Smoke on the Water is getting into the food truck business. The local restaurant known for its scrumptious barbecue and delicious cornbread plans to unveil a new food truck in early-to-mid April.
The truck will mostly be used for Smoke’s catering business, which has exploded over the past couple of years, but the restaurant’s co-owner, Mike Shuler said the restaurant was open to looking at other uses as well.
“We already have our big panel truck and our suburban, but it was like I need a mobile kitchen,” Shuler says. “A lot of the events we go to, none of them have kitchens. So we’re having to haul grills and everything for a tent outside.”
The food truck discussion began several months ago, after a particularly cold catering event in January, says Shuler. The idea of a mobile kitchen came up. And it was Julio Santiago, at Ballentine Equipment that pulled the pieces together for Shuler and his partners.
Santiago, who is the man behind many of the local food trucks in Greenville, knew someone who was selling an old tool truck that would be perfect for a food truck. Next thing he knew, Shuler had purchased the truck and work had begun on Smoke on the Water’s mobile kitchen.
The truck will be set up exactly like Smoke on the Water’s kitchen, thus allowing the team to produce the same quality food for events that they do in the restaurant. The new truck has a grill, fryers, a flat top, an oven and stove, and has an attachment for the restaurant’s new custom smoker as well.
“Anybody that does catering, you don’t want to cook all that stuff at the restaurant and then transport it,” Shuler contends. “You want it to be top quality. So it just makes sense.”
While Shuler shies away from saying whether Smoke on the Water might get into the more traditional food truck business as wall, he does allow that he is open to seeing how the truck evolved. That may mean taking it to local festivals or other events, or even street sales. But only time will tell.
“It’s a whole new growth avenue,” Shuler says. “It’ll definitely be a learning experience and one we’re looking forward to.”