Our weekly bite explores the city's food trucks, one at a time, highlighting our favorite mobile dishes and snacks.
The Truck: Fiveten Burger
The Cuisine: Burgers and other griddled sandwhiches
Specialty Items: The burger
Worth the Wait in Line? 30-minute wait from line-to-food at peak lunchtime was worth it.
The hamburger is one of those food items, like pizza, that people simply can't help themselves trying to improve. The trouble is, the default idea is to add more stuff to it, but in the process, they ignore the basics. They see it as a blank canvas on which to apply ingredients to create a masterpiece, but randomly splashing paint about only results in the patron thinking, "My three-year-old could do that." While the patty is very important, the hamburger's bun is the most crucial factor: too much mutes anything in-between, too little creates a mess.
The Loaded Burger ($6.75, 6 oz. beef patty, lettuce, tomato, housemade pickles, onions, mayo, ketchup, mustard, with a choice of American, cheddar, or Swiss cheese) that Roland Robles of Fiveten Burger truck makes is exemplary for the perfectly balanced cheeseburger and one of the best burgers in the Bay Area. Cooked to order, the patty gets a perfect sear on the flat top grill, well seasoned, with a bun that all others should aspire to. Adding an order of the garlic oil fries ($2.50), perfectly crisp and delicately flavored with the pungent allium, makes for a feast under $10.
The truck all started when the restaurant that Robles was heading up, Bar Johnny, closed down. "When the restaurant sold, I wanted to do something fun and less serious so the truck seemed a good fit (but turned out to be a whole lot of hard work!)," said Robles. With the support of one of his regulars at Bar Johnny, Andrew, Robles got the truck rolling. Asked what he enjoys about the work, Robles said, "My favorite thing about working the truck is the direct interaction between myself and the customers ... I know a lot of people's names and orders, and I never had that experience behind the door of a kitchen."