By Christine Nance Lazerus | Post Tribune
The aroma of charred crust and garlic beckoned pizza lovers to the bright red Studebaker fire truck at the Griffith Farmer’s Market, while fresh salads and homemade soups had folks tailgating as the Hungry Inc. truck was parked at Opportunity Enterprises in Valparaiso.
The food truck phenomenon has allowed creative cuisine to flourish in cities across the U.S. without some of the costs associated with running a restaurant. They’re most often found in big cities, but Northwest Indiana features some notable entries, particularly in Porter County.
The Rolling Stonebaker, co-owned by Beverly Shores residents Andrea Georgion and Jim Chaddock, started offering pizzas cooked in their wood-burning oven three years ago. Georgion had owned her own restaurant — Cafe 444 in Miller — and Chaddock was a musician with a love of classic cars.
They started out working local festivals, but moved into farmers markets and catering to grow their business. They also set up shop outside the Camp Stop General Store on U.S. 12 in Beverly Shores four days a week during the spring and summer.
“It’s very busy and just a hair more flexible than having restaurant, but it allows us the extra hours to spend with our son,” Georgion said. “It’s a 12- to 15-hour day and normally one of us is on one of the trucks. We’ve learned quite a bit, but we both really enjoy what we’re doing.”
Phil West spent quite a bit of time in the food and hospitality industry before family concerns brought him back to Valparaiso. After taking care of his mother’s estate, he wanted to get back into the food industry but loathed the commute to Chicago. That led to his Hungry Inc. food truck, which debuted in July at Valparaiso’s ChicaGo Dash lot. It offers hearty sandwiches, soups, salads, baked potatoes and other options.