On the national scene, food trucks are considered a great way to launch a concept while avoiding high rents and overhead.
By JILL WENDHOLT SILVA
The Kansas City Star
But the local Kansas City food truck scene is an opportunity for some chefs to make the leap to brick-and-mortar — and sometimes for more established restaurants to add a truck.
Patrick Ryan’s Port Fonda, upscale Mexican cuisine served from an Airstream trailer, debuted at The Star’s first Food Truck Friday event three years ago. The food was such a hit the lines wrapped around the parking lot until there was hardly a scrap of food left to sell. A few months later Ryan began working on his Westport restaurant. A year later the successful restaurateur announced the Town Co., his second restaurant, opening in 2014.
Chef Kelli Daniels used the Good You, a food trailer specializing in gourmet burgers and sandwiches, to launch herself into an executive chef position at the Elms Hotel and Spa in Excelsior Springs, and El Tenedor’s chef Carmen Cabia, of the late Lill’s at 17th and Summit, reinvented herself, serving up paella, croquettes, vegetarian bruschetta, almond soup and other Spanish tapas from a small vintage trailer.
Little Freshie went from trailer to a specialty soda shop on 17th St., and just last week Taco Republic opened in Kansas City, Kan., across from Oklahoma Joe’s. Taco Republic is a Bread & Buttter Concept (think BRGR, Urban Table and Gram & Dun). To build brand recognition and refine the menu, a Taco Republic Truck hit the streets earlier this summer.