Living Local: Walnut Wednesdays in Cleveland

by Keith Kanderski


Cleveland, Walnut Wednesday – May 6th

The passageway to summer in downtown Cleveland starts with Walnut Wednesdays, on the corner of East 12th and Walnut. This event is a gathering of food trucks and typically includes performances by local musicians. It will happen each and every Wednesday from May 6th – September 30th from 11am – 1:30pm. The goal is to patronize a different truck each week.

Cleveland, food trucks
So many choices. . .

The hazy, fog-filled morning started to give way, and the sun peaked through the clouds as the first Walnut Wednesday was getting under way. I got there early (5 – 10 minutes after service began). The lines were not unbearable, but there were a good number of people already.

River Dog CafeTruck: River Dog Cafe

The menu consists of dogs and sandwiches, with sides of tots (regular or Cajun) or chips. They also provide Coca-Cola products to drink. Their claim is that they have the best dogs in Cleveland. To be honest, my hot dog eating is usually confined to a baseball game and the occasional trek to Happy Dog. With Happy Dog, I love their veggie dog, and you get to choose your toppings, so they are very difficult to beat.

I knew they had a good menu when I kept changing my mind. With my first pass, I was comparing the other trucks’ options against the Brisket on a Roll. As I waited in line, I thought, with the name of the truck being dog-centric, I’m going to get a hot dog instead, so I decided on the Adam Bomb. As I walked up to the window, I found myself ordering the Rock Out Dog instead, with regular tots and a Diet Coke.

Starting with the tots, they were regular tots. Nothing too special. However, many times, I feel sick after River Dog Menueating tots because of the oil or whatever. I did not feel sick after eating these, which is a good thing. They were light and perfect. The dog was…oh man…it was great. I will have to put a River Dog and Happy Dog side-by-side to compare, or I can cop out and say River Dog is the best meat dog and Happy Dog is the best veggie dog. This was a great combination, especially when biting into that creamy avocado. Also, doing dogs out of a food truck seems like a no-brainer. I’m shocked that I don’t remember seeing a mostly hot dog truck before (unless they don’t want to compete with the street vendors). The only suggestion I would make is having individual napkins available, instead of just that small napkin that comes with the plastic utensils. The aioli was a bit drippy, and an extra napkin would’ve been appreciated.

If you can’t find the truck, River Dog Café has a brick and mortar location in Rocky River on Detroit Road. Conveniently located in the plaza next to the Rocky River Mitchell’s Ice Cream.

Which trucks will be there next week? What will be on their menus? Which one will I try? Tune in next week. Same truck time. Same truck channel.




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