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  • Writer's pictureSteven Keith

New "Boat Bites" riverside food truck caters to hungry boaters

There’s a new food truck in town, but you won’t find it roaming the streets of Charleston or parked at your favorite summer festival. This one is anchored along the Kanawha River.

Boat Bites food truck at Trojan Landing
Boat Bites food truck at Trojan Landing

Boat Bites food truck at Trojan Landing – the boat dealer and marina near the Patrick Street Bridge where my beloved Barge Restaurant was once moored – opened this past weekend serving no-frills food exclusively for boaters and store customers.

Cheeseburger and fries from Boat Bites
Cheeseburger and fries from Boat Bites

Operated by Heather Hardman, who helps run the adjacent boat shop along with her husband, Boat Bites offers a selection of entrees including hamburgers, cheeseburgers, veggie burgers, hot dogs, corn dogs and chicken tenders (BBQ, Buffalo, Nashville Hot or plain) which you can get in combos ranging from $8-12 with either seasoned fries or mac ‘n’ cheese.

Apps from $5-10 include fried banana peppers, fried pickles, chili cheese fries or cowboy queso with corn, black beans and spices. Both the fries and queso you can also get “loaded,” adding guacamole, pico, sour cream and jalapenos on top.

A kids menu features smaller portions of some of the items above, plus ice cream and popsicles for only $1! There’s soda, water and Gatorade to wash it all down, but what goes best with all that tasty food after a sunny day on the river? An ice cold beer or three!

Trojan Landing Marina
Trojan Landing Marina

You can sip on domestics like Bud Light, Miller Light, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Yuengling and Michelob Ultra; imports like Corona, Heineken and Blue Moon; and craft beers like Devil Anse IPA, Mango Cart, Leinenkugel Summer Shandy and Country Boy Cougar Bait. There are hard teas and ciders, plus non-alcohol brews, too.

I popped down for lunch this past Saturday and sampled a pretty good cheeseburger with fresh lettuce, tomato, pickles and onions, plus a plump hot dog smothered with chili, chunky slaw, onions and mustard. The seasoned French fries served alongside were solid – especially when dunked in the food truck’s signature spicy sauce – and a creamy mac ‘n’ cheese was the best of the bunch.

The truck itself is sharp – featuring a colorful photo of downtown Charleston’s riverfront levee running the entire length of it – and I enjoyed my lunch in a shady covered area with a few tables overlooking the river, which boaters can also do or grab their food before heading back out on the water.

Just please keep in mind the Boat Bites food truck is located down at the marina and, true to its name, is meant to primarily serve river traffic. As such, there’s no convenient land access for those wanting to drive down and check it out.

But Hardman did say the truck will occasionally set up near the showroom parking lot off MacCorkle Avenue, including a tentative schedule of doing so from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Tuesday-Thursday.

After its grand opening this past Friday-Monday over the long holiday weekend, regular hours moving forward at the marina will be 4-7 p.m. Fridays, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays, weather permitting, except during the Charleston Sternwheel Regatta. During the festival July 3-7, Boat Bites will remain open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day.

Some days Boat Bites will be accompanied by the Ridge to Ridge Sips & Treats food truck offering funky flavored sodas, creative Red Bull drinks and more.


Looking for WV’s Best Hot Dog Sauce

Do you make a hot dog sauce so good that it’s worthy of statewide celebration?

If so, West Virginia First Lady Cathy Justice wants to know.

Hot dog and mac 'n' cheese from Boat Bites
Hot dog and mac 'n' cheese from Boat Bites

In honor of the state’s 161st birthday on June 20, Justice is hosting the “Great West Virginia Hot Dog Sauce Cook-Off” by inviting residents to submit their best recipes for sauce to top America’s favorite summer nosh.

Participants must submit their hot dog sauce recipes (including all ingredients, measurements and step-by-step instructions) by June 10.

The winning recipes will be revealed, celebrated and possibly served during a special event on West Virginia Day, June 20.

In addition to fame, the top three winners will also receive fortune – in the form of $500, $300 and $100 prizes for first, second and third place, respectively.

Ridge to Ridge Sips & Treats
Ridge to Ridge Sips & Treats

“West Virginia Day is a special occasion for all of us to come together and celebrate our state's history, culture and traditions,” Cathy Justice said in a press release announcing the contest. “What better way to do that than through a contest showcasing our beloved hot dog sauce? I'm excited to see the creativity and delicious recipes from our talented home cooks.”

To submit your recipe, visit For more information on the contest, email

• • •

Steven Keith is a food writer and restaurant critic known as “The Food Guy” who writes a weekly column for the Charleston Gazette-Mail and has appeared in several state, regional and national culinary publications. Follow him online at or on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. He can be reached at 304-380-6096 or at

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