA Car Park, Hamilton
Hours: Monday to Friday, 6:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Keith’s Kitchen, a long-time fixture in the BAA parking lot, is undoubtedly an island favourite for a quick lunchtime bite. For over 30 years, this blue-and-white food truck has served up the best of Bermudian cuisine, including enormous bacon cheeseburgers and flaky fish sandwiches. Keith has perfected the art of everything from Steak-umms to chicken burgers to chowder. He’s also more than willing to make an extra-crispy batch of French fries or slap on a generous portion of tartar sauce. Daily soup specials, an assortment of cold beverages and good conversation make Keith’s Kitchen a unique dining experience. So if you’re in the mood for a tasty, reasonably priced meal, swing by, say hello and grab a seat. Don’t forget to put your order in.
Specialties: Loaded sandwiches and freshly grilled burgers. Menu: Traditional Bermudian favourites including fish sandwiches and split-pea soup.
Winky Dinky Dog
Contact: 535-1648 / www.winkydinkydogbda.com
Location: Par-la-Ville Park (Monday to Friday, April to December) and Butterfield & Vallis parking lot on Saturdays (year-round)
Hours: Monday to Friday (April to December), 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. / Saturdays year-round, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
With over eight years of experience, Winky Dinky Dog believes that when it comes to lunch, “beware of the best dog in town.” These meat and bun lovers grill up some of the island’s finest Portuguese chorizo, smoked sausage and jumbo beef dogs that are sure to satisfy even the pickiest connoisseurs. Extra-hungry (and ambitious) guests will love Winky Dinky Dog’s Fut’Long behemoths and their huge list of toppings including everything from grilled peppers and onions to BBQ baked beans and pineapple salsa. Be sure to try their daily specials and get top-selling lunch items at unheard-of prices.
Specialties: Loaded hot dogs and sausages. Menu: Hot dogs and a variety of sides including chili and coleslaw.
Location: Front Street parking lot opposite The Supermart
Hours: Monday to Thursday, 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m. / Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m. / Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 4:00 a.m.
With their friendly staff and prime location, family-owned Jor-Jay’s Takeout is one of Hamilton’s best pit stops for lunchtime and late-night cuisine. Located in the parking lot opposite The Supermart, the red-and-white food truck has been providing Front Street with Bermudian favourites for over 11 years. Every day around noon, rain, blow or shine, a line of hungry patrons assembles for a taste of Jor-Jay’s signature menu items, including juicy hamburgers. Owner Arthur Dill says he serves over a hundred patties a day. Other top sellers include flavourful fish cakes, tender wings and perfectly seasoned fries. Don’t forget, if you’re pining for fast food in the wee hours of the morning, Jor-Jay’s is the place to go.
Specialties: Burgers, chicken tenders and fries. Menu: Bermudian-influenced fast-food staples including fish cakes and sandwiches.
Contact: 337-0211 / www.bermylink.com/fullaccess/Ad7506_PDF1.pdf
Location: 1 Waterfront Park (next to the ferry terminal), Front Street parking lot
Hours: Monday to Thursday, 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. & 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. / Friday and Saturday, 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. & 6:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. / Sunday, half-day
Tempting passersby with a medley of sweet and savoury grilled aromas, Smokin’ Barrel embodies Bermuda’s growing passion for exotic lunchtime cuisine. The large red food truck, which is located on the harbour-side corner of Front and Queen Streets, offers fresh kebabs, juicy burgers, sauce-slathered wings and so much more. Masterminding the kitchen is Kemar Maybury, who launched the business in August 2011. He says his success is largely due to the wide selection of sizzling meats, all of which are fresh and seasoned to perfection. Choose chicken, beef, fish, shrimp or the daily special, add spices, glazes or grilled veggies and you’ll see why Smokin’ Barrel has earned its reputation for unbeatable barbeque. Coming soon are new Friday after-work specials. Maybury plans to introduce a Caribbean-themed happy hour with live music at his waterfront location in summer 2013.
Specialties: Sweet jerk chicken, lemon-pepper fish and BBQ ribs. Menu: Grilled meats, fried fish and a selection of sauces and Caribbean-themed sides.
Contact: 533-2327 / www.littlemexico.bm
Location: Corner of Wesley & Church Streets by City Hall parking lot
Hours: Monday to Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. / Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
If you walk down Church Street, you’ll probably notice the colourful Little Mexico food cart tucked away near the corner of City Hall parking lot. Breathe deeply and you’ll no doubt catch a whiff of a mouth-watering medley of seared chicken, sauteed veggies and mixed spices. Inspired by her heritage and a desire to enter the food business, Teresa Humphrey and her husband, Emanuel, began serving authentic Cabo San Lucas cuisine at the Hamilton Farmers Market. After many hours in their own kitchen, the couple finally launched Little Mexico in September 2011. While the cart may be relatively new, foodies flock to it for some of the island’s best Mexican eats. Don’t miss their fan favourite, the fish taco Baja style, or the handmade flautas, tostadas and fajitas. The Humphreys also offer a takeout menu featuring ceviche, homemade chips and freshly baked carrot-pineapple bread. Little Mexico plans to extend its hours and hopes to soon offer live music on Saturday afternoons.
Specialties: Fish tacos and chimichangas. Menu: Fresh Mexican cuisine based on authentic Cabo San Lucas recipes.
Hal’s Kebab Grill
Contact: 703-0575 / e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org / www.halskebabgrill.com
Location: 1 Stadium Lane, Middle Road, Warwick
Hours: Monday to Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. / Friday and Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
A delicious aroma of grilled kebabs and seasoned beef wafts from the window of Hal’s little orange food cart on Middle Road. Parked opposite Warwick Bowl, Halil Yazoglu entices passersby with a unique selection of fresh Middle Eastern specialties, including roasted, thinly shaved doner meat and homemade falafel. Not one to overlook island favourites, the kebab master also whips up a mean burger, which he says is one of his top weekday sellers. Rounding out the menu are several seafood items, including a hand-tossed salad topped with snapper and the Bermudian staple, the fish sandwich. All of Yazoglu’s dishes are served hot and flavoured to perfection with a secret mixture of herbs and spices. Be sure to ask for a delicious side of yogurt sauce.
Specialties: Kebabs, doner kebabs, burgers and fish sandwich. Menu: Middle Eastern cuisine offered alongside traditional fast-food favourites.
Contact: 531-3115 / email@example.com
Location: St. John’s Road on the north side just past Arnold’s Market
Hours: Monday to Friday, 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Dandy Donuts is every dessert lover’s dream. Dennon Bean’s little white food cart serves up hot, fresh minidonuts, covered in the sweetest, stickiest sauces and toppings. The fan favourite, he says, is Honey Nut O, which features a dozen minidonuts drizzled with Bermuda honey, covered in chopped almonds and sprinkled with powdered sugar. He’ll even top it off with a dollop of whipped cream. Another best-selling dessert item is Big Apple Dream, featuring donuts, apple-pie filling and powdered sugar. Dandy Donuts is also known for their thick milkshakes, fresh-fruit smoothies and generous scoops of ice cream.
Specialties: Minidonuts topped with a choice of fruit, candies or chopped nuts. Menu: Sweets, smoothies and sticky delights.
Karen’s Lunch Wagon
Location: Ducking Stool parking lot opposite C-Mart, Pembroke
Hours: Monday to Friday, 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
If you have a hankering for a quick bite but don’t want to brave Hamilton’s noontime frenzy, head over to Karen’s Lunch Wagon on North Shore Road opposite C-Mart. The large blue truck, which pulls up daily around 11:00 a.m., is known for its selection of delicious fast food, including hot dogs, Steak-umms and fish cakes. Undoubtedly, the best sellers are Karen’s piping hot burgers, which are grilled to perfection and served on extra soft buns. Don’t forget to ask for a dollop of mayonnaise. With its waterfront view, plenty of shade and a smiling chef with 27 years of experience, Karen’s Lunch Wagon has everything you need for a satisfying midday meal.
Specialties: Burgers, fries and fish cakes. Menu: Fast-food fare with a local twist .