Dining With Denise Neil

Don’t want to eat at the mall? This food court vendor will come to you

Charleys cheese steak sandwiches, fries and lemonade will soon be offered on a mobile food trailer.
Charleys cheese steak sandwiches, fries and lemonade will soon be offered on a mobile food trailer.

If you’re not a mall-goer, you miss out on the restaurants that occupy its food courts.

One of those restaurants, though, is now willing to come to you.

Charleys Philly Steaks, which opened five years ago in Towne East Square, is about to go mobile with a food trailer, and it’ll be the only Charleys in the franchise to have an on-wheels offshoot.

Thayne Thompson, who bought the local franchise from Wichita founder Steve Nussbaum two years ago, came up with the idea and sold it to the Ohio-based chain.

“We’ve had so many people say, ‘Why don’t you open a place in Derby?’ Or ‘Why don’t you open a place on the west side of Wichita?’” he said. “But obviously, brick and mortar stores take quite a significant investment. We decided we would launch a food trailer and be mobile with it and allow us to go where people are at.”

The custom-made trailer was purchased in Arkansas, and Thompson plans to have it open by early September. He is planning to debut it at the Derby BBQ Festival, which happens on Sept. 9 at High Park in Derby. After that, he’ll likely park it at various places around town for weekday lunches and eventually participate in food truck rallies and meetups.

The trailer will serve the restaurant’s signature Philly cheese steak sandwiches plus fries and lemonade.

“We get a lot of comments about the product and decided that we’re going to do this deal and start doing stuff around town and see where it takes us,” Thompson said.

Follow along with the food trailer’s progress on the Charleys Facebook page.

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