Table Talk

Clintonville food truck returns to previous location

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CHRIS PARKER/THISWEEKNEWS
Carlos Gutierrez and Rob Gardner stand in front of the Yerba Buena food truck parked at 4490 Indianola Ave. Wednesday afternoon, May 22.
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By ThisWeek Community News  • 

In an age when food trucks seem to be on every corner, it seemed many people still lamented the loss of Yerba Buena.

Carlos and Carolina Gutierrez, who owned the mobile-food enterprise perennially parked in Clintonville, put Yerba Buena Latin Grill on hiatus for a year while they opened a second brick-and-mortar restaurant and welcomed a baby, Mia.

But plenty of customers noticed.

"I did get a lot of phone calls and a lot of comments on Facebook," Mrs. Gutierrez said.

Three weeks ago, Yerba Buena returned its roost at 4490 Indianola Ave., between East Beaumont and Garden roads.

"People really like our food," Mrs. Gutierrez said. "They embrace us pretty well."

The food truck specializes in casual, inexpensive Venezuelan and Colombian cuisines, including the signature dish, the arepa -- a type of sandwich using grilled cornmeal cakes to hold lettuce, pico de gallo, avocado and a choice of chicken, beef, pork or grilled vegetables.

Another specialty is the patacon, sweet deep-fried plantains with a number of garnishes and also a choice of meat or vegetables.

The menu delves into Mexican territory with quesadillas and tacos.

One option is the fish taco, batter-fried cod topped with lettuce, corn salad, avocado and a ubiquitous chipotle sauce. There also are a number of sides and salads. Prices are between $2 and $7.

Perhaps a celebrated homecoming for the owners of Yerba Buena and many of its fans, the food truck wasn't always a welcome sight in the North Columbus neighborhood.

The truck made its debut in May 2011 at the corner of Glenmont Avenue and North High Street.

But after numerous complaints to the city about the truck being parked overnight and a new landlord taking over the property, the Gutierrezes moved the truck four months later.

It was open another two months on Indianola before the Gutierrezes closed it to make way for their second restaurant, Arepazo Tapas & Wine in Gahanna, which opened in March 2012.

It followed the opening of El Arepazo, a quick-casual restaurant that opened Downtown seven years earlier.

Yerba Buena will be open warm-weather months throughout the year. It is open 3:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.

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Speaking of food trucks, mobile food purveyors Matt Heaggans and Rosa Huff are both consolidating and expanding.

Heaggans, owner of Swoop! Food Truck, and Huff, who operates Crepes A La Carte, have merged to form Swoop! Food Group Ltd.

Per the new relationship, Heaggans will focus on the culinary aspect of the business and Huff will be business manager.

Meanwhile, the new entity has launched a seasonal sandwich food cart last month called PRESS, and the North Columbus mobile food pod Sharon Square Food Arcade in February.

Swoop! is known for handmade tater tot poutine, falafel and merguez corn dogs while Crepes has an obvious focus on savory and sweet French pancakes. Future locations of PRESS, an artisan sandwich concept, will be announced soon.

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