It’s taken a while for the concept to catch on, but these days you’ll find these mobile grub peddlers at festivals, parks and events all over Gwinnett County and beyond. Now, we’re not talking about your run-of-the-mill festival fare. When we say food trucks, divorce the idea of funnel cakes and corn dogs. Think big bowls of artisan macaroni and cheese, empanadas and Venezuelan brisket bowls.
Wow! Food Truck
One day, Wendy Cross was visiting her brother in New York (comedian David Cross of “Arrested Development” fame). She asked where they could get a cheap bite to eat, and he suggested an arepa (flatbread made of ground maize) bar nearby that they could visit.
The first words out of her mouth: “Wow! These are amazing!” were the inspiration for the name of the food truck business she would soon thereafter establish in metro Atlanta.
She describes her food as “different…it’s kind of a fusion of comfort food from the south and Venezuelan cuisine.”
Dishes like the Chicken and Grits Bowl, the Slawski Bowl, or the Flying Walenda bowl all combine ingredients like slow-cooked brisket, pork with veggies and homemade sauces.
Unusual names are the norm: Many items on the menu are a tribute to the characters her brother has played in movies and on television.
The thing Wendy likes the most about the food truck business? “You can get really great homecooked food at a really good price. And, really unique food, I might add. Not just hot dogs, hamburgers and pizza.”
Mac the Cheese
Beau Hodson bills his fare as “southern-inspired comfort food.”
When greeted with big bowls of mac and cheese with all kinds of tasty ingredients on top, how can one disagree?
Prior to starting Mac the Cheese Truck, Hodson had spent some time working in the restaurant business. A conversation one day between he and his wife, Tiffany, led to the ‘aha moment.’
“We took a one-way flight to California to buy the truck. We wrote a check, and we drove it all the way back to Georgia,” he said. “Along the way, we broke down, got it towed and had it fixed. It was an interesting trip.”
Now, two trucks strong, Mac the Cheese Truck sells BBQ Mac, Buffalo Chicken Mac, Spinach and Artichoke Mac and many more combinations with piping-hot, melted cheese as the common denominator.
Hodson said he enjoys the fact that “you’re in a different place every day. There’s a lot of freedom. What we do is very flexible. I’m not a ‘same Bat time, same Bat channel’ type of dude anyway, so it works well for the way we like to do business.”
On Tapa the World
Brant Gilmore and Matt Clements have always shared a passion for food.
They like the social gathering aspect of it, Matt says, and they really, really like tapas.
“We’re just two friends that love food trucks, and we wanted to try something different,” Matt says. Having tried six or seven other concepts initially, the duo finally settled on tapas: Spanish-influenced, snack-sized dishes. “We liked the flexibility of this type of cuisine,” he says. “And, it was what we felt most comfortable doing.”
Offerings run the gamut, including items like Patatas Bravas (fried potatoes with special seasoning and sauce); empanadas; fried, sweet plantains; chicken and beef skewers; and sliders.
Matt says he loves the whole food truck setup. He paraphrased Brant: “One of the reasons food trucks are so popular is that they’re bringing ITP (Inside the Perimeter) to OTP (Outside the Perimeter). When you go to an event with food trucks, you’ve got a wide array of different culinary cuisine within a space of 300 feet. I think that’s one of the biggest draws.”