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the grind louisville food truck

LOUISVILLE, KY – The latest venture from food truck owners Liz and Jesse Huot now has a name and a slightly more definitive opening date.

The Huots have traversed Louisville for about three years, selling burgers in a food truck they dubbed Grind. Now they will settle down, so to speak, in a storefront at 3311 Preston Highway, near the Kentucky Exposition Center.

The location was most recently occupied by Oasis Sushi and Soul Karaoke Bar.

The restaurant will be called Grind Burger Kitchen and will feature the same burgers that are offered on the food truck. The bricks-and-mortar location also will sell fries and new vegetarian options.

The couple plan a soft opening after the Kentucky Derby.

Find the entire article at bizjournals.com <here>

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jerk 312 brick and mortarCHICAGO, IL - TGL Group announced today that it will open its first Jerk. Modern Jamaican Grill restaurant in the River West neighborhood of Chicago. While the opening marks the first retail location, Jerk has been serving Chicagoans with its food truck since March 2013.

The 3,000 square-foot restaurant, located at the intersection of Chicago Ave and Halsted in the River West neighborhood, is scheduled to open in June 2014. Customers can expect a fast & casual experience with a Jamaican inspired menu that will include all of their favorite items from the food truck. The retail location will also carry specialty items that can only be found at its retail location. TGL Group looks to also operate a cafe at the location to serve gourmet coffee and breakfast pastries in the morning.

Jerk plans to continue operating its food truck and Chicago catering services this spring at various locations and events throughout the city.

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Barking Frog Seattle Food Truck

Credit: Jeff Caven

SEATTLE, WA - The rule of thumb has generally been that you start a food truck, then transition to a brick-and-mortar restaurant. But lately a handful of restaurants have defied the food gods by condensing their brick-and-mortar establishments into food-truck form, including Brass Tacks, Ezell’s, Plum Bistro, Barking Frog, and The Walrus and the Carpenter.

It’s a far less natural process. Turning a food truck into a restaurant allows a kitchen to breathe, enabling new options and possibilities. The reverse transition means shedding and sacrifice, like choosing what to take with you during a fire—a really long-drawn-out fire.

But it’s often an effective marketing decision. Taking a restaurant mobile creates a more visible brand and reaches new customers, often funneling them back to the brick-and-mortar, where they can actually grab a seat.

“We’ve been a brick-and-mortar for 13 years,” says Bobby Moore of Barking Frog in Woodinville, who in May launched Barking Frog Mobile Kitchen, nicknamed Road Toad (the license plate reads RDTOAD). “We were bursting at the seams here. You can only generate so much revenue when you’ve been a brick-and-mortar for so long. We wanted to keep ourselves in front of people. I personally wanted to change with the times and not keep doing the same old thing.”

While it would be fun if food trucks simply shot out of their home restaurants like escape pods, the process is much more complicated.

Find the entire article at seattleweekly.com <here>

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mcgills food truck


SCHUYLER, NY - The owner of popular nightspot and eatery Mr. McGill’s in the Town of Schuyler is officially back in business with a mobile unit.

The truck is located at the Mr. McGill’s and DePalma’s Pizza location. You’ll find riggies, greens, fried food, burgers, salads, wings, subs and wraps — everything but pizza.

The fire destroyed the building in January, and while the building had insurance, the owner of the business, Mark Rende, didn’t have the contents of the building insured. The cause of the fire was ruled electrical in nature. Nevertheless, he’s moving forward and serving to-go orders of favorites from the restaurants.

“It’s hard,” Rende said. ”You still get up every morning at four o’clock, because we used to open for breakfast. But it’s been hard, so I figured we’d open a food truck to at least try to do some business and recover a little bit.

To place your to-go or delivery order, call 797-8306.

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Pittsfield-MAPITTSFIELD, MA - A proposal to regulate food trucks is back to the drawing board after a public hearing.

During a City Council Ordinance and Rules Committee hearing, a dozen downtown business owners and parishioners of St. Joseph’s Church objected to some or all of the ordinance’s provisions. A food truck owner also provided input and was supported by subsequent speakers.

Pamela Tobin, executive director of Downtown Pittsfield, proposed regulations in July after several merchants told her food trucks were unfairly competing with “brick and mortar” restaurants. She said those complaints focused on the fact restaurants, unlike food trucks, pay taxes and other overhead costs and the parking spaces the trucks utilize could be used by potential customers.

City Planner C.J. Hoss later drew up a proposal after researching regulations used in other communities. It specified areas of the downtown where food trucks may operate and specifies set-back restrictions and payments for use of parking spaces.

“There is just not enough business downtown for all of us to go around,” said Brenda Torchio of Brenda & Co., whose comments were echoed by several others in the restaurant business. She said the owners of the established restaurants are more “fully involved in revitalizing Pittsfield” and are struggling through a weak economy.

“I’m very concerned about this proposal,” said Mark Martin, who owns five restaurants in the city including the Subway restaurant on South Street.

“I don’t want them anywhere in the city, zero, none,” he said.

Susan Gordon, owner of Bagels Too, said that in addition to the competition from businesses that don’t pay taxes and shoulder the same overhead costs, parking space in city lots and on streets should cost more than the proposed $35 per month fee for a food truck to park.

Attorney Mark Brennan and others said they fear disruption of St. Joseph Church services, special fundraising events, as well as funerals and weddings, if food trucks are allowed to park in front of the church.

“There has to be some respect for the sanctity of these services,” said Paul Costello. He said there is a 50-foot buffer zone in the draft ordinance keeping food trucks that far away from restaurants, but none restricting them from the front of a church.

There is also the fear among parish members that the area would become littered with trash left by food truck patrons, Brennan said.

Find the entire article at berkshireeagle.com <here>

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Urban-Bamboo-food truckANCHORAGE, AK - Mobile food trucks are an increasingly popular way to grab a bite to eat, but tensions are beginning to boil between a local restaurant and its four-wheeled competition.

At the Brown Bag Sandwich Co. in downtown Anchorage, lunchtime often brings a steady flow of customers. Owner Antoine McLeod said Monday that on the weekends, it’s a different story.

”I don’t have a problem with competition,” he said, amid of flurry of hands making sandwiches, cutting pickles and handing out meals. “As long as that competition is taking place at a level playing field.”

When it comes to the Urban Bamboo food truck, McLeod said that competition isn’t on the level playing field. The truck sets up shop just down the street from the Brown Bag, on the corner of 4th Avenue and D Street, just in front of the Avenue Bar.

That’s where McLeod said the food truck parks in metered parking spots after-hours. It’s a practice he said is both unfair and illegal.

”It’s just not fair for someone to be able to pull up during peak hours, not have to pay any of the real estate, any of the fees, any of the permits, [and] basically steal my customers and roll out at the end of the night,” he said.

McLeod points to the municipal code—Chapter 20, Section 30.02, to be exact —which reads “It is unlawful for anyone to use any public place … without first having applied for and obtained a permit.” He said he’s reached out to both the Anchorage Police Department and the municipality to address the issue.

A spokesperson for APD said it’s not a criminal matter and referred the issue to the municipal code enforcement officer, who did not return phone calls Monday.

“I totally love this kind of renaissance of great food places that are opening up in Anchorage,” McLeod said. “What I do have a problem with is … people operating illegally.”

Find the entire article at ktva.com <here>

Urban Bamboo

Twitter: @UrbanBambooAK

Urban Bamboo brings “international epicurean” cuisine to the neighborhoods of Anchorage.


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Riffs_StreetFood nashville

Nathan Morgan | Nashville Business Journal

NASHVILLE, TN - Fans of the food truck Riffs Fine Street Food can now enjoy a steady schedule and new breakfast and lunch dishes at Riffs Cafe at Highland Ridge on Marriott Drive.

“We’re taking our food truck sensibilities and making sure that we are doing everything high-end and as impressive as we can,” said B.J. Lofback, who, along with partner Carlos Davis, owns Riffs Fine Street Food, Riffs Cafe and Riffs Catering.

The cafe, inside one of the Highland Ridge office buildings, is open for breakfast and lunch.

While the cafe offers the same vision of “street food ideas from around the world,” it also serves coffee drinks using Intelligentsia Coffee and pastries created by chef Audra Dykes, and will soon feature express lunch options.

“Soup, salads and sandwiches are going to be more common in this setting than in the truck,” Lofback said. “In the truck, we do tacos and more eclectic things.”

Not to say the offerings at Riffs Cafe aren’t creative. The pastry chef creates her own takes on Girl Scout cookies, Little Debbie snacks and more.

“We’re always changing and always playing,” Lofback said.

While Davis is busy with the catering business and Lofback focuses on the business side, executive chef Drew Whitney brings Lofback’s dishes to the table.

Find the entire article by Jen Todd at The Tennessean <here>

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MINNEAPOLIS, MN - In a recent article from CBS Minnesota we learned about  3 restaurants that have recently closed in Minneapolis. Why did they close? Well according to the owners…Food Trucks. While we may agree that food trucks have become popular and are gaining traction in areas such as the Minneapolis Skyway, we also know that food trucks are not the cause for a restaurant closure.

Skyway Food-Trucks Minneapolis

Photo by Ming-Te Lu (Flickr.com)

Peter’s Grill was one of the restaurants closed recently so we did a little digging and found some write-ups on Yelp to see what their customers had to say.

This is one of those places that manages to survive because they have an amazing location and history downtown Minneapolis. I believe they might have had some of the best home-cooked meals during their glory days. Now, they’ve managed to go the low quality route and stay in business because of how easy it is for those who work downtown to grab a meal.

I love family owned businesses, but I was VERY disappointed by the food. I ordered the chef salad. What was served to me was worse than something I would prepare in 5 minutes time in my own kitchen.

- Obviously Dole iceberg salad mix
- Kraft cheese slices diced up
- A few slices of poor quality lunch meat
- A poorly hardboiled egg (lots of gray)
- A “freshly baked” roll (tasted very much like Wonder Bread)

The portions were scant, which was fine, given how disgusted I was with the salad. My companion ordered one of their wraps, which he also found disappointing. The potato chips were of the cheap “ruffled” variety.

There are many family-owned business downtown that still care about the quality of their food. I’d avoid Peter’s and find someplace else.

Here’s another:

Save your money. EAT SOMEWHERE ELSE! Corned beef, potato salad, cole slaw, and loaf rye bread all looked and tasted like it came from the Walmart deli. Only it cost 10 times more. Waitress refilled my drink, then switched it with the person sitting next to me. YUK! This place needs restaurant impossible badly!

By doing a little more digging we found that their site had listed a number of local awards and some very positive feedback. The problem? The awards and kudos (including one from President Bill Clinton) were from back in the 90′s and early 2000′s. It is very easy to blame others when a longtime (Peter’s Grill was open for 99 years) business fails, but in almost every case, it should be the ownership team that looks in the mirror and realize that old menus, dated decor, poor food and poor service will kill a restaurant before any competition pulls into your neighborhood.

We are sorry that this restaurant failed, but to blame food trucks for their problems is the easy way out.

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If you have been paying attention to the mobile food industry you will have noticed that more and more food truck owners have been converting their mobile food businesses into brick and mortar establishments. Most of these conversions have been created from the years of brand building these mobile vendors have put into their trucks.

5411 food truck restaurant

Here are the top 6 things to carefully consider before undertaking establishment of a restaurant based on your food truck brand:

Know what your restaurant wants to be

We highly recommend that you spend the time and resources to develop of your restaurants brand strategy prior to opening your doors. Will your restaurant expand on your food truck’s menu? Will it take over for the truck, or will it become your truck’s commissary?

What’s in a name

While selecting a name for a restaurant can be difficult for beginners, food truck vendors already have a name to use. The key question is how to use your truck’s name to brand your restaurant. We recommend that you try to look at the name through your target consumer’s eyes. What would push them to choose your restaurant over your food truck or a competitor’s?

Invest in a well-designed sign

As you know, consumers will always judge you on their first impression — which is usually your logo and sign. Your food truck used a wrap, but this won’t work for your storefront. If your restaurant has synergy with your food truck, keep what you have just convert it into proper signage. If you are planning to have your restaurant’s menu differ from your truck’s let people know through your signage.

Make the menu manageable

The easiest way to build your first restaurant menu is to use your knowledge of the success you’ve had on your truck. While most food trucks limit their menu’s to 5 or 6 entrees, your restaurant can use these items as well as others that have been successful in the past. Understand what your restaurant team can manage, and deliver on it consistently when you first open your doors. It is much easier to grow your menu than to shrink it. People prefer surprises, like new additions to the menu, as opposed to discovering the thing that they liked is no longer available.

Understand what your customers want

The atmosphere that restaurants and food trucks provide will always differ. Speak with your food truck customers to find out what they would expect from your restaurant. Do they want a romantic environment with mood lighting and comfy chairs, or a more upbeat atmosphere with jazzy music and interesting art on the walls? Understanding what your consumer wants and or needs from you and meets with their expectations will keep them coming back time and time again for a consistent experience.

Stay true to your concept

Ask yourself if each and every component of the restaurant measures up the concept that you built with your food truck. Insure that all pieces complement one another.

The consumers in your area already like you (based on the fact that you’ve been able to open this restaurant). Don’t let this success boost your ego too much. Don’t make the mistake to believe that just because you’ve run a successful food truck that it will be easy to transition into a brick and mortar establishment.

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image from houstonpress.com

HOUSTON, TX - A favorite Houston food truck, Good Dog Houston, revealed on Twitter this weekend that it will be opening a brick and mortar location in the Heights.

Houstonians typically go online to find out the hot-dog truck’s daily location.

The tweet toasted followers with a photo of champagne and keys, commemorating the announcement and promising more details in the coming week.

Good Dog owners Daniel Caballero and Amalia Pferd told Eater Houston the location will be in the former Big Mamou space at 903 Studewood and they plan to open prior to the beginning of football season in September.

Good Dog Houston’s Ol’ Zapata dog was named by Fox News in May as America’s best hot dog, and Esquire named the truck among the best food trucks in the nation in March.

Good Dog Houston is the latest local food truck to establish a permanent location, following Eatsie Boys in December.

Find the entire article by Katy Stewart at Houston Business Journals <here>

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