Food and drink as a mobile expression



Food and drink as a mobile expression – [225]

When four friends wanted to open a Nashville-style hot chicken concept in Baton Rouge, they say it made sense to do so in the form of a food truck.

“It was pretty clear that it was going to be quite difficult to find a location at a reasonable price,” says Daniel Vu, who, along with Sameer Abudyak, Henry Nguyen and Jordan Duong, opened the food truck Chicky Sandos last November.

Real estate prices may have been the reason for their decision, but it was reinforced by something else: uncertainty with on-site dining and entertainment thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.

Diners were willing to explore more mobile options, say the young entrepreneurs. The current mood has prompted more local food entrepreneurs to try out their ideas in a format that can be adjusted on the fly.

Abu Omar Halal, a Mediterranean-style chain from Texas, opened a food truck in Baton Rouge in April. Photo courtesy of Abu Omar Halal
Photo courtesy of Sweetbay Botanical Company

Chicky Sandos keeps her menu simple: only three dishes make up the range. Golden fried chicken sandwiches, chicken fillets and specialty fries can all be personalized, varying in heat levels and with a signature sweet and tangy sauce.

The partners see the food truck as their entry into the local restaurant market, and they hope a physical location will follow soon. In the meantime, they will develop the notoriety of their brand thanks to their itinerant operation.

Other food trucks saw the light of day last year, notably Taco Tuesday, which focused on tacos; Tre’s Street Kitchen, the brainchild of Louisiana Culinary Institute graduate and restaurant chef Tremaine Devine; and BR Guilty Pleasures, which started out as a mobile bartending operation and has expanded to serve Mexican food on weekends, namely birria tacos. Houston food truck chain Abu Omar Halal also recently opened a Baton Rouge-based food truck serving shawarma, rice bowls and combo plates.

The newcomers are reinforcing a modern food truck scene that has already been growing steadily for about a decade.

Mobile food companies post their routes on social networks, or find new semi-permanent spaces to set up, with the arrival in 2020 of the maritime container attraction Millennial Park and the upcoming Urban Traders, a park with rental shops and food trailers which should soon open on Rue du Gouvernement.

Food trucks are joined by other mobile culinary businesses intended to liven up the growing number of outdoor gatherings. Travel cocktail carts like SIP, A Traveling Tap; and Sweetbay Botanical Company are now rented for the holidays, their personalized faucets with wine, beer, cocktails and soft drinks for the holidays, allowing guests to help themselves.

“It’s a really fun concept because the cart makes a great focal point for the party,” says Shauna Allison, founder of SIP, who saw the trend a few years ago in Austin and Nashville and wanted to bring it to. Red Stick.

Other mobile experiences include The Doodle Cotton Candy Cart, which redefines traditional carnival candy with delicately spun and crafted gourmet flavors.

Meanwhile, Red Stick Picnic Company, a luxury picnic organizer, and Baton Bougie House Party, which designs glamping experiences, are reinventing the backdrops in which people of all ages socialize. They create bespoke spaces with elements such as bohemian tents, tables, tapestries and pillows.

New trucks on the block

Some recent additions circulating in town

Pie eyed food truck

Homemade pies that are both savory and sweet, regularly parked outside The Chien Brewing Company, near the ancient village of Denham Springs. Find him on Facebook at @pieeyedhandpies

Sandos with chicks

A taste of hot Nashville chicken in sandwiches, fillets and fries. Find him on Instagram at @chickysandos

Tuesday tacos

Taco Tuesday can be every day – or at least every day, this truck is parked downtown with its stacked nachos and beef and chicken taco combos. Find him on Facebook

Abu Omar Halal

The Houston-born halal food truck chain serves everything from kebabs and falafels to authentic shawarma from its Coursey Boulevard outpost. Find him on Facebook

Snow juice

These are perhaps the most Instagrammable snoballs you’ve ever seen, stacked in scalloped pink mugs. Catch its fully organic flavors around Baton Rouge and Denham Springs on hot days. Find him on Instagram at @snojuice

Capitole seafood

Southern-style fried fish, fried soft-shell crab po-boys and steak and cheese po-boys, served at events and venues across town. Find him on Instagram at @capitolseafood

The cuisine of rue Tre

Street food – think fried steaks, crayfish nachos, a gyroscopic plate, and burgers – served in a sunny yellow truck by Chef Tremaine Devine. Find him on Instagram at @tresstreetkitchen

BR Guilty Pleasures

Elote, birria tacos, birria ramen, agua fresca and other Mexican dishes pop up around Baton Rouge throughout the week. Find him on Instagram at @brguiltypleasuresllc—225 STAFF

This article originally appeared in the November 2021 issue of 225 magazine.


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