by Mike Sula
The noble craft of mobile drunkard relief, as pioneered by the Tamale Guy and the erstwhile Muffin Lady (anyone seen her?), is a small but important subcategory in the city's underground street food scene that predates the current fuss over food trucks (see also the blue and maroon vans, garage taquerias, and the teeming multitude of eloteros and fruteros).
And so it grows. Now along with fellow rookie the Burger Guy, there's Bun Pow Buns, captained by Mike Bancroft, maker of Humboldt Park's finest condiment, Co-Op Hot Sauce; his girlfriend, Anne Kostroski of Crumb Bread; and Amy Tery, owner of the Darkroom.
Quoth Bancroft, "The Buns come in threes and are a focaccia-style baked bun mixed with meaty/veggie goodness and served with super short runs of Co-op Sauce (that will only be available in the box o' buns). The 'packs' will run a meager five bones and a portion of the profits will go to [youth arts ed group] Co-op Image."
So far they're showing up, with owner permission, Thursdays and Saturdays at Happy Village, Inner Town Pub, Gold Star, the Whirlaway, the Whistler, and the Continental, though the schedule will change in October when the Logan Square Farmers' Market (where they're also sold) shuts down. Future varieties include a chile relleno stuffing in a Chinese-style bao, a "cherry bomb" marinara, and the pictured Stockyard Focaccia, which contains "ALL of the magical fixins' contained on a Chicago style hot dog (including our very own sport peppers) in the buns."
Tonight they're running an Italian sausage with caramelized onions and Provolone and one with "olive-oil-poached eggplant (Bari's to be exact), melty provolone, roast red pepper, and shit ton of fresh basil," says Bancroft. "Both of the buns will be served with Co-op Sauces (my very own yellow tomato habanero catsup). We will change up the menu per seasonal availability."
Naturally you can follow them on Twitter to find out exactly where and when they'll be, but with luck they'll pick up some of Claudio's mojo and magically appear just exactly when and where you need them most.