Thanx to Karen Miltner for her great review of us
in the Democrat & Chronicle.
For many urban grub gatherers, street food is both a convenience and guilty pleasure.
David Potwin, a former Navy guy and New England Culinary Institute grad whose pastry talents have been demonstrated in many fine Rochester restaurants as well as upscale eateries in Cape Cod, San Diego and Vermont, wants to alleviate the guilt. In June, he launched Lettuce B. Frank, a food cart that highlights healthier and locally grown foods.
The fact that he wears short pants and red hair and looks like a younger version of Mario Batali does not immediately instill faith in his mission, but he does have a few things going for him.
First, he is slimmer than Mario and does not wear orange Crocs (those were donned by his assistant, Lauren Celetano). Second, he and his wife just went flexitarian this year (meatless at home, omnivore at the relatives, for the sake of keeping the peace). Third, he is devoted to the whole live sustainably philosophy, which explains why his napkin dispenser carries a reminder to practice napkin conservation. And fourth, the guy uses nutrient-dense, locally grown foods to make street food that he believes is healthier for you and the planet.
“The B. Frank part of our name means that it does not have to be unhealthy,” says Potwin.
And the Lettuce? Potwin’s middle name is Romaine.
Now do you trust him?
Going by the integrity and taste alone, I certainly do. I huffed it from the downtown paragraph factory to the medical campus along the Genesee River and ordered Lettuce B. Frank’s grass-fed beef slider ($6, beef from Seven Bridges Farm in Lima), a large, thin, utilitarian burger, which I dressed up with Potwin’s own pickled red onions and jalapenos and doused with almost-homemade ketchup with roasted red peppers and garlic mayonnaise.
I ate half the beef slider, then half of his other bestseller, the carrot slider, ($5.50), a large, soft but not mushy vegan burger speckled with grated carrots, black beans, chick peas, red peppers and onions.
Because Rochester sidewalk grazers demand their sausages and hots, Lettuce B. Frank obliges with Harvestland Chicken Sausages ($5) and Lightlife Jumbo Smart Hots ($4, vegetarian).
Meat and vegetarian panini on pumpernickel are offered as well.
Now if you insist on being naughty, let’s talk dessert. Remember how I mentioned that Potwin loves to bake? Each week he features a different sweet. On my visit, it was a dense carrot cake with pineapple frosted with cream cheese (a bargain at $3).
Let me be frank for a minute. Potwin’s desserts may not be the healthiest for your body, but in moderation, they are very good for the soul.