By Rachel George | Omaha.com
Bellevue residents can now find a taste of Jamaica in the Baker’s parking lot on the corner of Galvin Road and Harvell Drive.
Island Seasons Mobile Kitchen, a food truck owned and operated by Kerry and Laela Williams, has made the lot its permanent location.
The Williams’ have been operating the food truck officially since 2012, partnering with local businesses like Kiewit and Hayneedle to offer lunch service outside their buildings.
“The problem with that model is that we’re not accessible to the general public,” Kerry Williams said. “They can’t necessarily come to us.”
The couple lives in Bellevue and their commercial kitchen, where they prep food for each day of business, is located here as well, making it clear that Bellevue would be the prime place to park permanently.
“I always wanted to be a chef,” said Williams, who moved to America from Jamaica more than 10 years ago.
The couple originally lived in Red Oak, Iowa. Kerry ran a coffee shop, which eventually turned into a full restaurant, but the recession caused them to close in 2008. Many other Red Oak businesses closed and Laela was laid off from her job.
The losses allowed them to move closer to the metro area, where the two were attending classes at Metropolitan Community College.
In 2010, they bought a hot dog cart, fixing it up and running their business in Omaha’s Old Market. Slowly they saved up money, buying and renovating a trailer in 2011 and beginning their lunch service in 2012.
Williams said the work is hard and the hours are long, but at the end of the day he works for himself, which is a source of pride.
The truck offers what Williams calls a “customer-generated” menu. He often whips up and tests different dishes, collecting feedback and tailoring the featured menu to items that are popular in each area.
Williams plans to continue the tradition in Bellevue, creating new items to offer on the menu.
“It’s a different crowd,” he said. “I want to test it out.”
Currently, the menu features jerk chicken and sweet Thai chili with chicken tacos among other items including sandwiches, rice bowls and more.
“I never wanted to do tacos in the beginning because I didn’t want to be confused as a taco truck,” he said.
But, he tried them once and they generated 80 percent of that day’s sales, eventually becoming one of his most popular items.
He continues to switch up the menu daily and also offers catering services.
The pair have bought a second trailer and are working to fix it up. Once finished, they hope to keep the new trailer permanently at the Bellevue location while continuing to take the current trailer to the businesses they partners with.
Though the Baker’s lot is now Island Seasons’ permanent location, the schedule might be a bit inconsistent for the first month or so as the Williams’ honor previous commitments to the office locations they frequent. For now, Facebook is the best way to find out when Island Seasons will be at the Bellevue location.
“I look forward to being here,” Williams said.