The Food Biz: Philly flavor

Songwriting duo bringing another food truck concept to Nashville. Also: A new name for Village eatery [From our print edition featured in Monday’s City Paper]

The invasion of the food truck armada has brought Nashville something that East Coast émigrés crave: high-quality Philadelphia cheesesteaks.

The owners of Labor of Love Mobile Food know their cheesesteaks well. Jennifer Zungolo and Christopher Eddis are Philly-area natives who met while getting music industry degrees at Drexel University. When they moved to Nashville as songwriters, they discovered it was hard to find cheesesteaks to meet their standards.

Since they’re both also restaurant veterans, they decided to cook up their own. They use high-quality ingredients like USDA choice top sirloin and bring in the requisite Italian-style hoagie rolls from Amoroso’s, the 106-year-old bakery in Philadelphia.

Other than the rolls, Zungalo says they do pretty much everything from scratch. That goes for the other things on the menu as well, including the meatball sub: They grind the same top sirloin they use in the steaks, adding basil and breadcrumbs and rolling the meatballs by hand. For customers who don’t want beef, they offer a tuna hoagie made with albacore.

The concept of the “authentic Philly cheesesteak” is laced with controversy, with much dispute over the toppings. Zungalo and Eddis are partial to the ever-popular Provolone, but they also grudgingly offer American cheese. They eschew a topping that some true believers claim is obligatory: Cheez Whiz.

“We’re trying to make this as healthy as possible,” Zungalo says, referring to the lean beef and fresh ingredients. “We just couldn’t serve the Whiz.”

(In their defense, Zungalo says that Philly’s venerable Jim’s Steaks doesn’t offer Cheez Whiz either.)

A 6-inch cheesesteak is $4 and the 12-inch is $7, with grilled fresh mushrooms and green peppers and adding an extra 50 cents each.

As suits Nashville’s warming weather, they also sell Italian water ices that they make themselves with fresh fruit juices. Last week’s flavor was lime, and this week they plan to try two new ones: pineapple and mango.

Eventually, Zungalo and Eddis want to take the truck out to various neighborhoods, but right now they’re doing a standing gig from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday through Friday in the United Methodist Publishing House parking lot at Eighth Avenue and Clark Street downtown.

You can find info Labor of Love Mobile Food on Facebook; they also take phone orders at 397-5396.

Bombasha-bound

Back in February, we told you about a new Brazilian steakhouse in the works for Hillsboro Village. Since then, they’ve changed the name.

Since the original name “Rodizio” is associated with a different restaurant chain, the husband-and-wife team of Airton and Christy Rodrigues decided to give their place a more unique moniker: Bombasha Grill.

It’s derived from the word “bombacha,” which refers to the wide pants that gauchos wear tucked into boots as they ride the range. (“Bombasha” is closer to how it’s pronounced in Brazil.)

The restaurant concept hasn’t changed, though. Various cuts of grilled meat are prepared by cook-servers in gaucho attire who carry the meat on sword-like skewers and keep bringing helpings until diners are full.

As is usual with the concept, they will have a large salad bar. They also plan to serve a changing menu of Brazilian sides like plantains, rice-and-beans, and yuca.

The restaurant is in the former Trace space at 2000 Belcourt in Hillsboro Village. The Rodrigueses hope to have a soft opening later this week.