by Pam George
When it comes to wowing guests with small bites, many caterers take their cues from street food, such as downsized versions of tacos, burgers, cheesesteaks and even meatball subs. The ultimate street food, however, comes from a food truck or food cart. One of the hottest trends in dining, these mobile kitchens are rolling into wedding receptions.
“We’ve been hired to do everything from the rehearsal dinner to social hours to handling the main food at the reception—as well as being a late-night food option after everyone is partied out,” says Phill Blush, director of mobile operations for SoDel Concepts, the Rehoboth Beach-based hospitality company that owns Big Thunder Roadside Kitchen. The truck’s base menu includes lobster rolls, crab cakes, short rib cheesesteaks and fish tacos. But the truck can also pull from items offered in SoDel Concepts’ nine restaurants, and it works with Plate Catering, SoDel’s catering company.
Despite its name, The Brunch Box, a food truck linked to Drip Café in Hockessin, also has a broad menu. “We’ve set up a buffet and used the truck as the remote kitchen,” says owner Greg Vogeley. The brunch items, however, are ideal for a finishing touch at the reception’s end.
If guests are ordering straight from the truck, Leigh Ann Tona, owner of I Don’t Give a Fork recommends serving items that are quickly assembled. Pulled pork sandwiches are easier to make than cooking burgers to order. If you have more than one truck, have smaller portions than usual, she suggests. “That way guests can try different things.” She’s also handled an entire reception. “Most of the weddings have been pretty small—40 to 50 people,” she says. “It’s a more casual option.”
Tona’s business started with a food cart, which she once parked outside of the World Cafe Live at the Queen to serve take-home sandwiches to guests leaving the wedding reception. Meghan Gardner, owner of Blue Moon in Rehoboth Beach, has rented a hot dog cart for an indoor reception. The cart was wheeled out toward the end, when hungry dancers had the munchies. “We did hot dogs and sliders and all kinds of toppings,” she says. “That was really fun.”
Before booking a food truck or cart, consider the location. Depending on its size, space can be an issue. Big Thunder is actually a trailer pulled by a pickup truck and both need adequate room. Sand and mud can trap a truck in inclement weather.
Make sure the truck meets the local and state food and beverage standards. Permits have become a large concern for the food truck industry. “Small towns have started requiring event permits to help generate revenue and control quality,” Blush says. “We take control of all permitting to make sure all of our i’s are dotted and our t’s are crossed.”