The latest place to embrace the gourmet food truck scene is…Salt Lake City, the land that Brigham Young built (along with his 55 wives), which is over 50% Mormon.
Last month, SuAn Chow, owner of Charlie Chow’s, and executive chef Rosanne Ruiz, rolled out the bright yellow Chow Truck, serving fresh-made tacos and mini-sliders with an Asian twist.
After living out of state for several years, Chow returned to Utah and wanted to get back into the restaurant business. Initially she considered opening a small cafe or take-out store. Then a friend mentioned a mobile food truck. “I was intrigued,” she said. “I liked the concept. It was scaled back and really focused on the food.”
“There’s something about street food, standing outside to eat, mingling with people, that draws you in,” said Bayeshan Cooper, a student at the University of Utah who discovered the Chow Truck last week parked in the Key Bank just west of campus. “I’m from Taiwan, where street food is really prevalent,” she said. “This reminds me of a hot dog stand, but with so many more choices that are better and healthier for you.”
No matter where “the Mother Ship” parks, Ruiz’s menu includes five staple items and different daily specials. Customers can order tacos and/or sliders with a choice of marinated meat. Options include coconut-lemon grass chicken, pineapple-ginger pork or spicy beef with cilantro-chile pesto. For vegetarians, there’s also panko-fried tofu with a cilantro chile pesto. Both the tacos and sliders come topped with crisp Asian slaw and wonton crunchies, and sell for $2.50 each.
After decades in gourmet kitchens, Ruiz finds the mobile food business liberating and much less stressful than a large kitchen with several employees. “I’m 58, too old to be in a high-powered kitchen,” she said. “But it’s exciting to drive up and cook what you want.” [Salt Lake Tribune]
As is often the case, trends that start on the coasts eventually work their way into Middle America, although this one is moving awfully quick.