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Sock Hop Soda Shop

26 Oct

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Sock Hop Soda Shop

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The Sock Hop Soda shop is the creation of Terry Levine, a 50’s enthusiast who literally brings the party to you. In world of mobile food, one path is to beat the streets looking for hungry customers, and the alternative to chase events and private parties – that is the approach for Sock Hop Soda Shop. The crew comes attired as soda jerks and works hard to create a fifties vibe with music, hula hoops, dancing (when not serving) and a soda shop style menu with ice cream and sandwiches. The team also rocks local with Velvet Ice Cream and Frosttop Root Beer.

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Sock Hop Velvet Menu

You will see them set up at events and private parties in the warm months, during the winter they bring the party inside (without the truck) by request.

Sock Hop Soda Shop

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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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Sandwich 2

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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Native Eats

8 Apr

cart

Native Eats (Closed) 
(Locally sourced / eclectic)

Website: www.nativeeats.com
Facebook: NativeEats
Twitter: NativeEatsCbus

Native Eats is a new food cart in Columbus serving breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner menus with a strong emphasis on fresh and locally sourced ingredients. A photo of a recent menu is below and a link to their current menu is -> HERE. You can find them on a regular basis at Seventh Son Brewing on Saturdays for the Lunch/Brunch shift. Expect to see them more places soon.

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So far we have sampled the Sweet Potato and Beet Burger (seen below) and the Barbacoa Breakfast Torta. Both offered great flavor and fresh ingredients including buns made my Matt Swint (who ran the Per Zoot food truck in the past) of Matija Breads (a favorite purveyor of local mobile vendors).

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Like any new business, especially in the world of mobile food there will be changes and shifts in the menu over “season one” and we think this cart is off to a strong start. We asked Alyssa Block a few questions about getting started and we share the answers below.

1) What inspired your menu?

Community. Native Eats unites community by sourcing all of our main ingredients right here in Ohio. Quality. This is another thing that drives our brand. We take no short cuts, all of our meat is grass-fed and sourced locally and all of our breads are fresh-baked locally. Sustainability. By sourcing our main ingredients locally, we not only stimulate the Ohio economy, but we also use less energy to receive our goods. Health. Grass fed, GMO free meats are significantly lower in fat than grain fed meats. We also always offer unique hand-made healthy options along with vegan and gluten-free options.

2) What did you do before starting the cart?

I worked in production for the Limited and still do to this day. This has taught me valuable lessons on cost negotiating, networking, vendor relations, and business relationship building.

3) Who else is on your team and what are their roles?

David Southwick doubles as both my boyfriend and my manager for the cart and staff. Erin Lamneck, Amber Roy, and Alena Southwick are all of our servers/prep cooks.

4) What did you do to get ready to launch this spring?

Reach out to as many vendors and gigs as possible. Start being active in the social media scene. Get active in the community by joining the City of Columbus food truck program, COFTA, and we are about to be a member of Experience Columbus. We have also been trying to get some press, such as (614), Fit Ohio, and Biz 1st

5) What is the biggest lesson you have learned so far?

Hard work pays off and doing things the morally correct way usually gets noticed. There will ALWAYS be hurdles in this business, but you make mistakes, learn from them, and prosper.

6) What do you want guests to know about your food and food philosophy?

We want them to know we believe in community, eating local, buying local, quality, health, and natural foods

7) Anything else to share with those new to native eats?

Everything is made from scratch and to be full of flavor. We are your #1 fan. We know you will love our food.

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Explorers Club Food Truck

6 Jul

truck

Facebook: explorersclubmv
StreetFoodFinder: Coming Soon

The Explorers Club Restaurant is about eighteen months past the day the doors opened. While other restaurants entered the mobile food world before Explorers Club, the team behind the wheel of this truck started preparing back in 2012.

Shortly after the restaurant opened, they started to rent a food cart to help get the word out about the Explorer’s Club at different community events. They did well with the cart and saw the advantages of going mobile with a truck including having extra kitchen space in a building where cooking quarters are tight as well as a much easier way to build out a catering business. The truck launched in late May of this year and has been keeping busy doing corporate lunches, events, late night and weddings.

Like the restaurant, the menu is eclectic. While it often has a southwestern / latin theme the sky is the limit for what one might find on the menu on any given day. A few examples are posted below.

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A few examples are shown below. Tots, one of the most sought items on mobile food menus, are frequently on the menu and in many of the Explorers Club Menu items. The example below is the Sloppy Jose Burrito which includes mac and cheese, Ropa Vieja (shredded beef), seasons tots and some saucy goodness.

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Tacos in various forms are frequent flyers on breakfast, lunch and dinner menus, but always tacos with a twist of one sort or another.

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For breakfast, this truck has the best options in the business including breakfast burritos, chorizo sausage Biscuits and gravy and one of my favorites an egg sandwich on Cuban bread with Swiss Cheese, jalapeno mayonnaise and jalapeno slaw.

For vegetarians, there are typically one or more strong options on the menu. For fans of the restaurant, many of the menu items are based on core ingredients at the Explorers Club but this is not a recycling of menu concepts so you will find selections you won’t find elsewhere. The items on the food truck menu are meant to be served fast and are friendly to eating on the go.

That Food Truck

19 Jul

food trucks in columbus ohio

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The whole food truck thing has been moving fast, and we try to keep up by hitting new trucks as soon as they debut. Though we don’t always succeed, we’ve caught a fair number of trucks during either their soft opening or their first night of business.

This means we’ve seen a lot of trucks at the stage where they’re still trying to work the bugs out – everything from dealing with electrical issues to serious difficulties with the menu items to inability to estimate food quantities to match up with their crowd.

We tried That Food Truck during their soft opening, and none of above applies. In fact, if our experience is any indication, they’ve hit the ground running… and they’ve done it while putting out a quality menu that pushes all of our happy buttons.

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These include locally purchased meats from a single farmer that one of the owners (Chef Dan Kraus) butchers himself (!). And, beyond that, a whole lot of locally sourced goodness, including vegetables from their own garden. As well as local farmers, That Food Truck are also working with Eleni Christina Bakery and North Market Spices. NMS have made a special blend for them that they’re calling truck dust. It’s sprinkled on most of the dishes.

The owners of That Food Truck, Dan and Steve, have significant restaurant back-of-house experience, and are using the truck as a means to explore avenues not open to them within a traditional restaurant setting. The truck kitchen is well equipped. They even have an oven and Dan bakes his own chocolate chip cookies each morning.

that food truck columbus ohio

The quality shows in the end product. The hamburger was easily among the best we’ve had from a food truck, and the ‘Big Bad Wolf’ was definitely worth returning for. The chicken confit sandwich was exceptional.

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Really, everything we had hit the mark, with the possible exception of the squash fritters which were a bit mushy on the inside. Those were quite possibly an anomaly, or a small reminder to us that it was indeed a soft opening. We do like that That Food Truck offers some small bites and snack sized items. We really enjoyed the spicy carrot fries. Thin slices of carrot deep fried, salty, a little spicy and not at all greasy.

locally sourced food truck

In talking with them, we were assured that there was more to come, menu-wise. Pork belly lettuce wraps and Tomahawk pork chops were cited as  examples. We’re curious… and will be back.

You can expect to find That Food Truck at Gay and Grant in the evenings and at Campus Pit stop Kenny and Lane during the day – but check their Facebook and Twitter for updates.

The Coop

9 Sep

The Coop
2701 Indianola
(Corner of Cliffside and Indianola, just north of Hudson)
Clintonville
614.581.9353
Tues-Fri Noon-8
Sat: 9-6 (Brunch all day)
The Coop Website

The Coop opened up on September 8th with no fanfare and a light rainstorm. The first day went well. The chef in the coop worked at Alana’s for over two years. The menu is still being developed and the regular hours and days of operation are being figured out. There will be Facebook and Twitter addresses for the Coop sometime soon.

The initial scout of this truck was done by our friend Dave from Weber Cam who said……

Sorry I didn’t get all the details, but the wing I just stole before dinner was sublime. I can’t tell if fried or roasted, not greasy, the meat was very, very nice. Not hot, just the sauce over it was a typical vinegary hot sauce, and a sprinkle of blue cheese and some really, really good coleslaw on the side.

All packaging biodegradable (this part I find fascinating, it’s very cool, polylactide I believe).

CMH Gourmand was on the scene within the hour. The Coop is a former Cinnamon Roll fair cart that has been repurposed as something better. The Coop also has a fair share of chicken wire added to the frame for barnyard aesthetics. The food is not far from the farm at this trailer either. The eggs and poultry come from North Market Poultry and Game. Other North Market vendors are sourced as well. The cheese is supplied by Meadowmade. The chef and her assistant shop for produce at area Farmers Markets on Mondays and Tuesdays. And for a touch of environmentally friendly vending – the carry out containers, forks and such are Earthaware – as biodegradable as there is. Other vendors sourced for Coop Meals are: Thunderkiss Coffee, Auddino’s Bakery and Shagbark Seed & Mill Company.

Two menu’s are shown below. The chicken and eggs sampled were prepared perfectly. We will see what develops with The Coop and will update this post as new information comes in.