Food Trucks Trying to Make a Name for Themselves in Columbia

Related Story

COLUMBIA - The sizzle from the pans heated the tiny kitchen in Pepe's Mexican Food Truck.

Pepe Perez and his team of two workers warm the corn tortillas, mix the pico de gallo, and simmer the ground beef for the upcoming afternoon's work. Tuesday they sold food to the ReMax Employees at their offices on West Broadway. Wednesday, Pepe parked his truck at Yoga Sol on St. James Street and Thursday his truck went to the CarFax offices on Maguire Boulevard.

As Pepe hawks his tacos, quesadillas, and nachos, Lisa Nichols' Fat Chicks Chow Wagon was darting around Columbia selling her fare. Skillets, hot dogs, and chicken fried steak were just some of the food Nichols sold to customers.

Nichols began selling food out of her truck in November of 2009 and has really seen her business grow in the Columbia area since. Nichols uses a wait and see approach with her customers. "Give someone a month and get them used to the food coming to them" says Nichols.

Both Pepe's and Fat Chicks Chow Wagon must follow specific rules when it comes to selling food out of their mobile trucks. Each truck must have a commissary that they can use to safely prepare and store, dump waste water, and receive potable water. Perez partners with Deja Vu Comedy Club as his commissary. Nichols uses Italian Village.

Both food trucks promote their times, locations, and menus via Facebook and Twitter. Nichols even takes requests from frequent customers via text message and has their food ready upon her arrival.

A third food truck called Sunflower Waffle Company is slated to open later this month and is currently selling their food at Mojo's.