Back to Features

Casual, global cuisine at JBLM food trucks

Dining on base the fast way

Kai Tull, owner of The Wurst Kingdom food truck, explains how he got his start in the culinary industry. Photo credit: Christina Butcher

Email Article Print Article Share on Facebook Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon

Long hours, physically demanding work and high-stakes decision-making are regular parts of a servicemember's work day. It's no wonder, then, that something as simple as a lunch break can lighten the mood while providing a much-needed energy boost. Servicemembers at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) know all about that work-rest balance, and every day, many head straight to the Post Exchange (PX) to relax and enjoy off-the-beaten-path lunch options from an unlikely source: on-post food trucks.

Typically lined up along the front entrance of JBLM's main PX, food trucks offer global cuisine to servicemembers who are tired of standard restaurant fare. German, American BBQ, Chamorro, Filipino, Mexican and Turkish food trucks park and wait for the lunch rush each day, knowing servicemembers will appreciate their quick, no-fuss dining experience.

"I like feeding servicemembers," said Joseph Martinez, the grill master at the popular The "Man" BBQ food truck on post. "It gives me something to do. I was medically retired from the Army before I went to culinary school for two years, and now, here I am (on post) again." Martinez served eight years in the Army artillery before being medically retired at JBLM. He works under Terry Hayes, owner and head griller at The "Man" BBQ. The food truck's menu offers hearty dishes like barbeque chicken, pork ribs, beef strips and southern-inspired desserts.

"The barbecue rib tips are our specialty, along with the pudding," said Aliceson Coleman, restaurant manager and food truck assistant manager of The "Man" BBQ.

The Wurst Kingdom, another on-post favorite, offers authentic German cuisine to the lunch crowd.

"Our two main sellers are currywurst and schnitzel," explained Kai Tull, owner and chef of The Wurst Kingdom food truck. "The schnitzel is kind of considered the German national dish and it comes in a huge portion. The currywurst is the original German street food."

Tull is a native German who grew up in both Mannheim, Germany, and a small German island in the North Sea. He opened his food truck in June 2015 after his wife was stationed at JBLM.

"It was time for something new, and this was much less of a financial risk than starting a restaurant," Tull said.

The Wurst Kingdom also offers Jägerschnitzel, white and regular bratwurst sausages and rolls.

Not to be outdone by its neighbor, the nearby Turkish Kababs food truck provides a variety of meat kababs, salads and wrap options, including marinated ground beef, grilled chicken or beef and vegetarian. It also sells the infamous Turkish tzatziki sauce and traditional pita breads.

Hungry servicemembers can also head to Island Comfort Food, where they'll find homestyle cooking from Guam.

"People from Guam cook all the time, and we like to eat," said Tony Aguon, co-owner of Island Comfort Food. "Our rice and salad are one of a kind. The rice is from Guam, and you probably can't find it anywhere else."

Aguon opened Island Comfort Food with his wife, Tina Aguon, after he retired from the Air Force nine years ago as a technical sergeant. He served 20 years in the Air Force, specializing in aeronautical technologies at JBLM before retiring. The Aguons use popular Chamorro spices in most of their dishes and change their menu items daily.

"You can eat here every day for a week and never eat the same thing." he concluded.

For many servicemembers and civilians working on post, the variety Aguon spoke about keeps the lunch hour interesting. Although food trucks aren't listed on JBLM's website, they offer a casual, global dining experience otherwise not found at on-base restaurants. Food trucks will also be present at this year's Freedom Fest at JBLM, from July 3-4.

Read next close

Online Newspapers

The Wilkes expedition and JBLM on the 4th

comments powered by Disqus