Food Truck Nation, Summer 2016
Steph Cook has been everything in the food industry for 25 years. He’s been a server, a chef/owner, and everything in between. He’s studied under numerous well known chefs and cultivated a passion for cooking. Chef Steph created Memphis Mojo Café in Bartlett a couple of years ago, which was originally intended to be a food truck. After parting ways with his partner, he took some time to think up his next concept. “I knew I wanted it to be a truck this time that could franchise and grow,” he says.
A year and a half later, in November 2015, he launched RAWK’n Grub. On the truck, he takes raw local ingredients and uses his Southern roots influence to put a rock’n chef’s spin on classics. (For example, Cheesy Like Sunday Morning is a smoked gouda pimento cheese grilled cheese and Kung Fu Al Greens is Chef Steph’s signature collards and kimchi rolled in egg roll wrappers and then deep fried.)
Truck/Business Name: RAWK’n Grub Food Truck. (“Black Betty” is the truck’s nickname)
Chef/Owner: Steph Cook
Vehicle: Chevy P-30 step van with a full kitchen (minus a freezer)
Regular hangouts: All of their locations are listed on rawkngrub.com. Become “a groupie” to receive email alerts.
Sample Menu offerings: All menu items are playful puns on musicians, a song or an album name such as Livin’ La Vida Porka (a Southern take on a Cuban), Bahn Mi Jovi, KISS Burger (Keep It Simple Stoopid), Bat Outta Hell Meatloaf, CC Slider, etc.
Most popular item: It varies with the area of town, but in general CC Sliders, Patti LaMellte, Phish Tacos, and Bahn Mi Jovi
Most able to serve: The most they’ve served to date is 400.
Price range: $6 – $10 for burgers, tacos, and wraps; $2.50 for sides
Local purveyors used: Grit Girl Grits, D&R Bakery, The Cheesecake Connection, Nikki’s Hot A$$ Chips, and Crazy Good hot sauces. (They are always on the lookout for more.)
Contact: @rawkngrubfoodtruck on social media
Terry and Allison LaRue were searching for a way to have more flexibility in their busy lives. With four children and two full time jobs, there was little time left for anything else. Terry worked nights at Germantown Methodist and Allison taught third grade at PDS. Terry noticed a huge need for access to decent food in the middle of the night for coworkers and families with someone in the hospital, and got the idea for a food truck that would be willing to work odd hours.
They found out quickly that hospitals are nearly impossible to get into for a variety of reasons, but they’ll still work odd hours when it’s requested. “We’ve done gigs at Rhodes starting at midnight or even later and we’ve done Project Graduation parties that start really late as well,” says Allison.
Terry became a bit of a grilled cheese expert while still working at Methodist. “Anytime anyone would have a birthday, baby, leaving, moving, etc., Terry would bring our electric griddle to work and everyone would chip in for ingredients,” says Allison. “Grilled cheese is relatively easy to cook quickly and you can change up the sandwiches each time to keep it interesting. We got very creative with new sandwiches to try each time.”
That’s essentially where the grilled cheese was born. They opened February 13, 2015 and have been trucking ever since.
Chef/Owners: Terry and Allison LaRue
Vehicle: Currently a concession trailer, but they are working on a new, enclosed truck that should be finished by the end of summer.
Regular hangouts: Vary depending on time of year. They love going to Court Square and the Ridgeway Loop, but during the busy season, they are booked in advance for corporate lunches, school functions, private parties, and festivals/fairs as well as Food Truck Fridays (Dixon Galleries and Gardens) and Food Truck Garden Parties (Memphis Botanic Garden).
Days/Times: Typically, their lunches run from about 11:00 am – 1:00 pm. Fairs and festivals are usually all-day events.
Most popular item: Triple Decker (grilled cheese with colby, provolone, pepperjack, and homemade garlic aioli).
Most able to serve: Comfortably, about 70 people an hour. With a restricted menu, or preorders, they can serve more than 100 per hour.
Price range: $5 – $7 for sandwiches; drinks and sides $1 –$2
Contact: @Saycheese901 on social media