Food trucks and pop-up vans hit the road to bring goods to customers
Published 9:59 am Sunday, April 26, 2020
Although restaurants were ordered to close dining rooms in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19, take-out and delivery services are ongoing. To ensure the Outer Banks community continues to be fed, countless numbers of businesses have made food readily available.
Of these businesses, a few in particular have been able to bring their food straight to the heart of local communities. Food trucks are up and running, with hot food being prepared on site where customers can easily access affordable and delicious meals.
Shannon Moody, owner/operator of Mulligan’s Grille, told The Coastland Times that her food truck usually only services large events, such as weddings. However, when the owner of Vertigo Tattoo in Manns Harbor called and told her that there was not a close place to eat, things changed.
“He [Brian Mervine, owner of Vertigo Tattoo] called and said there was hardly anything open, but people were still working at the boat shops,” Moody explained. She wanted to help, and now parks the food truck in Manns Harbor three days a week.
Along with Mulligan’s, the Fork’et Me Not food truck has also been making its way to Manns Harbor, over to Colington and out to Currituck County as well.
Kerstin Everhart, owner Fork’et Me Not, said her team has decided to cut the prices of some of their usual menu items to make it affordable for everyone. “We tried to make it a ten-dollar menu for everybody,” she said.
Everhart echoed Moody in that her food truck is normally set up for events, such as larger festivals. But, Everhart mused, “It’s kinda been nice just to do the local stuff.”
Johanna’s Café Lachine, located in Wanchese, decided to close its restaurant doors for the time being.
“Our restaurant wasn’t drawing many people as far as takeout and delivery,” owner Johanna Lachine said. “My husband had the food truck sitting there and said ‘why don’t we use it.’”
Mondays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Johanna’s Café Lachine truck sits outside of Jumpmasters in Manteo and serves meals to take home.
Lachine said, “It’s been awesome, we’ve been crazy busy . . . and even some of our customers from Wanchese come to the food truck now.”
Another local restaurant that has found its way to wheels is Surfin’ Spoon. After obeying the Stay Home order, owners Jesse and Whitney Hines thought a “pop-up” van would be the perfect way to continue selling their ice cream sandwiches to-go.
“We wanted to give people a sense of normalcy . . . that they could still come get a treat from the Surfin’ Spoon to brighten their day during sad/lonely times,” they said.
Because of the close proximity customers usually have with food trucks, all owners have taken it upon themselves to promote social distancing while out.
Along with wearing gloves and making hand sanitizer readily available, the trucks/vans are limiting their exposure with the public by putting tables in front of the order window and making sure everyone stays a good distance apart.
“Everybody’s been very good at keeping their space and then walking somewhere else after placing their order,” Everhart said.
While serving the community, some food trucks have decided to provide their meals for free to frontline workers, such as hospital staff, first responders, cashiers, managers and more.
After seeing the support from locals and the continued success of their mobile food vehicles, some trucks are considering making these stops a continued part of their business after the pandemic passes.
The Hineses said, “these pop-ups may be a regular part of the Spoon, but we are taking it one day a time right now.”
Moody offered, “On the days we’re not doing anything, if any community wants us to come out and set up, reach out to me we will do it.”