By Paul Stephen | Star News Online
Watching Wilmington’s food truck scene evolve is a lesson in the modern marketplace. Cutthroat competition and secrecy are giving way to collaboration and transparency, a phenomenon that couldn’t be more evident in the latest move by Poor Piggy’s owner Ed Coulbourn III.
Unloading a moving truck on a rainy Thursday afternoon, Coulbourn could be found organizing his gear in the long vacant space at 5424 Oleander Drive once occupied by Dinner a Go-Go. The facility will be re-dubbed Poor Piggy’s Kitchen and serve as a commissary for a number of area food truck operators.
Teaming with James Smith of The Patty Wagon and a man with perhaps the most distinguished-sounding name in mobile cuisine, William Blount Laughinghouse III of the soon-to-open Blount’s Street Bistro, Coulbourn said the space will allow all of their businesses to better serve their customers.
“We’re thrilled,” Coulbourn said. “Now we can do three times or four times what we were able to do before.”
The kitchen won’t be open to the public, but the facility will allow Coulbourn to expand his offerings into traditional catering, as well as to create a central location for his food to be prepared. He had been previously using the kitchen at Fibbers Public House, but his needs outgrew the space.
Coulbourn said much of the past few months has been spent scrubbing, outfitting and prepping the now-pristine spot. Because of health department laws, the kitchen may only be occupied by one operator at a time, and they must keep all of their food in separately locked refrigerators. Interestingly, food may not be passed directly from truck to truck.
The new space gives Coulbourn a convenient location to stock both of his popular barbecue vehicles. The kitchen has room for a fourth user, but because of scheduling conflicts of the three lunchtime businesses already using it, Coulbourn said someone keeping bakers’ hours would be a perfect fit to round out the operation.
Laughinghouse, who hopes to roll out for service by early March, said the commissary played a role in his decision to launch a truck himself. He and business partner Paul Kern met while attending theCape Fear Community College culinary program. Laughinghouse plans to bring a unique experience to mobile dining in the area.
“We’re doing plays off of international regional food, but we’re making a point not to mimic anything,” he said.
Blount’s Street Bistro will angle to serve lunch diners on a tight time frame with limited options in their immediate area, Laughinghouse said. The offerings will range from Jamaican beef pockets to deep-fried risotto balls called arancini laced with Serrano chilies and country ham. He’s also particularly excited to be bringing a staple from his college days at Ole Miss, chicken on a stick, to area foodies. To keep up with their progress, follow them on Facebookor Twitter @bistro_blount.
In other food truck news, you’ll soon be able to stroll across the pitch at Legion Stadium to place an order with Flaming Amy’s Sacred Burrito Bus. Owner Jay Muxworthy has inked a deal to park his truck in the beer garden at all 14 home games for theWilmington Hammerheads professional soccer team this season.
In addition to long-established favorites, Muxworthy is reportedly developing a Hammerheads tribute burrito that would only be available on game nights.