Serving Big Flavors From Their Small Kitchens
There are common threads that bind many of the Chandler food truck business owners and managers together. They have a passion for delicious and often creative food, along with a strong desire to share it. An entrepreneurial spirit is a must. Most have Instagram and Facebook pages and use them as a homing beacon for foodies. Many have a knack for dreaming up creative job titles, perhaps because there is no formal title for a truck driver, chef and server who will ring you up at the counter. Finally, they have a strong sense of community, among themselves and those whom they serve. Meet some of the food truck stars spicing up, or sweetening, Chandler festivities.
Traveling Monk is the mobile, younger brother of the Chandler brick-and-mortar restaurant Hungry Monk. The food truck began as an opportunity to market the restaurant and generate additional sales outside the actual location, but more than five years later they are still bringing their grub to the masses.
“We do what we call craft beer-inspired cuisine, which is our twist on American pub cuisine. Comfort food at its best. We try to do as much as we can from scratch,” says Gidi Goldberg.
Goldberg oversees the management and planning of the truck. His official title is Beer Chef, because it combines his passion for food and craft beer.
He spent his childhood around restaurants, and was always fascinated by their inner workings. One of his contributions to the menu, and a tribute to his past, is the classic Philly cheesesteak. It’s also his personal favorite.
“Being born and raised in Philly, I go authentic as I can down to rolls from Philadelphia,” he shares.
The menu is always changing and the popular dishes tend to change, but their bacon tacos are one of their bestsellers.
“It is something people always remember and come back for,” says Goldberg. “We get customers who know us from the restaurant stopping by, and often those who try the truck then make a visit to our home base.”
In addition to the menus, Goldberg also manages the bookings, which include festivals and private events. Traveling Monk does occasionally make public stops, which are announced on Facebook at @monktruck and Instagram at @hungrymonkaz.
Jackson Armstrong, the owner of Ginger Monkey, is revving up one of the newest Chandler food trucks on the block. The truck itself was built by a friend of Armstrong’s who served up French fries, but now it’s an extension of the Ginger Monkey Tavern, a brick-and-mortar restaurant that offers its own unique cuisine.
“I’ve never been in the food truck business,” says Armstrong. “There’s definitely a learning curve. August was our first month.”
In addition to restaurant favorites, new items are served from the truck. Five creative menus concepts were also created for events, festivals and even weddings.
One of the staples served from the truck is the T.V. dinner—but it’s certainly not something you’ll find in the freezer section of a grocery store. Instead, think of a gourmet alternative with a side of nostalgia, modeled after their house recipe. Armstrong is also working on a T.V. tray design that truck foodies can keep or toss.
The truck has a from-scratch-kitchen, and dishes are always made to order.
“Our cooks prep the day of or the day before. It’s the advantage to having a free-standing restaurant,” Armstrong says.
Armstrong looks forward to catering opportunities and hopes to partner with bars that don’t offer food service.
“I had no idea how big a time commitment and how many moving parts go with a food truck. I’ve got such a great team who has been with me since the beginning. We make decisions as a family, and the truck’s profits are to be shared among us,” he says.
Follow the Monkey Tavern truck on Facebook and Instagram at @mobilemonkeyaz.
Oh So Good Mini Donuts
Suki Saysana and Ramon Camacho, the owners of Oh So Good Mini Donuts, opened for business more than three years ago. They began by serving their tasty treats out of a tent, then worked their way up to a hot pink mobile trailer painted with sprinkles and brightly colored donuts.
“We took a trip to Seattle where we were introduced to these delicious bites of heaven. It was such a cool concept, we just had to share with everyone,” explains Saysana.
Their mini donuts are made fresh to order, and customers can watch the process.
“It is such a delight to watch their excitement, both children and adults, as the mini donuts drop and move along the conveyor belt,” says Saysana.
The donut menu is ever-changing, guided by the season and sweet inspiration. Their most popular treat is a toss-up between the strawberry cheesecake or That Girl, named after that girl who repeatedly requested the magical concoction of minis coated with cinnamon sugar, powdered sugar and maple icing. It’s now a hit.
Saysana’s favorite is the Tutti Frutti. It’s covered in glaze and topped with Fruity Pebbles. He relives his childhood in every bite.
“We started on this journey by chasing our dreams with no prior experience in business ownership or food. Through hard work and support from our families, we were able to help our business grow. We would like to thank all of our food truck family and especially our customers,” says Saysana.
Saysana and Camacho travel across the Valley to festivals and to cater private events. Their weekly schedules are posted on Facebook and Instagram at @ohsogoodminidonuts.
Taco Bout It More
Taco Bout It More is a family-owned food truck that hit the streets in October of 2016. Their clever name was inspired after hours of deliberation when somebody said, “Let’s taco bout it tomorrow.” The play on words quickly evolved into the name they have today.
“Being the taco chef for over seven years, I know that there’s more to it than just cooking and making a taco. It’s the love that is put in every taco, in every dish that is made, that makes Taco Bout it More unique,” says David Damore, who also goes by el jefe de tacos.
Taco Bout It More’s salsa is made in-house daily, and their corn tortillas are always fresh. The tacos come with a choice of marinated carne asada or pollo asada, then topped with fresh cilantro, onions and cotija cheese.
“I love the salsa because it’s full of flavor,” shares Damore. “Every bite of taco is robust and intensely fulfilling—what a taco should be.”
Other fan favorites include their elote (street corn) and nachos topped with creama, fresh guacamole and cotija cheese. They’ve shaken things up with their Guatemalan shuco dog, an all-beef dog butterflied with carne asada and cilantro onions. It’s accompanied by either a cream sauce made with a hint of cilantro or a mild sauce made with fresh herbs.
The truck can be found at events and taco festivals, of course. They also cater private parties. During the week they serve lunch and post their stops daily on Facebook and Instagram at @tacoboutitmore. El jefe de tacos also has his fingers crossed that they’ll have their first brick-and-mortar location soon.