St. Louis, KS: Tastebuds on Tour Brings Rockstar-Worthy Food to St. Louis’ Food Truck Scene

By Sarah Fenske  |  Feast Magazine 

Courtesy of Jamie Schroeder Photography  Rich David in front of his food truck. At just six by ten feet, "it's one of the smallest food trucks out there," he says. A former postal service truck, he built it out himself, except the electrical work.
Courtesy of Jamie Schroeder Photography

Rich David in front of his food truck. At just six by ten feet,
“it’s one of the smallest food trucks out there,” he says.
A former postal service truck, he built it out himself,
except the electrical work.

Rich David has cooked for Justin Bieber, as head chef of the pop star’s Believe tour. He’s cooked for Trans-Siberian Orchestra (also on tour) and numerous other rock stars and almost-stars (as head chef backstage at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheater).

Now he wants to cook for you.

David’s food truck, Tastebuds on Tour, quietly launched in St. Louis in November, and after a few months of working out the kinks and waiting out the weather, he’s ready to get the word out to would-be customers.

Namely, that this is good food. Food so good that a rock star would eat it.

“Everything I serve on the truck is something I’ve served backstage,” he says. “It’s scratch-made comfort food.”

Formerly a postal service truck, Tastebuds on Tour serves a curated menu of four types of sliders. The chicken-and-waffle sliders feature buttermilk-fried chicken basted with maple syrup and served on two waffles, with a slice of bacon as a garnish. There are also house-made meatloaf sliders, a pulled pork slider with homemade barbecue sauce, and, for vegetarians, a slider stuffed with sweet potatoes and beets that have been roasted in salt, pepper and olive oil. They’re topped with carmelized onions and fresh kale and given a honey-mustard sauce.

Eventually, David wants to add salads to the menu, but for now, the only side option is a serving of roasted potato wedges. “I’m not trying to be the healthiest food out there, that’s for sure,” he admits. An order of two sliders, he says, “is definitely enough for a lunch.”

Right now, lunch is all he’s serving — with his truck parked on Wednesdays at Barnes Jewish Hospital at Taylor and Scott Avenue in the Central West End and at Wells-Fargo on the edge of downtown on Thursdays. He’s working on getting his license from St. Louis County — after that, he plans to increase his locations. April seems likely.

A graduate of L’Ecole Culinaire, David grew up in St. Louis (his high school? Hazelwood West) and has lived in South City for 22 years. After working at various hotspots around town, including the now-closed, much-lamented Monarch, his father-in-law introduced him to the music industry, which led to those gigs touring with Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Bieber and later as head chef at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheater. Even with the truck, he’s keeping that gig; if he needs to cook backstage, he says, he’ll just take the truck out of commission.

Of his years touring, he says, “It’s probably the hardest catering job there is, but it’s also ridiculously fun.”

He remembers the Trans-Siberian Orchestra crew as “some of the greatest guys I’ve ever worked with in the music industry.” He says, “I had carte blanche on that tour — they’d just give you a blank check. They wanted everything to be top-shelf.”

Bieber, it’s safe to say, had a less-refined palate. On weeknights, he’d want mac-n-cheese or other pasta; if it was spaghetti, he wanted angel hair. On Friday and Saturday, he’d want a steak.

“It was an easy menu,” David says. And no attitude from the Biebs: “He was always really, really nice to us.”

Tastebuds on Tour, facebook.com or @TastebudsonTourSTL

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