Island Teriyaki’s Eric Beaver serves up a chicken teriyaki wrap to Brian Lake.
The food truck craze has rolled into West Virginia.
The phenomenon has already taken hold in large cities throughout the United States.
But even in areas that have embraced the idea of serving food from a mobile kitchen — mostly through a window — there’s still an ever-changing learning curve in dealing with health codes, permitted locations and such.
One thing is sure, food fans don’t mind lining up for fresh food packaged for folks on the run — whether it’s at an event or during a quick lunch break.
We found a wide variety of food trucks and vendors in our search for unique meals on the go. Here are profiles on just a few:
Island Teriyaki — Putnam Co.
Island Teriyaki is new to West Virginia, but not new to the world of food.
“We’ve been in business (in W.Va.) for three weeks, but I had a business in Las Vegas,” said owner Shawn Whittington. “I’ve actually been doing this for 17 years.”
His business partner Eric Beaver has 13 years of experience.
They are based now in Putnam County.
Island Teriyaki has set up at Gritt’s Farm in Putnam County during its Corn Maze, Pumpkin Patch and Fun Farm events for the fall season.
“Being in West Virginia now, I wanted to bring something different than just BBQ everything,” Whittington said. “We’ll do some different things, try to switch it up. We plan on doing a lot of caterings and events.
“We just want to get out there. Everybody we’ve talked to has been really cool about it and very welcoming with the whole idea.”
And Whittington said being self-sufficient will help the business grow.
“We have our own water and power. We cook everything inside (the truck). It works pretty good,” he said. “We found our truck on Craig’s List. We got a good deal on it. We had a few issues mechanically, but we just gutted it and built a new kitchen inside of it.”
West Virginia food connoisseurs will likely be thrilled with the menu.
“Our base for our teriyaki comes from Hawaii,” Whittington shared. “We do a spicy Hawaiian Spam burger. We’ll do some Asian fish tacos. We do teriyaki chicken and beef. We make all of our own sauces. We even make our own lemonade. We keep it all fresh.
“Some say the food truck craze is over already,” Whittington added. “But it’s just hitting West Virginia now. Opening a restaurant costs about $100,000. But doing something like this is feasible. Our hope is to move into a brick and mortar business eventually.”
All-American — Kanawha Co.
Mark Gomez has worked many sides of the food vending business.
“I started All-American in 2003 and (it) ran a little bit, and then I started building (food vending stands),” he said. “I built 30 of these — they’re all over the southeast. I’ve never kept more than three.”
Gomez could be found recently on Lee Street triangle in downtown Charleston.
“Now I’m focusing on the street operations, giving people jobs,” he said. “I pay them well, about $9 an hour rather than $7.25. I want to keep them.”
Gomez said setting up the truck goes quickly.
FInd the entire article by Jim Workman at statejournal.com <here>