Fat Man’s Mill Café
Truck: 1995 Ford
Former life: Rooster’s Beak food truck
Brad Usry, owner of Fat Man’s , says adding a food truck component to his already popular Fat Man’s Mill Cafe was “cheaper than building another restaurant.” Having toyed with the idea for a while, he jumped at the chance when the former Rooster’s Beak food truck became available.
“We have four basic menus set up for the truck: soul food, barbecue, grilled cheese and what we call carnival food, which is what we’re doing at the Spring Fest. Hamburgers, hotdogs, mac and cheese, French fries and chicken fingers, plus maybe a barbecue sandwich with slaw and sauce. We’ll be pulling our grill behind us so we’ll cook the burgers outside.”
Usry says the biggest learning curve of operating a food truck has been prep.
“The most challenging thing I think is having everything you need when you get there,” he explained. “Here at the restaurant, everything has a place and we know where it is. Making sure we have every last little thing we need on the truck is tough.”
Laziza Mediterranean Grill
Truck: 1995 Chevrolet
Former life: Frito Lay delivery van
Laziza Mediterranean Grill’s food truck is a 1995 Chevrolet that was originally a Frito Lay delivery truck. Purchased last year in South Carolina, it was a basic white empty shell that ran well. The entire kitchen had to be built from scratch.
Business partner Leigh Fletcher explained the process of running the truck.
“We keep it plugged into the restaurant we start cooking in the truck early in the morning. We prep in the restaurant kitchen and cook on the truck.”
The menu at the Spring Fest will be shawarma, (basically the Middle Eastern term for gyro), falafel, gyro or spicy shwarma wrap.
Kitchen 1454/Taco Rico
Truck: 2003 Freightliner
Former life: Snap On Tools van
Ed Mendoza, owner of Kitchen 1454, purchased his food truck in Charlotte, North Carolina. It’s a 2003 Freightliner that is a former Snap On Tools truck, which explains the 1,600 pound lift on the back.
“I like it because it is so big,” Mendoza said. “Two or three people can work it comfortably.”
When Mendoza purchased the truck, it had already been converted into the “Taco Rico” truck. Following the truck’s theme, Saturday he’ll be serving a bulgogi taco, which is a Korean taco, a traditional Tex-Mex taco and a vegetarian taco.
Crums on Central
Truck: Fifth Wheel
Former Life: Recreational Trailer
In 2012, Andrew Crumrine thought about opening another restaurant in Columbia County with an Italian theme. Because of the economy and the gas shortages at the time, however, he decided to put all his energy into Crums on Central and getting his food truck up and running.
At the time, he only used it for off-site catering but, now, you can find it many weekends at the Indian Queen, serving food to the bar patrons there.
“It’s got as much equipment in it as the restaurant,” he said in 2012. “Actually, it’s got more. It’s got a flat top and we don’t have a flat top in the restaurant. Isn’t that crazy?”
At the ETCP Spring Fest, Crumrine will serve many of the favorites his food truck has become known for: bratwurst, French fries, boiled peanuts and the Jiffy Pig, which is pulled pork, crunchy peanut butter, cilantro and onions with a sweet chili sauce.
In addition to these four food trucks, the ETCP Spring Fest will feature other food vendors, including the barbecue cook team and caterer Jus’ Plain Smokin’ run by John and Joshua Paugh. Related to slain deputy JD Paugh, these guys cook good ole Southern barbecue and are based in Hephzibah.
Kona Ice will also be their serving tropical shaved ice and bringing along their patented FlavorWave, their top 10 flavors that customers can mix and match at will. In addition, Kona also has 50 custom flavors their employees can create for customers.
And for those who want a sweet treat, Neapolitan Cupcake will be on hand, serving a variety of the signature and seasonal cupcakes that have made them famous across the CSRA. Will they have Ooey Gooey Butter Poundcake, Salted Caramel or Key Lime Pie? You’ll just have to come and find out.