New food trucks have been appearing on local roadways in the Covid-19 era for a number of reasons. They're cheaper to open than a restaurant, for one thing. They're also attractive to consumers because they typically serve their food outdoors and are ideal for takeaway dining. They're also usually affordable, a plus at a time when tens of millions of Americans are out of work.
Add Hamlet's Eatery to the growing list of new mobile food options in the area. Chef Brad Bierman and PR expert Kim Livengood launched the truck earlier this year. It sets up on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays in a courtyard at The Bazaar on Apricot & Lime, located a bit northeast of downtown Sarasota.
The name of the truck might lead you to expect Danish cuisine, but the truck instead specializes in American comfort classics. The truck's slogan is "To meat or not to meat," and the menu is indeed split between vegan options and dishes with meat or cheese. That means you can get vegan black bean sliders ($10) or jackfruit tacos ($8), or go for beef sliders ($10) or hot dogs ($9).
The menu mixes traditional preparations and more creative options. "All American" sliders, for example, feature the typical works you'd expect on a burger. For something a bit more adventurous, try the specialty "Hamlet's" sliders, in which the beef is topped with crunchy crushed pecans, sweet caramelized onions, hunks of gorgonzola and a balsamic glaze. Tasty stuff, but admittedly, the star of the platter is the French fries that come on the side. They're thicc and tender, with just the right amount of browning on the outside. Spectacular.
Meat-free sliders don't deliver the same complexity, but they are flavored with a piquant barbecue sauce. Quesadillas, meanwhile, are relatively basic, but well-prepared.
Hamlet's is open only for lunch right now, and makes for an easy pickup option if you're working from home or in a nearby office. The truck is positioned in one corner of a large courtyard, with billowing coverings overhead that provide respite from the sun and artificial grass underfoot. It's a fun, child-friendly place to linger, with beach chairs set up around a kiddie pool, oversized board games and plenty of friendly folks who all seem to know one another.
Livengood says she would eventually like to remodel an adjacent indoor space and begin offering beer and wine inside and on a covered patio area near the truck. When (or if?) the weather turns nice, I could see it becoming a pleasant place to meet up.
Hamlet's Eatery is located at The Bazaar at Apricot & Lime, 821 Apricot Ave., Sarasota, and is open 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. For more info, call (941) 445-1938 or visit the truck's website.