Browsing articles in "food trucks"
Jul 24, 2014
Kim Rivers

New food truck a family business

BLOOMINGTON — A new Twin City food truck is a family affair.

Oogies serves Mexican-inspired dishes throughout Bloomington-Normal. The business was started recently by Kerry and Felipe Urquizo, with help from their three children.

“We wanted to teach them how to run a small business, so we run it as a family,” said Kerry Urquizo.

Oskar, 14, helps with marketing and designed the business’ logo. Olivia, 11, helps take orders at the counter and preps food. Gus, 10, promotes the business by wearing a taco costume.

Both parents have full-time jobs. Kerry Urquizo works at Heartland Community College and Felipe Urquizo is a cook at a local restaurant.

The truck includes a flat-top grill, fryers, two refrigerators and a freezer.

Menu items include steak tacos, quesadillas, nachos, avocado tostadas and funnel cakes. Prices range from $3-$7.

“All of the things on the menu we’ve eaten in our home for years and we’ve always wanted to share it with people,” Kerry Urquizo said.

Oogies, which incorporates the first letter of each child’s name, can be found 5-7 p.m. Wednesdays at 400 S. Madison St., Bloomington, near Retrofit Culture. From 5 to 7 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday the truck can usually be found at 707 N. Main St., Normal, near 707 Liquors. 

Oogies will also sell food at private events and has been to a few community festivals. Other locations are updated on its Facebook page. The business becomes at least the fourth food truck operating in Bloomington-Normal.

Eventually, the truck could lead to a standalone restaurant, she said.

“My husband loves to cook and it just makes him really happy. A food truck is a good way for him to be his own boss, do something that he loves and the family is together,” she said.

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Jul 24, 2014
Kim Rivers

Mother, Daughter Die From Food Truck Explosion Injuries

The mother and daughter working at a Feltonville food truck when a propane tank exploded have died from their injuries.

A family member confirmed the mother and daughter injured by a Philadelphia food truck explosion have died from their injuries. The family member told Philly’s Telemundo affiliate that Olga Galdernez, 42, died Sunday and her daughter, 17-year-old Jaylin Landaverry, died on Tuesday night.

A prayer service was held for the victims at Little Flower on Wednesday night.


Thirteen people were injured in the July 1st explosion in Feltonville. A propane tank on the back of the food truck at Third and Wyoming ignited; police believe the unused tank was leaking. A passerby smelled propane before the blast.

The tank that exploded was found 95 feet away, in a rowhome’s yard.

[NBC 10]

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Jul 24, 2014
Kim Rivers

The Owl Restaurant starts food truck

The rumors are true – The Owl Restaurant is coming back to life as a food truck.

The Mechanical Owl is slated to hit Greenville streets the first week of August, but in the meantime, the creators of the truck are hard at work developing flavors and interesting pairings that will delight the senses.

The Mechanical Owl is a collaboration of former Owl owner and executive chef Aaron Manter and former Owl chef de cuisine Joseph McCarter. The two are approaching the food truck with a similar mentality to their approach to the brick and mortar restaurant, but the Mechanical Owl will be distinct.

“It still has the same basic mission statement which is on the truck, ‘fine dining for the working-class,’” Manter says. “With The Owl, we’ve joked you could be in a business suit or a bathing suit and we’ll serve you and you’re fine. It’s really come as you are. That’s how it was at The Owl and we’re carrying that with the truck.”

The truck’s rotating menu will be a mix of thoughtful, flavor-forward and mostly new dishes. Most days the menu will feature 5 to 8, including one or two dessert items, almost all of which will be original to the truck.

The truck, unlike the brick and mortar restaurant, will have a more pronounced vegetarian selection. Manter and McCarter predict that 50 percent of the menu will center on vegetables. That translates to dishes like a roasted eggplant pita with green pea hummus, Israeli salad, harissa yogurt and crispy potato or tandoori cauliflower (a holdover from The Owl) with cucumber raita, peanuts, sriracha and cilantro.

“My personal feeling is I like to cook vegetables because I like seeing people go ‘oh man that’s super delicious,” McCarter says. “Because it’s a little harder to get there. It’s challenging in a way and I really enjoy that.”

Like The Owl, The Mechanical Owl will also give thought to beverage. McCarter and Manter have planned their menu carefully to complement beer and wine served at the breweries and other locations where they will park. The two have worked with the likes of Quest, Brewery 85 and The Community Tap to develop dishes that can be enjoyed alongside local brews.

The Mechanical Owl is set to open the first week of August. For more visit www.facebook.com/OwlRestaurantbut

Should have more details coming later this week so keep a look out!

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Jul 24, 2014
Kim Rivers

Mother, Daughter Die After Philly Food Truck Blast

Associated Press

A mother and teenage daughter have died of injuries they suffered in a fiery explosion inside their food truck earlier this month, authorities said Thursday.

Jaylin Landaverry Galdamez, 17, died Tuesday and Olga Galdamez, 42, died Sunday, according to the medical examiner’s office. The mother owned the truck.

Both died of burn-related injuries suffered from the July 1 explosion of the La Parrillada Chapina truck in the Feltonville neighborhood of north Philadelphia, said Jeff Moran, a spokesman for the office.

Eleven others were injured, three critically, in the explosion, which investigators believe was caused by a propane tank leak ignited by cooking grills.

Jaylin Galdamez hoped to become a doctor. One of her teachers called the food truck her “ticket to their future.” Her father had died a few years ago.

“My understanding is that when Jaylin went home each day, she did her school work and then she began the prep work for the food truck,” said Carol Dauerbach, who taught her at Little Flower High School, a Roman Catholic High School for girls.

Olga Galdamez got up at 3 a.m. to start cooking, and Jaylin sometimes helped her before school, Dauerbach said. In the summers, she would join her mother in the truck.

“(They did) all they could do to get Jaylin where she wanted to be in life,” said Dauerbach, who had been asked to write the rising senior’s college recommendation letter.

The bodies are expected to be flown to Guatemala for burial after a funeral Friday, relatives told KYW-TV.

Nearby surveillance video captured the explosion, which was followed by a huge fireball that engulfed the 25-foot truck and set a utility pole on fire.

The truck carried two 100-pound propane tanks to fuel its grills. Both tanks were full and one was in use at the time of the explosion. Investigators believe the leak occurred in the other tank, which was later found nearly 100 feet away.

The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the city fire marshal’s office investigated. Messages left with those agencies Thursday by The Associated Press were not immediately returned.

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Jul 24, 2014
Kim Rivers

Mother, Daughter Die After Philly Food Truck Blast

Associated Press

A mother and teenage daughter have died of injuries they suffered in a fiery explosion inside their food truck earlier this month, authorities said Thursday.

Jaylin Landaverry Galdamez, 17, died Tuesday and Olga Galdamez, 42, died Sunday, according to the medical examiner’s office. The mother owned the truck.

Both died of burn-related injuries suffered from the July 1 explosion of the La Parrillada Chapina truck in the Feltonville neighborhood of north Philadelphia, said Jeff Moran, a spokesman for the office.

Eleven others were injured, three critically, in the explosion, which investigators believe was caused by a propane tank leak ignited by cooking grills.

Jaylin Galdamez hoped to become a doctor. One of her teachers called the food truck her “ticket to their future.” Her father had died a few years ago.

“My understanding is that when Jaylin went home each day, she did her school work and then she began the prep work for the food truck,” said Carol Dauerbach, who taught her at Little Flower High School, a Roman Catholic High School for girls.

Olga Galdamez got up at 3 a.m. to start cooking, and Jaylin sometimes helped her before school, Dauerbach said. In the summers, she would join her mother in the truck.

“(They did) all they could do to get Jaylin where she wanted to be in life,” said Dauerbach, who had been asked to write the rising senior’s college recommendation letter.

The bodies are expected to be flown to Guatemala for burial after a funeral Friday, relatives told KYW-TV.

Nearby surveillance video captured the explosion, which was followed by a huge fireball that engulfed the 25-foot truck and set a utility pole on fire.

The truck carried two 100-pound propane tanks to fuel its grills. Both tanks were full and one was in use at the time of the explosion. Investigators believe the leak occurred in the other tank, which was later found nearly 100 feet away.

The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the city fire marshal’s office investigated. Messages left with those agencies Thursday by The Associated Press were not immediately returned.

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Jul 23, 2014
Kim Rivers

Food truck popularity hits Bellevue | City lacks regulations for mobile businesses

A dozen food trucks that had parked for business in the former Rudy’s Barbershop lot downtown over the past several months has cleared out, but organizer Robert Schaudt said he sees demand for mobile dining in Bellevue bringing his model back.

Secretary for the Seattle Food Truck Association and Buns on Wheels owner, Schaudt said consolidating food trucks into one downtown Bellevue location makes sense, and offers variety for consumers — many being office workers — rather than driving to various locations around the city. It’s not a new idea, and has long been embraced in Seattle, where Schaudt said about 65 food truck vendors open for lunch daily.

The city of Bellevue lacks policies related to mobile food trucks, some of which are allowed under a vendor cart permit adopted into the land use code in 1994. Many food trucks operating in the city currently provide service for only a few hours each day at alternating private lots and are not required to obtain a vendor cart permit. Those operating at fixed locations are required to obtain a permit.

A citizens advisory committee for the city’s Downtown Livability Initiative looked at how food trucks operate in the city, but is not recommending policy changes. Bellevue staff did conduct a land use audit as part of the Downtown Livability Initiative, which included vendor carts and mobile food trucks, and notes major cities like Seattle, Portland and Boston have adopted extensive vendor cart and food truck ordinances.

Schaudt said the Bellevue Way and Main Street property was offered up as a food truck roundup location by the Vander Hoek Corporation, which will level Rudy’s and other businesses around it for its mixed-use development project, The Gateway. Schaudt said July 3 was the last day trucks could use the site, as the building is planned to be razed by the end of the month.

He said he has been unsuccessful in finding property owners downtown who will agree to lease lots for a food truck roundup, either asking too much to rent the space or rejecting the idea entirely. He said he’s also had poor luck convincing the city to explore allowing food trucks to set up on its undeveloped properties and rights of way. With only about 300 on-street parking spaces available in the downtown area, food trucks may have to continue to rely on private lots for their operations.

The city land use audit does point to food trucks as having positive effects in Bellevue, such as increasing pedestrian activity, offering affordable and easily accessible food options, adding vitality to vacant or underutilized sites and parking areas and adding opportunity for more small business development. However, “When a cluster of carts is located on a private site, the heightened intensity of use can negatively impact the surrounding community.”

The results of a March 2013 focus group conducted by the city were mixed regarding food trucks. Some said they felt food trucks add vibrancy downtown, while others expressed concern they add unfair competition to downtown restaurants.

Bellevue Downtown Association President Patrick Bannon said restauranteur members with the association would like to see the city address food trucks under its land use code, because many are not required to acquire permits or comply with other city regulations that apply to brick-and-mortar restaurants. While the advisory committee is not making a recommendation, Bannon said he still anticipates city staff will come to council with ideas about regulating food trucks.

“The food trucks are popular. The long lines attest to it and provide a great amenity to the lunchtime crowd for sure, but you’ve also seen through the land use code on it that the city doesn’t have any language that addresses food trucks,” he said. “… I think (city staff) will come back with a framework for how to deal with mobile food truck operations the way other cities have.”

There are 135 full-time food trucks registered in King County, but Schaudt said he doubts that many are currently operating. About 65 food trucks operate in Seattle during lunch on a daily basis, he said.

Schaudt said he thinks Aug. 14 will be a “wake-up call” for the city. That’s when a food truck roundup will be held at Ashwood Park through collaboration with the city’s parks and community services department.

“They want to look at it and see how it looks,” he said, adding he has explored food truck roundups in other Eastside communities. “The only city that works here is Bellevue.”

 

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Jul 23, 2014
Kim Rivers

State rule aims to make food truck transactions easier

Change is in the air for North Coast food trucks.

A new state rule, which goes into effect Tuesday, will permit vendors to post flat-rate prices for the food they sell that include sales tax.

So, instead of having to add the sales tax to prices at the spot of the transaction, vendors can figure out how much they owe in taxes later.

“The point was to streamline the process for everybody,” said Brian Miller of the California Board of Equalization, the public agency charged with the administration of taxes and fee collection. “The … number of food trucks in California has grown substantially, and we wanted to make it easier on everybody. ”

Currently, trucks have to post signs saying the tax is included in prices or add the tax to the listed price, leading to different prices based on where the truck is parked when the sale is made. Now, they can charge one price — say $5 for a sandwich — no matter where they sell it and calculate how much they owe when they pay their sales tax.

And, said state officials, customers won’t have to reach into their pockets for extra change.

“In making the process simpler for the vendors, we’re also helping consumers too,” Miller said.

There are about 4,000 mobile food vendors registered with the state, he said, a number that has been growing steadily each year.

Unlike a brick and mortar restaurant, mobile food trucks can change their sales tax rate several times in one day.

Local vendors, even some who didn’t know about the new rules, hailed the idea in principle but wanted to wait and see how it worked in practice.

“I can see how it would make it easier for the moment (of the transaction),” said Yvette Cabrera, manager of El Roy’s Mexican Grill, which has trucks in Petaluma and west Santa Rosa. “I hope we aren’t faced with having to fill out more paperwork in the end.”

You can reach Staff Writer Elizabeth M. Cosin at 521-5276 or elizabeth.cosin@pressdemocrat.com.

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Jul 23, 2014
Kim Rivers

Food Truck Stops: July 23

Happy Wednesday, food truck followers! Celebrate hump day by heading out for specials such as gazpacho and watermelon-feta salad at Big Cheese and lamb kebabs at Saffron Food Lovers.

Chinatown (Seventh and G sts., NW), where you’ll find DC Ballers

Farragut Square (17th and I sts., NW), where you’ll find Chick-fil-A Truck, DC Taco Truck, Far East Taco Grille, Habebe, Saffron Food Lovers; Best Burritos, CapMac, Captain Cookie, DC Ballers, DC Slices, DC Taco Truck, Dolci Gelati, and Feelin’ Crabby (nearby at 20th and L).

Franklin Square (13th and K sts., NW), where you’ll find Basil Thyme, Far East Taco Grille, Lemongrass Truck, Meski Healthy 2 Go, Red Hook Lobster Pound, and Woodland’s Vegan Bistro.

L’Enfant (Sixth St. and Maryland Ave., SW), where you’ll find BurGorilla, Dangerously Delicious Pies, DC Doner, DC Slices, DC Sliders, DC Taco Truck, Sweetbites, Taste of Eastern Europe, and Tokyo in the City.

Metro Center (12th and G sts., NW), where you’ll find Cajunators, Captain Cookie, Chatpat Truck, Big Cheese, and Tokyo in the City.

Montgomery County, where you’ll find Go Fish, Linda’s Luncheonette, Los Lobos Burritos, Reggae Vibes (Rockville), and Hardy’s BBQ (Silver Spring).

Navy Yard (First and M sts., SE), where you’ll find Best Burritos, Street Cream, and Tasty Fried.

Northern Virginia, where you’ll find Kafta Mania (Arlington), Mediterranean Delights, Red Hook Lobster Pound, Willie’s Po’ Boy (Ballston), Fava Pot (Court House), Naan Stop (Reston), Astro Doughnuts, Choupi Crepes (Rosslyn), and Urban Bumpkin BBQ (Tysons).

State Department (around 21st St. and Virginia Ave., NW), where you’ll find Crepe Love, Crepes Parfait, Mighty Dog and Acai, Phonation, and Sundevich.

Union Station (North Capitol St. and Massachusetts Ave., NE), where you’ll find Cathy’s Bistro, Hungry Heart, Kabob King, Little Italy, and Saran’s Vegetarian Truck.

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Jul 23, 2014
Kim Rivers

Triangle food trucks give back to Durham homeless community

— For a little extra summer cash, Demosthenes “Demo” Megaloudis, 12, and his brother Alexandrous “Alex,” 11, often help their parents take orders and load supplies onto Gussy’s Greek Food truck.

But on Tuesday, they were donating their time. Following through on an idea inspired by their father and their parish, St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church of Durham – the boys helped serve a free lunch dedicated to the men trying to restart their lives at Durham Rescue Mission.

Although they had served with the food truck at St. Barbara, they wanted to do something more. They considered a homeless shelter as as an ideal, and landed on Durham since their family is heavily invested in the city.

Along with three other food trucks, Stuft, Chick-N-Que, and Not Just Icing, Gussy’s Greek Food gave away a total of 210 meals of barbecue, gourmet potatoes, gyros and cupcakes from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Spotty rain showers did not deter the men, who stood in steady lines in the East Main Street campus parking lot for the food before returning to class at the mission or to shifts at work.

During the past few years, food trucks have become a fixture of the Triangle, growing in rapid numbers and creating a family-like community, said Gus Megaloudis, owner of Gussy’s Greek Food.

Apparently, they are a family characterized by being eager to serve, donating a day’s wages and a truckload of $5 to $8 meals.

Not Just Icing served around 180 of their $3 cupcakes in less than two hours.

“I made four calls, and I got four trucks,” said Megaloudis, although one truck’s generator died at the last minute.

Megaloudis said that the day cost him about $500 to $600 in meals.

“There are some things money cannot make you feel,” Megaloudis said.

The giveaway saved the mission about $430 the center would have spent on the men’s lunch. Tony Gooch, director of developmental operations at the mission, said summers can be difficult as the food banks become lower on food and donations slow when people leave for vacation.

“Three meals here takes the same amount of food that could feed a family of four for a year,” said David Cash, volunteer coordinator at the mission.

Gail Mills, founded the Durham Rescue Mission with husband, Ernie Mills, 40 years ago after he witnessed his father die from an alcohol addiction. They opened up their first home in 1974 and served 12 men within their first year.

The Center for Hope, which houses as many as 270 men, was built last year.

Demo and Alex were not the only kids eager to help, bringing along with them two full bags of clothes to donate. Emma Harrison, 11, and Isabelle Downs, 11, served up cheerful smiles along with thickly frosted cupcakes. Their mothers, Cristal Harrison and Donna Downs, co-owners of Not Just Icing, counted tickets.

One diner, Robert Early, 26, came to the Durham Rescue Mission less than two months ago. A self-labeled “troublemaker,” Early said he planned to enter the program on his own time until a judge ordered him to the mission’s Victory program.

“It’s what I needed for sure; I weren’t giving Jesus any credit. I was taking all the credit,” said Early, a commercial fisherman from Oriental.

Megaloudis is discussing with the mission the hope for monthly events, where various food trucks will alternate between the men’s and women’s campus, located on East Knox Street.

“This is a community that takes care of us, and it’s really nice to be able to give back to them,” said Megaloudis. “Today’s a special day.”

Bettis: 919-829-8955; @whatakaracter

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Jul 23, 2014
Kim Rivers

Parking the food truck

Michael Harden learned during his long career as a commercial lobsterman that there are only three components needed to make a good lobster roll — lobster, butter and roll.

But as it became too difficult for Harden to bank on harvesting the sandwich’s most salient ingredient on his boat in Norwalk, he turned instead to a sector of the food industry that was growing nearly as fast as lobster fishing was waning — food trucks.

Urged by his wife to give cooking lobster rolls a try, Harden purchased a battered truck from Indiana in 2012 and spent four months cleaning and hand-painting the vehicle before taking the nascent LobsterCraft out on the roads of Fairfield County. When the demand became overwhelming, he enlisted Trond Fletcher, a friend of 30-odd years with a family history in the food business, to copilot the venture.

“We always say food trucks are the pirates of the culinary world,” Fletcher said.

Since 2012, LobsterCraft has peddled a simple menu of lobster rolls in Fairfield County, attracting a throng of 100 customers on a good day. Now, the seafood venture is setting down permanent roots, an oft-longed-for goal in the food truck business. The first LobsterCraft restaurant is set to open in a 600-square-foot storefront on Tokeneke Road in Darien in the next few weeks, with another location preparing to launch in New York City this fall. LobsterCraft’s two trucks, painted with bright orange lobsters, will continue to run from Greenwich to Westport.

“It’s been a crazy growth pattern,” Harden said. “I think we really hit a niche with gourmet lobster rolls that needed to be filled.”

It seems Fletcher and Harden entered the business at a particularly opportune moment. Over the past five years, the food truck sector has been growing at a steady rate of 12.4 percent a year, an unusual beacon of success in a restaurant industry that struggled during the recession, according to market research by IBISWorld. In Connecticut, food trucks have been trawling the roads for customers since the mid-1990s, but the concept has only really taken off in Fairfield County over the past seven or eight years, said Linda Kavanagh, director of the New England Culinary Group in Stamford.

“The transitions come from either angle; a chef with an established restaurant/name taking their act on the road or a successful food truck morphing into a full scale operation,” Kavanagh said. “The challenge is that the truck and the restaurant have zero similarities and both have their unique set of business components.”

For LobsterCraft, the idea to establish a physical location came through customer demand. After a long search for a location, Harden and Fletcher bought out the space previously occupied by a deli next to White Bridge Wines and Spirits. The operation will be small. A staff of four or five will work in both the restaurant and the two trucks, with room for more hires, Fletcher said.

“Everybody asked if we were just a truck, so it really came from the crowd,” Harden said. “There’s not a lot of food trucks out there that say they’re happy with just a truck.”

Though the Sound’s lobster industry may only yield a fraction of its former catches, LobsterCraft still sources local ingredients whenever possible. The rolls come from Muro’s Original New York Bakery in South Norwalk and LobsterCraft has relationships with a number of local farmer’s markets, both to buy produce and to sell the finished product at the markets. The most pared-down lobster roll on the menu starts at about $16, but the price really depends on the market, Fletcher said.

As a food truck, LobsterCraft closed up shop in January and February to refurbish the equipment and prepare for the coming spring season. But the Darien restaurant will be a year-round operation.

“This is my cruise ship,” Harden said.

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