When The Flying Stove hit the streets in December, the food truck concept was fairly foreign to Wichita.
It took local diners a little while to catch on.
“When we first started, people would walk by the truck and ignore it, and it’s hard to ignore it,” said Jeff Schauf, who owns the big orange gourmet food truck with his chef/brother Rob. “They felt like if they locked eyes with me, they’d be required to buy something.”
Nine months later, not only are diners making eye contact, they’re following The Flying Stove and a fleet of other mobile food vendors all around town.
Since The Flying Stove’s debut, at least a half dozen other food trucks have rolled out, as have several smaller mobile food businesses selling sandwiches, cupcakes, coffee drinks, hot dogs, tacos and more.
Here is a guide to the street food vendors that have appeared in Wichita this year:
Jarhead’s: The newest mobile food business is this hot dog cart, opened almost two weeks ago by Keenan Poore, a former youth pastor and Marine. Poore has fashioned a rig that he hauls around behind his pickup truck. When opened up, it has an attached gas grill that swings out. The menu is simple, offering items with Marine-inspired names: “The Drill Sergeant” is a grilled beer brat with choice of condiments, and “The Commandment” is a pulled pork sandwich topped with a split beer brat and grilled pineapple.
Poore hopes to eventually upgrade to a trailer with an open canopy and is working with someone to help him design it. He also hopes to add more barbecue options to his menu. For now, he’s serving lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays and will try a late-night shift on Friday, when he’ll park near First and Mosley from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Diners can determine his location each day by checking the Facebook page www.facebook.com/JarheadsLlc or by calling 316-992-1733.
Espresso To Go Go: Warren Tandoc, who opened Tanya’s Soup Kitchen with his sister, Tanya Tandoc, parted ways with her shortly after it opened. But he’d always wanted to operate a food truck, he said, and he’d also always wanted to work with his wife, Ann. The couple bought a 1973 Airstream Land Yacht and remodeled it to suit their needs, filling it with some high-end espresso machines. Ann and Warren, who has experience working in coffee shops in Lawrence and Overland Park, devised a menu that includes Vietnamese coffee, lattes, espresso and more. They buy their coffee from the Spice Merchant.
The Tandocs try to be out every weekday, and they update their location on their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/EspressoToGoGo. They’ll be at the American Red Cross, 707 N. Main, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, and at Wilson Estates, 8621 E. 21st St., from 8 to 11 a.m. Friday.
Cake Face: Summer Schoenhals was running her Cake Face Bake Shop out of her house when her husband lost his job. So the two took his last paycheck and sunk it into a 6-by-14-foot trailer that would allow them to join Wichita’s food truck movement, which they did about two months ago. The couple now parks the truck six days a week at various spots around town, selling a menu of gourmet sandwiches (“The Count” is made of honey ham, cream cheese, feta and strawberry rhubarb jam) plus cupcakes, brownies and cookies.
They work several events around town and also park at Royal Caribbean, 4729 S. Palisade, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Mondays; at Cricket Alley Boutique, 1820 N. Tyler Road, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursdays; and at Aida’s, 920 E. First St., from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, the truck moves around, and the Schoenhalses update their location on their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/cakefacebakeshop. The business has picked up lately, Summer said, and she likes that she can bring her kids to work with her. Her children, ages 11, 12 and 17, have their food handler’s licenses and regularly help out.
“We had kind of a very slow start, but now it’s getting to where we are hard-pressed to keep up,” she said. “It’s great and is so much more fun.” They can be reached by calling 316-207-2828.
Mmm Sandwiches: Michael Awesome-Noyes opened his sleek silver truck, which sells hot sandwiches such as Cubans and barbecue pork, in early April. He updates his location on his Facebook page, www.facebook.com/MmmSandwiches, but likely will be closed for a week or two. For more information, call 316-806-4301.
B.S. Sandwich Press: Doug Buchanan is the owner of B.S. Sandwich Press, a sandwich shop on-the-go set up in a bright orange trailer. He opened in early April specializing in Panini sandwiches, hand-cut fries and homemade chips. Buchanan, who runs the trailer with his sister, Jodi, also updates his location daily on Facebook, www.facebook.com/bssandwichpress. This week, they’ll be at the American Red Cross, 707 N. Main, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday and at the AIRfest 18 in Argonia on Friday evening and all day Saturday and Sunday.
The Flying Stove: Wichita’s original food truck has had a good first year, said Jeff Schauf, who’s the front man for the business. Rob Schauf, who was trained at Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in Austin, Texas, comes up with a new menu every few weeks, which the duo takes on the road around Wichita. They’re famous for their truffle fries and their long lines at lunchtime, though they’re working toward adding evening hours, too. The Flying Stove’s menu and location is visible daily at www.facebook.com/theflyingstove. On Thursday, they’ll be at Koch Industries, 4111 E. 37th St. North, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. From 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Friday, they’ll be at First and Mosley in Old Town. On Saturday, Rob will compete in the Old Town Farmers’ Market Iron Chef Competition from 8:30 to 10 a.m., and the brothers will serve off the truck there from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. On Sunday, they’ll be in front of the old Tommy’s at 21st and Tyler from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, call 316-609-9016.
Relish It: Chris May opened his hot dog cart in October 2010, and he’s still running it, though mostly on the weekends. He sets up in Old Town Square just north of River City Brewing Co., 150 N. Mosley, from 11 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights to feed the raucous post-club crowds. “It’s nuts down there,” he said.
This fall, he’ll also be serving at Friends University football games. His menu is visible at relish-it.com. Reach him at 316-371-7247.
Tacos Gallo’s: Less mobile than the other mobile food vendors in town, the Tacos Gallo’s trailer has been more-or-less permanently parked at the corner of Douglas and Wabash downtown since October. It’s disappeared a few times to help cater events around town but always returns. Owner Jose Rendon used to operate the truck at 21st and Broadway. He serves lunch Mondays through Fridays, has tables outside and a menu that includes authentic tacos, tortas, quesadillas and more made with carne asada, barbacoa, pork and chicken. Reach Tacos Gallo’s at 316-880-2662.