Visit HG80 Pet-Friendly Taco Truck

HG80 is celebrating its one-year anniversary of launching the fusion taco food truck that has a pet-loving theme.

HG80 food truck in Providence.

Josh Berner’s HG80 food truck is more than a lunch option, it’s an experience. The bright orange truck run by an entrepreneur who spent twenty years in the restaurant business shows dog, cat and animal videos on loop so guests get a quick escape from work while they wait for their tacos.

“It provides a moment of joy and happiness in their day,” Berner says. “Life is stressful, so I want to give people something to smile about, if not from good food, then puppy videos or good music.”

Berner serves lunch at Kennedy Plaza on Thursdays, and on Smith Street near the State House on Fridays from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. HG80 is celebrating the one-year anniversary of launching the taco fusion food truck with a pet-loving theme.

The truck is named for Berner’s first dog, a greyhound named Mercury. HG80 is the symbol for Mercury in the periodic table of elements. “I needed a fast name,” says Berner, who had the dog for more than ten years. He jokes that his wife recently surpassed his longest relationship after they just celebrated ten years together. Now the couple has a cat, Magellan, also known as Gill, Gilly, Mag-Gill-Gill and McGillicuddy.

The tacos are playful takes on popular dishes stuffed into tortillas. Berner has turned everything from chicken Parmesan, hamburgers, Greek gyros and Reuben sandwiches into tacos by subbing soft corn tortillas in place of bread and buns.

A gyro taco and a hamburger taco served with chips from HG80 food truck.

“Because it’s not in my nature to do anything the normal way, what I do is take all your favorite dishes from a bunch of different cuisines and I turn them into taco form,” he says. “It’s been a fun project to take these dishes and reimagine them as tacos.”

Everything is made from scratch using farm ingredients whenever possible, including meat from Radical Roots Farm and Baffoni Farm chicken. Berner also makes his own potato chips and offers them topped simply with salt and vinegar or salt and pepper, and seasoned with cheddar powder and salsa spices. He pays homage to his bartending roots by making his own sodas and seltzers flavored with strawberry and cilantro, ginger, black tea and lemon and orange and basil. Food is served on compostable trays, drinks are capped with wide-mouth lids instead of straws, and Berner also sells Buppy Pets dog treats for his canine customers.

One of the reasons Berner left the restaurant business is because he wanted to be his own boss and find ways to give back. HG80 also hires employees through Open Doors, a program that helps people who have been incarcerated reintegrate into society. “I think it’s a great organization and a great program,” Berner says. “It’s something that was important to me. These folks have a hard time getting back on their feet and I think it’s really unfair. If there’s something I can do to help, then I want to do that,” he says. “It feels good to be able to give someone a job and help out in that way.”

HG80 plans to serve throughout the rainy and cold fall and winter months, and Berner activated online ordering, so you can get a text to pick up your food when it’s ready instead of waiting in the cold. He is also trying to amp up catering gigs for weddings and private events.

“Food trucks are a nice alternative to traditional caterers,” Berner says. “It’s a little more casual, and definitely less expensive.” hg80food.com

 

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