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Salem

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SALEM, OR - Salem could be on the verge of joining the street food craze.

At a meeting Monday, the council approved changes in city code to ease restrictions on mobile food vendors. The council’s action strikes down regulations that had banned groups of food vendors from gathering on private property. It also loosened restrictions how long food trucks could stay at one location.

“I think this is the right thing to do. We have government barriers keeping these businesses from operating,” said Salem City Councilor Diana Dickey. “This is only going to enhance our food culture.”

The change in the code is effective immediately. Mobile food vendors say it could clear the way for food “pods,” similar to those found in the Portland area, to pop up in Salem.

Richard Foote, a representative of the Salem Food Truck Association, said food vendors were already discussing gathering in groups for “food truck rallies” this summer.

Find the entire article at statesmanjournal.com <here>

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salem oregon

SALEM, OR - It’s a foodie’s dream. A collection of food vendors, assembled in a bustling “pod” on an inner-city lot. Each small-time entrepreneur sells made-from- scratch foods, often for modest prices. Cuisine choices cover the gamut from Mexican to Middle Eastern.

If that sounds appetizing, head to Portland.

City of Salem regulations dating to 1994 ban clusters of food trucks and trailers from gathering on private property. No vending is allowed in the public-right-of-way. And food trucks that call on multiple locations can stay in one spot for no longer than two hours.

“The rules in Salem pretty much make it impossible for most of us to make a living at it,” said Richard Foote, a representative of the Salem Food Truck Association. He has a vested interest in seeing food trucks succeed: his Oregon Crepe Company includes a specialty bakery that supplies breads to food vendors.

But Salem may yet catch-up with the street food craze. Salem City Council recently asked city staff to draft an ordinance that would loosen restrictions on food trucks and trailers.

“Council asked us to fast-track this item so we are intending to do that,” said Glenn Gross, they city’s community development director. The city hopes to have a new ordinance ready by the summer, he said.

Most mobile food vendors in Salem have a second job, or rely on income from a spouse to pay the bills, Foote said. He estimated that about 20 food trucks and trailers operate in Salem.

The only way for several food vendors to gather in one spot, even temporarily, is obtain a special events permit, such those issued for the city’s World Beat festival.

” I would love to see a little taste of what Portland’s got, or even Eugene,” said Chad Lewis, owner of Chad’s Smoking Barbecue, a food truck and catering service.

Lewis figures he could be selling more brisket, pulled pork and ribs if Salem its relaxed rules. He sees plenty of potential customers in industrial areas with few nearby restaurants, as well as in Salem’s downtown where state employees, Willamette University students and others might want to grab a quick bite.

Since October, Carmen and Minh Nguyen have ran “Fusion Semi-Authentic Vietnamese Foods.” Finding places to park their food truck, however, has been an obstacle.

For example, the couple once did a good business selling curry rice bowls and Vietnamese sandwiches in the parking lot of a Salem shopping center. But restaurants in the shopping center soon complained to the landlord about the competition. Fusion, which was initially invited to the location, had to leave.

“It was really unfortunate. It was a fun place to be,” Carmen Nguyen said.

Find the entire article at statesmanjournal.com <here>

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BBQ truck opening soon is no April Fools Joke

The Pacific Northwest has had a very strong influence on the national growth of the mobile food industry and coming up in April; the growth will increase by one more truck. This opening is scheduled for April 1st in the city of Salem, Oregon. The owner Don Charpilloz is primarily a self-taught chef who wants to serve up street food style barbeque paired with some Southwest/Mexican flavors from his mobile kitchen to the entire Salem/Keizer area.

The Karnavor Gourmet BBQ truck was created to help Chef Charpolloz share his love for cooking and barbecuing, but also his joy of serving others the food that they love to eat. When asked to describe himself Don replied, “determined, motivated, dedicated, comical, friendly, caring, and easy going”.  We wondered what cuisine that he was unfamiliar with that he would you want to learn more about and why?  “I would like to learn more about Southwestern & Mexican Cuisine. I love the bold flavors of the peppers and chilies; it seems like a true art form to be able to pair the right foods with the right spices.”

While working on the name of his truck, he wanted something “unique and original”. Don explained that he wanted a name that was easy to remember but also described the kind of food they serve. Giving all of the credit to his wife, he felt Karnovor “was a perfect fit”.

When interviewing mobile entrepreneurs we have a standard group of questions we like to ask to help our readers learn more about these business owners, here are a sample of some of these questions and how Don answered.

One food you can’t live without?

DC: Bacon!

One food you detest?

DC: Liver & Onions…..yuk

Culinary speaking, your region of the country has the best…

DC: The Pacific Northwest has the best Diversity. Fosho!

Favorite celebrity chef?

DC: Bobby Flay

Best culinary tip for the home cook?

DC: Practice…and some classes don’t hurt either

If you could cook for one person, dead or alive, who would it be?

DC: JOHNNY CASH!

Proudest moment as a chef/restaurant owner:

DC: The first time somebody ever paid me for my food!

Favorite music to cook to?

DC: JayZ, Johnny Cash, ACDC, Kanye West, Eminem, Kid Rock, etc…

Best food city in America?

DC: Portland Oregon

Favorite restaurant in America?

DC: Gritty’s Restaurant and Pub, in Freeport Maine

What show would you pitch to the Food Network?

DC: “Restaurants on the Road” Featuring a different Food Truck (or cart) every episode.

Weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten:

DC: Chocolate covered Grasshoppers

The Karnavor Gourmet BBQ truck was purchased from AA Cater Truck in Los Angeles, California and to date has taken about a year to get it ready to start up. Don has never been part of the food industry; and because of this, food costing has been his biggest challenge in starting up his mobile food business.

The average price for a meal off the Karnavor Gourmet BBQ truck will be 6-8 dollars. The chef describes his food as, “fresh, bright, savory, unique, fun, homemade, smokey, sweet, and delish.” Currently the menu looks like this:

Everyday Classics

  • Tacos: (Chicken, Pulled Pork or Brisket) Served on warm corn tortillas, our BBQ tacos overflow with freshly BBQ’ d chicken, pork or brisket smothered in our sweet and savory barbecue sauce. We top each taco with fresh cabbage slaw, made w/ toasted almonds & dried cranberries.
  • Sandwiches: (Chicken, Pulled Pork or Brisket) Over a 1/4 pound of slow smoked chicken, pork or brisket served on toasted buns, covered in homemade slaw & Kar na Vor BBQ sauce (comes w/ a side of BBQ beans or Mac ‘n’ Cheese and a pickle spear).
  • K-sa-dillas: (Cheese, Chicken, Pulled Pork or Brisket)

Kar na Vor Favorites

  • Loaded Bacon Dog: Served up w/ glazed bacon and topped w/ sauteed onion & sweet peppers
  • Glazed  Bacon & Chipotle Shrimp Taco: This is a true treat, served on warm corn tortillas. Brown sugar glazed bacon & chipotle shrimp lay on top a bed of house slaw and topped with guacamole & cilantro.

Chefs Specials

  • BBQ pork ribs
  • Chipotle Shrimp & Sausage Kabob

Om na Vor Specials

  • Garden Salad
  • Garden Burger: Custom made. Tell us how you want it!

Sides: Smoked Beans, House Slaw, Mac ‘n’ Cheese

When asked what advice the chef would have for others thinking about starting their own food truck he responded, “Make sure that you take full advantage of your local Small Business Development Centers, Chamber of Commerce, and don’t be so in love with your idea that you cannot see the realities of the business!”

We wish Chef Charpilloz the best of luck with this endeavor, and will keep our readers up to date if additional news comes up before the launch on April 1st.

You can find the Karnavor Gourmet BBQ truck website <here> or follow the truck at Facebook or Twitter.

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