“Beware back. Beware back. Beware back.”
“ABC has a jackpot.”
“I Have a Holy Roller for Dawn!”
If you sit on the stairs to the food truck driver’s seat Food for Thought run by the Charter School of Excellence, you can get a pretty good feel for what it’s like for three grown people to feed 20 hungry 20 fresh orders in under an hour outside a vehicle no larger than a bread truck. The truck said it contains a pan, a grill, the smallest counter you have ever seen – and so on.
Oh wait, there’s a trash can placed between the driver’s seat and the stairs where you sit.
“I like it,” said Amarion Fleming, 16, a culinary arts student at the Charter School of Excellence who works 7 to 8 hour shifts on the food truck that was recently parked for lunch outside the North. – Tri- District 5 Intermediate Unit in Edinboro. “I’m working to save money to get my things.”
This will summarize why any of the dozens of food truck owners have been thrown out across Erie County, serving fresh, hot delicacies, hoping for plenty of foot traffic, local followers and events to take care of during a season of warm short – and, for many, whatever the way to place the COVID-19 pandemic in the rearview mirror.
“It was hard,” said Tim Grow, owner of one of the area’s longest-running food trucks, Que Abides, which serves grilled chicken, spicy stuffed pork and much more, such as pasta and laden cheese. with breast and jalapeno, Sajuk Cajun or chicken jalapeno.
Grow is actually working harder now to set up a brick-and-mortar restaurant in Fairview, at 6990 West Lake Road, in the former Gray Café home. But he was against the pandemic with everyone else in 2020.
“It was tough enough for a while,” Grow said of the pandemic start. “We really did not go until early July and it was hard thanks because our main place was Perry Square and with Erie Insurance working from home, it made no sense to go down there. And the companies asking us to come to them, this was not happening.So the lunch service was deleted.
“Even our regular concert at Erie Ale Works, they were closed for a while.”
“ABC sandwich not bun!”
“We need a Greek dog with chips.”
“I got a Nacho Momma chips for Christie! An ABC for Karen! Thanks!”
The CSE food truck offers real-world work experience
Charter School of Excellence food trucks just started business last May, so the administration and workers do not have any business period to compare, but they are sure they are very busy.
“We will remove it,” said Christian Fortin, a food truck operator, a charter school employee who oversees students who cook food as employees. “We’re taking a lot of bookings, we have dates in mid-September and I think as long as it stays on the freezer we can go, maybe in October.”
He said any money the food truck makes goes back to maintaining the food truck program for now.
Start-up costs, which went up to $ 40,000 to turn the postal truck into a mobile commercial kitchen, were covered by grants and donations from Erie SeaWolves, food service provider Metz Culinary Management, Erie Episcopal Church and Erie Community Foundation , according to Renee Gordon, chief administrative officer of the charter school.
“It really gives (students) the soft skills they need through the culinary arts program,” Gordon said. “Involving customer service, interacting with the public in a smooth and professional manner, working with others as a team in small neighborhoods, cost analysis and customer experiences, using the feedback and value of each cost item.
“It’s not about profit but giving them first experience and real work experience as part of the culinary curriculum,” Gordon said.
Students in the culinary arts program came up with the menu and cooked the food. Graphic design students created the look of the truck and designed the menu.
Steel shoulders crash into the grill. A hot pan sprinkles while tossing a basket of chips in ice.
“Who is this for?”
“Fist for Stephanie.”
“Just a little buffet and chips!”
“Thank you for doing this!”
“Order for Evan!”
Partnership with breweries and pubs
Food trucks in the area are taking advantage of a hot hot market as people emerge from quarantines in groups.
“We are very busy. Very, very busy,” said Chris Kaye, owner of the Atacolypse food truck, which went online in 2018.
He said people can find it more often at Erie Ale Works and other breweries and distilleries that do not have their own kitchens.
“(Erie Ale Works is) one of our favorite places,” Kaye said. “I try to go there and Altered State (Distillery) and Black Monk (Brewery), all once a week, and put in all the extra stuff before or in between.
“Sometimes I have a ‘double day’, serving lunch in one place and dinner in another,” he said. “They’re tall, but they’re worth it. I’m still having fun. I like doing it.”
“Last year without festivals we got our hands dirty, and we had to get creative and limit the menu to limit inventory,” Kaye said. “This year, we’ve been able to add five or six new tacos. Now we’re in 48 and 50 flavors. We only do about four or five when we go out and keep spinning. Only 10 we did all of last year. “
“Little booty! Pepper cake!”
“Is he a Greek dog with chips or a dog with Greek chips?”
“There are three Nacho Momma!”
The pandemic did not damage all food trucks. As events and crowds unfolded, food trucks were naturally set up to be taken, which is what most brick-and-mortar restaurants had to try to secure on a large scale.
“Last year was crazy for me,” said George Albert of Long Island Lunch Wagon, also known as LIL Wagon.
He values loyal followers.
“I had a lot of great clients coming to us and looking for us and that translated into more business this year, from more exposure last year,” Albert said. “I used to have a major job, but I quit this year.”
He said he is now booked for 90% of the summer, “leaving a few days open to breathe,” he said, adding that he was often at the Black Monk Brewery, a weekly car show in St. Louis. Nick’s Grove, and lots of local bicycle nights.
He said he missed the start of the food truck craze, which started about five years ago in Erie because he was busy building his own truck.
“I’m originally from Long Island and I wanted to have a food truck since I was a kid,” he said. “I moved here a few years ago and noticed there was none. So I bought a camp, emptied it and it took me four years and now there are 15 food trucks,” he said with a laugh. (The Erie County Department of Health has licensed approximately 60 of what they call “mobile units.”)
Albert said it serves sandwiches stuffed with grilled cheese, eight types, including steak, chicken, made with your choice of seven flavors of grilled cheese. Some suggested favorites include a Philly baker, quesadilla and a sausage wrapper.
Fryer foams with a fresh fry point.
The line is reduced from 20 to two or three.
Scraping of a spatula on a grill is followed by three loud taps.
“Thank you so much for the reception!”
Kristian Young, a former chef at The Cork 1794, The Sheraton and a brief stint at Colao, built the Hot off the Press truck which he said could create a great dining experience in any setting.
With longtime chef John Elliott, Young said he has outlined an ambitious business plan and the end of the pandemic is just in time.
“My game plan was to open in 2020 and as the pandemic happened, I was looking for truck shopping,” Young said. “So I did some more research and designed and built the mobile kitchen we have now.
“We can make sandwich truck, but we can do plated weddings,” he said. “We can be chameleons. We built it, with equipment and accessories and set it up for success.”
He said this year they are focused on the brand, and that is going well.
“The plan of the game is to expand the franchise, in multiple aspects, not the pigeon hole itself,” he said. We are not a spoon food truck. “We are bringing great dining cuisine to the people.”
Young said he believes the era of hamburgers and chips is coming to an end.
“With the pandemic, the quick-casual is gaining momentum,” Young said. “Fast food is starting to fade. People are more interested in being healthy and tasty.”
And he thinks he has inoculated his business into another crisis like COVID. “Even if everything closes, we will not close,” he said. “We can operate until restaurants by car can not function. It is simply the same premise.”
Meanwhile, he does not have to worry about the tops of chairs and chairs, tables and more like a traditional restaurant.
“This is the wave of the future,” Young said. “Food trucks are gaining momentum across the country, and they have been accepted and enjoyed in Erie.
“As we grow, we will continue to learn, but I really feel it is the future: fast-casual, food truck-shaped.”
Steel to steel as students clean and pack.
The song explodes.
“Everyone on board the choo choo train, everyone inside the choo choo train. Everyone on board …”
Stephen Standbro, owner of Bro-Man’s Sammiches, could not have been more excited to come out on his own after 30 years at restaurants such as Odis 12 Sports Bar & Grille and Calamari’s Squid Row.
“The business is excellent,” he said. “I could not have asked for better. I’ve only done it since March, and it grew much faster than expected as well. It blows my mind … amazingly amazing, indeed.”
He said it is his second venture into a separate business. “It has always been a dream of mine to do something like that and its beauty is that if we have another outbreak, I do not have to go close a dining room or anything.”
Stanbro said he has reservations until October and he is moving to regular locations every week, such as Taco Tuesday at West 17th Street, Community Blood Bank and Mid-Town Tattoo.
“So far it has been great and we are barely getting started,”
Contact Jennie Geisler at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @ETNgeisler.
Erie Food Truck Festival
- Saturday, from 3 to 8 p.m.; former GE Fields, Water and Main Roads, Lawrence Park.
- The Groove will play live.
- Ticket sales are limited to 2,500 so festival attendees are encouraged to purchase their $ 15 tickets in advance, which includes a glass Erie Food Truck Festival souvenir.
- At the gate, tickets are $ 20.
- Get tickets and more information at eriefoodtruckfestival.com.