Story by Bethia Woolf // Photos by Jodi Miller
There's no false advertising here--Tatoheads is all about the spuds.
The potato-centric food truck, started in the summer of 2011, is the brainchild of Dan McCarthy, who moved here from Chicago with his OSU grad student girlfriend.
McCarthy's focus on all things potato was inspired by his Irish roots, and a big part of the fun here is in how he uses them as a springboard for exploring flavors from around the world.
Prior to opening, McCarthy spent a long time researching and perfecting his french fries, which provide the foundation for many of his menu offerings.
He says the secrets are finding the proper cooking time and keeping the frying oil clean. Whatever it is, the results speak for themselves--big piles of crisp, well-salted fries topped with all kinds of sauces and seasonings.
Where and when:
As McCarthy says, "this truck has wheels," and he keeps it on the move. Tatoheads pops up all around town, so it's best to keep track of the truck on Facebook or Twitter. They do have a few regular late-night bar gigs (you might find them outside Dick's Den, Skully's or St. James Tavern), and often set up at festivals and outside corporate office buildings at lunchtime.
What to get:
Staples here are french fries, sweet potato fries and tater tots. Order them as-is, or use them as the base for a "loaded combo."
Among the most popular combinations: Poutine, topped with made-from-scratch beef gravy and fresh local Laurel Valley Creamery cheese curds; Chorizo Cheese, with mozzarella and Tatoheads sauce; Italian Sausage, with mozzarella, green peppers, onions and a marinara-esque red pepper- cilantro ketchup; and the vegetarian Middle Eastern, with a smoky paprika hummus, cucumber sauce, sriracha, tomato and parsley.
Beyond that, you can embark on a choose-your-own adventure by building your own loaded combo from the wide variety of sauces, seasonings and toppings.
Tatoheads has other potato-inspired dishes, too, including soups (try the Loaded Baked Potato), hoagie-style sandwiches and paninis. McCarthy makes all of the breads (potato-based, of course) from scratch.
Yep, he's full of creative ideas, and it's not unusual for him to try out new recipes on any given day. Watch for specials such as Burgundy Braised Beef Stew or Chicken Andouille Stew to add some heft to your fries.
Don't forget to try:
The dipping sauces. Start with the Tatoheads signature sauce on regular fries--it's an orange-hued ranch dressing-like sauce with a little kick, reminiscent of Mikey's Slut Sauce. Then move on to the curry sauce paired with sweet potato fries.
Bethia Woolf, owner of Columbus Food Adventures, blogs at streeteatscolumbus.com