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Petite Forest Food Truck Rides Into Waterbury

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Will Durst of Petite Forest - COURTESY OF PETITE FOREST
  • Courtesy Of Petite Forest
  • Will Durst of Petite Forest

As a cook at Prohibition Pig in Waterbury, Will Durst can remark on a phenomenon about which most of us can only surmise. "There's so many hungry people in Waterbury!" he said.

Durst and his wife, Ashley Wolf, plan to help feed that crowd next spring when they launch their Waterbury-based food truck, Petite Forest. Wolf, former bar manager at Juniper in Burlington, is general manager of Hen of the Wood's Waterbury location.

"Our plan is to set up at as many farmers markets and events in this area as possible," Durst said. "And hopefully build up ... a following to open our own restaurant."

The couple's forest-green truck, formerly the Lazy Farmer, will be a Parisian bistro on wheels, Durst said. On the menu are frites fried in clarified butter and served with herbed-Dijon mayo; and a sandwich with local beef roasted to medium rare, caramelized onions, Tarentaise cheese, crispy shallots and onion soup jus. A riff on a Caesar salad will feature radicchio, aged cheese, bread crumbs and roasted-shallot vinaigrette. Petite Forest will also offer a quick and accessible classic: baguette and butter.

"My wife and I love eating and drinking wine," Durst, 28, said. "And the French do that very well. We were inspired by our trips to Montréal and restaurants like Joe Beef. They're all about eating and drinking and being merry. And we wanted to do that for other people."

Durst has cooked at Blue Paddle Bistro in South Hero and Juniper, where he was a "very talented and dedicated" line cook, according to executive chef Doug Paine. In summer 2014, Durst served as chef and driver for Fork in the Road, the Burlington School Food Project's food truck. "It was a great experience," he said of operating the truck with Burlington High School students.

Durst used to be sous chef at Prohibition Pig; as a cook, he said, he has more time to focus on launching Petite Forest. He'll be the truck's chef while Wolf manages its behinds-the-scene operation.

"We're not here to make a million bucks," Durst said. "We're here to be a part of the community and serve the community and make delicious food."

The original print version of this article was headlined "Paris on Wheels"