By Shawna Wagman
It’s amazing what a little pulled pork can do. The uninspiring corner of Carling and Merivale that was formerly the site of The Lucky Key restaurant has become a hub of hungry excitement, long tummy-grumbling lineups, and happy parking-lot picnickers. Considering all of the roadblocks that new food business entrepreneurs face in order to get anything off the ground, it’s great to watch when one succeeds. So while the brand spankin’ new Trailer Pork Boys has been open for just a few weeks, the restaurant-on-wheels seems to be struggling just to keep up our voracious appetite for food truck fare.
Driving up Carling Ave., you can’t miss the cartoon trio of grinning piggies (do they look slightly sinister — or is it just me?) on the side of the navy blue 20-foot food trailer — the maximum sized rig that is legally allowed — across the street from the Westgate Shopping Centre.
The menu is focused on pig, of course, and I like the unexpected twist on the Cuban sandwich (pulled pork with Black forest ham, Swiss cheese, pickles, dijon roasted garlic aioli) and the inclusion of a schnitzel sandwich alongside the predictable classic pulled pork — served on a bun or atop a mountain of poutine. There are ribs on the menu, too, but they were sold out during my recent visit.
The pulled pork is properly made, which is to say, Southern-style and without taking shortcuts; it’s apparently smoked for 6-8 hours and then slow roasted for another 6-8 hours. I ordered the $11 drink/fries/coleslaw sandwich combo (the sandwiches are each $7 when ordered à la carte) and it comes loaded with sweet and very slightly spicy pork, topped with extra creamy coleslaw in a big white hoagie bun.
Trendy food and good value don’t often go hand-in-hand so it’s nice to see the boys behind the Trailer are keeping it real. It’s not the kind of super-creative food truck fare that keeps Eat St. fanatics drooling in front of their televisions, but so far they are doing an admirable job of serving straight-up crowd-pleasing porky favourites at reasonable prices.
Open: check the website each day to confirm hours (generally 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.)
Trailer Pork Boys, 1272 Carling Ave., www.facebook.com/TrailerPorkBoys