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Dave Danhi

Dave Danhi Food Truck Quote

“The strongest advice is to make sure you realize that the food business is a labor of love and a love of labor.” – Dave Danhi

SAN ANTONIO, TX – General (ret.) Wesley Clark, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, was in San Antonio, Texas last week with Dave Danhi, founder of The Grilled Cheese Truck, a chef-driven gourmet venue, to announce a new program aimed at helping veterans start their own business. Clark and Danhi have teamed up to identify and train qualified veterans to own and operate food trucks.

wes clark grilled cheese food truck
General Wesley Clark, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, was in San Antonio to announce a new program aimed at helping veterans start their own business. (Photo: Business Wire)

“We are bringing veterans an opportunity to have a tested and proven ownership experience with The Grilled Cheese Truck,” said General Clark. “We are one of the few franchise opportunities that the veteran skill set translates to and allows a veteran to be very successful.”

Danhi, an award-winning chef from Los Angeles, was an executive chef for more than 20 years before a back injury led him to buy an employment agency for chefs. In 2009, Danhi entered a grilled cheese competition in LA that sparked the idea for the Grilled Cheese Truck.

“I couldn’t believe the demand for grilled cheese,” remarked Danhi. “People just loved it, so I went home and started doing the research on my computer. I found that there wasn’t anything out there like this and immediately decided I wanted to pursue it.”

The innovative program pairs veterans who have a unique skill set with an experienced team of food professionals to teach them how to run a food truck. Another team will assist the veterans with bookings and select sites for stops around each city.

General Clark and Danhi introduced The Grilled Cheese Truck on July 4th to active duty military, veterans and the rest of San Antonio during the City’s official 4th of July Celebration at Woodlawn Lake Park. They fed up to 5,000 people for free as a thank you for their service to our country.

San Antonio is the first market in Texas for The Grilled Cheese Truck. The company has plans to expand to Dallas, Austin, and Houston.

The Grilled Cheese Truck has trucks in Los Angeles, Ventura/Santa Barbara, Phoenix and now San Antonio with plans to have 100 trucks across the country in the next year. For more information, visit www.thegrilledcheesetruck.com.

The mobile food industry has grown leaps and bounds since 2008, and the owners of this ever expanding culinary world come from many backgrounds. To help the readers of Mobile Cuisine learn more about the about the owners of the food trucks around the world we are happy to announce new content we call “5 on Friday”. This new section will provide an inside look into the lives of these mobile entrepreneurs with the answers to five questions we will release each Friday. To start us off we spoke with the owner of the Los Angeles based eatery, The Grilled Cheese Truck.

Dave Danhi


Name: Dave Danhi

Age: 44

Food truck name: The Grilled Cheese Truck

Twitter: @grlldcheesetruk

Website:  http://www.thegrilledcheesetruck.com 

Location: Los Angeles and beyond!

Year started in the mobile food industry: 2009


Mobile Cuisine: Why did you become a food truck owner, chef?

Dave Danhi: I’ve been professionally cooking since I was 14 years old.  I’ve ran some great restaurants in LA (Exec. Chef of Water Grill, Roxbury, Georgia to name a few. Corporate chef of King’s Seafood Company before I ‘retired’ from kitchens.


MC: Who has been the most influential person in your culinary career?

DD: The guests I feed.  I learned a long time ago that ANYONE can cook food they love. The key to being a strong chef is the ability to cook food that the people coming in the door (or up to the truck!) like.  I keep seasonal and mixing what is at the top of the season and what people what is where I like to gear menu changes and specials. To break it down to a specific person, one of my old bosses, Matt Stein from King’s Seafood Company,  pushed me to always ask, “Why” and that has been a key part of my decision making when it comes to food, presentations, flavor and texture combinations.


MC: What do you think sets your truck apart from your competitors?

DD: As our tag line states, “Chef driven grilled cheese, ‘cuz that’s how we roll…”.  ALL of our food is made from scratch with high quality ingredients.  The same food and quality standards I had at Water Grill, I employ in our kitchen and with our recipes.


MC: What are your plans for the future? Where do you see yourself and your food truck in 2 and 5 years?

DD: Bigger, better, more accessible as well as I have some great food ideas that I’m going to be playing with very soon.


MC: What one suggestion would you give to someone planning to open a food new truck?

DD: DON’T!. Kidding.  The strongest advice is to make sure you realize that the food business is a labor of love and a love of labor. There are a lot of hours and attention to running a food truck.  Things go wrong more often than not so you need to be flexible and have the ability to react quickly. Also, the biggest mistake I see people getting into trucks in the last year is going in undercapitalized. There’s a misconception that it’s “cheap” to start a truck but people need to realize that you need to have at least one year’s worth of capital to keep the truck going.


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