Columbus Native Returns From Tour, Opens Comfort Food Cart
After spending seven years crisscrossing the country as a tour chef, Rob McClaskey decided to settle in his hometown of Columbus and follow his dream of starting a mobile food business.
He and his wife, Christie McClaskey, opened Put it in Your Face sandwich cart in July. The name of the cart was born a while back, though, when the couple was discussing some of Rob McClaskey’s new sandwich creations for a restaurant he was working for at the time.
“He’s describing these different sandwiches to me, and I’m like, ‘What are you going to name it?’ and he’s like ‘I don’t know, just freakin’ eat it. Just put it in your face,’” Christie McClaskey said.
The cart makes stops three to five nights a week at various breweries around Columbus and also offers catering services. They’ll continue making stops in the winter months as long as there isn’t snow on the ground and the temperature doesn’t drop below 30 degrees, Rob McClaskey said.
“With sandwiches, we allow ourselves flexibility to do anything we want with it,” Christie McClaskey said. “We don’t have to be stuck in that pigeonhole of just making one specific thing. A sandwich is anything on bread.”
Put it in Your Face has different daily specials made with their homemade toppings, sauces, and slow-braised meat. One of their best-selling menu items is the “Shud-upa-yo face” brisket sandwich with provolone, grilled onions and peppers, giardiniera spread and garlic aioli. The chicken “Drunky McDrunk Face” is also popular, especially “melt ur face” style, with two grilled tortillas and a crispy cheese edge.
Rob McClaskey’s comfort food gained popularity when he worked as tour chef for various artists. Brad Paisley, a fan of the ham loaf, would request to take one back to his tour bus. And on top of his work for American Idol and an America’s Got Talent tour, Rascal Flatts, Van Halen, Taylor Swift and, most recently, Kanye West all appreciated McClaskey’s cuisine while on the road.
“I’ve always seen great cities and everything, but nothing compares to Columbus,” said Rob McClaskey, Clintonville native. “It’s the mix of the people and the opportunities here I think are the best.”
Both Rob and Christie McClaskey have culinary backgrounds. He’s been a chef for over 20 years and works for Cameron Mitchell catering. Christie McClaskey, an avid cook, works for Johnson and Wales College of Culinary Arts.
They said while every night is a roll of the dice in terms of how much business they get, they’ve had a positive response to the cart. To them, the low overhead and flexibility that the cart provides is worth the risk, and it’s just fun for them.
“Were making the rules, we’re making the decisions,” Christie McClaskey said. “Columbus is a great market for it, and there’s so many different trucks you’d think it would be over-saturated, but it’s not. There’s new ones that come in and out every day.”
For more information, visit www.putitinyourfacesandwichcart.com.