The Truck: Pinky's Kitchen, located on 210 NE 45th Street
The Fare: BBQ and comfort food
The Stop: When one of the most talented chefs in town tells me to eat at Pinky's Kitchen, it is clear this truck is onto something.
In this case, it is Dustin Ronspies, chef/owner of Art of the Table. Over a glass of wine and thin slices of mortadella, he instructs me to check out a six-month-old BBQ truck in Wallingford that has a permanent spot across the street from the beloved Rancho Bravo, kitty corner to Dick's frat-boy feedlot.Equipped with its own onboard smoker, Pinky's is a joint venture between Andrew Bray, former proprietor of Bizarro, and Freddy Rivas, one of the owners of Rancho Bravo.
As I approach the window, 10 college-aged guys clad in basketball shorts and hoodies sitting in Pinky's covered seating area confidently instruct me to get the brisket. Apparently, they stumbled upon Pinky's one day when they were looking for a budget friendly yet satisfying alternative to the long lines at Dick's. They haven't been back to Dick's since.
After selecting my meat, the next step is deciding between six equally compelling sauces. Jen behind the counter asserts, "Go with a combo between the honey tamarind and the horseradish sauce." For an additional 35 cents each, she also recommends slapping on shoestring onions and cabbage.
The beef packs huge flavor, paired with the crispy onions, ruffage and sauces. All sliders are reasonably priced at $3.15, just 45 cents more than a skinny Deluxe burger at Dick's.
If pork is calling you, try a Sloppy Joe with American cheese or a pulled pork slider. The Sloppy Joe is classic American, but the pork slider is an up-market standout. Instead of the usual pork shreds, this pulled piggie is loaded with slabs of meat smoked just right.
All of the puffy buns are buttered and toasted on the grill, providing a nice crisp layer between the meat and bread.
Pair your slider with a humongo bag of $1.85 made-to-order potato chips served in a white bag to make sure you see how much greasy goodness they can pack into each chip.
For $3, the potato salad yields generous portions of thick chunks pleasantly seasoned with dill and mustard, but for an extra 15 cents, slap your George Washingtons down on a slider instead.
So the next time you see a line at Dicks, don't forget about Pinky's across the street.
Bonus: Open late night, credit card-friendly, and the covered tent is equipped with speakers to kick out the jams.
• This summer, Pinky's will be adding another smoker to make full-on baby back ribs.