All summer long, I’ve been catching glimpses of hand-lettered signs advertising a Mexican food truck out near Cook’s Corner in Brunswick. And all summer long, I looked for the truck in that half-hearted way you do when the world feels wide open and full of other options; I kept expecting it to pop up in front of me.
But it’s closing season all over Maine, the days when an ocean swimmer starts to get nervous that this high tide could be the last one warm enough and a soft serve ice cream lover finds herself driving a distance to find someone still serving a twist in a cone. So, with my window of opportunity closing, last week I got serious about finding the truck.
To my surprise, there it was at 210 Bath Road, a cute little purple structure with bright green trim and a homemade sign: Wicked Stuft. It looked more like a tiny house than a truck; this thing clearly doesn’t get wheeled home at the end of the day. When I pulled up, there were already three people standing near the window, waiting to order. The owner, Jami Morton, had explained to them it was just her and she was working on a big phone order.
With time to study the menu and then some, I chatted with the other occupants of the line, none of whom had eaten there before. We were all in the same boat though — seen the signs, wondered and then done some driving around before finding it. Morton told us she’d only been in this spot a couple of weeks; she’d been down the road near the mini-golf course but found the traffic there too sparse. A young man who was getting ready to start second shift at Bath Iron Works told me he’d come by another day and found it closed (it turns out it’s a Friday through Sunday kind of operation). He grew up in San Diego, so he knew Mexican food. We agreed that “totchos,” a Morton creation that involved a taco shell, stuffed with tater tots and Mexican-style toppings, sounded intriguing but that we were there for something more Mexican in nature.
Bath Road is not exactly one of Brunswick’s beauty spots, and this particular location, halfway between Cumberland Farms and the turn-off to Lowe’s, has pretty much nothing going for it aesthetically. It was kind of hot too, and I started thinking about Taco the Town, back in downtown Brunswick and a known quantity (delicious), and I wondered whether the line was moving quicker there. But then my new friend from BIW gave me his turn in line, and I stood at the window talking to Morton a bit and my impatience faded away in the face of his kindness and her story about the business.
It was just her back there and had been all summer. She opened Memorial Day weekend and tried to find some summer help but had no luck. Morton said she had another gig, a house and industrial painting business that kept her busy the rest of the week. She’d bought the truck online and refurbished it, painted it and planned the menu; Wicked Stuft was her dream. She’d spent two years planning it.
The tater tot creations aside, burritos and tacos dominate the menu. Fillings for both include chargrilled steak, braised pork and a vegetarian option, I ordered Southwestern jerk chicken tacos (two to an order, $6.43 with tax). As the corn tortillas warmed, Morton said she wasn’t sure she’d keep going next summer. She layered on green chilies and offered some free apple coleslaw to the gentleman behind me. The truck could be sold if she doesn’t reopen next year. As it was, she’d be open for probably just a few more weeks; the water would freeze in the truck when it got colder. The painting business had been good lately.
She seemed more philosophical about the whole thing than sad. I took my tacos and drove away, thinking about waiting for food and how easy it is to be impatient about it. I was about 500 yards from very first place I ever tasted fast food, the Cook’s Corner McDonald’s, and I thought about what that place instilled in my generation and the next. The smell of the Wicked Stuft tacos interrupted my reverie, and I decided to pull off and park at Fat Boy, which closed for the season on Sept. 10. The Dairy Frost next door to it was closed as well. Summer travels at warp speed.
As I wolfed the tacos down, I was glad Jami Morton did not. She builds a nice comforting taco, even if it’s not authentic street food. The chicken was tender, the chilies had a good amount of acid and were well countered by the sour cream she’d suggested. I hope she manages to reopen Wicked Stuft next summer. I like her food, and I love her dream.
WHERE: 210 Bath Road, Brunswick, 409-4238
HOURS: Variable and presently only Friday through Sunday for lunch. Call ahead or check Facebook page.
WAIT: Depends — on a recent Friday, about 20 minutes
PARKING: Limited, but right in front
WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: Yes