Review: Cafe de Wheels

Cafe de WheelsCafe de Wheels is the grandaddy of food trucks here in Cincinnati– it’s probably the best-known and certainly the most established.  They, like yesterday’s Senor Roy’s, use Twitter and Facebook to communicate their locations.  They have a few regular hang-outs: the School for the Creative and Performing Arts, outside of Fries Cafe, outside of Below Zero, and the corner of 12th and Vine, which is where I found them one day after having a cocktail at Senate.  That evening was originally going to involve a trip over to ForkHeartKnife, but considering every time I’ve walked past them on 12th I’d already eaten dinner, I realized that ForkHeartKnife could wait (sorry, ladies): there was a Cuban in my future.

You can’t miss the big, black truck, nor their newly acquired yellow chairs and tables.  You also can’t miss the line– there is always a line, whether it’s 2 or 3 people, or halfway down the street.  They’re obviously doing something right– plus, it always smells amazing.   Terry and I each picked up a sandwich:  for me, a Cuban, which is easily a favorite, but hard to come by around here, and for Terry, a burger.  We split an order of sweet potato fries.

Cafe de WheelsThe burger is substantial– topped with American cheese, a “special mayo”, mustard, lettuce, and grilled balsamic onions.  It was juicy, about a medium in doneness, and extremely flavorful.  Now I know why this truck always has a line.  The burger really is something special, and at $6, pretty affordable.  The sweet potato fries were particularly good– cut thin and flat, so they were extra crispy, with just a bit of softness in the middle.  Delicious– you don’t need to dip them in anything, they’re that good.
Cafe de Wheels The Cuban was equally as good– ham and roast pork, Swiss cheese, mustard, more of those delicious balsamic onions, all pressed in a crusty roll.  It’s about as close to an authentic Cuban as you’ll get in town (Liz agrees), though the pork was just a bit on the dry side, but incredibly flavorful.  No matter, the combination of flavors– the balance of rich, sweet, sour and savory is almost magical.  I don’t know if I can bear to order anything else.  It’s that good.

They’re also adding items to their menu constantly– they’ve just added barbecued pork, which they’re using as a topper on a burger (my arteries harden at the thought, yet I want to try it…) and on their fries.  Top it with cheese sauce and you have Southern poutine (that idea’s free, Cafe de Wheels).

If you want to find them, it’s best to follow them on Twitter.

Cafe de Wheels (Food Truck) on Urbanspoon

  • Jon

    Next time get the burger ‘animal-style’…grilled in mustard! Really good. And their veggie burgers are awesome too.

    • http://winemedinemecincinnati.com julie

      Ah yes, I think that was inspired by a Twitter conversation in which a bunch of us wished we had In-n-Out in Cincinnati. I would kill for some animal-style fries!

  • http://cincinnatimercantile.wordpress.com Chris

    I enjoyed my Cafe de Wheels Cuban very much, although it might be better to think of it as a delicious pork, ham, and swiss sandwich. A Cuban should be nice and sour. The sweet onions on the Cafe de Wheels version turned it into something else entirely.

    Still, it was a great sandwich. I also thoroughly enjoyed the portabello cheese steak.

    • http://winemedinemecincinnati.com julie

      Mine had enough pickles on it to be pretty sour, but you’re right, the sweet of the onions is a little different.

  • Todd

    The wheels burger is awesome… glad to hear their Cuban is also right up there. I’ve had two other Cubans, one at some fancy place and it was so so compared to Paulas on 4th St. I’ll have to try Wheels Cuban next time.
    Looking forward to Fridays cocktail…
    Cheers

  • http://mascolino.org Mark Mascolino

    great place and don’t forget about the grilled cheese…very well done. Also, I’ll second the sweet potato fries.

  • CaseyC

    Cafe de Wheels regular lunchtime location is usually the SE corner of Court and Vine. Word of caution to Tom–you would be well advised to not put out those tables and chairs on public sidewalks. As long as it’s private property, fine. But…for example when they were in front of Mica on Vine….that was a problem (according to the City official with whom I spoke).

  • http://willflyforfoodblog.com Christina Baita

    Hello. I haven’t checked my emails enough lately with my Mom being up from Florida so I just saw this. Too funny as I just did one too. You’re still the one to go to for the food reviews however, the food was just too good to pass up. My Mom had the Cuban Reuben, which was phenomenal and I had the Wheels Burger. Perfectly cooked! We also split the sweet potato fries. Yum!

    Funniest thing we found out, the owner’s Mom lives around the corner from mine! What a small world.
    .-= Christina Baita´s last blog ..Cafe De Wheels: Cincinnati Ohio =-.

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