DUNMORE, PA – Mario Bevilacqua has known he wanted to own his own restaurant since he was only 8 years old. He just never expected it to be on wheels.
As co-owner, along with his girlfriend, Katie Graziosi, of the What The Fork food truck that frequently can be seen camped out around Dunmore, Mr. Bevilacqua has been making a name for himself in the area since opening for business in June.
A West Scranton native, he can remember his excitement when his father helped found and open the former Whistles Pub and Eatery in downtown Scranton.
“Ever since then, I wanted to open something. I loved the atmosphere and the business,” Mr. Bevilacqua said. His dad also passed down his love of cooking, which Mr. Bevilacqua took to the next level by attending The Restaurant School in Philadelphia.
Years later, he met James Bodnar when both were employed at the University of Scranton. About a year and a half ago, Mr. Bevilacqua was entertaining job interviews that would have taken him to Yardley, Pa., when Ms. Graziosi suggested he look into food trucks.
As fans of the television show “The Great Food Truck Race” on Food Network, the couple didn’t think the idea was too far out of the box.
“I didn’t know they were so upscale,” Mr. Bevilacqua admitted. “People are transforming double decker buses, tractor trailers, airplanes.”
The notion resurfaced in December of 2011, and within two weeks, Mr. Bevilacqua had found the truck he knew he wanted.
“I saw it, and knew it was the one,” he laughed.
By day, he rushed around putting together a business plan and securing loans to purchase the vehicle. At night, he and Ms. Graziosi sat side-by-side working on the design, colors and branding for their venture. From their list of possible names, What The Fork seemed like the best idea because it would give them the freedom to create a completely original and diverse menu.
“We didn’t want to commit to one cuisine, so it needed to be versatile. Sticking to one item would have been difficult and not very fun,” Mr. Bevilacqua said.
So far, business has been great, he added.
“There’s been tons of activity on social media,” Mr. Bevilacqua said. In fact, that’s how the majority of What The Fork’s customers know where to find them each day, or what they want to order: the truck has a very active Twitter account and updates its website often.
Find the entire article by PATRICE WILDING at The Times Tribune <here>