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A Tale of Two Trailers: Slabadabado BBQ and My Snappy Wagon; The Street Food Phenomenon

Posted by CMH Gourmand on August 17, 2010

Street food has exploded in Columbus this year. To recognize, catalog and spread the gospel of these tasty trailers and carts the usual suspects from TacoTrucksColumbus have created Street Eats Columbus. I have included two recent discoveries below as a sample of what you can expect to read about.

So what is the deal with these mobile food vendors? Is this hipster culture trying to make it’s mark in the capital city or gringos trying to catch up with Taco Trucks? No. Mobile vending has been a part of our national culture since the 1800’s and mobile food has been a pathway from small business to mainstream success for decades. Twentieth century immigrants to America used hot dog carts as their ticket into the world of business ownership instead of wage slavery. In our current economy, the advantages of low overhead and minimal start up costs paired with the ability to move to more profitable locations when needed can mean the difference between success and failure. These businesses are on our radar now because going the brick and mortar route is not a viable path for most start-up business people in the current market so they are putting their ideas on wheels instead of in a strip mall. People are going to the past to find something that can be profitable in the present. This is just a smaller package for the American dream, on wheels. I will be writing frequently about the mobile food trade in the next year and may have a suprise for you in the spring……..

904 South Sunbury Road
Near North Road and Hoover Dam
Located in between Classic Pizza and Old Dutchman Bait and Tackle
(Open April to October, catering the rest of the year)
Slabadabado on the web

Wednesday and Thursday
Friday and Saturday

Finding good BBQ in Columbus can feel a bit like the quest for for the holy grail. More often than not, the best BBQ is found on a cafe de wheels with a smoker in use or nearby. The second I pulled into smelling range of Slabadabado I knew I made a good decision.

The trailer has a small menu which focuses on the basics. Brisket and pulled pork sandwiches and ribs. The sides include classic BBQ sidekicks: baked beans, green beans, Collard Greens, Mac & Cheese, Cole slaw and French Fries. You can get a fish sandwich and chicken fingers as well.

The crew at Slabadabado know their ‘cue with years of experience behind smokers and grills. They cater on the off season. In my experience the best food comes from cooks with nicknames and Slabadabado delivers here too. Uncle Fred is proud of his fair and his fresh made sauces. Fred has four sauces to choose from – mild, spicy, mixed and Frank’s (which seems to have a strongs Frank’s Hot Sauce flavor and aroma to it).

Both sandwiches and all of the sides have been sampled. The buns are fresh and lightly steamed kaiser rolls which serve as a great base for BBQ and sauce. The Brisket is perfectly cooked with just enough fat for flavor bit no so much to be greasy. The pulled pork was close to award winning as well. All of the sides were pleasing to the palate. The baked beans get some extra points for having big chunks of bacon and a mix of beans (Kidney, red and black?). All in all you can have a great meal for $10 or less. There are a few tables at the bait store where you can sits down to eat if needed or your can motor up to Hoover Dam and eat by the water. This BBQ is worth the drive.

Another item of note, to the point of being very notworthy, this mobile vendor takes credit cards (Visa, Mastercard and Discover).

Parking lot of Columbus Gold – 5411 Bethel / Sawmill Center

Thursday, Friday and Saturday 9 PM to 2:00 AMish…maybe later depends on business at Columbus Gold

Something about Street Food and Strip Clubs seems like a good fit. Maybe it is the availability of $1 bills for change. Regardless on where you land on that statement, I think a thanks is deserved to Columbus Gold Gentleman’s Club for giving a new businessman a chance.

Raafat is the proud owner of My Snappy Wagon. It is called Snappy because service is quick. Raafat is of Egyptian roots with sidetrips in other countries and states before he landed in Columbus. He has years of restaurant experience. While working for others he has always dreamed of having his own business. In early July 2010, he opened his cart to the world.

His menu is diverse as his background: subs, Gyros, hot dogs, Chicken Tacos, Hamburgers, salad and a few fried sides – okra, jalapeno peppers, onion rings and fries. Snappy Wagon is a one man show with Raafat grilling away. His signature item is Snappy Fries: a plate of crisp, golden fries with ketchup, BBQ Sauce, malt vinegar and gyro/Snappy sauce. This is the perfect late night snack combining grease, carbs and a variety of flavors to wake up your taste buds. Raafat makes the snappy sauce himself so the ingredients are a trade secret.

Another signature item is his Philly Steak Sub. Any east coaster would look sideways and snort at the sight of this sub and proclaim it is not a true Philly sub, but if one thinks of Philly as a huge horse of a sandwich instead of Philly the city then this title is accurate. The sub is big, smells great, looks great and has plenty of steak heaped on it with lettuce, tomato, grilled green peppers and onions, mushrooms, cheese and gyro/snappy sauce. The photo below does not do the sandwich justice but the security guard at Columbus Gold swears by it and so does one of the customers standing in line with me who reports having had four or five of these to date.

Raafat is very proud of his food and his chance for a piece of the American dream. If you are out late at night in Northwest Columbus, drop in to see him for a sub and Snappy Fries. If you do not have a bunch of singles or need the cash for something else have no fear, My Snappy Wagon takes credit cards.

Raafat also knows a bit about presentation. For each foil wrapped treat he creates a bit of street art by forming one end as either swan or scorpion tail, I am not sure which but it does look nice.

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