I truly enjoy the East Tennessee tradition of front porch “visiting” with your neighbors. Proper Tennessee-style visiting uses porch swings, sweet tea served in a Mason jar, and genial conversation.
Well, the “Interesting Times” have put porch visiting on hold for the present. Attempts to forestall my resulting cabin fever as left me facing a Tennessee summer without the cooling benefits of porch, sweet tea or conversation, genial or not.
My dining partner, bless her, has come up with a workaround for my situation, involving the two of us and our car, and driving over to get our supper from the Alley Kat food truck.
Local residents may recall the Alley Kat when it was a brick & mortar sandwich shop on West Walnut Street, the favorite of college students, young professionals and Tree Street residents. In its current version, Alley Kat has swapped bricks for wheels and joined the food truck revolution.
The Alley Kat food truck is currently located in the parking lot of the JRH Brewing Company on West Walnut Street in Johnson City. This bastion of sandwich yumminess is about twelve foot by seven foot by seven foot, giving the three cooks inside just enough room to swing a spatula around. There’s an order window and a menu located on the starboard side. Please be careful and watch your step near the rear (employee) entrance as there are power and water hookups running across the pavement that could trip you up.
Chicken Cordon Bleu wrap with waffle fries
As my dining partner and I approached the Alley Kat food truck, you could see the afternoon summertime heat shimmering off JRH Brewing’s asphalt parking lot.
We both talked for a moment with the very friendly Logan who was running the window. Logan recommended I try the Chicken Cordon Bleu sandwich, a delicious mixture of white meat chicken, smoked ham and Swiss cheese on a French baguette. The large size looked to be too much for lil’ ol’ me, and I said so. Logan suggested that I have it wrapped up in a 12-inch flour tortilla, ($8.50) and that’s what I ordered.
Because side orders are a la carte, an order of Alley Kat’s excellent waffle fries added an extra four dollars to the cost of my meal. Be sure you get them with low salt so you can taste all the extra spices that are there. As a wrap, my Chicken Cordon Bleu was well-made, with a light mix of green bell peppers and sweet Vidalia onions adding to the overall flavor and texture. I was satisfied eating just half of my supper, meaning I would have a well-made, tasty lunchtime meal waiting for me in the fridge the next day.
Large Philly Steak with cheese & extra mushrooms
My dining partner, having frequented Alley Kat back in its brick & mortar days on West Walnut Street, was familiar with their menu. Though she was a big fan of Alley Kat’s wings from way back, my dining partner told me it was too hot a day for wings and ordered a large Steak Philly sandwich with cheese and grilled mushrooms added ($12.25).
Logan and the team outdid themselves with my dining partner’s order, preparing her version of the “Alley Kat Way” with coarsely chopped and grilled 100% beef, some tangy, pungent provolone cheese, diced sweet onions, sautéed mushrooms instead of the green bell peppers and all loaded into a fourteen- inch-long, crackling fresh French baguette. Apparently another victim of Eyes-Bigger-Than- Stomach Syndrome, my dining partner could only finish half of her supper. I consoled her, saying that this way we’d both have a yummy lunch to enjoy on the morrow.
The bottom line
When you visit the Alley Kat food truck, you will discover a group of hard-working cooks who are very adept at creating some of the most mouthwatering sandwiches, wings and sides in town, and doing so to your specifications and satisfaction. I do not know how long Logan & the Alley Kat food truck team will be serving a grateful public from their location on Johnson City’s West Walnut Street. I suggest you give them a visit as soon as possible.