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SANDY HOOK: TRUCK IT HERE FOR LUNCH

image-500x375-8162233David and Rose Rivera of Elizabeth have the right idea: stopping for a bit of barbecue after a bike ride at Sandy Hook. Below, a map showing food truck locations in the park. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

sh-truck-map-167x220-9167352The food concessions at Sandy Hook have remained closed since being wiped out by Hurricane Sandy. But food trucks have been filling the void, and the stomachs of park visitors.

A recent Facebook post by Gateway Nation Recreation Area touts 10 food trucks at the national park, peddling everything from brain-freezing ice-cream to “naked empanadas” at the clothing-optional Gunnison Beach, naturally.

Parking Lot D, the largest on the hook, is home to four of these trucks. PieHole stopped by to check out the menus.

image2-500x375-2673756JB Wood Fired pizza serves up an extensive menu of items and sports a real wood-fired oven in the truck. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

image1-220x165-5315810The JB Wood Fired Pizza truck was the first food truck to do business on Sandy Hook following the hurricane. This is the third summer that brothers John and Joseph Buscemi have been operating at the beach.

They’re not kidding about the wood-fired oven, either. Above a large stack of split hardwood fuels a blazing, wood-burning pizza oven.

“We figured with all the different pizza trucks on the road, we wanted to do something different and put a brick oven pizza in the truck,” says Joseph Buscemi.

The menu extends well beyond pizza to include hot dogs, pretzels and wings. But what caught PieHole’s attention was the Sun Burn Pie, with hot soppressata, hot cappicola, pepperoni, red chili flakes and Mike’s Hot Honey ($13).

Also parked at Lot D are the Empanada Guy and Hog Heaven, where PieHole caught up with a pair of cyclists stopping for a bite.

“We came down from Elizabeth to ride the bike trail and visit the food trucks. It’s becoming a regular thing for us,” says John Rivera.

“We love the empanadas from [Empanada Guy], but wanted to try something different today, so we’re going to try the barbecue [from Hog Heaven],” Rose Rivera tells PieHole.

The typical rider, of course, would have to do multiple laps on the bike trail to justify ordering from both trucks. The empanada menu covers basics like beef, chicken and chorizo ($4) as well as crab or lobster ($7) but also serves up a PieHole favorite: maduros ($5).

Hog Heaven, meanwhile is run by Richie Legotte, a pit master with 15 years experience who was tending to a large smoker loaded with eight butts and a brisket when PieHole stopped by to check out the menu.

“We do pretty much everything,” Legotte tells PieHole, “But from Memorial Day to Labor Day the pulled pork [$8 with slaw] is what’s popular, and so is the pulled pork stuffed grilled cheese on Texas toast [$7]. That’s also a big one.”

In addition to the community of trucks at Lot D, eaters can keep their eyes peeled for a roaming truck, Breaking Bread. Alternatively, the Naked Tamale lot at Gunnison Beach caters to the bare-skinned bathers who let it all hang out.

Here’s the thing about food trucks on Sandy Hook. Access to the park costs $15 per carload. As such, Lot D’s food trucks are probably not the lunch destination of choice for a solo eater looking simply to have lunch with a beach view. However, carpool up with a group for lunch, and it’s a reasonable and tasty proposition.

Of course, you could also just ride your bicycle up the peninsula, enjoy the beautiful ride and get on Sandy Hook for free.

Remember: Nothing makes a Red Bank friend happier than to hear "I saw you on Red Bank Green!"
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