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Published February 11th 2013
Step into the Wild Wild West
Recently a new casual eatery that has raced into O'Connell Street in North Adelaide caught my eye. Where Cold Rock Ice Creamery has melted away, Chuck Wagon 175 has now trotted in. It does not take much to guess what is on offer at this inconspicuous little spot.
The brains behind this new venture are duo Stefano Timpano and his fiance/ business partner Christina Baria. Having established A Mother's Milk on Unley Road, they have wisely steered away from another specialty coffee shop and come up with this new concept.
[ADVERT]Needless to say yours truly made a dash to Chuck Wagon 175 to try out their menu, especially since being a fan of American street food! Passing by the strip of cafes and restaurants that line O'Connell Street, it was a breath of fresh air to see Chuck Wagon 175 offering something a little different from its neighbours.
Parking along O'Connell Street is not as easy as it looks but the side streets do provide more parking lots, and with a bit of luck some shade as well as most of them are tree-lined. On this day Lady Luck was with me as I got my beloved automobile some protection from the strong sun along Childers Street.
A three minute stroll took me to my highly anticipated destination. With no prominent signage on this red brick facade building, I made sure that I had entered the right place instead of imposing embarrassment upon myself if I had not (believe me, this has happened before).
Upon entry we were immediately greeted by a friendly face and brought to one of the handful of tables inside. Those wishing to dine outdoors have the option of doing so with tables set outside fronting the busy street. A high chair was offered for the toddler who, like Mum, was already impatient to eat the food!
Understandably, being only three weeks old, the interior of Chuck Wagon 175 is still waiting to be dressed. Artwork propped on the wooden floorboard against the olive green walls are still waiting to be hung and displayed. A long niche against a side wall holds a range of hot sauces that will soon expand to whatever they can get a hold of. What appealed to my eye most was the beautiful counter that evoked images of Spain (for me, at least, Spain being one of my dream holiday destination).
With Texan chef Jason Telfer heading the kitchen, the food is bound to be authentic. As can be expected of street foods with an American influence, fried items feature prominently on the menu; think onion rings, chilli cheese fries and fried pickle. Hot dogs, being an American invention, have not been forgotten either. Personal touches can be seen in items like deep fried mozarella cheese with mamma's traditional napoletana sauce, a direct reflection of Stefano's Italian heritage.
Buffalo Wild Wings came as deep fried wingettes tossed in Frank's hot sauce. Traditional sticks of celery came on the side with the option of blue cheese or ranch dressing. For those preferring to avoid the mess and fidgeting with bones, a boneless option is available for an extra $2. However I always prefer my poultry with bones - not only is the meat tastier but the fingers after that are lickin good as well. Though not overly hot they certainly delivered punch with tang as evident by the wide eyed and opened mouthed look displayed on my youngster's face on first taste of a tiny morsel. I was recommended by the staff to try the buffalo wings but I must say they lack lustre and somehow needed some improvement.
If first appearances were to be judged then the Portobello Chips would not be given a second glance. Luckily taste does all the talking and the deep fried strips of portobello mushroom were delicious. Double coated in Chuck Wagon's signature seasoning, they reminded me of tempura vegetable. First bite was a crunch followed by a silky smoothness of a good portobello mushroom. This starter has to be eaten hot otherwise just forget my previous sentence.
By far the item that had me in high heaven was their burger. Six different burgers were on the menu: three of them beef and the rest chicken, portobello or slow roasted pulled pork. The Green Machine with 100% pure ground chuck, avocado, bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion, garlic aioli and provolone cheese was my burger choice. The hand rolled chuck mince was cooked medium just the way I like my red meat. The seasoning used in the meat was indeed special delivering lots of flavour. Together with all the other ingredients in a soft toasted bun similar to ones found in Bread Top, it was a burger that could easily rank as Adelaide's best burger.
The Green Machine Burger - $12 (add provolone cheese $1.50)
A great place to dine in or takeaway, the menu is only a sample of things to come. With consent for liquor license still pending, local cider and sangria will soon partner up with American sodas already on the menu. Burger challenges are also on the way. Watch their space.
Chuck Wagon 175 is delivering a new dining experience to the Adelaide community. Street food is a culinary gem and is the in thing at the moment. Just look at Fork on the Road and you will know what I mean. With the addition of Chuck Wagon 175 our choices are limitless. Combining great food with a little good old fashioned service is a sure winner and this will fast propel Chuck Wagon 175 to being the popular new kid on the block.
Enjoyable reading, Yin-Yin!
It seems that American street food is growing in popularity in Adelaide, and the somewhat unfortunately named Chuck Wagon will clearly give places like New York Dreams American Diner a run for their money.
Lovely clear photos as always.
Yummy yummy. I had an early morning breakfast of lots of peanuts coated in chocolate (enough to make me feel a little sick) and had fries from Frit Flagey in Brussels yesterday, and had vowed to have a day of somewhat healthy eating, but we're going to a sports bar tonight to watch the football and I dunno if I'm going to be able to resist having a burger after seeing your lovely photo... my cholesterol levels will sky-rocket.
If you're looking for delicious, spicy buffalo wings head to TGI Fridays at Marion. Unfortunately mine came out far too crispy, plus the fit-out seemed like a discarded TV show set. Not all that impressed.