Folks used to treat a food truck as a stepping-stone to a brick-and-mortar restaurant. Ahli Baba's Kabob Shop, New World Tortilla, the Skinny Pancake and Misery Loves Co. all had mobile beginnings. These days, it seems like restaurant owners eagerly await the day when they can acquire a food truck. ArtsRiot and A Single Pebble have theirs. Now, Bluebird Barbecue has jumped on the bandwagon.
Bluebird owner Sue Bette said she sees plenty of reasons to add a mobile kitchen to an existing restaurant operation. "There's great opportunity [with a truck]," she observed. For one thing, it allows Bluebird to capitalize on the summer festival circuit, which, Bette noted, is bigger than ever. Then there's business serving up 'cue at weddings and corporate events. "It's a way for us to cater a little more efficiently, with more ease," Bette said. Plus, "inclement weather becomes a lot less stressful when you have a truck," she added.
The Bluebird truck made an inaugural run at the ArtsRiot Truck Stop last Friday and will have its official debut behind the Maltex Building during the South End Art Hop, September 8 through 10, with a grand opening celebration in the Bluebird Barbecue parking lot on the 10th.
What's on the menu? The same barbecue dishes that are served at the restaurant, Bette said: "We're gonna start with the classics."
After Art Hop, the truck will serve lunch in Bluebird Barbecue's parking lot Monday through Friday. "It's our way of seeing how a fast and easy lunch on Riverside [Avenue] will go," Bette said.
Those lunches might just fill a gap along this commuter route: The Little Red Kitchen, the sandwich-and-salad shop that opened at the intersection of Riverside and Intervale Road in August 2014, closed earlier this month. According to a notice posted on the restaurant's door and on Facebook, owner Cheryl Strenio will continue to sell her homemade dips and other products through local retailers and, eventually, her own online store.