WILMINGTON – Wilmington’s food truck game continues to gain momentum with new rides offering a variety of fare at local breweries and businesses, festivals and events in Southeast North Carolina. already beloved barbecue brand.
READ MORE: Catching up on other Brews & Bites news
Marshall and Annalee Thomasson launched The Nut and Jam Gourmet PB&J food truck in late October, an idea that took shape after a health scare recalibrated the couple’s outlook on life.
“Marshall has been very ill for a long time,” Annalee said. “During one of our near-permanent hospital stays for intense chemotherapy, he joked that it would be ‘funny if there was a PBJ truck like an ice cream truck. “”
Once Marshall’s condition stabilized, they decided not to wait another day to follow through on the idea.
“Life is short,” Annalee said. “You need to have more fun. U.S. too!”
Focusing on an old-school classic keeps them – and their customers – young at heart, one “sloppy, gooey big bite” at a time. The truck was booked almost daily, according to Annallee, who oversees its operations. It parks at Staples at Monkey Junction on Mondays, from 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., and at Cape Fear Soccer Park on Tuesday evenings in season. All other stops can be found on the truck’s Facebook page.
Nut and Jam serves breakfast and lunch from an eight-course menu or do-it-yourself sandwiches, priced at $ 5 and up. There’s a standard creamy peanut butter with grape jam on white bread, a ‘Brunch Crunch’ served with almond butter, granola and blueberries on cinnamon raisin bread, and a sweet treat, “Marsh,” with fluffy marshmallow, Nutella, granola, and whole wheat blueberries.
They also offer a seasonal flavor. The “Touchdown” contains crunchy peanut butter, apple butter, pumpkin spice and powdered sugar, served on rye bread.
Customers can choose from four types of bread, which are purchased from Breadsmith, Annalee said. The toppings include five types of butters and spreads, as well as blueberries, oranges, coconut flakes and granola.
The Thomassons do not make homemade butters or spreads now, but aim to make their own recipes in the future.
“Once we get really started, we hope to work with a roaster that we spoke with in Durham,” Annalee explained. “What we do ourselves are all the combinations you would never have thought of.”
They have a homemade jam, cranberries and maple, which they plan to launch this winter, as well as hot drinks, like cider, cocoa, and a peanut butter latte.
Between their jobs as an engineer at IKA (Marshall) and an author for Dune Press & Co. (Annalee), they are also raising three young children. “So we’re really good at making quick and easy sandwiches,” Annalee said.
PB&J are room temperature, crusted, but “if you want your crust cut off, all you have to do is ask,” Annalee said. Contractors are looking to add equipment soon to provide grilling options as well.
They are also not opposed to possible franchising if the popularity continues to grow.
“Setting up a food truck was a big investment of time and money, so maybe once we get a bit back on our feet why not? Said Annalee.
Rude Bwoys Adds Food Trailer To Its Services
Tito Ortiz is well aware of the hard work it takes to grow a business. He started Rude Bwoys Jerk BBQ in fall 2020 during Covid, essentially selling plates out of his house. He had worked at Tower 7 for years but, like many, had seen his hours cut back during the pandemic and needed a little helping hand.
Jimmy Gilleece – owner of Jimmy’s in Wrightsville Beach, across from Tower 7 – noticed Ortiz’s food and encouraged the local chef to sell his meals to bar patrons, which Ortiz did for a few weeks in October latest.
“But I wanted to go to the health department and ask what the next step was, what I could do to become legal because I didn’t want to be in trouble,” he said. “Mrs. Suzanne [at the health department] was like: brick and mortar or food truck. I was like, ‘Great, that will never happen for us.’ “
Although Ortiz and his wife, Andrea, saved $ 15,000 in hopes of starting a restaurant business, they weren’t sure they could find a sufficiently viable place within their budget. Then a bartender in Tower 7 mentioned that a kitchen was opening at the Seven Mile Post.
“We took our menus, all of our photos of the food and went down to the bar – I stuck with them with what I wanted to do,” Ortiz recalls.
He shared his love for barbecue, with a dry mix that has a Caribbean twist, inspired by his Honduran and Puerto Rican roots. Within three weeks, he and his wife had filled out papers, set up an LLC, obtained their tax ID numbers, and found all the equipment needed to launch Rude Bwoys into the Market Street nightclub.
Fast forward a year later and Ortiz is ready to take a new step in its business operations by launching a food trailer.
“I come from the Harlem and poverty projects,” he said. “I never even imagined that I could buy the equipment that my wife and I gathered to get started. “
He said this makes his timely growth – Rude Bwoys celebrated his first birthday last week – even more incredible. Ortiz described the support as overwhelming, “My throat is cracking because I get emotional every time I think about it. “
His small startup has drawn an audience for its smoked meats – pulled pork and chicken, as well as meatloaf, served on sandwiches, nachos and salads, or as plates with side dishes. It also offers empanadas, papa rellenos (deep-fried ground beef balls stuffed with mashed potatoes), chicharrones, tostone burgers and chili.
Ortiz serves 65 or 70 people a night, he said, many of whom are Seven Mile Post regulars. Since the kitchen doesn’t open until 3 p.m., the food trailer will allow Ortiz to reach a lunch crowd and strengthen the Rude Bwoys brand.
Although he and his wife considered buying their own brick and mortar, thinking back to the pandemic year, he said that goal had changed: “Due to Covid and the trends that exist now, a food truck is the best bet for us. “
They bought a 7-by-12-foot trailer to attach to a truck. Ortiz is now hiring to expand their culinary team; he needs enough staff to operate the truck for lunch and dinner. He has already started contacting the Cargo District, Seagate Bottle Shop and local breweries to book the trailer. Ortiz also intends to give it away for backyard parties, birthdays, weddings, etc.
“It should arrive the day after Thanksgiving and we hope to be up and running in two weeks,” he said.
Rude Bwoys’ mobile menu will be a bit smaller than Seven Mile’s, mainly because it has less equipment – essentially, no fryer. No empanada or papa rellenos will be served at this time.
“These will be on our next food truck,” Ortiz promised.
He plans to launch a larger mobile unit in the future, which will be fully equipped to add items that Seven Mile customers love. In addition, it pays homage to his family lineage since some of the recipes come straight from his youth.
“The papa rellenos that we make fresh at home were one of the things my mom used to do twice, three times a week in Harlem,” he said.
Prices will remain the same on the food truck, ranging from $ 6 to $ 14. Ortiz will also continue to operate on the Seven Mile Post site.
“What I love about the Seven Mile Post is that you wouldn’t think you would find a Caribbean barbecue there,” he said. “And then when my regulars come in and say, ‘Tito, let me have a barbecue sandwich… with plantains.’ I love it. I love it.”
Rude Bwoys is open at the Seven Mile Post Monday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., Saturdays from noon to 11 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 9 p.m. The food truck schedule can be followed here.
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