If you've seen the dark red truck with a yellow band dotted with animal and food graphics around town, you're not alone. I spotted the Hash Browns & News Grounds truck driving downtown and had been trying for quite some time to track it down and enjoy some of its delicacies.
Cody Thrasher, the owner of HB&NG, is from Bridgeport (where he sometimes takes the truck for the farmers market). He has a passion for showing folks both classic and new food - all with a creative touch (and fresh, local food!). The "Hash Brown" part of the name is something that is familiar to people and not easy to mess up, he said. The "New Grounds" part of the name is representative of how he wants to show folks something new and different. A friend of his designed the truck for him (which is rad). And he is currently searching the area for places to park and dish out watermelon salads, macaroni and cheese, and chicken on a stick.
For now, a good place to spot him is at Campus Evolution Villages (formerly The District) from about 5:30 to 8ish p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. He is getting better about posting where he'll be in advance on his Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Check those out for the menu each day and some foodporn, too.
I've gone twice now: The first time was pretty busy, and he ended up running out of some items. So a second visit was in order. And - disclaimer - because of that, my second visit was free. OK. Prepare your tastebuds.
Chicken on a stick - Also a basic item; it's literally a piece of chicken on a stick, but still tasty. A little sweet, a little tangy. But all good.
French fry hash - A basic item that those who are a little hesitant to step outside of their comfort zone. This is a good starting point. Some super tasty potatoes drizzled with Sriracha and just a bit of cheese.
And my second visit just knocked it out of the park.
H20Melon salad (feta, mint oil, balsamic reduction, black hawaiian sea sat) - I truly don't know who is interested in ordering a watermelon salad from a food truck. But everyone should be. The presentation was beautiful, despite what is pictured above. The car ride did a number on it. The drizzles were perfect, and how cute are the square chunks of watermelon? Luckily, the flavor was impeccable. Fresh, juicy, sweet watermelon with salty feta cheese and some mint flavor in the background. I mean, I know you probably don't believe me, but this is REALLY good. Just try it. It's so fresh and crisp, but satisfying. Just awesome.
Jalapeno gnocchi mac & cheese (with grilled pepperoni and a panko topping) - My absolute favorite. I don't know the last time I had something this good. Let alone from a food truck. The gnocchi was incredible, the sauce just delicious, the drizzle of spice, with a bit of crunch from the grilled pepperoni. You're doing yourself a great disservice if you don't try this. Probably the best dish to grace Morgantown in 2014.
The flavor combinations are bangin'. I love the stark contrast between something sweet and something salty. What's kind of incredible is there is some creative thought put into these dishes, as well as the presentation. It's like a mini piece of art.
Plus Cody seems like a stand-up dude. He cares about what he's serving - which is clear through his service to his customers as well as the thought he puts into his dishes.
Get out, support Morgantown's only food truck operation, and even see if he can come to a place near you. You won't regret it.