Tuesday, January 26, 2016
In The Spotlight: Jamaican Fare Philadelphia Food Truck - Grubaholics
My first encounter with Grubaholics was at the Philly Cheesesteak Festival (click for post) as they are the home of the Jerk Chicken Cheesesteak! I gave them some love on Instagram and they wrote back, so we started a little dialogue which resulted in me asking them if they'd like to be featured.
The "them" I refer to are Thomas Smith and Natalie Daley and they not only are great partners in the food truck business, they are great partners in life - a long-term couple with two children, now looking forward to making it official and tying the knot this coming May!
Although, they run Grubaholics together, it's Natalie that's really the foodie. Her Jamaican parents and relatives taught her island cooking at a young age and now she enjoys putting her own spin on traditional Jamaican food. The truck's menu changes often, sometimes offering Colossal Curried Shrimp, Twerking Wings, Oxtail and Big A** Hot Dogs with specialty toppings in the summer. If you love stick to your ribs comfort food like I do, then I highly recommend you order the Jerk Chicken over Mac n Cheese. The combo of spicy jerk, tempered by creamy warmth is really satisfying.
|Jerk Chicken over Mac n Cheese|
Thomas is a natural at front of house (truck) and PR. I asked him my standard 5 Philly Food Truck Questions and I think you'll enjoy reading his answers:
T&T: How long have you been in the food industry? When and Why did you decide to start a food truck?
Grubaholics: We have been in the food truck industry for a little over a year now, June 8th 2014 was our first official day. Our decision to own a food truck was partly based on a desire to get out of the 9 to 5 trap. Personally, I felt I was smart enough to figure out another way. At first, we started up a water ice stand, set up illegally in front of Max Myers playground. It was a huge success for us. We were making more doing that than our post office jobs. After a couple of summers, the hate came as expected and the police, L & I and the health department were called to the scene every time we attempted to sell water ice out there. We decided we should buy an ice cream truck to sell water ice legally, but after taking into account ice cream trucks only work seasonally, we then chose to do a food truck and sell water ice in addition to great food.
Grubaholics cont: The opportunity to start Grubaholics came faster than expected when our post office jobs decided that they were giving all of the low ranked mail carriers a nice little paycut, a $6 per hour paycut. They gave us the ultimatum, accept it or good riddance. We chose option B and pursued starting up Grubaholics.
T&T: Best elevator pitch - What sets your food truck cuisine apart from others? And what's unique about your truck itself?
Gruabaholics: We knew that attraction is key. That's why the exterior is red and the interior is yellow. These colors help make you hungry, that's why most fast food joints use these colors. Most trucks don't have as much equipment in it as ours does, including a 4 burner stove, a 3 compartment sink, a full size fridge and freezer, 2 deep fryers, char broiler, griddle, and a salad prep table. We can basically prep, cook, and clean all inside the truck, which is a huge advantage when we are doing big events.
Grubaholics cont: Our jerk chicken is made authentically and marinated for 48 hours. Our jerk seasonings and sauces are all made from scratch and we only use the finest ingredients. We remove any fat on the chicken or beef before we season and marinate it. Our jerk chicken cheesesteak is unique because when you bite into it, you will taste the jerk spices, and the fresh moist chicken and it's made with TLC and our own ingredients, so the imitators who sells their bogus version of the jerk chicken cheesesteak can't measure up. And the roll is always fresh too!
T&T: What do you wish the City would change about Food Truck Vending in Philadelphia?
Grubaholics: I'm not a fan of the prohibited streets list. That list makes it hard to find an ideal spot to set up because it seems like all of the superb spots are prohibited. I also believe this creates tensions among the truck owners, as most food trucks, us included, don't want to play the waiting game, so we head out to spots already established and known as a good food truck spot. The only thing is that will likely ruffle some feathers with the OG's of that spot and they won't appreciate a new food truck parking in their spot. Some of the streets on that prohibited streets list are absurd, I can't understand for the life me why they're prohibited.
T&T: Who's the most famous person to come up to your truck? And/or at what events do you do the most business?
Grubaholics: Well, as of right now, nobody famous that I know of has came to our truck. That's expected to change in the near future, as we were contacted to do a catering job for some really famous rappers and singers. Hopefully that goes through! With events, I'm never able to figure out which events are good or not yet, the ones I predict to do well often flop, and most of the ones I expect to be a waste of time, are great. The only event I've done more than once was the Odunde festival in south Philly and we made out nice both times. The Philly Cheesesteak Festival gained us the most attention.
T&T: We always add a little Tinsel into our Tine, so what's your favorite movie genre and favorite movie from that genre?
Grubaholics: We've recently taken to liking some horror flicks. A good horror movie will have me on IMDB giving them a 10 star rating. Like Insidious 1 and 2, The Conjuring, The Haunting in Connecticut 1 and 2. (T&T - check out The Real Story Behind Haunting in CT) Grubaholics cont: I do like superhero movies too. Once I see a trailer for an upcoming superhero movie (one that I care about), I have sleepless nights thinking about it, so anxious to see it. Some favorites: The Dark Knight, Hancock, Ironman, Spider-Man, The Avengers, and The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, and I never watch them just once.
Be sure to follow @grubaholics on Facebook ,Twitter and Instagram
Wanna find Grubaholics food truck? Look for them 33rd & Arch or Wissahickon & Manheim and weekend nights Girard & Frankford.
IN OTHER GRUB NEWS
The Wahlburgers Food Truck, the mobile version of the better burger restaurant founded by brothers, Mark, Donnie and Paul Wahlberg, is available for online ordering and delivery as of January 21st through GrubHub (www.grubhub.com). By visiting Grubhub’s website or easy-to-use mobile app, hungry Philadelphians can now delight in the convenience of having Wahlburgers signature favorites, such as the Our Burger, Alma’s Favorite Chicken and the Portobello Mushroom Cap, delivered right to their front door. Delivery will be available during the trucks’ regular hours of operation.
Wahlburgers will officially open its first location in Philadelphia this winter on the ground level of the Rialto at the Piazza (1033 North 2nd Street). The Wahlburgers Food Truck is temporarily parked at the site on weekends, serving a limited menu.
Available for special events!
While You're Here Check Out T&T Food Truck Profiles On:Montauk Food Truck: The Ditch Witch (Surfer/Owner Grant Monahan)
Philly Food Truck: Dia Doce Cupcakes (Chef/Owner Thais da Silva)
Philly Food Truck: Surf and Turf (Chef/Owner Adam Browne)
Philly Food Truck: Samosa Deb (Chef/Owner Debbie Dasani)
Philly Food Truck: Farm Truck (Chefs/Oweners Eliot & Kris)
Philly Food Truck: Prime Stache (Owner Brent Celek)
Philly Food Truck Awards: Vendys 2014 & Vendys 2015
Tinsel & Tine (Reel & Dine): Philly Film, Food & Events Blog