St. Louis, MO: More From Our Conversation with Guerrilla Street Food’s Brian Hardesty & Joel Crspo

Photo by Ashley Gieseking

By Ligaya Figueras |

Photo by Ashley Gieseking

In our Chef Talk interview with Brian Hardesty and Joel Crespo, partners in Guerrilla Street Food – one of St. Louis’ newest food trucks – the culinary duo told us about the hoops they’ve had to jump through to get their food truck up and running, a few highlights from their creative menu and how they implemented their full kitchen into their tricked-out truck. Now, in the second part of the interview, Hardesty and Crespo reveal where the idea for their food truck came from, Hardesty’s decision to leave his top job at Terrene for the venture and where we will be able to track down Guerrilla Street Food once it hits the streets.

How did the idea for a food truck come about?
Hardesty: It was an idea we talked about three years ago. It’s really starting to pick up around the country. It’s beginning in St. Louis and we needed to get in on it.
Crespo: When we first started talking, we’d be like, “What kind of restaurant would you open if you could open your own restaurant?” A kind of pipe-dream thing. Why does it have to be a pipe dream? We can actually [do] this if we do it this way. It wasn’t a level of risk where we were terrified if we fail.

Why did you want to trade the top chef job at a restaurant like Terrene to start a food truck?
Hardesty: I was at a point in my career that I was ready to make that gamble. If it pays off, great, and if doesn’t, then at least I attempted it and won’t have any regrets later.

Will your experience in Terrene’s kitchen influence Guerrilla Street fare?
Hardesty: Absolutely. They are all about green and local. Those things naturally carried over to this business. Where are we going to source? It never entered our minds to head to Restaurant Depot or call some big corporate provider. It’s about where can we find this particular ingredient, and if we can’t find it, what’s a good substitute that’s local?

What other menu items can you tell me about?
Hardesty: Longaniza sausage – except we’re not going to be encasing it. We’ll be doing it more like sausage patties stuffed inside a pan de sal [a round salted roll] with pickled vegetables, kind of like a slider.
Crespo: And we’ll have at least one drink, if not two, that we make ourselves.
Hardesty: An iced hibiscus tea with cardamom and honey. It’s super refreshing and this beautiful, bright pink color. And we’ll be using a lot of calamansi, an Asian lime. So it’s a no-brainer to put out a calamansi-ade, like a lemonade, with ginger and mint.

Yours is one of a handful of food trucks to hit St. Louis streets in the past year or so. Do you foresee more food trucks rolling out?
Hardesty: I’ve received phone calls from at least 10 different restaurants owners, chefs, and others asking me, “How do I start a food truck?” It would be cool to see 25 food trucks rolling around the city. If they lift a limit on food trucks, I could see 50 trucks around.
Crespo: I would like to see what they do in Portland where all the food trucks come together and make a giant food court.

Where will we find the Guerrilla Street Food truck parked?
Hardesty: Hopefully we’ll be on the coattails of some of the farmers’ markets around town, somewhere in the Cherokee or South Grand area, some place downtown. We hope to get set up in The Loop and BJC.
Crespo: We’ll probably be paired up with a couple food trucks, but we also want to establish our own spots. Twitter, Facebook and our website: Everything will be simultaneously broadcast on those networks. We are both gadget-heads. We love our smartphones.