The English language is graced with many interesting words to describe obscure and niche feelings; however, I will fault it for not containing a word that concisely describes a longing for the savory meat/bread/cheese winning combination of Americana comfort food. As a foreigner, if you’ve spent enough time in Japan, you’ve probably reached a crisis point where you’ve grown weary of the subtlety of Japanese cuisine and yearn for something that puts your taste buds in a headlock and makes them cry, uncle. That’s where Mr. Tak comes in.
Thomas Kurtz a.k.a Mr. Tak, the owner, has been carefully crafting a history lesson in bites, and he will be more than happy to share the interesting culinary lineage behind each component of the ingredients. You won’t find the sad mystery meat wieners in tasteless buns from your childhood at this food truck. Instead, you will find a choice of carefully sourced bratwurst and kasegriller sausages from the Austrian Food Trading company laying in Sailer’s Bakery buns styled after Bosna buns, the traditional Austrian street food. You can go with a plain conventional hot dog with just ketchup and mustard, or you could try one of the regionally styled dogs such as the Seattle Dog that comes toasted with cream cheese, onions, jalapeños and mustard on top, or the New York Dog which lays snugly in a bed of homemade bacon-infused sauerkraut.
Warning! He is adamant that any self-respecting New Yorker would never put ketchup on this dog, luckily he is incredibly friendly so don’t worry about getting into a scrap if you choose to do so. The standout hot dog from the menu, however, is easily the Chili Dog. The schematics are as followed: one delicious Sailer’s Bakery bun, choice of sausage, a generous topping of Mr. Tak’s own homemade and militantly beanless chili, and topped with a sprinkling of Italian Parmesan cheese. But why stop there? There’s an extra menu to take your dog to the next level. If you choose the works, which we highly recommend, you will get a mountain of shredded cheddar (¥100), pleasantly spicy jalapeños (¥50), avocado (¥50) and a very special kind of Austrian bacon (¥100) with an excellent smoky flavor and jerky-like texture.
If hot dogs aren’t your thing, then you’ve got some options. Mr. Tak offers a burrito based on a family recipe, which includes his chili, Italian beans, cheddar cheese, and his homemade, always-fresh salsa. A sure winner if savory cheesiness is an itch you’re trying to scratch. He also makes a grilled bagel sandwich with provolone, imported Austrian ham, and two slices of bacon, which is simply sublime. The bagels used were designed by Mr. Tak in righteous defiance of the lily-livered bread rolls masquerading as bagels in Japan. They are one of the best options I’ve come across so far, and you can buy them apiece for only ¥250.
The truck is often located in front of the Yamamoto Bumpodo art supply near Akasaka Subway Station, but Mr. Tak is also a traveling performer, so the location changes often. Make sure you check out his Instagram (mistertak) or at his website. As he says, “You never know who’s in your audience, so you always do your best!”
Access his Facebook page for his monthly schedule. November 2019 schedule is as follows (*closed in case of inclement weather)
11/1 (Fri.): Akasaka (Yamamoto Bumpodo) 19:30-23:00
11/2 (Sat.): Saga Stadium (Sagantosu) 12:00- 16:30
11/3 (Sun.): Hirao (Hachimangu Shrine) 11:00-16:00
11/4 (Mon.): Itoshima (Dover) 12:00-17:00
11/6 (Wed.): Daimyo (Mokubakan) 11:00-19:00
11/8 (Fri.): Akasaka (Yamamoto Bumpodo) 19:30-23:00
11/9 (Sat.): Itoshima (Dover) 12:00-17:00
11/10 (Sun.): Saga Stadium (Sagantosu) 13:00-17:30
11/11 (Mon.): Itoshima (Dover) 12:00-17:00
11/15 (Fri.): Aso (Private Event)
11/16 (Sat.): Itoshima (Dover) 12:00-17:00
11/17 (Sun.): Wakiyama Central Park (Sawara Minami Marche) 10:00-15:00
11/18 (Mon.): Itoshima (Dover) 12:00-17:00
11/20, 21 & 22 (Wed., Thu., Fri.): Fukuoka (Private Event)
11/23 (Sat.): Itoshima (Dover) 12:00-17:00
11/24 (Sun.): Kitakyushu (Kitakyushu Airport) 10:00-15:00
11/25 (Mon.): Itoshima (Dover) 12:00-17:00
11/26 (Tue.): Daimyo (Mokubakan) 11:00-19:00
11/28 (Thu.): Daimyo (Mokubakan) 11:00-17:00
11/29 (Fri.): Akasaka (Yamamoto Bumpodo) 19:30-23:00
11/30 (Sat.): Saga Stadium (Sagantosu) 12:00-16:30