Note: It's time for another edition of Street Food Profiles. This week we scoot to rural Virginia where a husband-and-wife team are reinventing street food: this food isn't served on busy streets. All of the ingredients are sourced from local farms or their garden.
Name: Local Sixfortyseven
Vendors: Husband-and-wife team Derek and Amanda Luhowiak
Location and hours? We are a mobile kitchen traveling around to many different locations at all different times. This past season we've set up at Virginia farmers' markets including Winchester, Centreville, and Reston, as well as wineries like Barrel Oak Winery and Lost Creek Winery, and other community events.
What's on the menu? Southern-inspired food that's local, fresh, and seasonal. For breakfast there's strawberry-challah French toast and buckwheat pancakes with blackberry-rosemary syrup, and for lunch and dinners, it's salads, wild-caught fish, country-fried pork chops, and a half-pound Piedmontese all-beef burger with all house-made condiments (ketchup, mustard, mayo, pickles, pickley green tomatoes, pickley peppers, and much more). For dessert, the pie odds are good.
How long have you been street fooding? Since April 22, 2009 (aka Earth Day).
You on Twitter? If so, how has it affected business? No
Why a mobile business over brick-and-mortar? Mobility, start-up costs, having the ability to interact with our customers (open kitchen), to provide farm to fork food at an affordable cost.
Who are your typical customers? Having an open kitchen has enabled us to develop special relationships with all of our customers in many of our locations.
Describe a typical day from start to finish. Our typical day is just getting done what is most important for that day. We could be gardening, marketing, accounting, cooking, vending, cleaning, working our bees (so we might get honey one day). We wear many hats so there's no typical day at all.
What were you doing before this? Derek has worked in the kitchen since his first job and has always loved food. Most recently he was the executive chef at Ayrshire Farm before working on his own venture. Amanda, a University of Tennessee alumni, worked in the hospitality business at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Gainesville, Virginia.
What makes your food so special? Everything is sourced either from our own garden or locally. We also work on a seasonal menu and preserve the harvest wherever possible. We don't know of anything quite like it.
How would you define "street food"? The definition of street food is changing every day. Maybe it used to be hot dogs and roasted nuts, but now you can find many all types of food coming from carts. Street food always seems to encompass a comfort food element and a community.
The best street food city and why. Street food is not just for cities anymore. This is why we wanted to start our street food business in rural Virginia (close to the land). Look out New York!
Your comfort food after a long day? Since we eat seasonally, our comfort foods are always changing. Summertime is for tomatoes, cucumbers, melons and fresh berries and fruit. In fall it's time for rich warming stews and a pint of Guinness.
Advice for an aspiring vendor? Actively involve yourself in your local government. Get as much information as you can and always be willing to work on new laws and policies especially if you are starting in an area with few food carts. Don't be in business just to be in business do it because you love what you do!