On a Roll Downtown

By on 30 March, 2015 in Uncategorized with 1 Comment

P1060327Surely you’ve seen it. The shiny Airstream trailer down at the corner of Coosa and Commerce? It’s hard to miss, what with the big light-up arrow and the gleaming silver cylinder, glinting in the sun. It’s been set up for a while now, and is designed to provide a platform for existing and emerging cooks to showcase their wares and feed hungry lunch customers downtown. We went last week on a rainy Friday, and we’re pleased to report that the new tenants (the owners of Super Suppers, Nick Jernigan and erstwhile MML contributor Davena McRae) are bringing joy and tasty food to this park-like setting.

Their version of the truck is called On a Roll, and the mission is to offer a changing menu of seasonally inspired dishes with many different flavors. The Airstream until recently was occupied by a spin-off branch of local mainstay Shashy’s, but with On a Roll, there’s a whole new game in town — and it’s excellent. If you tried the food truck before, you’ve got to go back. After that, you’ll be going back of your own accord.

We had the PLT wrap (six dollars: pimento cheese, lettuce, tomato), served with a side of fresh greens and some excellent dressing/dipping sauce. This presented a solid showcase for the couple’s justifiably famous pimento cheese, and carnivores have the option to add bacon for slight additional cost. We also had a positively show-stopping salad that combined roasted beets, strawberries and greens with some tasty gorgonzola (seriously, everything is better with blue cheese). This may sound like hyperbole, but it isn’t: This was one of the very best things we’ve eaten in a long time. It struck all of early spring’s promising notes, and magically left us feeling better for having eaten it. The tart strawberries combined with the beets and cheese to leave us asking why we didn’t try this particular combo before. The overcast skies seemed to brighten up while we were eating this salad.

The setup really has everything you’d want in a lunch experience. Looking to take something to go? The service is lightning-fast and friendly. The items are served in simple boxes that could be taken back to your office or desk.

We opted to stay and eat because even though the skies were dreary, the vibe was upbeat. There was great music playing, good picnic table seating, and even shade set up for when things get a little warmer. We had a chance to chat with the owners for a little while, and it’s clear that they are excited at the opportunity to bring new flavors into the downtown lunch mix. After polishing off our food, we even got to look inside the truck a little bit. It’s a cool setup – somehow, it’s bigger on the inside than it seems on the outside, with a huge sink and tons of prep space. We have written before about the strange situation with the city-owned “business incubator” and the privately-owned Airstream, but no matter how the economics shake out, the beneficiaries are the folks downtown who want something awesome to eat.

The price point is right, too – even if you get a drink, you can still get a great meal for under $10 – well within the range of hungry office-workers looking to find something new and affordable for lunch. Honestly, this is great for folks working downtown, and the new growing set of folks that live downtown. But the food is good enough and fairly-priced enough, that it’s worth a drive downtown for a quick bite, even if you live and work somewhere else.

If we had one quibble with the experience, it would be that the property owners seem to have done insufficient work on the drainage for the area. After a heavy rainstorm, we found ourselves dodging pool-sized puddles in the area around the picnic tables. Hopefully that’s an issue that the city will address since customers don’t like walking in mud, much less puddles. But given the determination to help downtown businesses thrive, surely this detail will receive some prompt attention.

McRae told us that there are plans in the works to offer ticketed dinners at the trailer, too – they might bring out the grill, turn on the lights and create some evening parties on the corner as the weather warms up. We’re excited for that, because we’ve long been big fans of her cooking. Also, she’s thinking of offering some targeted cooking technique demonstrations every week. For regular updates, On a Roll is on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/onarollmgm) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/onarollmgm).

We’ve long hoped that Montgomery’s food truck scene would spring into action, but these things take time, and in the meantime it’s great to have On a Roll downtown. Go check it out!

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  1. Barbara says:

    My husband works downtown and I met him there last week for lunch. We decided to try out On a Roll and we both loved it! The PLT was so good that I’m going to make mine at home like that from now on. There was a good crowd so business looked good. Glad to have On a Roll as a lunch option downtown.

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