In 2011, when the city was drafting new regulations for food trucks, restaurateurs were among the thorniest opponents to new truck-friendly ordinances. Flash forward two years, and trucks are now firmly woven into Seattle food culture. And restaurants are no longer protesting—they’re starting trucks of their own.
What inspires a restaurateur to make the leap from mortar to mobile? And why do it? Here, a breakdown of the motivations driving six new and coming-soon trucks.
Because Vegans Like Street Food, Too
Plum Bistro, @plumbistro
No four-wheeler catered to vegans until Makini Howell, proprietor of the various Plum establishments, decided to bring her signature “mac and yease” and other plant-based Americana classics to various neighborhoods including South Lake Union, Ballard, and Queen Anne. A Kickstarter campaign funded this truck, which is due by June.
Because Pork Fries Should Be Shared with the World…
Brass Tacks, georgetownbrass.com
Owners of the new Georgetown brick-and-mortar think a truck will help get the word out starting this summer. For novelty fare at its finest (and fattiest) try the pork fries: slices of roasted pork belly that are battered in egg before frying. Get piggy in Ballard, downtown Seattle, or South Lake Union, and maybe some rogue locations. “That’s the beauty of a mobile kitchen; you don’t have to know where you’re going. You can just show up and start cooking,” says co-owner Alex Parisi.
…And So Should Ezell’s Fried Chicken
Ezell’s Express, @ezellsexpress1
Two scions of the family that founded Ezell’s Famous Chicken are taking that glorious fried fare on the road. Phylicia Davison and Jennifer Stephens, owners of Ezell’s Express, have in mind a fleet–fleet!—of trucks for both the Puget Sound region and states as far away as California and Texas. The first one is already hitting various corners of Seattle, with more to come in six months or so. Consider it franchising on four wheels.
Because Chefs Like Challenges
Evolution Revolution, @evolutiontruck
A mobile kitchen is far different from a landlocked one; flexibility is a must for the person cooking inside of it. So Patricia Bellafato, owner of the Blue Glass restaurant in Ballard, partnered with a chef suited to the peripatetic nature of the business. Having spent years aboard National Geographic vessels, Singyn Hunter is used to cooking on the go—and cramped quarters, we assume. In early April, Hunter began serving up globe-trotting dishes like wild boar corndogs and oxtail pierogies at various Seattle pods.
Because Even Upscale Restaurants Like to Let Loose
Barking Frog Mobile Kitchen, @willowslodge
A fancy restaurant in Woodinville seems an unlikely candidate for a food truck. Which is exactly why Barking Frog chef Bobby Moore is launching the establishment’s new mobile kitchen: It’s an unbuttoned way to reach a new audience. The offshoot will primarily serve as a catering vehicle but will also frequent festivals like May 5’s Mobile Food Rodeo.
Because Oysters Taste Better Outside
The Narwhal, @boatstreet
No one knows oysters like Renee Erickson, so it’s only appropriate that her converted 1960 Divco dairy van should be dedicated to the briny bivalves—be it fried, in po’boys or bisque, or, if health codes allow it, raw. The chef behind Boat Street Cafe, the Walrus and the Carpenter, and the Whale Wins and her partners are launching the Narwhal for catering purposes. Still, come June, they plan to hit the Queen Anne Farmers Market and, on Sundays, Hilliard’s brewery in Ballard.
Published: May 2013