In what will be a first for New England and perhaps even the rest of the United States, Boston is about to get its very own Uyghur food truck. Although the truck won’t have an onboard noodle maker turning out plates of lagman, the truck — which is scheduled to hit the streets in the coming days — will be serving Uyghur style kebabs, sold on skewers or inside wraps.
The truck, Uyghur Kitchen, is the brainchild of Payzulla Polat, a professional musician currently studying music production and engineering at Boston’s Berklee School of Music and who originally hails from the Uyghur city of Urumqi. I recently reached out to Polat, who is busy with the various last-minute details that need attention before his truck is ready to roll, to find out more about his groundbreaking project. Our conversation is below:
How did you get the idea for a Uyghur food truck?
When I was a student in Los Angeles back in 2008, most days I got lunch from the food truck next to my school. They served really delicious doner kebabs and they were really cheap compared to regular restaurants. After eating there several times, I became a big food truck fan, and always pictured myself opening a Uyghur food truck in the future. It’s the perfect idea for Uyghur kebabs as they’re easy to make and easy to eat on the go. Other big reasons for starting a food truck are the relatively low investment costs for a new business and the movable location, which will make it accessible to more people.
Besides your truck, are there any other places in Boston to get Uyghur food?
Right now there are no restaurants in the New England area where you can find Uyghur food. I constantly hear about people looking for Uyghur food in the area, especially in Boston, but they haven’t found any yet.
Do you feel like Boston’s food scene is ready to support the arrival of Uyghur food?
I think it is. Kebabs are some of the most popular foods anywhere in the world, and of course in the U.S. as well. Uyghur kebabs have a unique taste, and they’re always a top choice on the table when I have parties in my backyard with my American friends. I worked for almost a year in one of the more successful food trucks (Sweet Tomatoes) in Boston from the first day they hit the street and I always saw people looking for new and healthy food in the markets or on the street. I believe that Uyghur Kitchen Food Truck will bring some more good attention to Boston’s food scene.
What’s your own connection to Uyghur food?
I’m a Uyghur, and I grew up in Urumqi in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Living next to the most historical and beautiful street in the city (Console St.) with lots of food stands and great restaurants around, I always had a wide variety of great food to choose from. I want to bring some of that flavor to Boston and help people discover the taste of our delicious food.
Any plans beyond the truck?
Absolutely! Uyghur Kitchen Food Truck is meant to introduce Uyghur food and culture to people largely unfamiliar with them. It’ll be a good start to give them a taste of what we eat and who we are. It’s also a good way to advertise and introduce our brand, and to spread the name Uyghur around the region with a movable vehicle. Our goal for the future is to open a restaurant that can truly represent our people and our culture as well.
The Boulder City Council gave initial approval Wednesday night to changes to rules governing food truck operations, but those changes do not include the late-night and residential service many food truck operators would like to see.
Boulder city staffers have recommended allowing more mobile food trucks — four instead of two — to operate on private property downtown in specific areas.
The ordinance also would allow food trucks to operate in designated city parks again this summer, based on a pilot program last year that received positive feedback from operators.
Licensed food trucks now can operate in rights-of-way in industrial zones and in business, mixed-use and downtown zones with property owner approval, but they cannot operate within 150 feet of restaurants and residential districts.
The rules on operating times and locations were created three years ago in an effort to strike a balance between the food trucks and brick-and-mortar operations.
Last summer, a pilot program allowed the trucks to set up in popular Boulder parks, and offer late-night business at the Park Central Building’s parking lot, near Arapahoe Avenue and Broadway. Few food trucks took advantage of the late-night option, with operators citing limited foot traffic and not enough lighting for safety.
Food truck operators want to be able to operate downtown after restaurants close and hold an event once or twice a month along 13th Street, in the location of the Farmers Market.
A public hearing and second vote on the food truck rules will be held in May.
The city of Fayetteville is accepting applications starting Thursday April 17 for business owners who want to set up a food truck. The application period closes on April 30.
Three names will be drawn in the lottery on May 1.
Food trucks on private property have been around for years. However, this application has a different set of rules. Food truck vendors will be allowed to parallel park on public property such as any street or city park.
“I think the food truck lottery gets some excitement generated,” said Andrew Garner, city planner. “It gets it out there that everybody has a chance but it’s not going to be unlimited.”
With the permit, the food truck has to be mobile. Depending on the location, they can stay up to four hours before they have to move to a different spot.
The ordinance prohibits mobile food vendors from parking in front of a restaurant. Its rules include complying with county health laws and paying a $100 fee.
The food truck lottery is part of a new ordinance passed by the City Council in March.
“I think the council was concerned with just having unlimited number of food truck vendors all over the city so with this we can police it and test out how it’s going to work,” Garner said.
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New Orleans tourism promoters are boarding the food truck bandwagon in a new twist on their campaign to market the city to travelers. They will deploy a truck wrapped in imagery from their “Follow Your NOLA” marketing drive to three target cities in Texas: Austin, Dallas and Houston.
People visiting the truck will be able to spin a wheel and land on a New Orleans-themed prize, in keeping with the campaign’s spontaneous exploration theme, including getting suddenly surrounded by a grooving brass band that will be waiting on standby, greeted by a Mardi Gras Indian or winning a dinner in a New Orleans restaurant.
New Orleanians will get the first chance to see the “Follow Your NOLA” food truck on May 2, during the New Orleans Jazz Heritage Festival presented by Shell. People will be able to locate the truck that day by searching the hashtag #followyournola on Twitter. Participants also can enter a sweepstakes to win a trip to New Orleans using the hashtag #TasteOfNOLA.
The truck’s rollout will include appearances by a Hot 8 Brass Band trumpeter, a Blackfoot Hunters Mardi Gras Indian member and food samples from chef Brian Landry of Borgne Restaurant.
After that it will embark on its tour of Texas for much of May.
The road trip coincides with the annual re-launch of the national advertising campaign for New Orleans, which this year begins in cities across the country on Monday. The campaign’s planners are aiming for the “Follow Your NOLA” message to be seen 750 million times in 2014.
Staff Reporter- Washington Business Journal
D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray wants to re-introduce criminal penalties for breaking the District’s mobile vending law after they were erroneously left out of legislation governing food trucks and other vendors passed last June.
The criminal penalties were a part of the original vending legislation before it was overhauled in June 2013, but were accidentally taken out when the new vending regulations were adopted, according to Gray spokesman Pedro Ribeiro.
The bill, which Gray sent to D.C. Council Chair Phil Mendelson earlier this month, would re-establish a fine of $300 or up to 90 days in jail, according to the bill [ PDF].
“Without criminal penalties, the District cannot take immediate, spot-of-the-violation action to remove an individual who is illegally vending,” Gray wrote in a letter accompanying the bill. “With the penalties, MPD can instruct the individual to leave or face arrest.”
The criminal penalties will also allow the District government to better enforce the laws with out-of-state vendors, Gray added
The overhaul to vending regulations went into effect created the current mobile roadway vending zones and accompanying lottery system, which designate certain spaces for food trucks and mete out those spaces on a monthly basis to food trucks via monthly lottery.
The DMV Food Truck Association is not opposing the change.
Rebecca Cooper covers retail, restaurants, tourism and the arts.
In 2009, Natasha Case and Freya Estrella were selling ice cream sandwiches out of a beat up postal van they bought on Craigslist. With background in the design and real estate fields, they spiced up the classic frozen treat by naming their ice cream sandwiches after architects and architectural movements that inspired them, like the peanut butter ice cream between double chocolate cookies called I. M. Pei-nutbutter.
Today, Coolhaus is much more than an architecturally savvy food truck. Coolhaus now sells treats in over 1,500 gourmet markets across the nation. Through partnerships with Urban Outfitters and Quicksilver, you can find Coolhaus prepackaged treats while you’re shopping for clothes. Soon, you’ll even be able to make your own Coolhaus sandwiches, with a cookbook coming out in May.
Entrepreneur.com was able to ask co-founder Natasha Case a few questions about expansion, partnerships and the delicious and evolving food truck industry. Check out how she’s managed to grow and transform her business. (And don’t miss the exclusive recipe she gave us from the Coolhaus Ice Cream Book.)
How has Coolhaus gone from a single food truck to a huge brand with carts and trucks across the country, a line of prepackaged frozen goodies and a soon-to-be-released cookbook?
By creating a brand and a vision that is beyond just a single product or market approach. Because Coolhaus, as a concept, has a culture and a story that really resonates with an audience, we can do anything. This also creates buy-in internally: if the Coolhaus team/staff are part of our vision beyond the day-to-day operations, they will be inspired to help take the brand to the next level. You always need that level of motivation amongst your team to make a company successful and scalable.
What have been the major challenges of Coolhaus’s expansion?
Deciding which components of the business to focus on (ie trucks, stores or wholesale distribution) and building strategy around that, cash-flowing through the off-season (both in terms of managing huge production runs for grocery orders and maintaining payroll for salaried staff), and managing people. It can be challenging in the service industry, because many staff members have other passions (ie music, modeling, art, comedy), which creates a wonderful environment, but can bring other challenges in terms of maintaining the team.
How has your architecture background played a role in Coolhaus?
It has been a massive help: architecture is a great background for creating a brand identity and using visuals to tell a story. Architecture is also client/project driven, just like the service side of our business. Also, my technical design skills and training have helped with packaging design, web design, and creating many other marketing collaterals. It has also allowed us to fold-in a whole other audience to our brand: we have a tremendous following amongst the food/ice cream loving community AND the design community. How many dessert companies can say the same?
What prompted Coolhaus to decide to start selling treats in stores, and how were markets such as Urban Outfitters and Quicksilver selected?
I love the idea of getting the best possible product into as many hands as possible: grocery distribution allows us to do that! It’s just so scalable: while I love that any Angeleno can come to our carts, stores and trucks, for example (or anyone in Austin, Dallas and New York City for that matter), at the end of the day, that’s only a fragment of the country. Now with our retail partners (ie Whole Foods, Sprouts, Fresh Direct, Gelson’s, Safeway, and Earth Fare, to name a few) people in basically every state (and even Guam, the Caribbean and Puerto Rico!) can have Coolhaus. The scalability is also just a great business model; we’ve had one person essentially managing the distribution from 20 to 2,000 stores. So, you grow the revenue tremendously without necessarily increasing overhead.
As far as Urban Outfitters and Quiksilver, at Coolhaus we love to think of alternative retailers that could sell our products. As long as there is a freezer and a plug, Coolhaus can be anywhere! So, we found a great fit with these fashion companies that usher in our clientele, and we provide a great way for them to compete with online retailers—no matter how fast and easy online shopping can be, you can never have the experience of eating a Coolhaus ice cream sandwich, bar or pint while you shop online!
How has the food truck industry evolved since you founded Coolhaus in 2009? What do you think is next for food trucks?
Tremendously. I think people now see the truck as a piece of a broader strategy: a truck is a great marketing tool for building brand awareness and doing alternative services like providing catering or corporate activations. You have to have a vision beyond a single truck to make it all work.
What sets Coolhaus apart from other food trucks?
We have a tri-fold approach on the marketplace: trucks, brick and mortar AND wholesale distribution. I haven’t seen any truck grow with grocery stores, movie theaters, stadiums, fashion retailers, etc. the way we have. You can’t really package most of what you can buy from trucks, so we have that advantage! Also, the architecture component is a huge edge for us: we do so much of our design in-house, which gives it an authentic feel and a truer association. Plus, we have the eyes and ears of the design world—most ‘food trucks’ can’t say that.
What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs in the food industry?
Think about your food concept beyond what it means as a passionate hobby—is it a viable, scalable business, and where do you see it going in the short and long-term.
What’s next for you and Coolhaus?
Our Coolhaus Ice Cream Book (May 20th HMH Publishing) that gives away all of our secrets. Continue to increase sales in the channels with have by adding our new products (hand-dipped ice cream bars on sticks and hand-packed pints), and add additional retail (i.e. – add more Whole Foods, more stadiums, more alternative retailers), and we are working on an international deal right now as well!
Case offered up an exclusive look at one of the recipes from her book. Check it out:
Nutella Toasted Almond Ice Cream
Makes about: 11⁄2 quarts | Active time: 50 to 55 minutes
Toasted almonds give an extra twist to the hazelnut essence of this ice cream.
3⁄4 cup hazelnuts
2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 1⁄4 cups granulated sugar
8 large egg yolks
1⁄2 cup sliced almonds (with skins)
Maldon sea salt, for sprinkling
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Spread hazelnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast in oven for 5 to 10 minutes, or until fragrant and golden. Remove from oven and let cool. Smash into pieces.
3. In a 4-quart saucepan, combine milk, cream, and half of sugar and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, beat yolks and remaining sugar until smooth, heavy, and pale yellow, about 30 seconds.
4. When cream mixture boils, add toasted hazelnuts, remove from heat, and let stand for 10 minutes. Strain cream mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Transfer hazelnuts to a blender and puree, adding a bit of cream mixture to help pureeing process.
5. Strain pureed hazelnuts through a fine-mesh sieve into bowl with remaining cream mixture and return liquid to saucepan. Discard any solids left in sieve.
6. In a slow stream, pour half of cream mixture over yolk-sugar mixture, whisking constantly until blended.
7. Return pan to stovetop over low heat. Whisking constantly, stream yolk-cream mixture back into pan.
8. With a wooden spoon, continue stirring until mixture registers 165 to 180 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 2 minutes. Do not heat above 180 degrees, or eggs in base will scramble. Mixture should be slightly thickened and coat back of spoon, with steam rising, but not boiling. (If you blow on the back of the spoon and the mixture ripples, you’ve got the right consistency.)
9. Pour into a clean airtight container and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.
10. Process in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.
11. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 325 degrees.
12. Spread almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast in oven for 5 to 10 minutes, or until fragrant and golden. Remove from oven and let cool.
13. Transfer churned ice cream to a bowl and stir in toasted almonds.
14. Scrape into an airtight storage container. Freeze for a minimum of 2 hours before serving.
15. Top with a sprinkling of sea salt.
Pretzel Chocolate Chunk (page 202) or
S’mores (page 209)
Coolhaus Sandwich Creation:
David Rocky Roadwell: S’mores Cookies + Nutella Toasted Almond Ice Cream (see Building the Perfect Sandwich, page 25)
Recipe excerpted from COOLHAUS © 2014 by Natasha Case and Freya Estreller. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.
Kate Taylor is a staff writer for Entrepreneur.com.
Stacy Vogel Davis
Associate editor- Milwaukee Business Journal
Spring has finally arrived, more or less, in southeastern Wisconsin, and that means food trucks are hitting the streets once again.
A $5 ticket buys you admission and one beer, although you still have to buy the food. Food trucks such as The Fast Foodie, Simmer Truck and Streetza Pizza have confirmed their attendance. The event also will feature live music.
You can read more about the upcoming food truck season in my Table Talk column in the April 18 weekly edition.
As evidenced by Horny Goat’s event, the relationship between food trucks and carts and brick-and-mortar restaurants in Milwaukee tends to be higher than it is in many cities. For example, the city of Chicago didn’t even allow food trucks to prepare food on site until 2012. But the trucks still are banned from operating within 200 feet of any brick-and-mortar business that sells food, including convenience stores, coffee shops and bars. The Institute for Justice, a libertarian law firm known in Milwaukee for challenging the city’s taxi permit regulations, is suing Chicago over the laws.
Associate Editor Stacy Vogel Davis covers retail and tourism for the Milwaukee Business Journal. She also covers restaurant news through her Table Talk blog on The Business Journal website and column in the weekly edition.
ROCKPORT — What does the fox say? It says: “I’m hungry.” The Midcoast just gained a new gourmet food truck with the launch of Fox on the Run, owned by Lauren Jellison and assisted by her partner, Kevin Allen.
The bright red truck with the sprinting fox logo will be easy to find once Jellison finds the ideal spot. She’s kicking off her soft launch in May in downtown Belfast, then moving to Rockport Marine Harbor for the summer. On weekend nights, she’s working on securing a late night position in the Rockland bar district.
“We’re looking to be available after the restaurants are closed, because there’s really no place to get food from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m.,” she said
Jellison said she plans to offer healthy, fresh and well-crafted food made from locally sourced ingredients. “A lot of the flavors I enjoy eating and cooking are inspired by Asian and Hispanic flavors,” Jellison said. The menu will include salads, soups, chili, flank steak and fish tacos, pork ribs, bahn mi sandwiches, noodle bowls, curry dishes, breakfast sandwiches, and even mango and espresso sugar-free snow cones. “Healthy stuff that we can grab and go,” she said.
Jellison purchased the truck from a man from Warren who formerly used it for selling sandwiches on the side of the Route 90. She had it repainted red with the new name and logo. Inside, she took out the electric stove and replaced it with propane. The interior has a 50-gallon water tank with a sink, a prep station with steaming tables and two refrigerators.
“We always liked the song ‘Fox On The Run,’ from the band Sweet, and we just thought the name fit the food truck concept pretty well,” said Allen.
“This is a new venture for me,” said Jellison. “I’ve been working in Maine restaurants for years and always wanted to do my own thing. It just really fell into place once we found the truck.”
Both Allen and Jellison are originally from Maine. Jellison has a Bachelor of Fine Art from the University of Maine for studio art, as well as an associate’s culinary degree from Johnson Wales University. She started working in the food industry when she was 19 and has worked at Primo Restaurant, Flatbread Pizza and Francine Bistro.
While preparing for the launch she’s been spending her time crafting recipes and experimenting with flavors, something Allen has enjoyed. “I’ve gained 10 pounds since we got the truck,” he said, laughing.
”I’m excited to get up first thing in the morning, drink coffee and fire up the smoker,” Jellison said. “For me, I’m used to that schedule of being in restaurants, working late and being a zombie all day. This allows me to re-arrange my schedule.”
She’s coordinating with Beth’s Farm Market, Jess’s Market and other local farmer’s markets to secure the produce, seafood and meats for the menu and has a friend who is raising two pigs for the business, so that in November, she can offer her own bacon, sausages and pork belly sandwiches.
The tentative schedule will offer breakfast and lunches in Belfast throughout May. “We’ll do breakfast sandwiches and Huevos rancheros to start and kind of test the waters there,” she said. When they move to Rockport, the hours will be Monday through Friday for lunches. Stay up-to-date on where Fox on the Run will be this spring and summer by visiting their Facebook page.
Kay Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
One of the more successful local food trucks is town happens to be El Guapo, which bills itself as a fresh Mexican grill. It’s not unusual to see people lining up for food, be it at Wayne State University, Eastern Market or Campus Martius.
The truck keeps its followers abreast of it’s whereabouts on Facebook. On Wednesday for instance, the folks at Guapo posted this: “We’re at Wayne State UGL today from 11-5!”
The menu includes chicken, brisket or chorizo burritos and spicy shrimp and Korean beef tacos.
The website Detroit Girls About Town sat down recently with co-owner Anthony Curis. Here’s a discussion sampling:
Q: We know you do tacos now and run Saltwater and Bourbon Steak in MGM Casino downtown, but how did you get into food?
A: I was born and raised in the Grosse Pointe area and worked in my family’s Big Boy franchise restaurants. There was a natural transition into real estate, and that is where I ended up.
Q: Where do you eat when you’re not working on the truck?
A: My wife and I love to eat, so we have tried a lot of the food in Detroit. Some of our favorites are Supino’s Pizza, Roast — the best happy hour, Le Petit Zinc, Wolfgang Puck Grille, and El Barzon.
Click below to read the rest.
Managing Editor- Triangle Business Journal
Raleigh food truck American Meltdown recently won the judge’s award at the Grilled Cheese Invitational in Los Angeles for its aptly-named “Hangover Melt,” featuring Cultured Cow and Cabot pimento cheese, salsa verde and egg.
The crew also won second place in the bread/butter/cheese category for its grilled cheese made with Guglhupf’s pumpkin seed cheddar bread, Cultured Cow’s Durham Jack cheese and a Havarti cheese crust, reports WRAL.
American Meltdown also snagged third place in the dessert category with its La Farm brioche sandwich topped with peach balsamic compote and sheep’s milk ricotta cheese.
Hungry yet? The truck will be at the Brewgaloo festival in downtown Raleigh on April 26.
Rebecca Troyer manages the day-to-day process of delivering the daily digital content and the weekly print edition. Troyer also handles inquiries on news coverage and newspaper deadlines.
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