Browsing articles in "food trucks"
The Lalit Food Truck Co.’s Mexican food truck.
Eric Bellman/The Wall Street Journal
Snobby foodies in India need read no further. This post is not for you.
I know you’re dying to hear where you can get your gourmet-grubbing hands around a Korean taco. The answer is Los Angeles.
In India, you will have to make due with a curb-side churros and quesadillas for now.
If that’s okay with you, then please read on.
Eric Bellman/The Wall Street Journal
Over the past five years, the food-truck sensation has spread across America, serving bored consumers everything from Japanese pizza, grilled cheese sandwiches with truffle oil and too many other versions of “comfort food with a gourmet twist” to count.
Few attempts to replicate this revolution in India have stuck. Tough regulations on cooking food in moving vehicles — as well as a delicious, diverse and dirt-cheap local street-food scene have made it tough to make money selling Western food out of a truck.
Other than Mumbai’s notorious cookie Nano–the Sweetish House Mafia which has now opened a store–there are few high-profile example of high-end food surviving on the streets of India’s mega cities.
Eric Bellman/The Wall Street Journal
The Lalit Food Truck Co. wants to change all that. Backed by the money, licenses and staff of the five-star Lalit hotel chain, the red truck opened this week in New Delhi with a menu of basic dishes.
“I think this is the first of its kind for Latin American cuisine,” said Keshav Suri, executive director of the Lalit Suri Hospitality Group.
Mr. Suri said the company is considering other spots to park the truck and possibly launching more trucks in different cities, depending on demand.
The truck is open from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. daily and doesn’t deliver.
It has a crispy vegetarian taco. On its chalkboard menu, what is pitched as “tortila” ended up being a meat-free quesadilla. For dessert there are churros. For office workers who don’t want Mexican there is a deep-fried vegetable-patty burger as well as falafel.
Eric Bellman/The Wall Street Journal
The truck has just opened, so the staff and customers are still learning.
“What is a Snapple?” asked one curious passerby. One of the cooks referred to bean paste in the taco as “refined beans.”
But the truck already offers up some decent food — for about 100 rupees a dish.
Of course the food snobs will ask: “Where’s the guacamole and salsa?” Or say: “This isn’t quite a quesadilla, is it?”
Eric Bellman/The Wall Street Journal
But those people haven’t read this far, so they won’t find the truck, which is in the driveway of the World Trade Centre building behind the Lalit Hotel and may be moving soon.
The rest of us must welcome this food truck baby step if we ever want to get more gourmet truck treats for a sunny afternoon at Lodhi Garden or a late-night feed on Marine Drive.
Just don’t tell the foodies.
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| November 26, 2014View as “Clean Read”
Photo by Carolina Correa permalink
Jordyn Lexton, founder of Drive Change, preps the Snow Day food truck lunch menu.
Photo by Carolina Correa permalink
White cheddar grilled cheese with fresh pesto on maple syrup drizzled sourdough bread available at Snow Day food truck.
Photo by Carolina Correa permalink
Fred greets customers in between prepping lunch orders.
Photo by Carolina Correa permalink
Roy greets customers in between prepping lunch orders.
Photo by Carolina Correa permalink
Fred works the grill while Jordyn Lexton, founder of Drive Change, takes a break to smile for the camera.
NEW YORK — Jordyn Lexton used to teach high school English to minors at Rikers Island.
Until the day one student said, “No disrespect, I really appreciate what you’re trying to do here, but you are selling dreams.”
At this moment, she realized she wasn’t doing enough “to lower barriers for my students. If young people can’t access opportunities then they’re going to revert back to tactics that got them arrested in the first place. That was the moment for me where I recognized that I wanted to do something very direct when it came to re-entry,” Lexton said.
So she started Drive Change, a nonprofit organization that uses holistic and evidence-based practices to help young people re-enter their communities after serving time in jail. Drive Change provides job training, work experience, community and mentorship to kids by employing them on a food truck.
“A lot of the people I worked with were leaving with felonies, not juvenile adjudications, which makes the likelihood of getting work, going back to school or living in public housing so much more challenging,” Lexton said. “… I was watching young people that I cared about and were full of potential cycle back into the system.”
Fred, a young man making gooey grilled cheese sandwiches in the Snow Day food truck, said smiling, “It’s changed my life for the better. For one, I have steady employment. I can feed my girls.”
In the six months the truck has been operational, Lexton is already seeing positive results among the group of eight young men. One is back in school full time, another is working full time at an upscale food shop and a third is taking culinary arts courses.
“Watching the progression of the guys’ growth, watching them becomes leaders, has been phenomenal,” said Roy Waterman, director of programs.
There are a number of businesses with similar models to Drive Change, such as Greyston Bakery in Yonkers, N.Y.; Old Skool Cafe in San Francisco, and Reconnect Cafe in Brooklyn, N.Y. But what makes Drive Change different is the focus on youth.
Lila Yomtoob is a producer on “Like Any Other Kid,” a documentary film about juvenile justice reform. Please visit www.likeanyotherkid.com for more information. Its Indiegogo campaign ends Sunday, Nov. 30.
AMERICAN CANYON — The city wants to attract food trucks, which have become a big part of urban food culture in the Bay Area, including Napa, to this still maturing community.
But the tag-team effort on the part of city officials and the local Chamber of Commerce to woo mobile cuisine has run into opposition from one of American Canyon’s most important political leaders: County Supervisor Keith Caldwell, who fears it could hurt existing restaurants.
For American Canyon Chamber of Commerce President and CEO James Cooper, attracting food trucks into American Canyon is a no-brainer. He believes they would compel Napa Valley-bound tourists to stop in the city and spend their disposable income on local businesses.
“The community will benefit if we can get more people to find a reason to stop here in American Canyon,” said Cooper during a recent discussion of the issue at American Canyon High School. “When they travel along Highway 29, there are some food options there along the corridor. [But] if they stop here to buy some food, maybe they’ll go into a shop, maybe they’ll get some gas.”
The chamber leader has been working with the city, specifically Community Development Director Brent Cooper, on crafting a new city ordinance governing food truck operations for the City Council to consider.
Brent Cooper, who is no relation to James Cooper, sees the addition of food truck culture as a way for American Canyon to elevate itself. “[The city] wants to look at the next level, it wants to look at where can we go and keep up with what’s happening elsewhere in the Bay Area,” he said.
Realizing that quality can vary within this sector of the food-service industry, Brent Cooper added: “We want to make sure that we get the good food trucks because not all food trucks are created equally.”
That’s where the ordinance comes in, both men say.
By carefully regulating how, when and where food trucks can serve customers, the city hopes to add this new feature to American Canyon recreation without hurting residents or local businesses.
But the idea of encouraging outside entrepreneurs to come into the community and compete with local restaurants does not sit well with Caldwell, who represents American Canyon on the Board of Supervisors.
He says he is “not happy” with the planned ordinance. Further, he doesn’t understand why the Chamber of Commerce, whose mission in part is to promote opportunities for local restaurants, would get involved in such an effort.
Caldwell said the city already has “struggling restaurants” along Highway 29, so why would it want to bring in food trucks and draw away customers from cash-hungry businesses?
“It won’t send the right message,” said Caldwell about the ordinance.
Allowing and even encouraging food trucks into the city’s industrial sector along Green Island Road makes sense, he says, because food options there are limited for workers in the area.
But if the ordinance as drafted encourages an infusion of food trucks anywhere else, especially along the highway, Caldwell intends to fight the effort when it comes before the City Council for approval.
No date has been set for its consideration by council members.
Full Moon has launched a new food truck that increases the restaurant’s mobility in Birmingham.
Reporter- Birmingham Business Journal
There’s more than one way to get BBQ from Birmingham-based Full Moon BBQ.
There’s the restaurant’s many brick and mortar locations, its three food trailers, four ‘big BBQ rigs,’ its 25 vans and there’s the growing chain’s latest addition, “The Ultimate Food Truck.”
Full Moon will offer its extensive menu in the mobile restaurant that can be found at community events, festivals and can be reserved for corporate and private functions at work or at home, a release from the company said.
“The Ultimate Food Truck will help streamline our catering services by allowing us to do the majority of the food preparation on site, ” said David Maluff, owner of Full Moon BBQ. “Our fleet is now complete with rigs to fit any occasion from private to corporate, community to festival.”
The truck features a diamond plate chrome interior, point of sale system, sounds system and a retractable awning, as well as the capability to store, serve, cook and prepare the restaurant’s offerings.
Bryan Davis covers real estate, retail and manufacturing for the Birmingham Business Journal. Click here to follow him on Twitter.
Keith Otis and Jordan Delegal at a recent Hungry Huskies fundraiser
Northern Illinois University alumni Jordan Delegal, Keith Otis and Elliot Echols of Hungry Huskies, Inc. exceeded their goal of $20,000 needed to roll out the first food truck business on campus.
Their plan to bring The DogHouse to campus to provide convenient meals while giving students an opportunity to work and learn on the job received pledges for $20,596 through a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter.com.
A post on the group’s Facebook page reads as follows: “We did it! Not only did we meet our goal but exceeded the set expectations. Thanks to everyone that has helped throughout the process…Let’s maximize this opportunity to provide impact on NIU’s campus.”
The endeavor was buoyed by a $10,000 pledge November 20. Support also came from numerous NIU alumni and football connections.
Otis and Delegal met at NIU through football. Otis played right tackle, and Delegal was an outside linebacker. They graduated with bachelor’s degrees in 2011.
Echols was president of the NIU Student Association for a year and served on the NIU Board of Trustees as the student member for two years. He completed a master’s degree in education in 2014 and is now a staffing manager at SNI Companies in Chicago.
Elliot Echols, Jordan Delegal and Keith Otis pause for a photo with NIU President Doug Baker in “The Yard” before a football game.
The DogHouse team served gourmet sandwiches during the pregame tailgate at “The Yard” during the 2014 football season. Their initiative is consistent with university efforts to re-envision campus life at NIU. Among the ideas proposed in a 2014 Campus Re: Envisioned thesis is that of “Food Truck Fridays,” that would bring food trucks to a campus location to add to the fun and variety on campus. The idea was tested during the annual President’s Welcome Back Picnic.
“We want to be an alumni-owned, student-run business, and we want to cater directly to students, faculty and everyone who is on campus,” said Delegal.
New York restaurateur Daniel Holzman knows firsthand the drawing power of Roy Choi, the Los Angeles-based chef-turned-gourmet-food-truck operator. Holzman remembers standing with Choi in a Los Angeles parking lot several years ago “in some s----- neighborhood on Skid Row, in a place I normally wouldn’t have stopped for gas because I’d be nervous. He’d say ‘watch this,’ and send out a tweet, and 300 to 400 people would show up like that” to queue up at his truck, says Holzman, co-owner of The Meatball Shop restaurants. “No other chef or hospitality business used social media the way he did,” says Holzman, who first worked with Choi in the kitchen of New York’s seafood mecca Le Bernardin in the late 1990s.
Now Choi, whose Kogi BBQ operates four trucks and has 130,000 followers on Twitter (TWTR), is taking on a harder task: reinventing the burger. Choi has joined with San Francisco chef Daniel Patterson, whose restaurant Coi earned him the 2014 James Beard Award for Best Chef in the West, to start a fast-food chain called Loco’l. Its menu centerpiece will be an inexpensive hamburger that is healthier than anything you’d find at McDonald’s (MCD), tastier than those at In-N-Out, and served faster than at a gourmet burger restaurant.
“You don’t have to be forced to eat food that’s bad for you,” says Choi, who now also operates two restaurants and has his own online show at CNN.com. “We are focused on the America that is eating at corporate-driven fast-food restaurants that use unethical practices to raise their livestock and animals, treat their employees poorly, and cut all products with chemicals and sugars and salts to keep people addicted.”
To create a healthier burger, Choi and Patterson will mix the beef with tofu, lowering the fat level. It will come on a bun from master breadmaker Chad Robertson of San Francisco’s Tartine and be layered with melted cheese and a selection of condiments such as charred pickled scallion relish and something they call “awesome sauce.”
The chefs plan to start with two locations—one in San Francisco, another in Los Angeles—with a goal of opening hundreds more. They hope to raise money through Kickstarter and Patterson’s “deep relationships with the tech community,” Choi says. Natasha Phan, Kogi’s director of business development, declined to elaborate.
Choi enters the fast-food industry at a time when many of the largest chains are flagging because some customers crave fresher alternatives. “McDonald’s has tried very hard to improve its positioning with respect to healthy items,” says Bob Goldin, executive vice president of food consultant Technomic. “Clearly they are not setting the world on fire, nor is Burger King (BKW) or Carl’s or Sonic (SONC).”
Still, building a menu around a tofu-laden burger could be tough. The soy-based protein may alienate a lot of potential customers, says food industry consultant Malcolm Knapp, especially in the poorer markets Choi is eager to serve. While most fast-casual restaurants such as Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) thrive in more affluent neighborhoods, Choi aims to open his stores in grittier East Oakland, South Central Los Angeles, and the South Side of Chicago. Choi knows better than to use the tofu to sell his burger. “The burger has to eat like any fast-food burger—a Quarter Pounder, a Whopper,” he says.
There are business challenges, too. “It’s very expensive to go from an independent operator to a chain,” says Andrew Wiederhorn, chief executive officer of Fatburger. “You need all these different levels of management and overhead.” His Fog Cutter Capital Group bought the Fatburger brand in 2003 when it had 40 locations in California and Nevada. Fatburger has since expanded to 200 stores across a dozen states and 32 countries. To achieve the critical mass needed to cover Loco’l’s expansion costs, he suggests Choi open several restaurants in a single market before expanding to new territories.
To build Loco’l’s brand, Choi says he’ll rely on the same social media and marketing savvy that transformed Kogi and its Korean-Mexican fusion specialties such as galbi tacos and kimchi quesadillas into a phenomenon. But restaurant success often hinges on something simpler, says consultant Knapp. “Chipotle thought their quality ingredients and all that was the key,” he says. “Turns out that wasn’t the key. People didn’t give a s---. They loved Chipotle because it tasted good.”
By Erich Wagner (File photo)
Rich Arslan, owner of the local food truck business Popped! Republic, feared the worst when he realized his food truck, customized for selling gourmet popcorn, had been stolen last Friday.
“I’m doing everything I can just to keep this thing active right now,” he said last week. “That truck is our primary revenue generator. It’s what put us on the map. This could just be a huge, huge, huge potential setback.”
But law enforcement officials said that good Samaritans on social media — and the mobile eatery’s bright orange paint job — led to a swift recovery of the vehicle. Prince George’s County police recovered the truck Friday night along the 3900 block of Penn Belt Drive in Forestville, Md.
Arslan said Friday that he spent much of the day getting the word out, to local news outlets and on social media websites like Twitter and Facebook. And by Friday night, that work paid off.
“One of our Twitter followers posted on our account: ‘You know, this truck has been parked outside of my job all day today,’” he said Monday. “I immediately contacted Alexandria police, and they called Prince George’s, who had an officer respond and actually secured our vehicle with what appears to be minor damage at this point.”
Alexandria police spokeswoman Crystal Nosal the high profile of the truck, and Arslan’s efforts, definitely contributed to the vehicle’s quick recovery.
“It’s the power of social media, and the fact it’s a bright orange truck,” Nosal said.
Arslan was thankful that the vehicle was found before the thief could do serious damage to it, or take it to a chop shop.
“It feels fantastic,” he said. “It’s a great feeling to know that our truck has been found with minimal damage. We won’t have to build from scratch by locating another truck and have an entirely new customization process take place, which could easily take six to eight weeks.”
Popped! Republic hopes to get back on the streets of D.C. by the first week of December. Arslan was on his way to Prince George’s County Monday morning to retrieve his cherished food truck and planned to get it to a shop for minor repairs in short order.
“We’ll be doing a walkthrough with the insurance company to assess the damage and determine what work needs to be done,” he said. “There’s a lot of popcorn fanatics that rely on our popcorn to make it through the workday.”
And he’ll continue to keep his online followers apprised of the truck’s rehabilitation.
“I’ll continue to document the whole process and I’ll be posting in Facebook and Twitter as we go through the stages to get back on the street,” Arslan said. “Once we get over this little hurdle and get back on our two feet, we’re planning to do an official ‘Thank you’ out on the streets of D.C. with all of our fans who assisted in keeping us trending while the truck was missing … We’ll offer a free small bag of popcorn just to say thank you.”
In the meantime, Arslan said anyone jonesing for some high-quality popcorn can stop by Popped! Republic’s retail location along South Dove Street in the Port City to pick up a bag.
Larod Griggs, left, and Benjamin Allen, right, prepare a Margherita pizza inside the newly-opened 900 Degrees Wood Fired Pizzeria food truck.
Larod Griggs watches Benjamin Allen put the finishing touches on a pizza inside the newly-opened 900 Degrees Wood Fired Pizzeria food truck.
People eat outside the newly-opened 900 Degrees Wood Fried Pizzeria parked at University Parks Drive and Franklin Avenue.
Benjamin Allen inserts a pizza in the wood-fired grill — which reaches 900 degrees — inside the new 900 Degrees Wood Fired Pizzeria food truck.
Larod Griggs begins to make a pizza inside the new 900 Degrees Wood Fired Pizzeria, at University Parks and Franklin Avenue.
Posted: Wednesday, November 26, 2014 1:34 pm
New 900 Degrees Wood Fired Pizzeria food truck opens downtown
In three minutes, your hand-made, personal pizza is ready after being cooked in a wood-burning stove, all inside a new food truck in downtown Waco.
900 Degrees Wood Fired Pizzeria — launched by brothers Justin Duty, 31, and Caleb Duty, 28 — parked at University Parks Drive and Franklin Avenue a week ago, and sold 20, one-size-fits-all pizzas in the first day.
Each pizza is made from scratch with authentic Neapolitan dough, and sauce straight from Italy.
Justin Duty said the food truck is an economical way to determine if a brick-and-mortar version of the pizzeria would be sustainable downtown. Duty said as the seasons change and demands for different products arise, the menu will be flexible. He said they plan to eventually have a TV screen for the customers to watch as a camera inside the food truck projects the pizza being cooked.
“It’s a neat product and there’s nothing else like it downtown,” he said.
Caleb Duty said the food truck offers a little taste of history with the wood-flavor pizzas. The brothers’ father, Roland Duty, owns Poppa Rollo’s Pizza.
“My brother and I have been making pizza since before we could walk,” Caleb Duty said.
Benjamin Allen, one of the food truck workers, said it takes about an hour and a half for the oven to reach 900 degrees.
He said he thinks the most interesting pizza is the $7 Margherita pizza, which features crushed San Marzano tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, Parmesan, basil and olive oil. Allen said it’s as close to the original pizza as one can get.
“It’s cool because no one really cooks with the open fire any more,” worker Larod Griggs said while he prepared the pizza.
The food truck also offers a BBQ Chicken pizza, a Hawaiian pizza, and a Carnivore pizza, plus the opportunity to chose your own toppings.
The truck is closed Sundays and Mondays, and open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Saturdays. It opens for dinner Thursdays through Saturdays from 4 p.m. until sold out.
For more information, find 900 Degrees Wood Fired Pizzeria on Facebook, go to www.900degreespizzeria.com or call 254-722-4225.
Wednesday, November 26, 2014 1:34 pm.
Posted: Tuesday, November 25, 2014 3:59 pm
Food truck woes continue in Sarasota County
Posted on Nov 25, 2014
SARASOTA Fla. — There’s been an ongoing food truck craze in many places across the country, but things have been a little more muted here in Sarasota. In fact, operators like Michelle Jett say city and county rules are preventing the food trucks from operating.
“The rules do hinder our business. I can’t pull up my truck and just work every day. I’m limited to working at markets right now,” Jett says. ”I can’t even pull up to a business that asks me to [operate] without the permission of the landlord, and sometime the landlord’s are scared of code enforcement coming down on them,” said Jett.
I’ll have a full report on Sarasota’s food truck woes coming up on Your Suncoast News at 5 p.m.
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Tuesday, November 25, 2014 3:59 pm.
Location: 2953 Cape Horn Road, Windsor Township
Jess’ pick: Chicken salad sandwich, $6; fresh-cut fries, $3
Parking: Depends on location
Hours: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday; at other sites on the weekends
Price range: $2, hot dog; $7, rib eye steak sandwich
Smoking: Depends on location
Kid’s menu: No
Details: Call (717) 600-7207, visit spectrumtruck.com or find Spectrum Farm to Truck on Facebook
What: Black Friday grub
When: 5-9 p.m. Friday
Where: 2953 Cape Horn Road, Windsor Township
Details: Visit spectrumtruck.com
Spectrum Farm to Truck takes the farm-to-table restaurant concept and brings it to you — literally, if you’d like.
The food truck, which is parked on Cape Horn Road in Windsor Township every Monday through Friday during lunch hours, is also available for events (such as street fairs and fundraisers) and celebrations (private parties and weddings).
Bonus: The truck will have special hours at its Cape Horn Road location for Black Friday from 5-9 p.m., enticing tired shoppers to grab food.
Owner Pete Hess opened the mobile unit last year in November, not exactly prime food truck weather. He said he toughed it out until about January, but the snow and cold temperatures forced him to close for a bit.
“If I was anticipating a mild winter, I would try to stay open year-round,” Hess said. “That’s what’s in my business plan.”
So for now, he plans to stay open as long as possible into the winter season.
Hess finds ingredients from York Central Market, Lancaster Central Market, local farms and farmers markets (when they’re open).
Then he crafts the menu, a chalkboard hanging outside the truck, which changes just about daily.
On a Sunday in October, I found Spectrum at the Marietta market.
While I didn’t see the truck right away parked along the curb, I followed the sound of its humming generator.
Outside the truck was a condiment tray, trash can and a few country decorations, from milk cans to a wooden crate and barrel, and a faux pig.
From the menu I picked the chicken salad sandwich with lettuce and tomatoes, $6, with fresh-cut fries, $3.
The fries were phenomenal — crispy on the outside, soft on the inside and served with a two-pronged wooden stick for easy eating (no ketchup on my hands, thank you very much).
The chicken salad and shredded lettuce was piled high on the sandwich, cut in half and held together by toothpicks. The fresh kaiser roll was soft, melting in my mouth with each bite. But perhaps the part I enjoyed most about the sandwich was the ripe, juicy tomatoes — both red and yellow.
My dining partner had the seared salmon wrap with greens, goat cheese and lemon vinaigrette, $6, which was a warmer option on a brisk fall day as we ate at the park’s picnic tables.
On the menu was also soup — braised veal, kale and potato fricasse, $3; a breakfast sandwich — Italian sausage and pepper, marinara sauce and mozzarella on a kaiser roll, $5; and a rib eye steak sandwich with fried leeks, cheddar and tomatoes, $7. A choice of a hot dog or kraut dog for $2 seems to be a mainstay on the menu. (I’ve been eyeing the truck’s specials posted on its Facebook page for quite some time.)
For dessert, strawberries and cream was available for $4, or cookies and brownies were wrapped to go for $1 next to the truck window.
While Hess has stayed busy all summer with the food truck, it’s not his only vision for the Spectrum name.
At the Cape Horn Road location is a banquet facility and dance floor available for parties, wedding receptions and business meetings, during which Spectrum provides catering services.
Hess also offers cooking classes for both adults and children — class descriptions and times are listed on the website, spectrumtruck.com.
The name, Hess said, comes from the idea that he wanted to cover a full spectrum of food-related business opportunities. That, and it’s a nod to the Spectrum sports and music venue he frequented during his youth, growing up near Philadelphia (the iconic arena has since been demolished).
So far, he’s rolling along on the right path — whether out and about at public events and private parties – or stationed at Cape Horn Road.