By Julie Shapiro | DNAinfo.com
FLATIRON — The brand-new Frites ‘N’ Meats food truck raced around Manhattan Monday, doling out free fries to hundreds of fans on its first day back in business following an explosion in April that destroyed the original food truck and sent its owner to the hospital with severe burns.
“We’re just happy to be back,” said Mohamed “Moody” Beydoun, one of three brothers who own the truck, who survived the fiery crash. “[The customers] supported us, so we wanted to give them a big thank you.”
As Beydoun happily handed out the double-fried Belgian frites Monday afternoon, there were no remnants of the explosion on the West Side Highway four months ago.
He said he was fully recovered from the accident and thrilled to be back on the truck with his brother Ali Beydoun, who was garnishing the free fries with a lollipop before handing them to the eager customers on Monday.
The brothers planned a whirlwind tour of Manhattan for their first day back in business, with stops in Midtown, Flatiron, SoHo, TriBeCa and the Financial District. But they ran out of fries in the early afternoon after just two stops and pledged to make the rest of the stops — with free fries — later in the week.
Three friends who work for the accounting firm KPMG just missed the food truck’s first stop near their Midtown offices Monday morning, so they traveled down to the second stop at Park Avenue and East 27th Street.
“We’re loyal fans, and we missed them,” Ajay Patel, 25, said.
The trio of officemates agreed that the grass-fed burgers and variety of toppings — including guacamole, goat cheese and garlic sauce — is what makes Frites ‘N’ Meats stand out.
“It’s a little show of support,” added Jessica Chow, 27. “They’ve been through a lot in the last couple of months.”
Ashleigh Wolkoff, 27, an Upper East Side resident who works in Flatiron, was concerned about Mohamed Beydoun’s injuries and said she was glad to see him back in action.
“They’ve got the best burgers ever,” she said. “Its great. I’m really excited for them.”
Many people who approached Frites ‘N’ Meats in Flatiron Monday afternoon were surprised by the free fries, which usually sell for $3.
Some were disappointed, though, that fries were the only offering. The full menu won’t be in place until Wednesday.
Wednesday will also be the first day that Frites ‘N’ Meats begins a regular rotation of weekday spots. The schedule will include some of the truck’s original locations, with one notable exception: The brothers decided not to return to Midtown because of the NYPD’s crackdown on food trucks there.
The new schedule will be posted soon on Frites ‘N’ Meats’ blog.