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McGinnis’ Grill food truck owner eyes expansion

After 16 years of working in various classic Columbus restaurants, from Plank’s Bier Garten to Rigsby’s Kitchen, John McGinnis decided it was time to do his own thing. The owner of McGinnis’ Grill, a food truck offering artisan sandwiches, launched his business in September 2021 and has been growing his clientele ever since.

Although the truck is available for events, it remains primarily in Clintonville, where McGinnis grew up and currently resides, operating regular hours out of Savor Pint on Indianola Avenue.

Focusing solely on grilled sandwiches, McGinnis’ Grill offers a simple six-course menu, a few sides, and a daily special. The inspiration behind his recipes? “If I can do it and I like it, that’s the motivation to put it on the menu,” he says.

The grill is affordable. Each sandwich (ranging from $12 to $13) comes with a different style of bread and a healthy serving of sides, like homemade potato salad, pesto pasta salad, or potato chips. The light and creamy pasta salad is a winner, with whole chunks of red onion and crispy green peppers adding a crunch to the pesto rotini. There’s also a kids’ grilled cheese with fries for $6.

The caprese ($12) might just be the perfect sandwich. Fresh pesto and a touch of balsamic vinegar join mozzarella, grilled red onion, tomato and a sprinkle of arugula in a compact, complementary combination on buttery toasted Italian bread. Every bite is better than the next, and all the ingredients bring out the flavor of the star of the sandwich: the tomato.

The Chest Cast ($13) is the truck’s best seller, and for good reason. The dense sandwich is like heavily seasoned grilled cheese, topped with grilled red onions and a little too little horseradish aioli.

Meanwhile, the Cuban ($13)—a pressed hoagie bun with roast pork, grilled ham, Swiss cheese, a tangy pickle, and a good layer of mustard—has all the right ingredients for the classic sandwich but presents itself a little too salty and a little greasy.

A Cuban sandwich from the McGinnis' Grill food truck

McGinnis, who is currently looking for a second food truck, aspires to open a brick-and-mortar location of McGinnis’ Grill. Its goal is to offer full service and a bar, and expand the menu beyond sandwiches. In the meantime, he is committed to his team. “Doing things like giving your staff a free meal, having reasonable hours, and being closed on a public holiday isn’t that hard to do,” he says. “These are my company standards. If I start out doing the right things for my people, it will be easier to meet those standards as I grow.

McGinnis Grill

Food Truck, 614-530-5219,

mcginnisgrill.com

This story is from the October 2022 issue of Monthly Columbus.

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