Food Trucks are indeed a family affair.
~By Mark Gammon~
It’s been a very busy summer for all of the Food Truck operators with events and catering jobs as well as Food Truck Fridays. They have all been stretched thin with new opportunities due to the growth at the Tahoe Industrial Park as well as food trucks now becoming a popular alternative to a full-on catered event. Many of the businesses I was fortunate to have featured in my articles cater from their Brick and Mortar stores, but I’m finding many clients like the option of paying for just the number of people who show up instead of dealing with leftovers or not enough variety. A double-edged sword.
As I have had the unique opportunity to get to know the owners and operators of many these mobile eateries, it’s blatantly clear that almost all of these businesses need more than the truck or trailer and a good food idea, most need families to help. Whether it’s Ceol’s Irish Pub Truck, the Waffle Wagon or any of the rest, family provides support and labor to keep them running. Not every event needs the family to show up, but I guarantee that somewhere in the process the family has had a hand. From keeping the home fires burning to fill in when an employee is unable to attend, family support plays an important role in their success. I have had the great pleasure to have my wonderful wife show up and jump in with helping kids on our wall and my nephew Ray makes time in his busy university and tutoring schedule because he’s family. I know that Ron’s wife from Ceol has spent some time peddling libations and handing out cheer with her pleasant smile and attitude. El Paisanito relies heavily on family, and Doug with the Carolina Kitchen’s girlfriend Chelsea puts in her time dishing out amazing Dougie Mac Fries and taking orders. And then there is Mitchel Miller, who owns the M&M Food Truck dishing out warm smiles and terrific Soul Food. Mitch usually has at least one or more of his kin helping him produce comfort food that draws people back regularly. Some employees are close enough to be considered family like Andie and Brandi at Still Rollin and Aracelli with the Wedge Cheese Trailer; both businesses rely heavily on them to operate. And usually family seems to understand where the need is and do whatever it takes….usually; I take my hat off to all of them!
I have become friends with many of these great vendors and we regularly talk about everything from the weather to the weekly attendances…. but never politics. Amen to that! We even promote each other when a client wants a recommendation for an event. These are hard-working, honest people who like spending time making others happy and providing the very best food they can. Many of these trucks are being used for advertising to draw clients to their restaurants and Pubs, but for many of them this is their primary source of income and as such they are on the road sometimes seven days a week, putting in long hours.
Long gone are the shady trucks you might see honking their horns at construction sites. These trucks and trailers are all inspected regularly by the Washoe County Health District and those that don’t have a brick and mortar store have to prepare their food in a certified commercial kitchen. When the day is over for them, they must return the food to commercial refrigerators, and clean everything up at the same location, adding even more hours to their hectic day. Think about this the next time you wonder if it’s easy owning or operating a mobile kitchen or drink truck.
We’re nearing the end of the season and want to thank all of those who took the time to read and share these articles with friends and family. While we weren’t able to interview everyone this season, I’m looking forward to next year as we share insights into these small businesses.
Mark Gammon is a local freelance contributor who owns Rocksport Indoor Climbing Center and The Pinnacle Portable Climbing Wall. Mark and his crew are regulars at Food Truck Fridays and can be seen around town at many events.