Mean or Lean: Food Truck style

In brick and mortar establishments, it’s easier to reach a culinary compromise: menus have greater depth and more options. Stepping up to the window of a food truck, with the smaller prep and cooking areas and more limited menus, it’s usually all or nothing on the “hedonism or health” front. No two new food trucks embody the fat or fit death match as much as…


Melty Crüe  @MeltyCrue

Throw up the metal horns and tuck a napkin in your shirt because Melty Crüe is here to rock the grilled cheese. A delicious devil’s playground of hair bands and dairy gone wild, Melty Crüe hit the streets this spring and can be found tooling around Columbus at various sites and festivals throughout the season.

Completing the food truck triumvirate of Hungry Monkey and Junior’s Tacos, Melty Crüe is the creation of Neil Hertenstein, Carlos Pasillias, and Jason Davis.

“Hair bands are close to my heart,” said Hertenstein. “And grilled cheese is just a cool thing – everyone loves a grilled cheese. Well, unless you’re lactose intolerant – but you still probably love cheese.”

The favorite of the owners, as well as the cheese heads in the crowd, is the Primal Rueben, a cheesy riff on the deli classic. Layered with seven slices of cheese, a combo of Swiss, mozzarella, provolone, and Muenster, that is torched over a heap of shaved corned beef, a lick of sauerkraut, and a slather of Sriracha mayo, the Primal is squeezed between two slices of rye.

“I’ll put our Rueben against any in the city,” boasted Hertenstein, crossing his Melty Crüe logo-inked arm over the other for emphasis. The secret, he divulges, is that the Sriracha mayo is grilled into the bread. “It keeps the flavor inside the bread,” explained Passillias. “Grilling the mayo on the bread takes a step away, which is important on food trucks, and it makes the sandwich not so messy.”


Kinetic  @kineticfood

While Hertenstein is off head banging at every Motley Crüe show in the state, Kinetic co-founder Andy O’Brien is preparing for Pelotonia.

Kinetic is the mobile menu of choice for those who want their health food with a shazam of flavor. Best friends since fourth grade, O’Brien and Andrew Tuchow launched their food dream last month and are dedicated to being a healthy beacon on the food truck highway.

“The truck is named Kendra,” smiled Tuchow, nodding towards the bright orange-kissed auto, “after our first customer in Oxford.” At this moment, Kendra is parked by the McConnell Heart Health Center.  A nurse in blue scrubs ambles up and Tuchow greets her by name. In a moment, an ultra-fit trainer-lookin’ guy jogs over and buys three more cookies.

“They’re not for me,” he protested. “Everyone in the office was asking me ‘where’d you get that?’ so they sent me over for more.”


“When I was training for Pelotonia,” said O’Brien. “I needed something for energy that was dense and healthy, so I started working on a recipe.” The Kinetic cookie has its foundation in whole-wheat flour and tahini, with dark chocolate chips used for the antioxidant properties. “And there is a little butter,” he revealed. “You need fats, too.”

Both O’Brien and Tuchow are invested in leading a healthy lifestyle and are excited about providing that option, with a side of sustainable practices, to the community. “Columbus is ready for this,” rooted Tuchow. “I’m biased of course, but Columbus is an up-and-coming progressive city and it hasn’t peaked yet. There are a lot of people here living the fit lifestyle.”

Moving up the menu with a bullet is the Paleo Power, a meal of steak, beets, blueberries, pepitas, sweet potato, all drizzled with a blue-potle BBQ sauce, and served on top of colorful strips of veggie noodles.

Kinetic also specializes in smoothies, its most popular being the Jolt. The energizing blend of lemon, strawberry, raspberry, and banana will have you tying on your running shoes in no time. •