Street Food Profiles: Oh My! Pocket Pies in Houston, Texas
What's on the menu? Burgers, pies, and sides—oh my!
Location and hours? For the summer and winter, we're doing special events, catering, and we're at a weekend farmers' market. Fall and spring: one lunchtime location. Look for updates on Twitter.
How long have you been street fooding? Since December of 2009.
How has Twitter affected business? It's brought out many new faces we might not have otherwise seen, kept us close with our serious fans, and kept us up-to-date on the happenings of the food truck scene!
Why a mobile business over brick-and-mortar? It's portable, delicious food on the go—who could want anything more? The stars aligned perfectly for us: our truck became the best entry point into the market at this time.
Who are your typical customers? Artists, musicians, non-profit workers, locavores, farmers, ranchers, bakers, food fans, bloggers, young professionals, techies, lawyers, doctors, families, friends—all die-hard pie fans.
Describe a typical day from start to finish. Prep, prep, prep, serve, sweat, serve, sweat (all smiles), close. Repeat!
What were you doing before this? Joe was opening independent restaurants for restauranteurs as an operations manager. Joanna recently obtained her MBA, and she's currently the operations manager at the Houston Grand Opera.
What makes your food so special? Can anything else like it be found in the city? We make everything fresh from scratch with love and with our own hands, every day. We buy as much as we can from the local farmers, ranchers and bakers in town—which guarantees fresh products and allows us to fully invest in our community, city, and state! We use compostable cutlery and packaging; we compost our food waste; we believe wholeheartedly in respecting our planet, our food, and each other.
How would you define "street food"? Unique, portable food options that further enrich and bring life to the streets on which they park.
What's the best street food city and why? Austin. No regulations + national food truck media coverage = very happy vendors! The food truck communities are one-stop-shops for all the food you need. They satisfy any craving within minutes, and the way the vendors work together is admirable!
Houston offers some great opportunity in the food truck industry at this time: there's little competition, lots of resources to create a great concept, and most importantly, Houstonians are hungry for food trucks! However, it can be challenging with the strict regulations and heavy fees placed on trucks by the city. Until changes are made to the current regulations, we continue to think outside the box, remain optimistic in our city, and are thankful for all our supporters who keep us going each day!
Your comfort food after a long day? Oh my! Pocket Pies' grilled Shrimp burger and a cold St. Arnold's Elissa IPA.
Advice for an aspiring vendor? Research, research, research before you plunge in—and follow the rules! Nobody likes a cheater.
About the interviewer: A student in Providence, Rhode Island, Leah Douglas loves consuming and learning about as much food as possible. She blogs at Feasting on Providence.