ALTERNATIVE VENUES food trucks
They also take the truck, which actually is a
trailer, to wineries, breweries and fairs.
An example of the farm-to-table movement
on wheels, Tre Locally Sourced, as its name
implies, focuses on fresh local food. It’s an
outgrowth of the team’s Cafe Frais, a full-service restaurant in Allentown. Howells
hopes to expand even more. “We’d like to
park the trailer somewhere permanently and
buy an actual truck,” he says.
The Tre Locally Sourced menu is varied
and larger than what’s offered at some other
food trucks. Deviled eggs—the ingredients
vary—are a specialty. The menu also includes
pork belly, chicken and salmon tacos, pork
and waffles, meatloaf, sandwiches, salads and
other dishes. “We’re not the most popular food
truck at events,” Howells admits. “But we fill
a niche, and people appreciate what we offer.”
GOURMET GRILLED CHEESE
Patrick Rathbone fills something of a niche,
as well. After being in the restaurant business
for 25 years, he opened the Big Cheese food
truck in Washington, D.C., in 2010. He wanted
to do a pizza truck, but the city already had several, so he opted for
ever-popular grilled cheese.
His sandwiches have a gourmet touch. “My daughter is a
cheese snob. We source our cheese from around the world,”
Rathbone says. Sandwiches can be made from Vermont or Irish
Stout cheddar or chevre with Nutella. He also pairs chevre with
fig and lemon preserves and blueberry compote. In all, the
truck serves about 18 different cheese sandwiches, which vary
seasonally. The sandwiches are prepped in a commissary and
grilled to order on the truck.
When Rathbone started out, 90%-95% of his business was at
lunchtime. “Now, there’s an oversaturation of food trucks here,”
he says. “The lunch business has dropped to about 25% of my total sales.” So he has taken to the
road to do catering and fairs, traveling as far away as Tennessee and Michigan.
An international approach to ingredients and dishes has worked well for Dina Daniel, founder
of Fava Pot food truck in Washington, D.C. A trained chef who admits it is harder to cook in a truck
than in a restaurant, she wanted to share her native Egyptian food with others. Because she lacked
the capital to open a brick and mortar restaurant, in 2013, she started a food truck. A few years
later, she opened that restaurant, and now uses it and the food truck to teach her customers about
Egyptian food. “Once they’ve tried it, they like it,” she says.
Monday through Friday, the Fava Pot truck moves from place to place. Many weekends,
Daniel does catered events. Among her most popular dishes is koshary, a vegan dish of lentils, rice
ABOVE, TOP: The B.E.L. T with a side
of slaw and local sunny-side up egg at
Tre Locally Sourced food truck.
ABOVE, BOTTOM: At The Big Cheese
food truck, a caprese sandwich ready
for the grill.