Home » This Fall, It’s all about the Meals on the Wheels: LOUDOUN FOOD TRUCKS
The newest food craze is rolling its way to you! Food trucks have become dining’s new darling, bringing their airstream cuisine to business parks, wineries and even wedding receptions. Step right up to the window and check out these local favorites to find your next meal!
THE FRENCHMAN FOOD TRUCK
@FrenchmanFoodTruck on Facebook,
@TheFrenchmanFoodTruck on Instagram,
@TheFrenchmanFT on Twitter
WHEN YOU’RE IN THE MOOD FOR:
Savory sandwiches with French flair.
Napoleon The Conqueror: Deep fried chicken with Swiss cheese, bacon, ham, fried egg, sauce on a brioche bun.
Owner and chef Johnnie Thomas’s culinary journey started in 1997 in Muncie, Indiana on his friends’ couch, where he planned on becoming a psychiatrist. However, after working odd jobs in the restaurant industry, he fell in love with the restaurant industry and attended culinary school at Johnston and Wales in Norfolk, Virginia. After graduating he worked at numerous restaurants (including The Inn at Little Washington) before joining the food truck movement in October 2015.
“Don’t be afraid to try things,” said Thomas. “I thought I wanted to be a psychiatrist. It turns out [because of] working and sleeping a whole year on a couch, I have a career and livelihood that I would not replace for anything.”
The name pays homage to a man that they never even had a conversation with – an elderly man they observed while on a trip to New York who was clearly enjoying life with style and panache – that Thomas decided whatever he did, he wanted to do it in the spirit of that man. Thus, the Frenchman Food Truck was born. This unknown Frenchman should be proud of Thomas – who now owns two trucks that circulate through Manassas, Purcellville, Sterling, Chantilly and beyond, but more importantly, that Thomas strives to bring the Frenchman’s spirit into every client interaction.
“With a food truck, you walk up to the window, you can see the interaction going on in the back. You can have a great conversation up front with the person at the window,” said Thomas. “For us, that’s what separates food trucks from a lot of restaurants – that immediate chance to have interaction and make a connection with people.”
@PittsburghRicks on Facebook,
Twitter and Instagram
WHEN YOU’RE IN THE MOOD FOR:
Authentic Pittsburgh cuisine without the road trip.
Their number one seller, the pastrami sandwich – topped with provolone cheese, apple vinegar coleslaw, fries, a tomato and house-made hot sauce on untoasted Italian bread If you’ve lived in Northern Virginia for any length of time, chances are you’ve eaten at one of Rick Allison’s restaurants. Allison has been active in the Northern Virginia food scene for 25 years – from serving as executive chef for Great American Restaurants and Clyde’s to owning several of his own restaurants with partner Jorge Esguerra. While Pittsburgh Rick’s had a brief stint as a brick-and-mortar store before closing its doors, the food truck has been going strong since 2014.
“For the most part, it was a passion I had growing up,” Allison said. “No one does the sandwiches we do outside of Pittsburgh.” Not only does Allison operate the Pittsburgh Rick’s truck, he also owns King Street Oyster Bar in Leesburg and in May of 2017 launched his second food truck, The Oyster Truck. “You get into the oyster business and you never know,” he said. “It’s been received really well.” Allison said social media has been helpful for the food truck industry, citing apps and Twitter as easy ways for people to find a local truck.
“Most people that are in office buildings participate a lot,” he said. “It’s been a huge help. Five years ago, it was probably a little more difficult.”
PARALLEL FOOD TRUCK
@ParallelEats on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
WHEN YOU’RE IN THE MOOD FOR:
New American cuisine featuring big, bold flavors
Bacon Lollipops – smoked bacon on a skewer smothered with a Sriracha maple glaze or their parmesan duck fat fries.
Virginia native Jason Bursey, owner of Parallel Wine and Whiskey Bar, launched the food truck version of his brick and mortar restaurant in April of 2017, and under Chef Colin Callahan’s direction, has mobilized their brand and menu.
“Our parents taught us old school family values, if you work hard, you’ll succeed,” said Bursey. “It’s about working together and enjoying being successful, that’s where the fun of it is.”
Parallel Food Truck, which primarily serves Loudoun County events, is the newest step for the 7-year-old restaurant. While many customers will seek the truck out because they know about the restaurant, other folks receive their first taste of Parallel’s menu from the truck and then circle back to visit the restaurant.
Some menu items, such as the Chipotle Slow Cooked Pork Tacos which started out as personal recipes from Bursey’s home, debuted on the truck and became so popular he added it to their restaurant’s menu. Bursey added that the truck is a way for them to hone their skills, striving to keep lines down by preparing menu items quickly but without sacrificing quality, to show the value of their truck.
A second food truck is already in the works for Parallel, as their mobile takeover continues.
“This is the best expansion for me right now.” Bursey added. “My goal is not just to be another truck, my goal is to be the best at everything I do.”
PHOTOGRAPHY AND ARTICLE BY TRACI MEDLOCK BROOKS
TRACI J. MEDLOCK is a Northern Virginia native and the owner and primary photographer of Traci J. Brooks Studios. When not behind a camera, she enjoys cooking with her husband, sampling craft brews and hanging out with her cats.