TRAVERSE CITY — Local restaurant the Good Bowl aims to highlight a “more traditional approach to Vietnamese food,” said owner Soon Hagerty.
Their new food truck Good on Wheels provides a modern twist on those traditional dishes. Hagerty said that is what they’ve done since serving their first walk-up customers at the Little Fleet during the weekend before Memorial Day.
“There’s a lot of fun variations,” Hagerty said. “Vietnam is built on street food. Most people will eat street food for breakfast and lunch and then eat dinner at home.”
The menu includes green papaya salad, Vietnamese chicken wings and bao buns — which are filled with cucumber, scallion, soy ginger glaze and a choice of pork belly, Kaffir-lime chicken or shiitake mushrooms. Hagerty said these are quite popular.
“They’re almost like fluffy, pillowy dough Vietnamese tacos,” she said. “We sold like 300 or something on Saturday (June 6).”
The restaurant’s charity model continues, Hagerty said. A dollar from each rice bowl purchased at the food truck is donated to a local, national or international nonprofit.
Recently, they added a fried Brussels sprouts side to the list. Beverages include the boba tea — milk tea with tapioca pearls — guava juice, coconut water, boxed water and canned iced coffee.
Though their initial opening was slow, Hagerty said she hopes summer will bring people willing to try the food and follow social distancing rules.
“I’m excited people — whether they’re tourist or local — have curiosity for what Vietnamese food is,” she said. “I really want to commend Gary Jonas and the Little Fleet team for putting together diverse options.”
Little Fleet General Manager Jess Heller said their lot is currently home to returners Glendale Ave., Cordwood BBQ and Happy’s Taco Shop as well as the newcomers Traverse City Pizza Company and Good on Wheels.
“We are doing five trucks this year,” Heller said. “That’s less than we’ve had in the past. We were able to put more tables and space them out appropriately.”
So the space will not feel as crowded this summer, something Heller said diners often commented on. The bar and outdoor seating are available. However, Heller said, Milkweed — the indoor food stall run by The Cooks’ House Chefs Eric Patterson and Jennifer Blakeslee — will remain closed indefinitely.
“We won’t have anything in that space in the summer, but hopefully in the fall we’ll have something,” she said.
Traverse City Pizza Company offers 9-inch personal pies made in a brick oven. Currently, the menu also features a cherry chicken salad sandwich, salad, Great Lakes Potato Chip Co., Northwoods soda and Moomers ice cream.
Food trucks are open noon to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday at the Little Fleet. Hours expand to seven days a week starting June 22. Space is limited and guests are asked to wear masks when ordering at the trucks. Online ordering and takeout are available.