With so many new — and delicious — food trucks hitting the streets of the Twin Cities each summer, it’s almost too tough to keep up. Well, fear not, we’re here to help. Here’s this week’s food truck feature!
All that really needs to be said about this week’s food truck can be summed up in three glorious words: duck fat fries.
Yes, beyond bringing the retro feel of a good ol’ fashioned drive-in to the streets of St. Paul, Neato’s Burgers has given us the precious gift of duck-fat frying, without the hefty price tag or the cross-country journey. God bless them.
They’re also having a lot of tasty fun when it comes to the classic drive-in burger on a bun. Their most popular patty, fabulously named the Mustard Tiger, features a mustard-grilled burger, duck fat fries, more mustard and a special sauce. There’s also the jalapeno popper burger and a “Hans Goober” burger, for those PBJ fans.
If the fierce flavors weren’t enough, you can feel good about the food itself — nearly everything Neato’s makes is Minnesota-made and fresh to death.
Let’s learn a bit more, shall we?
Owner: Neal Lenzmeier and Antonio Gutierrez
Date the food truck opened: October of 2011
What kind of food do you serve? We try to do our take on a classic drive-in burger and then we try to get creative with that, little bit of fusion — we do a Mexican Elotes burger, a jalapeno popper burger. So we kind of play on the classic drive-in burger.
Price range of menu: Our cheapest item is the fries for $4, or $3 with a combo, and hamburgers start at $4 with the most expensive being $8.
Hours of operation: Usually on the streets from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays, plus special events on weekends. We’re also looking into dinner service with a couple other trucks.
What was your job before opening the food truck? Tony and I were independent contractors. So we both had restaurant experience years ago and decided to get back into with this truck.
What made you want to open a food truck? Mostly just to be my own boss, have a creative outlet, make my own hours, which has been pretty difficult but it’s starting to pay off.
What made you want to get into the food industry in the first place? My dad was actually a chef around town in the 80s and 90s so I started to follow in his footsteps after high school. He told me to not go down that path. So I kind of got out of the back of the house, did some front of the house work in my early 20s and then left the industry around 24. I’m 31 now. I got back into it at 29.
How is the food prepared? Well every morning, we get our meat fresh from Stasny’s — a meat market on Western. They grind it fresh for us every morning. And then we get our potatoes from a potato distributor, fresh cut them every morning and fry those in pure rendered duck fat. I believe we’re the only business in town doing that. And we get all of our produce fresh every morning. So we typically don’t have food inventory. Every morning we get fresh food, cut it up and sell it all.
How did you come up with the name? It’s actually the first part of my first name — “Nea” — and then “To” for Tony. Tony came up with that. We thought it kind of had a 50s vibe to it so we created the character Neato.
How did you decide on the menu? It was kind of up in the air, even as we were starting the truck. And then Porky’s closed down. So we kind of thought, why not pick up where they left off? There aren’t really drive-in’s like that anymore so let’s try to do that. That’s kind of where we came up with duck fat because we wanted to do animal fat the way drive-in’s used to be before vegetable oil. And you can’t really find that anymore, except for we found this duck farmer, who was really helpful and let us know all about duck fat.
What’s your favorite dish that you serve? It’s probably the Mustard Tiger. That was kind of something we created and put on twitter, just to drum up some business one morning and it took off from there. It’s a burger patty grilled, with mustard on it, to create a crust then cheese, onions grilled in duck fat, then we put it on a bun with fries, special sauce, tomato and a little more mustard on top. That’s our best selling product. I’m also quite fond of the jalapeno popper burger, with cream cheese, grilled jalapenos and raspberry preserves. So it’s kind of sweet, salty, spicy. It all really works.
Describe your truck in one word: Retro.
What’s your craziest story from working at a food truck? Actually, last year, our first day at this food truck court, our generator started on fire towards the end of the day, so at least we got some sales in. But yeah, we looked out of our window and there was all this smoke coming out and our generator and the generator cord were on fire. So that let us put in a new generator. Every different, crazy story we have is a learning experience and I feel like we had a lot of them last year. I think we’ve replaced everything on this truck so that it will run every day but I’d say that was probably the craziest thing that happened last year.
What’s one thing you want people to know about your food truck? That all of our food is really fresh, locally sourced. We don’t go out of our way to advertise or put a bunch of buzz words in front of everything that we have. It’s just really fresh. We try to incorporate as many Minnesota products as possible.
Catch the Food Truck Feature every week, in the Curiocity column. Know of a food truck you think should be featured? Let us know by leaving a comment below or tweeting your suggestion to @SaraPelissero!
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(WBIR-Morristown) A Morristown business on the cusp of celebrating its one-year anniversary is now taking steps to repair damage from flames that destroyed the food truck about a week ago.
Crazy Good Burgers Fries used to park its food truck along the town’s main stretch, Monday through Saturday.
“It’s been great. We’ve grown, we were about to open up a second truck, we were probably about a month away,” said Corbin Trent, the owner.
Those plans were put on hold when flames sparked on Friday, May 10th.
“It got hot in there enough obviously to melt aluminum. It destroyed the air conditioners, the hoods, the electricity,” said Trent.
Now, some local customers are disappointed their favorite burger joint is temporarily closed.
“Everybody is saying, ‘Well what are we going to do for lunch?,” said Sheri Hatcher.
Trent wants that answer to be Crazy Good Burgers Fries as soon as possible. He’s already in repair mode, replacing the ceiling and working on the electrical system. But with $15,000 to $20,000 worth of damage, he said he’s asking the community for help.
Trent used Kickstarter to upload a homemade video and launch website for a fundraising campaign.
“We had one little kitchen fire that destroyed the whole place. But that shouldn’t stop us,” said Trent in the video.
Using Facebook, Twitter, and other social media, he’s hoping customers like Hatcher will pledge donations.
“A lot of people are pledging,” said Hatcher.
“It hurt because it’s like they’re family, the way they treat us,” said Hatcher’s husband, Ron Hatcher.
The Hatchers also said customers appreciate the food truck for using local supplies and ingredients.
“Everything is local as possible. Our beef is ground everyday by a local butcher, our tomatoes, our produce all come from the area, Grainger County, Knox County,” said Trent.
As of Sunday afternoon, the fundraiser had 33 ‘backers’ and nearly $1,900 pledged. The goal is $8,000 by May 29th.
“(We’re) Getting to a quarter of the way there, but we’ve got ten days left. I think we can make it,” said Trent.
“We’ll be the first in line,” said Sheri Hatcher. “Or try to be,” said Ron Hatcher.
For more information on the fundraiser ‘Crazy Good Burgers Rebuild,’ head to http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/927932295/crazy-good-burgers-rebuild.
Staff reporter Shahid Abdul-Karim covers the New Haven Housing Authority, New Haven public schools and community management teams. Get the authentic view of diversity in a mixture of hot topics, news, events and community updates.
The food truck movement is finally coming to Raleigh … in a big way.
Of course, the City of Oaks has had smaller rodeos as these collections of food trucks are called. I’ve been to a few of them, picking up an ice cream cone at Lumpy’s at one or a sandwich at Baguettaboutit at another. A neighbor had Captain Poncho’s stop in her cul de sac. Another had Chick-N-Que stop in for a party.
But I’ve always looked longingly at our neighbor, Durham, which has had big events featuring dozens of food trucks, for a few years now. Sadly, those events, what with birthday parties, soccer games and all the usual kid activities, seem to always land on busy weekends for my family.
So when I heard about the plans for the Downtown Raleigh Food Truck Rodeo, held for the first time on Mother’s Day, I knew we’d be there. It was a Mother’s Day wish.
For the uninitiated, including the man who sat next to us at last Sunday’s event, these aren’t your garden variety sandwich and taco trucks, which move around to construction sites and other workplaces during the day. And it’s not usually the food that you find at a fair or festival either (though I’ve seen some food trucks at these too).
Though they do make stops on a regular basis at office buildings and elsewhere during the week, they often have more gourmet or unusual offerings. Some feature locally made products. Others excel at just one type of food – burgers, pizza, barbecue, Chinese style dumplings, cupcakes, ice cream.
I expected huge lines at Sunday’s event, the first of four planned this year. Luckily, the church my family attends gets out at 11:30 a.m. on Sundays. So we walked over to Fayetteville Street and were among the first in line when it opened at noon.
This event was huge. More than 40 trucks were parked along Fayetteville Street and a few other streets. Even before the rodeo opened, lines were forming at some of the most popular ones. Within 20 minutes or so, there were really long lines at those places.
Getting there early and getting our food at the very beginning were key to our family’s great time. After we ate, we walked up and down the street to see a bit of the scene and then headed on to our next stop for the day.
Here’s what we’ll do when we go again with our kids, ages 3 and 8:
1. Before the event, we’ll research each of the trucks and figure out which ones we want to hit. My eight-year-old really loves food of all kinds. The number of choices was a bit overwhelming for her when we got there … burritos or crepes or pizza or dumplings. Next time, we’ll be better prepared. I’ll probably even check in on the truck’s different Facebook and Twitter pages to see what the menu will be.
2. We’ll get there early again. It was nice to be able to check out the scene without huge lines getting in our way. We could inspect the menus and make decisions without feeling rushed. Getting there early also meant that we had absolutely no problem finding a table to eat at.
3. Eat at the trucks with smaller lines. Yes … I did want dumplings from Chirba Chirba. I was craving an Only Burger. And the Urban Street Grill’s Korean dishes looked amazing. But I also had absolutely no desire to wait in a long line with a hungry, antsy three-year-old. If I wanted to keep my sanity, I would have to enjoy those dumplings on another day. And bonus: Now I know which trucks to keep an eye on in case they stop somewhere near me again.
4. Get out of there once the lines get crazy. I’m sure this would be a fun date afternoon with the husband or some friends. We’d get a beer, walk around, wait in line and try some amazing food. That kind of leisurely pace is not going to happen with my kids right now. So once it’s busy, we’ll be out of there.
What can I recommend? The cheese pizza from Pie Pushers, the pulled pork sandwich from The Humble Pig, the chicken burrito from D’Burritos, and the tomato, basil and mozzarella panini from Deli.icious. Oh, and the Italian ice from SweetWater Ices was out of this world.
The prices were all responsible. We paid between $2 for a small Italian ice and about $7 for the pork sandwich. Bottles of water were just $1. I definitely didn’t feel like were being gouged there.
And hats off to the organizers for setting up so many tables and the city workers for keeping it all so clean.
Three more Downtown Raleigh Food Truck Rodeos are scheduled through October. They are noon to 5 p.m., June 9; 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., Aug. 11; and noon to 5 p.m., Oct. 13, Can’t wait!
Go Ask Mom features places to take kids every Friday. Check our posts on park and playground reviews and Triangle family destinations for other ideas.
MORRISTOWN, TN - Mobile Cuisine’s Rookie Food Truck of the Year; Crazy Good Burgers will be out of commission, for some time, after it caught fire last Friday morning.
The popular Morristown food truck was at the West Andrew Johnson Highway and Walters Drive intersection when an area around the grill burst into the flames. After unsuccessful attempts to douse the fire themselves, the Morristown Fire Department quickly descended upon the scene and managed to get the fire out in close to 15 minutes. No one was injured in the blaze.
The owners say they hope to be up and running again as soon as possible, but are asking for a little help in the rebuilding of their food truck’s kitchen.
They have started a project on Kickstarter.com to gather the $8,000 needed to rebuild their truck. You can watch their Kickstarter Video below.
This project will only be funded if at least $8,000 is pledged by Wednesday May 29, 11:03am EDT.
To find all of the details to this project follow this link to Kickstater.
View Food Trucks of Portland in a larger map
It’s a bit late to the party, and there remain some wrinkles to be ironed out, but this summer, Portland finally joins the food truck revolution.
By Meredith Goad firstname.lastname@example.org
At long last, Portlanders will be able to walk up to a food truck this summer and grab a hamburger, taco, hand pie, cup of coffee or other casual fare – years after the food truck revolution invaded other cities across the country.
Customers queue up at El Corazon food truck, which was parked on Commercial Street in Portland on Sunday.
Tim Greenway/Staff Photographer
Additional Photos Below
Rising Tide to host trucks through summer
Some businesses around Portland are embracing food trucks, hoping they’ll add a little extra taste of fun to their events and draw more people to their businesses.
“We’re going to have food trucks every Saturday, and it’s going to be a different food truck every week,” said Heather Sanborn of Rising Tide Brewing Co. at 103 Fox St. in the East Bayside neighborhood of Portland.” Obviously, there will be repeats throughout the summer, but I have six I’m working with now.”
The trucks will be parked on a rotating basis in front of the brewery during the business’ tasting room hours, noon to 5 p.m. Gusto’s Italian Food Truck will be on site this Saturday, and Mainely Burgers will be on tap May 18.
Sanborn said if the trucks prove to be popular, she may expand to Thursdays and Fridays.
She’ll also be signing on food trucks for special events.
Sanborn said having food trucks in the area — the SmallAxe truck will be parked regularly over on Anderson Street — will be a boon for people who work in East Bayside, who currently have limited options for buying lunch and dinner, because restaurants are not allowed there.
As for whether or not a permit is required for the trucks that will be parked at her business on a rotating basis, Sanborn said she has left that for the truck owners to figure out.
“I don’t see where that is actually required anywhere in the law,” she said. “This is a major regulatory issue that the food trucks are going to have to deal with with the city. So far, I’ve kind of kept my nose out of it.”
– Meredith Goad
The presence of a few food trucks downtown (see this comprehensive guide to the fleet) will be a huge step forward for this food-loving city, which struggled over the regulations and made the whole process way more complicated than it needed to be. We should celebrate the fact that the city has finally embraced an idea that will make life here just a little bit better.
But don’t crack open the Champagne too fast.
When food truck operators actually went to get their licenses and open their businesses, they got a couple of unwelcome surprises. Turns out there are still two big regulatory hurdles to get over before we can declare Portland a food truck-friendly place.
First, food truck operators are being required by the city to pay $105 in fees — $30 for a building permit and $75 for an occupancy permit — for every place they park on private property, even though they already have paid for a lease agreement with the property owner. That’s on top of their $500 food truck license and $110 inspection fee. (Night vending is another $200.)
This means that some trucks will have to limit where they can do business, since all those fees add up quickly.
But food trucks are supposed to be mobile, right? That’s the whole point.
“They wrote the ordinance so that it would encourage people to park on private property, basically, instead of roaming around the city and trying to find parking spots, especially in the Old Port and the peninsula,” notes Sarah Sutton, who owns the lobster roll food truck Bite Into Maine and has been trying in vain to get the City Council to take a look at the issue. “It’s really restrictive. And now — I don’t even know how it happened — they’re charging building permits for every spot on private property that they know you’re going to park on.”
This is important because, truck operators say, in order to make their business work at all they must have a place to park on private property. There just are not enough public parking spots available on city streets because of the restrictive limits that were put in place to spare Portland’s restaurants a little competition.
The second issue has to do with clustering. When the ordinance was being developed, food truck operators made it clear they wanted to be able to cluster together in a parking lot, especially for specific events. But when the regulations were published, the rules said food trucks had to stay at least 65 feet from each other on the Portland peninsula, and 200 feet away from each other off-peninsula.
That hasn’t kept some trucks from clustering anyway, at the popular monthly “Flea Bites” gatherings at the Portland Flea-For-All on Kennebec Street, for example. But they are always looking over their shoulders while they’re selling their sandwiches, worried that these popular events will be broken up by the city because of a rule that they didn’t expect to be in the ordinance in the first place.
WHO PAYS THE PRICE?
The rule raises a lot of questions: Who pays the building and occupancy fees when these trucks cluster at an event? The property owner, since there are several trucks involved? Does each truck pay a separate fee, or do they all chip in together and pay once? And do they have to buy a new permit every time they gather, even if it’s a regular weekly or monthly event?
(Continued on page 2)
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Sacramento area mobile food truck Krush Burger, known for their mini burgers, plans to open a restaurant in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Construction starts next week for the first international Krush Burger, to open just outside of Dubai Mall, according to a news release. They currently have a brick and mortar location in Sacramento and may be looking to open a location in Roseville, as well as in the Bay Area.
The mobile burger truck makes frequent stops in Citrus Heights, Elk Grove and Roseville for SactoMoFo Food Truck Mania events.
“We have exceeded our expectations in our growth efforts by adding an international location to our profile, it is apparent that the appetite for premium burgers remains strong and our unique approach to a quick service burger restaurant has continued to garner much attention from potential investor, franchise and operating partners,” Davin Vculek, “Chief Burger Flipper” with Krush Burger said in a news release.
They also have plans to open a second Dubai location as well as other international sites.
What’s your reaction to this? Tell us in the comment section below.
Familes of Marquez Charter School gathered in the parking lot Sunday, April 28 for its food truck festival.
Some of the food trucks featured were Ludotruck Fried Chicken, Cousins Maine Lobster and Baby’ Badass Burgers and A Rockin Ice Truck.
The best-tasting veggie burger I’ve ever met is falafel. A product of the Middle East, falafel are deep-fried fritters made from ground chickpeas or fava beans that are tucked into pita pockets and drizzled with tahini. They are delicious, hearty, inexpensive and relatively healthy.
And if you’re lucky enough to live in a city such as New York, they are sold by street vendors on nearly every corner.
But if you’re a home cook and want to make your falafel from scratch, you face at least a couple of challenges. The classic recipe calls for dried chickpeas or fava beans, which must be soaked in water overnight, a time-consuming requirement that may persuade you to call the whole thing off.
Happily, fava beans are in season now, so my recipe calls for fresh ones, which saves you from having to mess with the dried version the night before. However, because fresh beans have more moisture than dried, getting them to hold their shape when pureed and formed into patties means adding a binder, in this case, an egg.
The second hurdle for the home cook is the frying. Apart from the inherent unhealthiness of deep-fried anything, the process itself is really a pain. I figured there had to be a healthier and easier way to cook falafel, a way that kissed off the deep-frying and yet somehow retained their trademark crunchiness.
Panko, those wonderful, super-crispy, Japanese breadcrumbs, were the answer. After I pureed the fava beans and added the flavorings, I chilled the mixture in the refrigerator to help it firm up. Then I shaped the puree into burgers, coated them with the panko, and placed them in a hot skillet with just a little oil. They crisped up great.
Finally, I topped the falafel with a garlicky cucumber yogurt sauce, which is just as refreshing and flavorful as tahini, but has far fewer calories. I was pleased to note that the family attacked these burgers with their usual gusto, even though they contain no animal protein. Now there’s a triumph.
Fava Bean Falafel Burgers With Cucumber Yogurt Sauce
Start to finish: 1 hour (30 minutes active). Servings: 4
If you buy fresh fava beans, you’ll need to peel and cook them. To do this, remove the beans from the pods and cook in boiling salted water until just tender. Depending on the size of the bean, this should take 2 to 8 minutes. Drain and transfer to a bowl of ice water. When cool, slip the skins off the beans and proceed with the recipe.
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
½ cup finely chopped yellow onion
1½ teaspoons minced garlic, divided
¾ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon hot smoked paprika or cayenne pepper
1¾ cups shelled peeled fresh fava beans or frozen lima beans (thawed)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons tahini (stir well before measuring)
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
4-inch slice seedless cucumber, coarsely grated (about ½ cup, packed)
¾ cup panko breadcrumbs
In a large skillet over medium, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Reduce the heat to medium low, add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon of the garlic, the cumin, coriander and paprika, then cook for 1 minute, stirring. Transfer to a medium bowl. In a food processor, pulse the fava beans just until they are coarsely chopped. Transfer ½ cup of the chopped favas to the onion mixture.
To the food processor, add the egg, tahini, ½ teaspoon of salt and pepper to taste. Process the mixture until finely ground, then stir it into the onion mixture. Cover the mixture and chill it for 30 minutes.
While the mixture is chilling, in a small bowl combine the yogurt, the remaining ½ teaspoon garlic, the cucumber and salt to taste. Set aside.
Shape the chilled falafel mixture into 4 patties (the mixture will be loose). Spread the panko on a sheet of parchment paper and dip the patties into the crumbs to coat on all sides.
In a large nonstick skillet over medium, heat 1½ tablespoons of the remaining oil. Add the falafel patties and cook until crisp and golden on one side, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining 1½ tablespoons of oil and turn the patties; cook for another 3 minutes, or until crisp and golden. To serve, transfer the patties to serving plates and top with yogurt sauce.
per serving: 620 calories; 200 calories from fat (32 percent of total calories); 22 g fat (3.5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 45 mg cholesterol; 76 g carbohydrate; 21 g fiber; 30 g sugar; 34 g protein; 670 mg sodium.
Fancy Food Truck Friday is officially back at the Webster’s Pharmacy parking lot April 12 and Webster’s has shared the food truck lineup for this season’s first event.
The food trucks appearing April 12 are:
Roll N Lobster
Rosa’s Bella Cucina
Baby’s Badass Burgers
Me So Hungry
Sugar Babies Cupcakery
Sponsor Danny’s Farm will also make a showing from 6-8 p.m. with their petting zoo.
Fancy Food Truck Friday is held from 5-9 p.m. on the second Friday of the month through September.
Fancy Food Truck Friday. 2450 N. Lake Avenue, Altadena (Corner of N. Lake and Marcheta). Parking: Webster’s lot, adjacent streets and designated lots.
Check back on Patch for each month’s Fancy Food Truck Friday lineup.
What food trucks would you like to see at FFTF? Are you going to this season’s kick off on April 12?
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