As the consummate conference of cool— SXSW—takes place in Austin this week, we continue our week-long exploration of Latin food and cooks in the Texas capital. Up today: a new food trailer hits the city’s already vibrant mobile food truck scene, proving what we’ve known all along—that Latin food in Texas is way more than tacos. Llama’s Food Trailer specializes in authentic, home-style Peruvian food with chef-y, sometimes vegetarian, sometimes gluten-free twists. Because this is Austin, after all.
The story of how Llama’s got its start is the stuff of immigrant nostalgia. A Peruvian-born, Texas-raised guy is so proud of his native food that he wants to find a way to share it with the world. Or at least with the city he lives in. “Like every Peruvian,” said 30-year-old Miguel Barrutia, “I dreamed of opening a Peruvian restaurant to teach people about our food.” But a bricks-and-mortar restaurant would have taken big money and “that wasn’t in my plan.” Instead Barrutia, who also works in local real estate, decided to start with a food truck, which would minimize overhead costs but still let him get up and running. He tapped into friends for help—a friend’s sister created the company’s logo and designed marketing materials, another friend guided him through the food truck inspection process—and into his childhood memories of home cooked meals for ideas on what to serve. He hired local cooks and taught them to make “classics like aji de gallina and arroz con pollo and lomo saltado,” he said. “And they were great.”
But with in a few months of opening, a game-changer walked in. Julio Cesar Florez was a 33-year-old chef who’d been trained at Le Cordon Blue and who’d worked in several highly respected Austin kitchens. Most important: he too was a Peruvian-born ex-pat who dreamed of sharing his country’s food with everyone around him. He approached Barrutia and just few months later joined Llama’s as its chef.
Florez quickly made adjustments to the menu, adding sandwiches like the ones he ate as a boy in Lima on the days his he’d go to work with his dad. “We’d stop into this tiny little place and we’d order a pan con chicharron, which is a classic Peruvian street food sandwich,” he said. “I wanted something similar to that so I created a pork belly sandwich for Llama’s.” Ever the chef, his is no regular sandwich of course: the pork is marinated in hoisin sauce, topped with pickled onions and an aji amarillo mayonnaise. Florez also took the ever popular lomo saltado and made it mobile by turning it into a sanguche (yes, that’s a sandwich, like abuela pronounced it.) Llama’s still serves the traditional aji de gallina, chicken stewed in a creamy aji amarillo sauce, but it’s also added some more adventurous options, like anticuchos, or grilled beef hearts. “Some people are a little uncertain about that at first,” Florez says. “But when they try it they absolutely love it.”
As out there as they can be, Florez and Barrutia still understand their Austin market. So “a lot of our dishes can be made vegetarian and even gluten-free,” Florez said. More proof that they get Austin: Tonight, for SXSW, they’re hosting a “Secret Party”—because isn’t that just what hipsters do?—where a DJ will play tunes and attendees will get to sample Peruvian treats. (You can get details here.) Llamas is located 611 Trinity.
If you’re in Austin for SXSW, tweet a photo of what you’re eating or drinking @NBCLatino.
An event hosted by an avant-garde Greenville restaurant in support of food trucks is expected to draw hundreds of people and will feature guests chefs from out of state.
The Owl restaurant on Wade Hampton is hosting what they describe as the “peaceful protest against the new food truck regulations.” The event was planned after the Greenville City Council made public plans to prevent food trucks from parking within 250 feet of existing restaurants, essentially banning them from the downtown Central Business District.
The event has picked up momentum since The Owl posted an open invitation on Facebook. By Tuesday afternoon, nearly 300 people had posted that they plan to attend.
The Neue Southern and Asada trucks will be at The Owl at 728 Wade Hampton Blvd. from 5:30-10:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Elliott Moss, chef at The Admiral in As
heville, N.C., and Nate Allen, chef at Knife and Fork in Spruce Pine, NC., will be in The Owl’s kitchen with co-executive chefs Aaron Manter and Joey Fazio the night of the event.
The Owl will be selling from inside, but owners say “everything will be in our recyclable clamshell to-go containers and solo cups to encourage everyone to mingle. The one stipulation is liquor cocktails — those have to be consumed in the building by law.”
Those organizing the rally say the new food truck regulations are too restrictive and that no one currently involved with the trucks was asked for input or comments.
As things stand, Greenville Mayor Pro Tem David Sudduth says the city staff will share the proposed food truck regulations “with restaurant owners (particularly downtown), and then an ordinance would be considered by council requiring two readings,” so time for input from the community is running out.
For more information about The Owl, call 864-252-7015, or visit the restaurant’s Facebook page.
New food lorry operators are bearing into a universe of amicable media a impulse they join a mobile food industry. Whether their prior believe was merely carrying a personal Facebook page a food lorry owners needs to fast learn a details and outs of amicable media to assistance their start adult business flourish.
This doesn’t meant that we only start adult amicable media accounts on Twitter or Facebook, it means we have to have a plan in how to scrupulously use them.
In a routine of building a amicable media plan for your food lorry we need to come adult with answers to a following questions:
What do we wish to accomplish by amicable media?
It is extraordinary how many mobile food businesses owners destroy to ask this question. Often a response we hear is that “somebody told me we ought to be on (fill in a blank).”
Social media can be used for mixed purposes, so code a specific business goals we wish them to assistance we reach. Figure out possibly we are looking to expostulate sales, find new customers, yield patron service, or only give your food lorry code a boost.
How many time do we wish to spend with it?
Some of a food lorry owners we pronounce with provide amicable media as a diversion or something to dally with. If we are going to attend (and we rarely advise we do), we are wasting your time (and time is money) if we only drop your toe in. Make amicable media partial of your altogether selling plan and provide it with a same turn of courtesy as we would any other selling initiative.
Tempted to apportionment off only a tiny cube of a day for amicable media? Don’t skimp: Too tiny a time investment can repairs your food truck’s brand. Social media is all about providing useful, helpful, and engaging information to your aim audience. If we defect with bad calm or sparse interactions, we send a summary that we are possibly not meddlesome or we are not a peculiarity operation.
Who will govern my amicable media strategy?
While your day competence already be packaged with operational time restrictions, new food lorry owners should learn to use amicable media themselves. One of a biggest mistakes we can make is putting your amicable media efforts in a hands of interns or a youngest members of a staff. They competence know their approach around mixed platforms, though it doesn’t meant they have a believe or visualisation to broach your food truck’s pivotal messaging on those platforms.
The ideal claimant doesn’t only know Twitter inside and out, though also knows your customers, your aim audience, and your business goals. Unless we have hired an worker that meets these criteria, take a reins of your business amicable media tasks.
Which platforms are best for my food truck?
There are dozens of vital platforms and given many start adult food trucks are tiny businesses, we should know that we won’t be means to contest effectively on each one of them. Because money, time and tellurian resources are limited, select wisely. Here are a few things to consider about:
- Twitter is what has helped a food lorry courtesy grow as fast as it has. It allows we to post your arriving locations and events. It puts a tellurian face on your business, providing useful information to your aim audience, and listening to your business and responding in genuine time.
- Facebook: The assembly is some-more different than we think. Over half of Facebook’s users are over 26 and a fastest expansion is in a over 25 demographic.
- Foursquare, a premier location-based amicable media platform, works good for lorry owners looking to expostulate evident trade to their food lorry use windows. Foursquare also tends to askance toward a younger demographic than a other platforms we mention.
- Pinterest, a photo-sharing service, is a new child on a block, though it has grown a outrageous audience. With women representing over 80% of Pinterest users, it is a good venue for posting about your menu items.
- YouTube: YouTube has turn a No. 2 hunt engine. If we can emanate informative, entertaining, and even humorous videos about your food lorry and menu items, afterwards we can use YouTube as a rarely effective apparatus in attracting and maintaining customers.
- LinkedIn is good for business-to-business conversations, establishing and demonstrating expertise, hiring, and anticipating suitable vital partners and suppliers.
How do we know if my efforts are working?
If you’ve already answered a initial doubt on this list, afterwards we already know your goals. The subsequent step is to magnitude opposite them. Be vigilant. Like any selling efforts, there will be expansion heedfulness as we learn a ropes. But by gripping adult with your metrics, we can change march or make tweaks before any vital repairs can be caused to your food truck’s selling effort.
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A bricks-and-mortar restaurant is showing its support of new vendors in Greenville that some downtown restaurants apparently see as a threat.
The Owl, an avant-garde restaurant specializing in molecular gastronomy, is organizing a “peaceful protest” against Greenville’s proposed food truck regulations.
The proposed regulations announced this week will require that food trucks be parked only on private property at least 250 feet away from any existing restaurant, which essentially eliminates food trucks from downtown Greenville’s Central Business District.
Greenville Director of Public Information Angie Prosser said the city is not against food trucks.
“We are pro-food truck. We are rewording the current ordinance to allow food trucks downtown with restrictions,” Prosser said.
But Neue Southern Food Truck owner and Chef Lauren Zanardelli said, “I think a proximity rule makes it almost impossible to park the truck downtown.”
The Owl’s Facebook page says: “Food Truck Revolution in our parking lot next Wednesday, March 13! We’ve invited our friends, Neue and Asada, to come park in our lot and serve (while we’re open) as a sign of peaceful protest against the new food truck regulations. We feel they are too restrictive and no one currently involved with the trucks was consulted or asked a single question on the matter.”
Greenville Mayor Pro Tem David Sudduth said the city staff will share the proposed food truck regulations “with restaurant owners (particularly downtown), and then an ordinance would be considered by council requiring two readings.”
The Owl owner Aaron Manter said, “I think it’s a great show of solidarity and hope you will come out to show your support for these really cool businesses.”
3/04/2013 09:30:00 AM
Food Truck of the Week: The Ice Kitchen
By Malika Dalamal
The sun is out and we’re getting in the mood for spring. Another reason we can’t wait for the weather to warm up is the launch of The Ice Kitchen – a new food truck selling hand made ice lollies which will hit the streets as soon as the weather warms up.
The artisan ices made with all natural fresh fruit will be available in original flavours like pistachio and rose or grapefruit and lemon and raspberry, blueberry and mint – many of which will count as your five-a-day. They are making a few quiet appearances before they officially launch so follow @TheIceKitchen on Twitter and find out exactly where to find them.
While it’s Basic Business 101 to have strait skeleton set in place for when things go wrong. But, conversely, as a new food lorry owners are we prepared for enlargement and success?
What if it turns out your certain expectations were too conservative? What if an astonishing internal luminary publicity sends direct for your menu soaring? On a some-more unsentimental note, as a economy shows signs of branch around, are we prepared for what that will meant for your food lorry operation?
Here’s what we need to do to be prepared for a enlargement of your food lorry empire:
To prepared for something, we have to know what it is and how you’ll commend it. Growth is some-more than only attack a set of patron sales numbers; it’s a package that includes changes to your association in terms of operations, production, staffing and facilities. In addition, consider about what enlargement means to we personally. What will your life be like when your mobile food association grows and boost increase? How tough are we going to have to work? Are we prepared and peaceful to do what it takes?
Get gentle being in a spotlight
Successful food lorry owners of flourishing trucks are roughly always in a spotlight to some degree; maybe not always to a ubiquitous open though positively within your courtesy and with your employees. Be prepared for a turn of courtesy that we substantially haven’t perceived before.
Hire people formed on where we wish to be, not where we are
The group that can successfully run a 50K association is not a same group that can run a 250 – 500K company. If your idea is growth, sinecure people who can perform in a distance association we wish to be; they’ll assistance we get there.
Put a right people in a right places
The right people doing a right jobs is positively vicious to means enlargement in your food lorry operation. Whole chairman assessments and job bench marking will concede we to take a systematic proceed to employing and career development, that will revoke your mis-hires and worker turnover.
Take caring of your staff
Your employees are what keep your mobile food business successful. Recognize and prerogative that. Working in a quick paced courtesy such as mobile food is stressful and challenging. Take note of your employees’ work and respond appropriately, or risk losing tip talent. Create an sourroundings where people are peaceful to work by a flourishing pains. In addition, take caring of your suppliers, professional advisers and anyone else who can have an outcome on your operation.
Listen to a experts
You might be an consultant in your business, though we don’t know it all. What’s more, there mostly will be experts who know some-more about sold tools of an courtesy than a insiders. Identify a experts, listen to them and learn from them. Let them assistance well-spoken out your training curves and keep we on your enlargement track.
Stay tighten to your customers
No food lorry can do though customers, and if we don’t stay tighten to them, you’ll remove them. Know what they need, though some-more important, know what they wish and do all we can to give that to them. Most important, communicate. Never let your business consternation what’s going on. Tell them; either it’s good or bad.
Focus on your core business
Stick to a business we know best. Be certain any diversification or product line enlargement we do creates sense. If it has zero to do with your core food lorry business don’t get into it only since it seems like a good opportunity. Otherwise, you’ll we upset your business and your employees; and you’ll expected find that dividing your efforts reduces a peculiarity and profitability of everything.
Just as many food lorry vendors devise for when things go wrong, we contingency also devise for when things go well. When you’re prepared for growth, we improved can conduct a changes it brings and let it take we to a idea we set when we initial started your food lorry business.
Penn students are always searching for new, exotic food trucks to try out. UTB is right there with you, and we’ve gotten news of the hottest new food truck in University City. Located in the back of a sketchy van on the corner of 40th and Walnut, this unnamed eatery has everything you want… if all you want is questionable pies. With a diverse tasting menu of bean pies, apple bean pies, or sweet potato pies it’s perfect for a hot date, late night study session, or a place to take your grandparents when they come visit you. Just be careful, don’t let this happen to you.
Engines revving, ovens hot and all hands on deck, 56 food trucks are getting ready to hit the streets of Boston this spring, doling out everything from vegetarian tacos to pasta to vegan juices to hungry lunchgoers.
But one new food truck needs your help. Gearing up to serve “authentic Asian street food,” Fugu Truck has turned to Kickstarter to help give their truck, well, a kick start.
As a child growing up in China, Fugu’s founder Bing Liu claims he “fell in love with China’s street food culture,” and after pursuing a degree in engineering, he decided to throw caution to the wind and follow his passion for food. He trained at Le Cordon Bleu in France and worked at Michelin-starred restaurants in New York. Upon moving to Boston and searching for the street food flavors of his childhood, Liu came up empty-handed.
It was then that he decided to create the Fugu Truck to bring Asia’s street food scene to Boston. Thus far, Liu and his team have purchased a truck and major equipment, retro-fitted the truck and gained the necessary licensing and permits to operate in Boston.
Liu has turned to Kickstarter to raise $10,000 to fund the other parts of his business, including the truck’s exterior graphic wrapping, locally-sourced food supplies, eco-friendly utensils and napkins, storage units and cooking equipment.
“I have never been a business owner before and there are many unforeseen obstacles trying to start off from zero,” said Liu of running a food truck. “Making phone calls or waiting for responses is really a test of patience at times.”
Donors to Fugu’s Kickstarter campaign, no matter how small, are given the luxury treatmeant: a $5 donation gets you a pork belly panini on the house, while $500 gets you a cooking class, t-shirt, free meal and other goodies.
“I feel that raising funds through this platform is an opportunity for us to introduce a great concept and to achieve a dream,” said Liu of his Kickstarter campaign.
Fugu is not the first Boston food truck to crowdfund their dreams. Mother Juice, a vegan juice truck, raised more than $14,000 from their Kickstarter campaign in August, and will be hitting the streets in April.
“I am confident that the Boston community will support our vision through Kickstarter. The Fugu Truck will be busy dishing out snacks come April!”
Check out photos from Fugu’s menu below, watch a video of their Kickstarter pitch, and be sure to donate to their cause here.
Fugu Food Truck Dishes
Fugu Food Truck Dishes
DETROIT, MI - After 7 years in a food-truck business, Dan Gearig says a renouned wheeled eateries are anything though a fad.
“We figure a attention isn’t going away,” Gearig says. “It’s usually removing bigger. We see it being a tolerable business.”
Gearig and his mother Lindsey possess StrEAT Detroit, that operates the Mac Shack and El Guapo food trucks. The Gearigs have recently stretched StrEAT’s range with a new business called Red Beard Customs, that fabricates new trucks from blemish for clients looking to gain on a street-eats market. Gearig says that, given a singular accessibility of food trucks nationwide, it’s time Detroit got in on a singular niche of building them.
“Right now a usually places to get food trucks are Los Angeles, and some in Miami, Texas, and New York,” he says. “It didn’t make clarity to us to be spending some-more income out of Detroit when we have a best manufacturers and a best machinery.”
Gearig says it can be tantalizing for new food transport owners to rush into things, installing their possess kitchen apparatus on an aged lorry or van, when they’d be improved off creation an investment in their destiny with a higher-quality car built for their needs. And his aim is to offer that kind of product, during a reduce cost than many out-of-state fabricators.
“Just since we put a futon in a van, that doesn’t make it a limo,” he says. “And a lot of a food trucks out there are like that. I’ve worked on some of a nicest trucks that are constructed on a West Coast, and I’ve also worked on some unequivocally shitty ones. That’s because we wish to build one that costs 25% reduction though has a same peculiarity [as a West Coast truck].”
Red Beard’s initial custom-designed truck, a mobile chronicle of Eastern Market regular Corridor Sausage Co., will strike a streets this spring. Gearig began conceptualizing a lorry to a charcuterie’s specifications in October, with a assistance of automatic operative Brian Struebing. Working from a computer-generated draft, a dual given a simple box lorry with specialized plumbing, electrical fixtures and other modifications.
“I know these things inside and out, and I’m also a chef,” Gearig says. “I’m means to overpass a opening between engineers and chefs to make trucks that are not usually functional, though a whole blueprint is built with a cook in mind.”
But even this maestro of Detroit’s childish food-truck attention found some surprises in a innovative ideas his clients brought to a table. Corridor Sausage partner Gjon Camaj suggested a thought of obscure a truck’s portion height so it would be some-more during customers’ eye levels, expelling a craned neck required to correlate with staff on many trucks.
Find a whole essay by Patrick Dunn during metromodemedia.com here
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