Seattle’s start-up-y food truck scene will never match Portland’s for its dilapidated, holy shit that’s delicious but that “truck” ain’t going anywhere delights. But every now and then, a van parks, a big converted truck rumbles into place, or a trailer gets dropped along a Capitol Hill curb and offers up something special.
“Papa Bois adds some diversity to what is available up there,” Hsiao Chi tells CHS about the new addition to Pike/Pine’s late night street food scene that is just settling in for a year-long tour of duty at Harvard and Pike.
Chi and business partner chef Trey Lamont secured a coveted Capitol Hill permit and have braved the noshing masses in the middle of Pike/Pine’s sometimes insanely bustling nighttime crowds. They both met back in the day working the club economy — Chi promoting, Lamont working security at the old War Room — so they can also take care of themselves when things get too nuts.
Trinidadian Lamont and Taiwanese Chi teamed up on the food truck venture in 2012. Their dry rub, jerk chicken sandwich — The Jerk — is the specialty. Plates and treats like pistachio rice and fried plantains are also on order.
Chi says the first night for Papa Bois on the Hill was a good example of the challenges faced by street food entrepreneurs in the big city. On their first night on Harvard, Chi said both the fire marshal and the health inspector decided to pay a visit just as the first customers were lining up. But the street business along with catering gigs continue to be profitable and the hope is eventually to find a fixed-place home for Papa Bois — hopefully not too far from their roots.
“We’re looking for a brick and mortar,” Chi said. “Before we grow, let’s make sure we don’t lose a part of ourselves.”
You can find Papa Bois on Capitol Hill Friday and Saturday nights 11 PM to 2 AM on Harvard at Pike until fall of 2017. Learn more at papaboisfood.com.