Browsing articles in "food trucks"
Aug 16, 2014
Kim Rivers

South Carolina Food Truck Owners Take Their ‘Stuffed Chicken Wings’ To OWN …

The humble chicken wing has been a crowd favorite for as long as football fans can remember. Best friends Corey Simmons and Ramone Dickerson of Columbia, S.C., love a good wing as much as the next guy, but saw a few problems with the traditional preparation.

“They’re messy, they’re small, and they don’t have a whole lot of meat,” Dickerson says in the above video. “So we figured, why don’t we put the mess on the inside?”

“And to me, that’s brilliant,” Simmons says.

The friends got to work and created what they believe is the next hit food craze: the world’s first-ever “stuffed chicken wing.” Using a secret technique, they stuff savory fillings like jambalaya, mac and cheese, bacon and jalapeño into their signature chicken wings.

The creative pair caught the attention of OWN, The Oprah Winfrey Network, and a show was born. The new series “Wingmen” will follow Simmons and Dickerson on their journey to start a “chicken wing revolution.”

Simmons and Dickerson have been running their food truck, 2 Fat 2 Fly, for three years now. Their small-town business isn’t paying the bills, but the men are determined to build their chicken wing empire.

“We thought we were going to be millionaires overnight with this idea,” Simmons says. But the reality? “No. Not at all.”

“Not even a little bit,” Dickerson adds. “Not even close.”

On the first episode of “Wingmen,” Simmons and Dickerson will enter their stuffed chicken wings in Wingfest, an annual competition held in a wealthy beach town. It could provide that needed jolt of exposure for potential new investors – or they could crash and burn.

“Shortcomings aside, I think we can make it if we can just get our crazy in order,” Simmons says. “We’re going to make this dream come true together.”

The one-hour series premiere of “Wingmen” airs Saturday, August 16 at 10 p.m. ET on OWN.

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Aug 16, 2014
Kim Rivers

Old Hollywood glamour, food truck eats make offbeat Jersey City wedding … – The Jersey Journal

Colleen Mills-Finnerty and her husband Delsin, in the background, on their wedding day. 

Delsin and Colleen Mills-Finnerty aren’t your average couple.

The Jersey City pair are polymaths, self-confessed geeks — Delsin works in IT, Colleen is getting her Ph. D. in cognitive neuroscience from Rutgers Newark — and co-founders of nontraditional educational event series, The Spoken Nerd.

They’re also steeped in culture. Delsin, 37, is well-versed in the history of the cocktail, and Colleen, 29, in her vintage threads, is a walking tribute to Old Hollywood.

It’s no surprise then that for their nuptials last year, the two went above and beyond with a 1920′s-inspired wedding at the Landmark Loew’s Jersey Theatre in Jersey City. The November wedding featured a karaoke duel to Meatloaf classic “Paradise by the Dashboard Light,” catering from Hoboken vegan food truck Cinnamon Snail and a guest list that was a who’s-who of the local arts scene.

Their wedding, which was shot by photographer Steven Rosen, was even recently featured on wedding blog Offbeat Bride.

The Jersey Journal spoke to Colleen, a Bayonne native, about the festivities.

JJ: How did you guys meet and how long have you been together?

CMF: We met when I was in school in Boston and Delsin was working in Providence. We dated for six years while living in New England, and moved to Jersey City so I could attend grad school in 2010. Moving was stressful but once we survived that, we got engaged! We had a two-year engagement and did most of our wedding planning a year in advance.

It’s men versus women in this passionate rendition of “Paradise by the Dashboard Light.” 

JJ: What inspired your Old Hollywood wedding?

CMF: We half-joked that if we didn’t love our family and friends so much, we’d have just eloped in Vegas! For us, the wedding was about celebrating with the people we love. We wanted to craft an event that our guests would never forget. We are very into 1920′s culture — art, architecture, music, and clothing — and the Loew’s is one of the greatest 20′s-era theaters in existence, so it was a perfect fit.

JJ: Why did you guys choose the Cinnamon Snail to cater your wedding?

CMF: Because the theater has no kitchen and limited prep area, and having fresh yummy food was one of our priorities, we figured a gourmet food truck was the way to go! Cinnamon Snail’s food is amazing (hello, bourbon creme brulee donuts), and they are also great at accommodating food restrictions. Plus they have a very wacky but positive spirit.

JJ: What was the most challenging part of planning the whole shebang? The most memorable?

The newlyweds order vegan eats from the Cinnamon Snail food truck, which catered their reception. 

CMF: The logistics were a challenge since this was largely a DIY wedding. I had a 17-page spreadsheet I used for planning. But the most rewarding part was getting to hire so many of our friends — almost everyone from the officiant to the bartenders (Emily Palmer and Andrea Morin from LITM) to our photographer, Steve Rosen, were friends of ours or people from the local community.

JJ: Is this the first event you guys planned together?

CMF: We ran an event called Speakeasy in Providence circa 2009, which is how we met our officiant, the “Irreverand” Wendy Beth; we booked her jazz band Miss Wensday and the Cotillions, and our wedding band, Emperor Norton’s Stationary Marching Band.

Right before we moved we ran an all-day outdoor festival stage with 16 vaudeville and musical acts. We figured that was the peak of our careers and we should quit while we’re ahead, but planning the wedding got us back in the saddle and Spoken Nerd is an event that reflects where we are now.

JJ: Tell us more about Spoken Nerd.

Spoken Nerd takes our love of cabaret and mashes it together with art, culture and science. We had our first event in June at LITM and it was great. The theme was “booze” and we had speakers present on home brewing beer, the history of the cocktail and how to make your own cocktail bitters. We plan on doing the next one in September.

Colleen and Delsin Mills-Finnerty share a kiss on their wedding day. 

We’ve both always marched to the beat of our own drum, and our wedding also reflected that. We took our shared love of architecture, music, food and cocktails and created an event that was the sum total of our interests.

JJ: What is your best memory from the wedding?

CMF: We got engaged after seven years together and at first had the attitude of “well it’s not a big deal, it’s just a piece of paper.” But when we announced our engagement, the sheer joy and celebration from our family and friends put it in perspective.

The wedding ended up feeling like so much more than just signing paperwork — for example, walking down the aisle with my dad, surrounded by people who love us, some of whom were already crying while Delsin stood on stage with a big, nervous smile on his face was a very powerful moment. I don’t think we’ve ever felt so loved. And to know that that many people care about us and our little family unit was very powerful.

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Aug 16, 2014
Kim Rivers

A food truck soon may be coming to a parking lot near you; Santa Fe depot …

I’ve always loved eating food in a truck (my F150 is the one with splotches of Krispy Kreme glaze on the windshield, and my slacks are the ones with orange juice spilled in an inopportune spot.) But it has been interesting to watch how many people love to eat food served from a truck. Well, look for that trend to accelerate because proposed changes at City Hall may usher in a new era for food trucks in Lawrence.

City commissioners are set to approve some new regulations that should make it much easier for food trucks to set up shop for long periods of time on private property. Commissioners at their Tuesday evening meeting will consider removing the regulation that prohibits food trucks from serving no more than three hours in any one location. Commissioners also may remove a regulation that makes it illegal for more than two food trucks to be set up on one piece of property.

Instead, commissioners are set to approve new regulations that will allow a food truck to operate for as long as it wants on a piece of private property, as long as the property has received a City Hall site plan that accommodates food trucks. What that means in real life is that a bar, for instance, could go through the planning process and designate a specific area of its parking lot to accommodate a food truck. The food truck could then operate there all day and all night, and, presto, a bar that doesn’t have a kitchen suddenly has a way to offer food to its patrons. If the bar has a particularly large parking lot, it could carve out space for perhaps three or four food trucks.

It won’t just be bars that will be able to take advantage of this new regulation. I suppose the owner of a shopping center that is light on restaurants could choose to add a food truck area. Or really, an underutilized parking lot of any kind could be a candidate to host one or more food trucks. The key is that private property owners will have to go through a bit of a process. Getting a site plan isn’t as simple as just filling out a one-page form. Owners generally will have to have professional plans drawn up and will have to show that the food trucks won’t hamper regular parking, interfere with sight lines at intersections and other such things that planners care about. The site plan process also requires neighbors within 200 feet of the property to be notified of the plans before they are approved.

The new regulations don’t open the door for food trucks to park on public property. For example, there are lots of food trucks that would like to take a space in a city-owned downtown parking lot. But commissioners, thus far, have shown no interest in allowing that to happen. They have said that would be unfair to the traditional downtown restaurants that pay a lot of money in property taxes to have a storefront.

But we’ll see how this all develops. Downtown has a few private parking lots, and it will be interesting to see if any of them go through the process to allow food trucks. Thus far, I haven’t heard that is the driving force behind the proposed changes.

Instead, as we’ve reported, developer Tony Krsnich would like to use food trucks on a regular basis for a new bistro concept he hopes to open in a small building just west of the Poehler Lofts near Eighth and Pennsylvania. Officials in the city’s planning department also tell me that Krsnich has expressed some interest in using a vacant lot in the Eighth and Pennsylvania area to house multiple food trucks to create a “food garden” type of concept. When I hear more about that, I’ll pass details along.

Also, there’s a new shaved ice food truck in west Lawrence that would benefit from the new regulations. I recently talked with Lori Bartel, who along with her husband, Kyle, have opened SnoFlower Shaved Ice in the parking lot of the former Lawrence Funeral Chapel at Sixth and Monterrey Way.

Because of the regulations, the business — which offers more than 50 flavors of shaved ice — has had to limit its hours to 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, and then from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on the weekends.

Their business is an example of how a food truck can take hold about anywhere. The property at Sixth and Monterey Way is in the process of being converted into an animal hospital, but it has a pretty large parking lot and is on a highly traveled road. If landlords think they can get a few hundred dollars a month out of an unused parking spot, I suspect there will be many landlords open to the idea. That seems like it could be a significant development in the local food service industry.

SnoFlower may be a good example of how it can work. Bartel said business has been strong, even with the limited number of hours. The shaved ice stand has carved out a niche by having a large line of flavorings that are free from artificial dyes and flavoring agents.

“We’ve had so many kids come by that have been allergic to some of the dyes found in other flavors, so this is the first time they’ve had a snow cone,” Bartel said. “It has been great.”

It will be interesting to see what types of new cuisine may be introduced through food trucks in the city. I’m game for eating all types of food from a truck, but I must say I do limit what I will eat in a truck. Let’s just say there are very good reasons why I don’t drink coffee.

In other news and notes from around town:

• It looks like plans to refurbish the 1950s-style Burlington Northern Santa Fe depot in East Lawrence are going to be delayed. The project originally was scheduled to be bid for construction in October, but that date now is being pushed back to an undetermined time. The reason for the delay is because the city has not yet been able to negotiate a transfer of ownership on the station, which is at Seventh and New Jersey streets. The station is owned by BNSF, but the railroad has been open to essentially deeding over the property to the city, assuming certain conditions can be met that would allow BNSF personnel to still have some office space in the facility. There are other issued to be considered as well, such as liability issues and other such matters that lawyers who bill by the hour really enjoy.

Bottom line, an agreement hasn’t yet been worked out, but City Hall officials aren’t yet sounding an alarm. In their update to commissioners, staff members indicated they still anticipate a land transaction to be completed later this fall.

In June, the city was awarded a state grant that will pay for 80 percent of the $1.5 million rehabilitation project. City officials said the delay has not yet jeopardized the city’s access to that grant funding.

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Aug 16, 2014
Kim Rivers

Colorado Springs native battles it out on Food Network’s ‘The Great Food Truck …

Hosted by celebrity chef Tyler Florence, the series features eight teams of rookie food truck operators who travel from California to Florida. Each team must display the cooking skills, creativity and entrepreneurial desire necessary to run their own food truck business. Each three-person team is given a vehicle to use in the race, but only the winner gets to keep their food truck and earn a $50,000 cash prize.

Beach Cruiser, the name of Hoffman’s team, faced the competition with an upbeat attitude.

“It can be intense at times, but all you can do is stay positive and just give it everything you have and hope for the best,” said Hoffman. “We worked really hard and had a great time. We weren’t ever really worried about getting eliminated. We just did the best that we could to put the best product out there.”

Born and raised in Colorado Springs, Hoffman graduated from Doherty in 2007 where she was voted “Most Likely to be on a Reality Show.” After leaving Colorado Springs, she attended Arizona State University, graduating in 2011 with a degree in graphic information technology. Although the culinary arts were not her focus in college, she did come into the race with experience, even if being on “The Great Food Truck Race” wasn’t exactly planned.

“I personally didn’t really apply to be on the show,” Hoffman said. “My friend Greta had another food truck thing going and was approached by Food Network about being on the show. I met her out in Venice (Calif.); we’re surf buddies and have mutual friends. I’ve been working in restaurants since I was 18, serving and bartending and being around food and drink. She already had a chef and approached me and asked if I wanted to do it. She needed a third hand and I was totally on board.”

In the first challenge in the premiere episode, the food truck teams must create a signature dish to sell in Santa Barbara.

“It was nervous excitement,” Hoffman said. “I felt like I was in a permanent state of not really knowing what the right move was ever. We were all just running on adrenaline. It was really, really exciting. None of us really had a clue what we were doing, but we were all just trying the best we could. It was amazing.”

Food trucks are very popular in California and are becoming more commonplace in Colorado Springs as well. Hoffman, who works at celebrity chef Roy Choi’s restaurant Sunny Spot in Venice,was inspired during her time in the race.

“Roy Choi was one of the food truck gurus who started the food truck revolution across the country,” she said. “Before the show even happened, I sort of had somewhat of an interest in it because his food trucks were one of the turning points for the industry. They used to be called Roach Coaches, but now they serve gourmet food on wheels.

“I met amazing people,” she said about the competition. “The other teams were great, I became closer to my two teammates and we got to compete in Venice, our local city.”

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Aug 15, 2014
Kim Rivers

NYC Food Truck Lunch: Verde Pizza From Neapolitan Express

Last week we told you about Brooklyn’s Grandma Pizza Truck. This week we had another pizza lunch from a food truck. This one was a 10″ personal pizza from Neapolitan Express.

It was a bad day for carnivores at Neapolitan Express. We got to the truck around 1pm and wanted the Pizza a Diavolo, but they were out of spicy sopressata sausage. Second choice was Pizza di Parma, but we were told they were out of proscuitto di parma, too.

Oh, well. Let’s get as far away from the meats as possible. The Verde Pizza for $11 should do the trick.

Things were a little chaotic in the truck, and the person working on the dough ended up topping our pizza instead of the toppings person. This was both a good and bad thing.

On the plus side, there were so many greens put on our pizza that we could barely see the pizza for the forest. On the minus side, she forgot to slice the pizza, and we ended up having to use a knife and fork, which goes against everything we believe in as a New Yorker. Just ask Jon Stewart.

At Neapolitan Express, they bake the basic pizza (tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese) and add the toppings after it comes out of the oven.

On the Verde Pizza, the toppings were kale, arugula, parmesan, black olives, olive oil, sea salt and black pepper.

(credit: Perry R.)

(credit: Perry R.)

It was good, but at a certain point we gave up on the plastic knife and fork, folded over the pizza, and ate the rest of it the way pizza was meant to be eaten – folded over.

The crust was good, with a little crispiness on the edge, a little chewiness in the center, and some char on the bottom.

In our first review of Neapolitan Express in March 2013, we explained all the ways they are helping to make NYC a greener place, such as the fuel used for the truck, and the packaging used for the pizza. Verde Pizza is another way they are making NYC even greener.

You can find Neapolitan Express on Twitter here, on Facebook here, and their website is here.

(credit: Perry R.)

(credit: Perry R.)

 

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Aug 15, 2014
Kim Rivers

12 Food Trucks Not to Miss at the Columbus Food Truck Festival

There are some changes coming to the Columbus Food Truck Cart Festival this year, scheduled to take place Friday, August 15th – Saturday, August 16th. There are longer hours, more food truck vendors, and a brand new app available to enhance the food truck festival experience.

This new app, a collaboration between Columbus-based, SeeMore Interactive, and the Columbus Food Truck Festival, will allow guests to scan a range of festival  graphics to interact with, and get the inside scoop on, their favorite food trucks, bands, and sponsors at the event.

By adding a layer of image recognition and augmented reality to brand graphics, catalogs, and even food trucks, SeeMore has made it easy, and cool, for festival attendees to unlock coupons, view videos, and share items on social media via their smart phone or tablet.

It’s the ideal accompaniment as you try to navigate the festival this year, especially as there will be over 40 food trucks on hand, ready to serve everything from arepas to zucchini pie over the two-day event.

Guaranteed to have something for every taste, you should definitely nosh at as many trucks as you dare. Here are a dozen of them you may not have seen before, been curious about, or would never have a chance to get to otherwise:

aCutAbove Creative Curbside Cuisine

aCutAbove serves German street food. Their signature dishes include the Schnitzel Sandwich, pork loin, lettuce, tomato, and Master Chef Enzo Sclama’s secret sauce on a bun, the Bavarian Burger, finished with sauerkraut and Swiss cheese, and the Curry Wurst - German Pork Sausage with original Berliner spiced tomato sauce served on a bun. All items at aCutAbove cost $6-$8. For more, check out ww.facebook.com/aCutAboveCuisine.

Bake Me Happy Mobile Bus

Be sure to visit the new Bake Me Happy Mobile Bus, a restored VW, for some of the most deceptively delicious treats in the city. See, all of Bake Me Happy’s goodies are gluten-free, but you would only recognize it as yummy. They sell sneaky-good Peanut Butter Burners, outrageous Oatmeal Creme Pies, and tempting takes on the Twinkie, including Red Velvet. Snacks generally cost less than $4 an item. For a longer look at Bake Me Happy’s offerings, visit  www.bakemehappygf.com.

Burgermania Food Truck

Launched only this past June, the Burgermania food truck is very clear in its intention: it sells burgers. And fries. And unlike many other new burger joints lately, whether mobile or brick-and-mortar, the burgers at Burgermania are simple, familiar, and comforting. And well very made. Among the varieties offered: Classic Cheese and Double Cheese, Bacon, and Guacamole. All of the items at Burgermania cost less than $10, so for a taste of true Americana, check them out. For more on Burgermania Food Truck, follow them at www.facebook.com/pages/Burgermania.

En Place Food Truck

For great grub made for vegetarians and meat-lovers alike, be sure to stop by En Place Food Truck, where the menu is built to turn veggie grub into a meal hardy enough for a carnivore. Or is it amazing meat dishes where the meat won’t be missed if taken away? Either way, the menu rocks, an offering of salads, like the Napa Kale and Primavera Pasta, to which grilled chicken can be added for a nominal cost if desired, and sandwiches, like Spicy Chicken, Sprout, and Pork Belly Sliders. All items are priced between $7-$12. For more on En Place Food Truck, follow them at www.facebook.com/enplacefoods.

Land Yacht BBQ

If you haven’t been out to Hollywood Casino, then you haven’t been to the Haydocy Broad Gourmet Food Park, which is adjacent to the casino, and anchored by Land Yacht BBQ, a repurposed Airstream that serves up delicious ‘cue. Come out for Beef Brisket Sandwiches, the Yacht BBQ Burger, and Lamb Bacon two ways: as the main ingredient in Mac ‘n’ Cheese or the scrumptious surprise in Baked Beans. Items at Land Yacht BBQ cost less than $8. For a longer look at the menu, visit www.landyachtbbq.com.

Loops! Good Food

New to the food truck scene, Loops! brings a taste of Chicago to the festival this year. They serve a variety of hot dogs and sandwiches inspired by the Windy City, including the Fetafire Gyro, with zesty feta cheese spread, the Grecco Salad, topped with chick peas and falafel, and classic Italian Beef. A full meal, including drink, will only cost you around $8 at Loops! Good Food Truck, so stop by and welcome them to the food truck scene. For a longer look at Loops! Good Food’s menu, visit www.loopsgoodfood.com/food-truck.

Niko’s Street Eats

The vision of restauranteurs with 35 years in the industry, Niko’s Street Eats specializes in authentic Greek and American diner deli foods. Their eclectic menu features traditional Greek fare, like Souvlaki, served on a stick or in a pita, and Vegetarian Pita, with cucumbers and olives, as well as unexpected, and wholeheartedly American dishes. There’s Grilled Beef Bologna, a Chicken Club Sandwich, and the Buckeye Donut Cheeseburger, topped with bacon, and served between two glazed donuts. For a truly Greek American experience that’ll set you back less than $10, check out Niko’s Street Eats. For a full look at the menu, visit www.nikosstreeteats.com.

Not Guilty Food Cart

They hail from Athens, Ohio, and their slogan is, “Innocent, naturally good, comfort foods”. With a menu that boasts the use of local ingredients, the grilled cheese sandwiches, fresh fruit smoothies, and seasonal soups served at Not Guilty leave you feeling good and good about yourself (especially as all items cost $6 or less). Like their newest summer smoothies: Watermelon Refresher and PawPaw Pineapple Mango, both ridiculously cooling and good for regulating hydration on a hot day. Also try the Caprese and BLT Sandwiches, made with fresh, Ohio summer tomatoes. For more on this new food cart to our fair city, follow them at www.facebook.com/NotGuiltyCart.

Queen’s Table

Best known for their fish boats – plates piled high with fresh fried fish, tomatoes, onions and lettuce – Queen’s Table also serves salads, like the Santa Fe with black beans, grilled chicken, avocado, and jalapeño ranch dressing, a Famous Turkey Burger with secret ingredients, sandwiches, like a hearty Vegetarian Burrito, and dinners, like Ragin’ Cajun Chicken. Queen’s Table also offers several gluten-free items, all reasonably priced between $5-$16. For a longer look at Queen’s Table’s menu, follow them at www.facebook.com/QueensTable.

Smok’n Cantina

An interesting take on fusion cuisine, Smok’n Cantina serves up southwestern street food with a BBQ twist, specializing in a menu of NachOrdinary Tacos. Among these, Beef Brisket, Chili Shrimp, and Carolina Pulled Pork. These larger-than-normal tacos cost $4.50 a piece, and most can also be bought in sandwich form for $4. Guests can purchase two tacos and a nibbler (these include Avocado Guacamole Spread, Chili Chorizo Queso, Jalapeño Cheddar Corn Bread, and 3 different Hummus - Green Chili, Roasted Red Pepper, and Black Bean Corn) for only $9, making for a complete and completely affordable meal. For a longer look at Smok’n Cantina’s menu, visit www.smokncantina.com.

And 2 special corporate trucks, making the leap to mobile restaurant as they continue to bridge the gap between traditional and modern consumerism:

Donatos Street Pizza

One of Columbus’s best-known pizza brands, Donatos has recently launched the Donatos Street Pizza Truck, bringing the pizza Central Ohio loves to the streets. The truck serves up pies by the slice (yes, that’s right, slice, not square), or by the whole. They offer their classic Pepperoni, Cheese, and specialty pizzas, like the Founders Favorite with 3 types of meat and hot peppers. Donatos Street Pizza sells slices for $3, and whole pies for the number of slices minus $3 (one free slice for purchasing a whole). For more on the Donatos Street Pizza experience, follow them at  www.facebook.com/DonatosStreetPizza.

Market District Foodie Truck

The Market District Foodie Truck features chef-made meals for on the go. Market District chefs create and serve a simple menu that highlights the high-quality ingredients sold under the Market District brand at Giant Eagle stores. Guests can find items like a French Dip Sandwich served with au jus, African Mocha-Rubbed Beef Brisket, Herb-Roasted Bone-In Chicken Breast, and Buffalo Chicken Wings on the menu, for roughly $7 per item. The MD Foodie Truck also serves sides for $3 per serving, including Brown Sugar Baked Beans and Cucumber Salad. For a longer look at the Market District Foodie Truck’s offerings, visit www.marketdistrict.com/Explore/FoodieTruck.

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Aug 15, 2014
Kim Rivers

Seattle food truck offers up world’s most expensive hot dog

Courtesy: Tokyo Dog

Courtesy: Tokyo Dog

SEATTLE — Got a big appetite and a big wallet?  A Seattle food truck is now offering the world’s most expensive hot dog.  In fact, the Guinness Book of World Records has verified it.

The Tokyo Dog food truck’s “Juuni Ban” has a retail price of $169.  It contains smoked cheese bratwurst, butter Teriyaki grilled onions, Maitake mushrooms, Wagyu beef, foie gras, shaved black truffles, caviar and Japanese mayonnaise, all encased in a brioche bun.

To meet the requirements for a world record, at least one hot dog had to be sold in a legitimate business transaction.  The co-owners sold six of them in one day, raising more than $1,000.  Those proceeds were donated to the American Red Cross.  The hot dogs are no longer sold on-demand, but can be prepared with two weeks advance notice.  You can find the truck’s schedule here or contact the owners here.

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Aug 15, 2014
Kim Rivers

Ogden council approves food truck restrictions – Standard

OGDEN — The Ogden City Council will take a wait-and-see approach when it comes to deciding whether to loosen restrictions on the newly allowed mobile food trucks in downtown Ogden.

On Tuesday, the council voted to approve an ordinance that allows mobile food trucks to operate in commercial areas throughout Ogden, and most notably, the Central Business District, which is considered the area between 20th and 27th streets between Adams Avenue and the Union Pacific Railroad tracks.

Prior to the ordinance being passed, food trucks were allowed only in manufacturing zones.

The city defines a mobile food truck as a business that serves only food and nonalcoholic beverages, from an enclosed self-contained motorized vehicle. The definition doesn’t include sidewalk vending carts, mobile food trailers or mobile ice cream vendors.

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Rockin’ Gourmet Grilled Cheese food truck

The consideration to change the zoning law and allow food trucks downtown came from Roy residents Dave and Carol Hasratian, who own the Rocking Gourmet Grilled Cheese food truck. The truck has been in operation for six weeks now, mostly serving Ogden’s industrial areas.

The new ordinance comes with a host of stipulations, which among other things include the following: Food trucks must not be parked within 200 feet of an existing restaurant, food cart or church; food trucks are not allowed in The Junction or Historic 25th Street District; food trucks can operate only between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m.; and access is required to a permanent bathroom facility when a food cart is parked on private property.

For the time being, food carts in commercial zones will also be capped at five.

City Planner Rick Grover said the stipulations are meant to protect the brick and mortar restaurants that play an important role in the overall vitality of downtown.

At the council meeting, the Hasratians said one stipulation in particular — the 200-foot rule — will severely limit their ability to do business downtown, which was the reason the couple filed the petition in the first place.

“At 200 feet, there is really nowhere for us to go,” said Dave Hasratian. “That would pretty much shut us out of (downtown) Ogden completely.”

Carol Hasratian told the council she feels unfairly targeted by downtown brick and mortar restaurants, whom the city consulted when drafting the ordinance. 

Several owners of Ogden restaurants attended a June planning commission meeting and voiced concern about allowing food trucks downtown.

Steve Ballard of the Sonora Grill; Kym Buttschardt, owner of Roosters Brewing Co.; Alex Montanez, owner of Rovali’s Ristorante Italiano; and Nick VanArsdell, co-owner of The Lucky Slice Pizza, all spoke out at the meeting.

“(Restaurant owners) shouldn’t have the right to tell me what to do,” Hasratian said. “A restaurant is a totally different concept than a food truck.”

None of the restaurant owners attended Tuesday night’s meeting, but a few Top of Utah citizens in favor of loosening food truck restrictions made public comment.

Cameron Banner, of Riverdale, said he’d like to operate a food truck in Ogden as well, but not with the 200-foot restriction.

“Given that we are living in a free market, food trucks should be given every right to compete,” he said. “The 200-foot distance is too restrictive.”

Clinton resident Alyssa McNeil said food trucks provide another dining option for downtown patrons and help diversify the city’s food service industry.

Council members discussed the ordinance at length, wrestling with the decision of whether to adopt the ordinance with the restrictions included and revisit the issue in the spring, or to table the vote for another few weeks to allow time for the ordinance to be revamped. 

“(Bringing in) food trucks is great,” said council member Marcia White. “(But) I think what we’ve done here is maybe more restrictive than necessary.”

When it came time for a vote, the council adopted the ordinance as it was written by a vote of 5 to 1 and included the caveat that the issue would be monitored and re-evaluated in April of next year. Doug Stephens had the only dissenting vote, and council member Amy Wicks did not attend the meeting, having been previously excused.

Stephens said he felt waiting until April to re-evaluate the issue was too long.

“It’s our duty to come up with a strong ordinance,” Stephens said. “And we could have done that in the first part of September.”

Contact reporter Mitch Shaw at 801-625-4233 or mishaw@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @mitchshaw23.

STORY:201408130078Ogden council approves food truck restrictions/Business/2014/08/14/City-council-passes-food-truck-ordinance-with-restrictions-will-revis.html-1

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Aug 15, 2014
Kim Rivers

Gourmet food truck craze heats up in the Albany, New York area



Megan Rogers
Reporter- Albany Business Review

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Scott Fitzgerald left a decades-long career in the restaurant industry so he could set his own schedule.

Fitzgerald and his wife, Kathleen, thought about opening a restaurant, but decided it was too risky of an investment. Instead, the couple purchased a food truck and opened Fitzy’s Fork in the Road, a gourmet food truck that operates in Ballston Spa, New York.

“We started looking at restaurants and realized that opening a restaurant was a little more risky,” Fitzgerald says. “A food truck, you can bounce around and move.”

The Fitzgeralds are among several food truck owners are a part of the Albany, New York region’s growing food truck scene. Gourmet food trucks found popularity in larger cities over the past several years, now the craze has made its way to Albany.

The city of Albany announced earlier this week that it would expand a pilot program for food trucks and sidewalk vendors. The program will allow vendors to sell in locations beyond the three current locations.

“We’re thrilled the administration is not dismissing food trucks like many other municipalities have,” says Tim Taney, co-owner of food truck and catering service, Slidin’ Dirty. “Overall, it’s been a roller coaster ride.”

Slidin’ Dirty will open a store at 9 First Street in Troy at the end of the year. The move will allow the company, owned by Tim Taney and Brooke Taney, to extend the busy season for the business. The food truck season runs from April to October. To sustain business in the winter, the pair offered delivery service to customers.

The Crispy Cannoli, a bakery that began as a food truck in 2011, has had a brick-and-mortar location in East Greenbush since 2012. Owner Jason Grant, who ran a catering business while working in the health insurance industry, offers a variety of pastries, including cannolis, eclairs and croissant donuts. He caters for private events, such as weddings, graduation and birthday parties, serving up to 1,000 pastries at his largest events.

Megan reports breaking news and covers education.



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Aug 15, 2014
Kim Rivers

Host of ‘Great Food Truck Race’ says Mobile shines in show’s new season

Spoiler alert: Tyler Florence, host of “The Great Food Truck Race,” discovers a taste for Mobile in the show’s newest season.

The Food Network reality show will air the premiere episode of its fifth season at 8 p.m. Central time on Sunday, Aug. 17. The seven-episode run follows eight food trucks as they meet a variety of challenges on the way from Santa Barbara, Calif., to Key West, Fla. Stops include Tucson, Austin, Oklahoma City, St. Louis and the Port City.

The Mobile stop, which occurred in late May, will air Sept. 21. By that point in the journey, only three trucks remain, and one is eliminated in a scene shot on the deck of the USS Alabama. (Note: Out of respect to viewers who like a little suspense, this story won’t spell out which three trucks made it to the Gulf Coast.)

According to Florence, the Mobile stop was a highlight of the journey. But that easily might not have been the case. Though Florence probably wasn’t aware of it at the time, as word begin to spread about the show’s impending visit, a discussion took place in Mobile’s conventional and social media about whether it was a good thing or not. Some argued that locals should do more to support innovative local restaurants, rather than getting excited about visitors, and others alleged that downtown Mobile would be a terrible place for the show to visit. Many, however, saw the occasion as a chance to get some favorable publicity for the city, particularly its revitalized downtown. (For a Mod Mobilian essay arguing the latter case, click here, but be warned, it does name the three trucks.)

To judge from the turnout, the pro-food truck, pro-downtown voices prevailed.

“That positivity came across in a big, big way. It was one of our most exciting stops,” said Florence. “Thank everybody in Mobile for me, because they really came out in a big way. It was one of the larger crowds we had in the entire show.”

“I think it’s going to edit out really, really well,” he said. “It’s one of our best cities. Amazing turnout, everybody supported the show, and I think Mobile’s going to look like a million bucks. A few million, actually.”

“It’s a great city,” he said. “We like interesting towns that have a really good story, that sort of fit into our route. And we were heading for Florida, so it kind of made sense … It was a big push to go from St. Louis to Mobile, but I’m so glad the producers decided to pick Mobile instead of somewhere else, because it was such a fantastic city. And the food was great.”

According to information provided by the Food Network, Pete Blohme, the owner of Panini Pete’s, helps Florence decide the winner of the Mobile episode. Blohme has made a reality show appearance or three already, and apparently made an impression on Florence.

“Panini Pete is a really, really great guy with some of the best beignets I’ve ever had in my life,” said Florence. “I had not had a chance to work with him before. … TV is his thing. I think he’d actually be great for a reality show.”

As you’d expect, the show is about flavor and drama. But Florence said it’s also about the practical reality of food trucks. They’re enjoying a nationwide boom, he said, and he thinks his show has done a lot to raise awareness.

This season’s eight teams are all rookies to food-truck entrepreneurship, which means they’re living the fantasy of countless Americans who like the idea of operating a self-contained, seemingly straightforward business. (The show set them all up in new trucks, and the winners get to keep theirs.) The food-truck fantasy is warmly portrayed in director Jon Favreau’s recent independent movie “Chef.” Florence said he hadn’t seen it yet, but takes it as one more sign of the country’s rising fascination with food trucks.

“To me, all of this stuff stems from the Great American Food Truck Race,” he said. “It’s becoming part of pop culture in a really big way, and I’m just so proud of what we’ve done. I’m not saying we invented food trucks, I’m saying we’ve gassed it. We’ve given such a spotlight on the industry that it’s created this sort of national, coast-to-coast phenomenon, and I’m just really proud of it.”

The show also has a tradition of showing the down-to-earth flip side of the fantasy. This season, like previous ones, will present the competitors with a variety of unexpected challenges, from special ingredients to difficult schedules to money problems. If they have to start a day with no cash on hand, for example, the goal is to teach them how to barter for the supplies they need.

“The restaurant experience is something that a lot of culinary people have had, right?” said Florence. “But the food truck experience … you’re sort of out there in the elements every day. With that comes an enormous amount of hard work and drama. The great thing about it, the satisfying thing about it, is that at the end of the show, we give someone their just due. We give them a brand-new state-of-the-art food truck and $50,000 to get a company started.”

“We did an enormous amount of research on the life of a food-truck operator,” Florence said. “Everything that we threw at them are real-life circumstances and situations that a food truck operator would have to deal with on a daily basis.”

“What we want to do is to have this real reality show with real contestants and a real outcome. So what we put them through was just basically a boot camp,” he said. “If we’re not going to be firm and hard on them in a way that will mold them into a successful truck, then reality, once they get off the show and they open a truck, will just eat them alive anyway.”

He’s not just the host, he’s a food-truck evangelist.

“The risk-reward ratio is actually really high, because of the low capital output that’s required to get into the business in the first place,” he said. “You can hit the ground running with a $25,000 investment in a food truck, and before you know it, you’re breaking even and running in a pure profit position. So it’s actually a really strong business model for someone who wants to do it for themselves.”

Innovative food, in a way, is just a side effect: “When you lower the bar [compared to restaurant startup costs], where everybody can get into it, creativity flourishes,” Florence said.

The Great Food Truck Race obviously doesn’t stand still. It hits a town, creates a day or two of buzz, then moves on. But Florence, who sounds like he has something in common with blue-collar enthusiast Mike Rowe, said there’s a message that lingers after the last meal is served.

“To me the show is about figuring it out. The show is about making one good step toward financial independence and being your own boss,” he said. “I think that you’ve got to work hard for anything that you believe in. Anything that’s great, you know? Hard work comes with the territory of putting your own desires and your own happiness in your hands.”

“That’s what I feel like we leave behind,” he said. “The ability to say, ‘I can do that. I want to be in business for myself.’”

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