You might remember the Fill Bellys food jalopy cruising around the city last year, leaving behind the sweet scent of cinnamon waffles and fried chicken in its wake. Twitter blasts provided coveted up-to-the-minute location details, and in Boston's food truck wars, Fill Bellys was a fan favorite for its inexpensive (and addictive) soul/comfort food offerings.
But life on the road proved tough for owner Boswell "Chef Bos" Scott, who curbed his run-down 1986 Chevy step van last summer to open a . And his contemporary spin on classic soul dishes has created some serious buzz around town.
"I wanted to make food that I grew up on in New York City with friends who were Latino, Asian, Black…a real mix. I wanted to recreate that kind of comfort food you could grab for just a couple bucks" explains Chef Bos, who attended college in the Boston area before graduating from Manhattan's Institute of Culinary Education. "The truck thing wasn't allowing me to experiment with my menu or get into product development, which is something I'd like to do someday" he adds.
The chef's menu of cheap eats is short and sweet. The cinnamon-spiced waffles topped with powered sugar and crispy buttermilk fried chicken ($5) is the most popular order here for good reason—both the waffles and battered chicken are cooked to golden perfection. The classic mac and cheese casserole ($4) is dusted with herbs and served as a mammoth and delectable cheesy brick. The popular "Mac & Soul" ($6), with collard greens and candied sweet potatoes, is a riff on the classic. The bosilitos ($3)—Chef Bos's spin on empanadas—are small flaky pockets stuffed with a revolving menu of savory fillings (currently pineapple curry chicken, barbecue pulled pork, coconut teriyaki beef and spicy collard greens.) The Fill Belly sampler, priced right at just 8 bucks, offers small servings of all menu items.
While take-out service thrives here, there's a sparse, clean dining area for eating in. Fill Bellys also offers catering services with an expanded menu emphasizing vegetarian cuisine.
Chef Bos's menu will likely continue to evolve, and he earnestly welcomes suggestions from customers and neighbors. He's currently experimenting with his cornbread variations, and hopes to ramp up his marketing and product development initiatives this year. "I'd love to have my own food in supermarkets someday, in the freezer section," he says.
Tip: If you haven't stopped by Chef Bos's kitchen yet, you're missing out on the best waffles and chicken in the city. And yep, they really are all that.
[Editor's note: The attached food photos are by Opal Leung, who writes the "Student Guide to Boston's Cheap Eats."]
3381 Washington St.
Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
Open Tuesday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
($10 credit card minimum)