The food truck revolution has started hitting Cincinnati’s roads. The Loveland-based Bones’ Burgers wants to fill a niche with their grass-fed beef burgers that supposedly tastes much better (and cost more) than grain-fed beef.
Curtis Bonekemper, a.k.a. Bones, serves the lunch crowd in Blue Ash and Mason office parks on weekdays and situates his green and brown chuck wagon at Ault Park and Animations bar on weekend nights.
The mood: After a busy night of Fountain Square festivities, some bon vivant friends and I headed to Oakley to wait for the arrival of Bones. We quaffed some beer at nearby Habits and then meandered over to the truck parked in front of Animations. Possibly too early for bargoers, only a trickle of young imbibers waited in line for some juicy vittles.
Bones said he created the truck as a healthier alternative to typical burgers and uses local produce, bread and cheeses as much as possible. Since permits are high to park the truck downtown, he’s decided to keep the truck around the ‘burbs for now.
The food: A dry erase board listed the daily offerings: 1/4 pound and 1/3 pound Angus burgers, a turkey burger, a Veg-Head veggie burger, Burgers of the Day and a grilled cheese sandwich. Missing was their salmon burger, which I was a little disappointed not to see on the menu.
Adam ordered one of the three specialty burgers, The Heater ($8), a quarter-pounder with spicy peppers, grilled onions, habanero cheese and crowned with a buttery and slightly singed Klosterman bun. Free toppings included veggies like lettuce, pickles and tomatoes. For $1 extra, you can get toppings like grilled mushrooms, avocado, bacon or fried egg; and for a $1.75, you can get premium cheeses.
I chose the grilled cheese ($4.50) that came with three basic cheeses, so I picked blue, pepper jack and Swiss, and then ordered pickles, tomatoes and brown mustard layered between wheat bread.
We threw in an order of their parmesan fries sprinkled with sea salt and black pepper, and our friends tried the five-spiced sweet potato fries. Unfortunately, no one had room for ice cream sandwiches and cookies, but I bet they were delicious.
We paid using Bones’ iPad, and since everything’s cooked on the truck from scratch, we had to wait for a few minutes.
We grabbed our greasy, paper bags and booked it back to Habits for a late-night snack and another round of drinks. My grilled cheese oozed with creaminess and the mustard added a slight kick. I asked Adam if he could tell the difference between grass-fed and grain-fed beef and he replied he couldn’t, but it indeed was a good burger, albeit not very spicy.
Others in the group enjoyed their burgers but mentioned they liked Café de Wheels’ burgers more. Adam and I ate all of our fries but the sweet potato fries were left behind. The consensus was the cumin in the sweet potato didn’t work; I dislike sweet potatoes, but I thought the fries tasted okay.
The drinks: Beer was our beverage of choice but Bones offered Coke products, IBC Root Beer and cream soda.
The verdict: Whether it’s the middle of the day or late night, try to track down the chuck wagon. Bones’ custom-made food is tasty, and eating happier grass-fed cows is better than the alternative.