By STAFF | Eat St. – FoodNetwork.com
We recently got wind of a story in which a food industry legacy is giving rise to a new legacy: Starting October 2011, Jonathan Wagner, son of Johnsonville’s founder and mogul Ralph Stayer, will launch “The Butcher’s Son”, food trucks originating in Dallas, Fort Worth, Texas and that will, over the next few years, take America by storm from coast to coast.
Of course, you can’t lead such an enterprise without the help of some major mobile food truck movers and shakers like Dan and Dain Pool of Pool’s Restaurant Group (PRG) who currently own and operate the Gandolfo’s chain of trucks as well as Petro’s Chili and Chips , and one of our favorite mobile food connoisseurs, Gary of MobileFoodNews.com fame (who was savvy enough to put Wagner and the Pools in touchwith one another).
The Butcher’s Son is not your average mobile food truck, and despite its affiliation with the Johnsonville brand, it goes far beyond being a simple promotional truck for brats and sausages: “When Jon first came to me with the idea I needed to know more about their concept and their intentions. I was hoping it would be more than just a promo truck for the Johnsonville brand. I wasn’t too sure how a Johnsonville food truck would be received by the industry, after all the news surrounding the launch of the Applebee’s promo truck,” said Dain Pool in a recent phone interview.
Luckily for Dain and Dan Pool, Wagner was singing to the same tune. The Butcher’s Son was always intended to be an entirely separate endeavor featuring the diverse selection of Johnsonville products in an impressive gourmet “haute sausage” menu, no ketchup, mustard or relish here.
Two days, several multi-city trips and 75 tried, tested and sampled menu concepts later, Wagner and Pool finally built a flavor profile that suits the palettes of Dallas residents – all involving Johnsonville products (including items like Chorizo and Pastrami) in new and innovative ways.
The Butcher’s Son Menu Sneak Preview
We wouldn’t be Eat St. if we didn’t ask for a sneak preview of Pool and Wagner’s favorite menu items. Their answers were so tantalizing, they had us looking up airline tickets to Dallas for October …
Jonanthan Wagner’s favorite “The Butcher’s Son” menu item:
Stuffed Bell Pepper “There’s so much variety and flavor in this one. You have your grilled pepper, rice, sausage and so much more. It is something that isn’t typical of street food and it’s quite different but it is very, very good. We’ve been talking about expanding on the flavor profile of this one, which could mean changing up the type of meat in it and adding twists like Mexican and Italian flavors. I would suggest to anyone to try this.”
Dain Pool’s favorite “The Butcher’s Son” offerings:
“Hands down it’s one of our breakfast menu items, the sweet breakfast skewers. It’s Vermont maple sausage links, two on a skewer, dipped in infused pancake batter. The infusion will incorporate seasonal flavors. We cook the sausages until they’re golden brown then sprinkle them with brown sugar and, of course, top them up with syrup that uses that same infused seasonal flavor.
My second favorite is the “Southern Bell”: a slider made with Johnsonville’s chicken sausage.
For the meat lovers, we’re also experimenting with layering more than one protein, like our braised Mexican beef and pastrami sandwich”. The official name of which was withheld because it hasn’t been released yet.
Overall, The Butcher’s Son menu will offer a wide array of meals including:
Unexpectedly, The Butcher’s Son will also be working on vegetarian options, which will likely be adapted versions of popular menu items, like the Stuffed Bell Pepper, and will additionally include rotating seasonal items.
The plan is for 60% of the menu to be comprised of fixed favorites, while 40% will be made up of perennial, seasonal-based items featuring local produce.
Where can we find “The Butcher’s Son” food trucks?
Two trucks will be rolled out in the first week of October in Dallas, Fort Worth and there’ll be about three more trucks joining the initial two. “The [Dallas] market reminds me of the LA and Atlanta market a few months ago”, Pool comments, “so it’s ripe for a food truck boom.”
For both Pool and Wagner, quality control and excellence in service are two of the primary goals set for the initial trucks’ roll out, before more are steadfastly set loose nation-wide. Wagner adds: “Once we feel we’ve accomplished [having the best products and best service for our customers] we plan on expanding very quickly, but keeping in mind that if we feel like we need to improve on certain trucks before we roll out the next ones, we will do that before taking any further steps. We want to put out the best trucks possible”
You’ll also be able to find these trucks in the Eat St. App once they launch (we know, we know, shameless plug).
Over the next three years, the dynamic duo intends to strategically roll out truck after truck in cities across North America.
Dain Pool is confident that the food truck movement isn’t going anywhere, “I’ve seen what quick service, like fast food, has done in the past to the market – right now, it’s number 1. I think the economic troubles actually gave us an opportunity for this movement to begin and that’s a good thing.”
Updates from The Butcher’s Son