Thursday, October 13, 2011

FoodTruck The Gathering

Joe and I have a semi-secret dream to someday run a food truck.  We'll sell portable pizza and pies and call it the Pie-By (let the timestamp show I posted this 10/13/11 so that I can sue some assbag if he tries to steal it) and it will be awesome.  Everyone'll want a pizza the action (see what I did there?)!  Until we hit the lottery though, or some rich family member we've never met dies and leaves us a fortune, we'll be frequenting others' food trucks and taking critical notes as food truck hopefuls. 

We went to The Gathering, Baltimore's monthly food truck rally, last week for the second time.  My main motivation in going was to try some chocolate covered bacon (aka Heaven?) from The Gypsy Queen Cafe.  While I was standing in line I was imagining the raving review I was going to write about my slice of Heaven and the Crab Cone that I had previously been skeptical of.  I was going to have Joe take suggestive photos of me sucking the tip of the cone dry and everything because it was going to be that good.  I rehearsed my order in my head God knows how many times because I didn't want a stutter or a slur or a volume issue to delay my face stuffing by even one second. 

When I finally reached the line and ordered and got my total, I died a little inside.  Something like $28 to feed just Joe and I, not including drinks.  But they had the goods and I needed a fix so I didn't hesitate to hand over my debit card.  Then Baldy McGypsyDude tells me in his best asshole voice "Uh. We're cash only tonight".  What the fuck?  Who uses cash anymore??  Ok, I realize that like 1% of the population does visit the bank still, so I had confirmed with the merchandise tent lady BEFORE getting in line to make sure they were taking cards, on the off chance that the Holders of the Bacon were catering to the 1%.  Who knew Frizzy McGypsyBitch would lie to a customer, or that Team McGypsyDicks would not communicate this fact amongst each other and/or then put up a goddam sign on their truck to spare folks like me from standing in a long line just for the biggest let down of their Friday?

I ended up not getting anything because of their colossal douchiness.  I'm disappointed though.  And I'll probably give them another shot at some point, because aside from this Cash Only crap, they're doing a lot of things right.  So with their inspiration, here's how I plan to run a successful food truck.

1.  Have an awesome name.  When Joe and I went to our first Gathering a few months ago we got these bombin Turkish tacos from... some truck.  I don't know if the name wasn't memorable or if the truck wasn't labeled correctly, but they could take a lesson from the clever-named, more identifiable trucks, like Gypsy Queen, Iced Gems, and Souper Freak.

Something falafel, something gyro-ish, and something chicken from the something truck

2.  Be recognizable.  A quick google search led me to the name of the taco truck - Cazbar!  Not a bad name, not sure why I didn't remember it.  But I did remember its big bright redness and knew it immediately when I saw it on the search.  Good save, Cazbar!  Also at the top of this list, along with the Gypsy Queen, is Flippin' Pizza.

3.  Provide variety.  If you wanna roll with the big trucks, you can't just have chocolate and vanilla soft serve, or cheese and pepperoni pizza (sorry whatever ice cream truck was there and Flippin Pizza).  Gypsy Queen wins hands down on this one with their menu of tacos, burgers, seafood things and desserts.  Or if you're going to focus on one type of food (such as cupcakes or soup or grilled cheese), then figure out a way to make it different than the boring shit I'm going to make in my own kitchen.  Perfect example: GrrChe offers a grilled cheese sandwich with mac&cheese and pulled pork.  Yeah.  (However, GrrChe clearly skipped rule #1).

Burger cupcake from Iced Gems!

4.  Provide quality.  I hate to dish on Flippin Pizza again, but we got Violet a slice of their pizza and it tasted like soggy day old Dominos at best.  I know I'm eating food from a truck, but I don't want it to taste like that, you know?  I want to feel like I'm eating food with Tom Colicchio, not Andrew Zimmern.  And let's face it, I could easily be fooled into thinking your food is top quality if you just throw some frou-frou ingredients on it, like lobster and truffle oil and watercress.  Mmm, that sounds like rich person food, I'll have some!

I'm high on cupcake!

5.  Make food that people want.  The food truck version of Put A Bird On It is Put Some Bacon In It.  The most successful trucks I saw had bacon on their menu, because people can't get enough of its greasy salty disgusting deliciousness for some reason.  So give the people what they want!  Consider a truck called BACON, painted like a slice of bacon, serving different variations of bacon-wrapped bacon.  Also, this is Baltimore, so incorporate crabcakes and Berger cookies and you've got yourself a food truck.  Honorable mention to Creperie Breizh with the Nutella.

6.  Make your menu visible.  If you are a food truck on the side of the road and your name or decor haven't made it clear what you are trying to put in me, and if your menu was printed on a 8.5"x11" paper from a bubblejet, I will not patronize you.  So fix that.  Big ups to Iced Gems on this one for their dry erase magnetic strips stuck on the side of their van!

7.  Take advantage of social networking.  Seriously.  Except don't expect me to "Like" you because I've already had to hide all the other trucks I like to avoid going broke or (re-)getting fat when they pop up in my newsfeed and tempt me to meet them at their current location in Baltimore City.

I told him "Look hungry" and this is what he gives me?

8.  Don't be a dick.  Ok, obviously I'm just a little sour still about not getting my crab cone.  Gypsy Queen is lucky they're doing so many other things right so at some point I'll get over myself and hand over my $12.  Had a less successful truck left me hanging, they'd be done to me.


  1. Okay...WHAT is a food truck?! I feel really dumb. I have no idea what this is! Is it kind of like the food trailer things at fairs?

  2. Whoa! It didn't dawn on me that food trucks aren't big everywhere else yet. They're still relatively new around here too. Think "ice cream truck" but with burgers, pizza, cupcakes, ANYTHING. They have ovens and fryers and everything on them!

  3. Wait, like, they drive around?!?!?! Or they're parked somewhere and you go to them?

  4. They drive around! They don't just stop anywhere like the ice cream trucks do though. They have designated stops at corners and parking lots. I think that mostly has to do with the fact that they travel in the city mostly and can't just stop anywhere and block traffic. Hmmm, now I wonder if they did it in the suburbs if it would be different?

  5. You are a McFreakin Nut...............LOL


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