This week’s episode of the Great Food Truck Race brought the three remaining food truck contestants to Cleveland,OH. This season is using a new format where instead of the contestants being established food truck owners, each of the eight sets of contestants are novices with absolutely no food truck experience. In fact, some of the competitors have no professional cooking experience at all. Consequently, along with a $50,000 prize, the winning team of this season will be given a brand new food truck to help them start their business.
This episode began with the Seoul Sausage team strategizing how they would move back into first place. To do this they planned to add a special “Cleveland style” sandwich to their menu. Meanwhile, Pop-a-Waffle decides to keep their price point and menu, and Nonna’s Kitchenette makes phone calls to find a parking space and garner local support.
The teams met up with Tyler at the beginning of the show to find out that each team would be starting with only $100 in seed money, the smallest amount the teams have received this season. Ideally, the teams needed to start off purchasing smaller amounts of startup food, then head back to the store once they get close to selling out. Before heading out, the teams were informed that they needed to find and bring back three Ohio grown tomatoes.
These tomatoes would be the item the first truck stop would center around.
In this truck stop, the teams were challenged to make a dish similar to the blooming onion, a specialty dish of the Outback Steakhouse. This challenge was to be judged by Tim Gannon, the co-founder of Outback Steakhouse.
Instead of using onions, their dish would have to use the Ohio tomato they were sent to retreive. For this challenge, Pop-a-Waffle chose to use their tomato in a bruschetta dish, Seoul Sausage a cold tomato soup, and Nonna’s Kitchenette a deep-fried tomato. After tasting all three dishes, the judge chose Pop-a-Waffle as the winner. For their prize, Pop-a-Waffle was granted the ability to stay open while the other trucks had to shut down for three hours.
Day 2 Seoul Sausage paired up with a brewery and Nonna’s Kitchenette drew a crowd at a local park. With only nine hours remaining, however, Tyler hit the teams with a huge speed bump. The challenge is for the trucks to scale down considerably. Instead of selling from their food trucks, the teams would have to sell from a hot dog cart until 6 p.m. Pop-a-Waffle and Seoul Sausage struggled for some time, but figure out how to make the carts work for them. Nonna’s Kitchenette didn’t do as well. After 6 p.m. Pop-a-Waffle had some trouble getting business but with an hour and a half remaining in the day they were invited to park minutes from a concert venue. Unfortunately due to traffic, it took the team 45 minutes to get there and by the time they were ready to serve customers, most had already entered the concert venue.
With only three teams remaining, the elimination round determined this season’s two finalists. Continuing in the contest would be Seoul Sausage (who came in first place in Cleveland) and Nonna’s Kitchenette. Although they won the truck stop, Pop-a-Waffle was sent home. Avoiding any delays, the final contest was started immediately by giving each remaining team $500 in seed money and sending them to the first stop on their trek to their final destination. Tyler informed them that their next stop would not be their last, but did tell them to head out to Boston, MA.