By Liz Biro | Indy Star
You love Scratch on wheels. Now, Indy’s most famous food truck is rolling toward a permanent location, starting with a pop-up restaurant operating at least until late spring in Irvington.
Sit down to all the bacon marmalade you want slathered on the legendary Scratch burger 5 to 9 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday at 130 S. Audubon Road, just off Irvington’s main Washington Street drag. Don’t forget the poutine. They’re fries tossed in homemade chicken gravy, mozzarella curds and fresh herbs on top (small, $3.50; large, $7).
Get what Scratch founder Matt Kornmeyer bills “modern comfort food” in a racy red, café-style space matching the Scratch truck color scheme. Order at the counter then scan the cool little signs and photos that decorate the place. One reads “Friends don’t let friends twerk.”
The pop-up seats 35 people, and is the first step toward a permanent Scratch restaurant that would ideally open as soon as the pop-up ends its run, Kornmeyer said.
“The whole thing when I started the food truck was build the brand. First five years: build the brand to get to this point, and we’ll be five years in May,” he said. “It’s time to do something or go down the road and do something else.”
Where Scratch the permanent restaurant lands remains to be seen. Kornmeyer likes Irvington, Herron-Morton and Fall Creek place. The pop-up is in a Victorian-styled, three-unit building on Pennsy Trail. ExactTarget co-founder Chris Baggott owns the building. He plans to fill it this spring and summer with a gastropub, a small local-foods grocery and a second location of his popular Greenfield drive-in The Mug, which in Irvington would have outdoor seating rather than car service.
Meantime, Kornmeyer pumps out a dozen or so Scratch favorites at the pop-up. That Scratch burger earned a loyal following due to its one-third-pound custom blend of chuck, brisket and skirt steak garnished with gorgonzola, fresh arugula and Kornmeyer’s own bacon marmalade ($9.25).
Scratch menus change regularly. The spicy chicken cone is back for the pop-up menu due to demand. Cooks roll chicken tenders in a mixture of cornflakes almonds and sesame seeds and fry them. They tuck the chicken along with mango jalapeno slaw and ancho chili aioli inside a soft flour tortilla rolled into a cone shape ($8.50).
The so-mom-food Scratch grilled cheese stacks red wine-braised short ribs, caramelized red onions, arugula, Colby jack and muenster cheese on toasted honey white bread ($10.25).
Vegetarians find polenta black bean cakes with red peppers, onions, jalapenos, jack cheese, avocado puree and pico de gallo on a toasted bun ($7.25). Lately, Kornmeyer has been pickling jalapenos in fruit punch-flavored Kool-Aid and serving the hot-sweet rings as a little side dish. Crushed potato chips and blue cheese crumbles top Blue cheese chipotle slaw ($3.50). There’s homemade banana pudding for dessert ($4).
Scratch has been named among America’s 101 best food trucks four years in a row at thedailymeal.com, which notes that although Scratch’s menu changes regularly, “the food is consistently excellent.” Kornmeyer’s food has been featured on the Cooking Channel show “Eat St,” too.
For Kornmeyer, the greatest compliment is visitors who come to Indy just to mark Scratch off their food truck bucket lists. One couple grabbed a cab into town while they were on a layover at Indianapolis International Airport.
When Kornmeyer started Scratch in 2011, he was one of only a dozen trucks working Indy. Five years later, Scratch is among many. Food truck growth here is thanks in a large part to Kornmeyer’s efforts. He has long organized food truck gatherings he billed Clustertruck. Kornmeyer also runs the Indy Food Truck Alliance. The group promotes and supports the food truck scene, including running Twitter and Facebookfeeds that tell you where to find top-quality food trucks on any given day.