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Baba’s Porch

3 Nov

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Website
Phone: 614-262-2227

You may not know it but you have met Baba’s Porch before – in the form of That Food Truck and in particular, Dan Kraus.

When the engine of That Food Truck died, Dan had to find another path to your stomachs. A bit tight on cash while building out his restaurant Baba’s Kitchen, Dan found a trailer and started working on a concept to compliment his brick and mortar project. He also took what he learned from a few years of smoking meats on the fly and built a new smoker to add to Baba’s Porch. Baba’s has been serving Friday nights at Seventh Son Brewing and occasional Saturday afternoons to fill in for other mobile vendors. As Baba’s Kitchen slowly….but surely, comes close to completion Dan says he will continue to keep to Porch out for Friday night service and catering.

When Baba’s Kitchen opens you will find the Restaurant at 2515 Summit Street near the intersection of Hudson Street and 3rd Ave. You can expect to see the Baba’s trailer at Seventh Son and special events.

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I checked in with Dan between courses and construction to find out more about Baba’s Porch.

1) Let’s start with the smoker you built for Baba’s, any design enhancements or special features on this smoker from the previous one you built. What makes this smoker extra special to you?

This was the first smoker I fabricated and welded from beginning to end. It was an education during the whole process and being so intimate with the whole thing gave me a chance to really understand the dynamics of space and draft. Making sure its airtight between the firebox and cooking chamber is what kicked this up to another level and maintain consistent temps regardless of barometric pressure.

2) What was the transition like from Truck to Trailer? You are accustomed to tight spaces but its looks like you have to get creative with the space. What do you like best about trailer life?

In many ways it’s a lot easier. Building the trailer out after having That Food Truck for so many years, we knew exactly what was needed and shed the rest. Simplifying the line and having only what is absolutely necessary makes it a breeze to have everything within reach. trim the fat to save the meat. The best thing about trailer life is no rusty ass engine to break down. I can rest knowing as long as I have access to a truck, I can make the gig, no problem.

3) Baba’s Porch will continue after you open Baba’s Kitchen, how do you think the Porch may change as the kitchen grows and you start the grocery aspect to the business?

The Porch will be our place to shine a spotlight on the smoked meats. Simple, smoked sandwiches will always be flying out the window. Having access to more produce and homemade items from Baba’s Kitchen will allow us to play with specials and sides.

4) You have a secret weapon at Baba’s now – Tim. Can you share your history with him and why he is such a great addition to the team?

I met Tim in Culinary school in Portland OR ten years ago and we clicked right away. We have parallel ways of thinking about food and how it should be prepared. We started this conversation about our own place way back then with intent to open a truck in Portland. Literally life happened as my wife and I found out we were pregnant and decided to move back to Ohio. Tim went on to Hawaii and Minnesota and really honed in on some tight culinary skills. His high end expertise and managing a huge line at Lafayette Club has really matured his kitchen nature and often reels my more wild eyed approach. We can challenge each other in respectful ways to find the most delicious and efficient ways to build a plate.

5) Your other secret weapon is your wife Caroline. What are some of the ways she has helped with both projects over the last year?

Can I just say everything, lol? Caroline has supported every crazy idea and move I wanted to make. She gives me the foundation and real support anyone trying to do this would need. She gives words to my ideas and helps organize the chaos. Outside of the actual cooking she is involved in every aspect of the business. Concepts, construction, finance, design, and and networking, Caroline is all over it. Its so cliche, but she is my rock.

She is itching to get Baba’s blog populated with stories of the line and gorgeous food photos.

6) What one (or two) things do you want people to know about Baba’s Porch?

First that we have felt the support for the change of business. We lost TFT and were worried about re-branding and loosing some of the steam we had with the old truck. But Columbus people are awesome and have showed up hungry and left with smiles.

Its an elementary introduction to the food Tim and I can cook. Simple and quick as truck food needs to be. But what flies out of Baba’s Kitchen is elevated with the luxury of time and space. Basically, if you like the Porch food you will love what Baba’s is serving up!

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Por’ketta

12 Apr

trailer

Por’ketta

Facebook: Porketta
Twitter: PorkettaCbus
Instagram: Porkettacbus
Web:porkettacbus.com
614 570 1107

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Por’ketta launched in March of 2015, serving to the last sandwich, ahead of schedule time and time again. The simple menu of pork and Rotisserie chicken with a few sides may mean limited choices but t is heavy on quality and flavor. The trailer may be a bit harder to maneuver than a food truck but you will see it most places that mobile food can be found. And on a historical note, the trailer has some back story, it used to be a Ray Ray’s Hog Pit Trailer. We spoke to owner Tony Layne to find out about this business.

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1) In a few sentences, what do you want people to know about Por’ketta.

I would want them to know that we are a family run business. We love Columbus and promote it shamelessly. Also that our family’s love of food, gathering and community translate into our food. It is also important to note that we searched far and wide within Ohio’s borders to source the best local ingredients that we could find simply prepared with passion

2) What is Porketta? How do you make yours?
Porchetta is the pig’s skin, belly wrapped around meat and layers of fat, usually with herbs and spices thrown in…all tied up around a spit. Usually roasted over an open fire..this is the traditional Italian method. My version is the belly piece with the loin attached, then we butterfly the loin, rub with salt, pepper, fennel, parsley, garlic, rosemary, lemon zest, crushed red pepper, roll it up, tie it up and let air dry under refrigeration for at least 24 hours, then roast for four and a half hours in a high low temperature combination, let rest for thirty minutes and then ready to slice. Very labor intensive, but yields very moist pork…there are no shortcuts to the method.

3) What inspired your menu?
This is an easy one I love cooking with fire..whether it be a grill, smoker, camp fire, Meat and fire are primal and treated correctly yield incredible results. So that is the method I choose..we have a Rotisserie on the truck, The items I chose also easy..I am a pork fanatic…such a versatile animal…so many different cuts, tastes and textures…I chose Porchetta because it’s the belly and the loin and nobody is doing it, enough said. A great roasted chicken, was my other choice it brings back such comforting memories of cooking with my grandmother. For our salads and sides, we wanted to make sure they were tasty and let the ingredients speak for themselves. Our dishes are not hidden in mayonnaise or heavy dressings. We offer both the pork and chicken as sandwiches, meals, and bulk to go items.

4) What inspired you to get into mobile food?

Thirty years in commercial kitchens, always wanting to do something on my own, but with five kids I chose security and stability for my family over the opportunity of starting my own venture. Finally the planets started lining up …my youngest was a senior in high school in Hilliard. My job with Marriott was starting to feel like the movie “Groundhog Day”…every day felt just like ever other. I was losing passion for the craft, finding joy only cooking for our weekly family dinners. One day I snapped , quit my job cashed in my 401k and decided to go into business with my wife and children…Mobile food is hot in Columbus…a lot of great food coming off trucks. With a lower cost to entry than a traditional brick and mortar restaurant my decision and direction was made.

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5) What did you do before Porketta?
Before this spent the last thirty years doing the Chef thing around Columbus….Umberto’s, the Clock, Crowne Plaza, the 55 group, R.J. Snappers and Marriott hotels…from mom and pop shops to corporate and everything in between

6) How did you get ready to launch?
I left Marriott shortly before Thanksgiving, and basically took the winter, while the trailer was being built out, to come up with the menu, work on branding, build the social media presence, obtain all the proper permits and documentation, purchase equipment, test recipes, try and find spots to park and sell our food at…and the list goes on. They say the devil is in the details…everyday we worked task lists to shoot for a mid March opening. And here we are!

7) Porketta is a family affair – tell us about team Layne and what each person does in the trailer.

Team Layne consists of my son Conner…who is learning the craft and picking so much up. I so proud of him, my wife Michelle who is our backbone, she runs the window and is great with our guests. My other daughters float in and out as time allows. Basically we all do what needs done. I couldn’t be working with a better bunch of people. (Writers note: Michelle worked for Pitabilities for several years so she is no stranger to mobile food customers).

8)You source from Matt Swint (Matija Breads) – where else do you source from?

Yes Matt Swint and his incredible breads…the best in Columbus. Pork was a tough one…to find an Ohio producer of the exact piece I needed was a daunting task so I turned to THE MAN..Albert Thurn…if anybody could find it he could. And he did, sourcing a farm in Sandusky, Ohio. He is my pork connect. Chicken had to be all Ohio…so we turned to Vitale Poultry. Produce comes from Midwest for the time being as spring rolls into summer much more Ohio produce will be used. we like to park at local breweries and tap rooms, because these high quality local beers compliment our food. Even our T-shirts were printed by Traxler. Local was key to our business model, sometimes more expensive, but always the right thing to do.

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Smokeout BBQ

24 Mar

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Smoke Out BBQ and Catering
4578 N. High Street
Beechwold / Clintonville
614.256.7900
Facebook
http://www.smokeoutbbq.com
Fridays and Saturdays 11 am to when they run out, most recently, about 2 pm

Here is our interview with John Becker one of the que slingers on Smokeout BBQ.

Who else works on Smoke Out with you?
A: I have a business partner, Eric Grant, and our wives may be on
location from time to time. Our sons will be learning the art in the
years coming.

When did you first get interested in BBQ.

A:I spent summer and winter breaks of college working for a landscape
company. We would cut mature apple trees from a local orchard, split
the wood, and sell it to local BBQ joints. Back at OU in Athens,
through trial and error, I learned to take a fatty cut of meat, wood
smoke, and patience and turn a cheap cut of meat into something better
than steak.

What is your BBQ style – Texas, Carolina, etc., if any?
A: I have eaten BBQ extensively in the Carolinas, Texas, Memphis, and
St. Louis. I enjoy good BBQ anywhere. The food we offer is the food we
like to eat with the meats being smoked by local cherry wood. Smoke
Out BBQ is pork oriented, but we also offer pulled chicken and brisket
on a rotating basis. The menu will expand once spring hits.

What inspired the trailer?

A:Eric and I both have experience in construction. We bought the
trailer shell and turned it into a fully functional kitchen ourselves.

You make many of your own sauces, any stories about that; family recipes, win any competitions, etc.
A: As much as possible, our offerings are homemade: sauces, rub, slaw, Mac N Cheese, etc. I’ll take a thumbs up or a smile from a customer who likes our food over an official award any day.

What are the next steps for Smoke Out? Do you hope to open a restaurant, do more catering?
A: I am just happy that I have the opportunity to share my favorite BBQ with my neighbors in Columbus.

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Sweet Carrot Casual Cuisine

6 Jun

food truck catering columbus

Cuisine: BBQ/Locavore
Website
Facebook
@SweetCarrotFT

Sweet Carrot is a bit unusual in the ‘Food Cart 2.0’ world, in that they are focusing primarily on festivals and catering private events. Perhaps that’s not too surprising because Sweet Carrot is a division of the Two Caterers contemporary cuisine catering company (The name is actually an anagram of Two Caterers). With the tagline ‘More than just a food truck, Sweet Carrot is a mobile kitchen’, it was conceived in response to the many prospective customers who looking for lower cost, high quality catering options.

Sweet Carrot has a wide range of menu options for private catering events, including house smoked BBQ meats (pork, brisket, chicken, turkey), burgers, brats, pasta dishes, and desserts. Dishes offered at festivals will vary. For the Arts Festival this weekend they offered ‘fried arts’ – which were deep fried cornmeal dusted artichoke hearts with lemon and parmesan and served with chipotle aioli. The ‘fried arts’ were available on a corncake or served in a boat. Other offerings were chicken meatballs (on a corncake or alone) and carrot cake cake pops.

Sweet Carrot Food Truck

We tried the corn cake with house smoked pulled pork, coleslaw, BBQ sauce and corn salsa ($6). It’s a play on classic BBQ flavors and sides and the combination works well as you would expect. The coleslaw and corn salsa are refreshing on a warm day and you can add an additional side of each for 50c. It’s definitely a step up from deep fried fair food.

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We bumped into one of our Street Eats readers who had tried the food on Friday and thought it was so good that he came back on Sunday for more. That’s a pretty good endorsement.

Here are some of the upcoming events that you will be able to find the Sweet Carrot truck at this summer.

food truck events columbus 2012

Ray Ray’s Hog Pit Takes a Swing at Wings

7 Feb

The subtitle of this post may be mythbusters. This writer has heard two mobile myths perpetuated of late: Mobile food is a fad and food trucks can’t make a living year round. Enter Ray Ray’s.

(Note: Ray Ray’s moved to Ace of Cups Bar in late Summer 2012 – 2619 North High Street) Open Friday to Sunday Noon to 7 pm

Jaime (Ray Ray) Anderson continues to prove that a good product, a little business sense and a lot of hard work, a person can make a good living from a mobile food truck or trailer. Ray Ray’s has served BBQ from the same location for over two years. Ray Ray’s stays open through the winter, serving 52 weeks each year. Jaime takes opportunities to try out new menu items such as smoked turkeys for Thanksgiving and Christmas as well a grass fed beef special on Sunday’s. For Superbowl Sunday, he decided to serve wings and the results were……take a look for yourself. When I visited, the line was fifty people deep and still growing.

If you grill it, BBQ it or cook it right, they will come. You might have to wait for the next superbowl for wings….but maybe not, seems like it would be a good item for fall tailgating.

Rolley – Pulley’s: Pulled Pork Sandwiches

6 Sep

Rolley-Pulley’s
Cuisine: Pulled Pork BBQ Sandwiches
Location: variable
Current “main” location: Downtown, corner of Town and Wall Street
(Monday to Friday Lunch time)
614.570.2003

Rolly-Pulley’s popped onto the Food Cart scene in early August. The fare is simple – three styles of BBQ pulled pork sandwiches. There my be some changes or additions to the menu over time. The cart is also booked for all Ohio State home games this year and will be parked at the Harrison House apartments. We sampled the Squeeler Pulley at the Food Cart and Truck Fest 2011. This sandwich included pulled pork, with cole slaw and hot pepper flake sauce.

Johnny Oak’s Cajun BBQ

27 May

bbq trucks columbus ohio

Cuisine: Cajun BBQ
Gay and High st.
614.620.6165
Monday-Friday 11am-3pm (or until sold out)

Last summer the corner of Gay and High was home to the cupcake truck 3 Babes and a Baker. This summer it has a new resident – Johnny Oak’s Cajun BBQ. If the name Johnny Oak’s sounds familiar it’s because Johnny already has a restaurant in Columbus – Johnny Oak’s Po Boy and Shrimp Shack located on North Campus. You won’t find any Po Boys here though, as the truck and restaurant offer different menus (the only overlap is the side dishes all of which Johnny himself cooks from scratch). Both menus have the same inspiration, the period of time that Johnny lived in New Orleans.

mobile food vendors columbus ohio

Johnny opened the Po Boy Shack 5 years ago when he wanted to get out of the construction business and do something that he loved. Johnny (pictured above) is a character and an extremely warm host who offered us samples to help us decide what to order. He jokes with customers ‘this ain’t Burger King’ and takes justified pride in his food. He closed up shop early the day we were there because he was almost sold out and didn’t want the remaining small amount of meat to dry out on the grill.

Here’s the menu, which as you can see will have some variability based on the whims of the owner.

menu, mobile food columbus, food trucks columbus

We split two sandwiches and were divided over whether we preferred the pulled pork or the brisket. The pulled pork was a delicious mess of a sandwich oozing with BBQ sauce and coleslaw (note to self – don’t wear a white shirt). The pork was tender and the creamy coleslaw balanced the heat of the BBQ sauce. I also liked the crunch that the coleslaw added.

johnny oak's columbus

The blackened brisket was nicely (but not overly) fatty, juicy and with less sauce than the pork. The beans were what really won my heart, less sweet than the usual bbq baked beans, with a decent kick of heat and a rich flavorful broth. The greens with bacon were also very good, less bitter than others I have had.

johnny oak cajun bbq, street eats columbus

As well as running the truck and restaurant Johnny caters parties and will pretty much grill any meat for you from goat to turkeys. He also builds and remodels trailers and trucks. There’s more information about the restaurant, catering and trucks here.