If you’re a foodie, you’re probably familiar with the term “farm to fork” or “farm to table”. But how about “farm to truck”?
That’s the concept behind the vaguely named but colorfully decorated That Food Truck. Most of their ingredients are sourced locally and meats are butchered in-house (or should we say… in-truck). Their menu is classically American but produced with an upscale twist. A pulled pork sandwich known as the Big Bad Wolf (pictured above) is topped off with ham, bacon, caramelized onions, a poblano harissa and fresh chopped cilantro. Kettle chips, Squash Fritters and Chicken Schnitz are also common menu options.
We spoke recently with That Food Truck co-owner Steve Concilla to find out more about their farm fresh operation.
Q: Can you first tell us a bit about your background as it relates to food?
A: Other then being a great eater, I have little to no experience as it relates to restaurants, dining or food. I have always appreciated good food, but other than helping out a friends’ family with their restaurant one or twice in high school, I’ve never worked in or around a functioning food business. I have the most experience and background in financial operations, where I’ve spent the last 10+ years working with a small asset management firm.
Q: So then what caused you to want to open a food truck?
A: I have always wanted to own a small business, and a food truck seemed like a great place to start. Dan Kraus (Chef at That Food Truck) and I would frequent a taco truck regularly and after talking about it for months decided to get serious about it. Dan was very confident that food trucks were going to be huge here in the near future and I was tired of my current job (which had reduced my hours to part time) so I was willing to try anything. After discussing the business in detail with Dan, and looking at the numbers I realized there was quite a bit of potential to be had with this sort of business. We agreed that Dan would run the kitchen side of things, and I would run the business side.
Q: What can you tell us about your Farm-to-Truck concept?
A: Dan was adamant about sourcing everything directly from a farm, and having never worked in the restaurant business before I was naive regarding its importance. I quickly learned how important fresh quality ingredients are to a food business, and began searching for a local farm to work with. We try to source everything we can from a local supplier. Right now ALL of our proteins (pork, beef and chicken) all come from the same family farm in Newark. Dan butchers all of our meat, which is procured weekly, and we each have family gardens that supply produce to the truck as often as possible. Farm-to-Truck is a growing concept among truck owners, aside from the great tasting, fresh end product, the Farm-to-Truck concept helps stimulate local economy by keeping dollars spent in Ohio, in Ohio.
Q: Who did the great artwork on your truck?
A: We knew early on that we wanted our truck to be spray painted. We felt that all the wraps looked the same and we wanted our truck to stand out. We put up a craigslist ad and received tons of replies. The first painter to come out was the guy we ended up going with. His name is James-David Mericle, and he worked on the truck with is friend Derik Yelloweyes. Both guys did amazing work with little direction. We loosely told them what we wanted and they did the rest. James had provided us with a rough draft of the driver side mural prior to starting and we loved it off the bat. All we had to do was provide the paint, and some free food of course.
Q: Where can our readers find That Food Truck these days?
A: We have been hitting the corporate lunch circuit pretty hard lately, which takes us all over from Brewer’s Yard to Polaris, however our go-to spot is the corner of Gay and Grant Downtown. We are in the process of setting up a truck pod at that corner one night a week, but we can usually be found there at least two nights a week… Tuesday and Wednesday evenings from 6pm to 10pm.
More information can be found online at www.thatfoodtruck.com.
Photos by Caroline Kraus of one.four studio.