If you want some food truck goodness downtown and can’t wait for the Great Food Truck Debate to get resolved, head into the Tap House — a brick-and-mortar establishment with a new food truck-inspired menu.
“For years, our customers have been asking us, ‘Where can we get a good burger?’ or ‘Who has a great pork sandwich?'” said Christine Stahl, co-owner of the Tap House. “We’ve been making notes on what people have been asking for and created this menu with a street eats theme in the hopes of meeting everyone’s needs.”
Stahl says co-owner Natalie Victoria’s aunt helped create the tex-mex dishes, but the rest have been a fun collaborative effort between Stahl, Victoria and the rest of the kitchen staff.
The menu itself is diverse and, actually, quite a funny read. With lighter appetizers under a “First Date Food” theme and more substantial fare under “Married Food,” as well as a tex-mex section called “South of the Border (Not Iowa),” you can chuckle and order either whatever sounds good or the dish with the most creative name.
Stahl says the most popular dish so far is definitely the bad-ass burger, which is fresh, hand-pattied ground beef paired with sharp cheddar, bacon and onion rings on a brioche bun. Other highlights include the “Curd is the Word” cheese curds, which are hand dipped in the Tap House’s homemade craft beer batter after you order them for the freshest-tasting curds money can buy.
While you’re there, you also should try the ceviche, which is made fresh in-house, as well as the booty rolls (house-made every week), the barbeque pulled pork sandwich with Cajun sauce and spiced pickle slaw, and finally, definitely order anything with chips. The chips are fried when each order is placed and served up hot and salty.
The street tacos and dessert menu round out the menu — where everyone can find a perfect accompaniment to the craft beer they’ll try next.
As for timing, Stahl says she and Victoria have wanted to offer a food menu since they purchased the building a few years back but had to wait until more space opened up — including a full kitchen.
“We knew from the beginning that we’d need more food and more space,” says Stahl. “The fact that our menu launched around the same time as the new patio, as well as Thursdays on First and everything else — that was not planned,” she laughs. Inevitable delays led to all the exciting things at once, but Tap House ownership and staff have taken it in stride.
“We’ve steadily been getting busier, and now, people have been coming to try out the food, which is great,” says Stahl.
So head down and try out the Orkpay Andwichsay and let me know what ouyay inkthay.
Speaking of new food…
Since it opened in January 2015, I’ve been waiting and watching for Cafe Steam to serve up some food so I could write something about one of my favorite writing spots in town.
And hallelujah, my prayers have been answered.
Cafe Steam recently teamed up with Top Tier Delights, which is headed up by Dawn Hodapp and part of the Powers Venture family of brands. Top Tier is now delivering fresh pastries to the cafe daily, including biscotti, croissants, cookies, and other pastries. If you’re craving something savory, you won’t have to wait long — plans are to add soup and savory croissants in the future, as well as Mama Meg’s ice cream.
If all this goodness is coming to the place that can talk me into trying — and enjoying — a full cup of tea (while acknowledging that yes, to a coffee drinker it does ‘taste weird,), I’m just giving fair warning to the baristas and other lovely patrons of the cafe: Once I sit down with my pastry, my coffee (or tea!) and laptop, you might not be able to ever get rid of me.