A new food truck has been setting up in the Target parking lot off Grape Street in South Park. The pink Dharma Dogs truck parks a few feet away from the fish taco Mariscos Nine Seas truck. It’s been there most days over the past month. It appears it’s here to stay.
It’s a return of sorts for Dharma Dogs, which got ahead of the food truck craze when it started up years ago. Apparently, the experience of fixing up and maintaining a food truck inspired cofounder Steven Zatarain to start a food truck modification and repair business called S&J Fabrications. He’s been focused on that the past few years, working on other peoples’ food trucks while Dharma Dogs has been on hiatus.
If it wasn’t already obvious that hot dogs are the inspiration for the Dharma Dog’s name, it is when you see the business’s logo. It’s an eight-sided Taoist bagua diagram, like the one used by the Dharma Initiative on the sci-fi TV series Lost, only with a hot dog in the center. Dharma isn’t connected to Taoist traditions, so I’m pretty sure this is a reference to the TV show, which was popular when Dharma Dogs opened for business in 2009.
But none of this is what got me excited about this truck. I only stopped by to check out its menu after eating a couple of tacos at Mariscos. I was feeling pretty full, but what was just going to be a little hot dog window shopping turned into a dessert opportunity when I noticed a second bagua on the side of the truck, this one with a donut at its center.
The Dharma Donuts side of the business doesn’t offer a great variety, sticking to glazed, chocolate, and a single seasonal flavor (it’s been pumpkin spice lately). Donuts go three for $2.75. This was about 5 p.m., and most donut-shop fare would be stale by then. That’s where the value of Dharma lies — its donuts are fried when ordered. They’re served fresh and hot, the glaze still somewhat melted. They’re a little crispy on the outside, with the taste of buttermilk present in the soft, bready dough within.