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Rivah Visitor's Guide

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FOOD TRUCKS offer a scrumptious alternative to enjoy local cuisine

Fried Oyster Tacos from Byrd’s

The national food truck craze is slowly beginning to sweep it’s way into Rivah Country.

A variety of food trucks are popping up in the counties of the Middle Peninsula and Northern Neck.

Bryan Byrd of Byrd’s Seafood Company said he had the idea of running a food truck after living in Florida and working in the fast-paced restaurant industry. One of his go-to spots was a food truck that served fresh fish tacos, Korean beef burritos, and wagyu beef hot dogs, said Byrd. He moved back home to Irvington and started Byrd’s Seafood Co. and knew that this was his shot to build his catering business and eventually outfit a food truck.

“Two years later, I’m living the dream,” he said. “It can be overwhelming at times but to see happy and returning customers is what makes it all worth it.”

Byrd believes the food truck industry is a huge success.

“It gives chefs a better chance to showcase what they are true to and actually produce amazing food without a huge step in getting investors or loans to build brick and mortar. I have worked at indoor and outdoor restaurants and being able to be mobile and cater to events and parties makes it more exciting,” he said.

Byrd said there are many guidelines and ways to begin a food truck. He took advantage of books on business start up and business plans for food trucks to help get some ideas, he said. The health department is a great resource, he added.

“They will guide you every step of the way and were the biggest help for me when getting started,” said Byrd.

Dennis Brandenburg of Hardyville decided to establish a food truck business to share his love of food and to pay tribute to his wife Pam’s family heritage. Brandenburg went on the road with Shorty’s Coastal Comfort in 2016, serving food described as “Scratch Southern Cuisine.” His wife, Pam, comes from a boatbuilding family so he decorated the truck, with pictures of her grandfather Russell Callis’ deadrise boat and named the truck Delta Girl to pay homage to one of Callis’ boats.

During the summer months, the Shorty’s Coastal Comfort food truck can be found at the Deltaville Ballpark.

The reason he decided to have a food truck is “just the pure love of food and the fact I could do this on my own with my own hands and now I get to share my food with everyone. It has never been about the money, it has always been about the food,” he said.

Creekside Catering Company Food Truck based in Gloucester

Sister team, Judy and Debbie Beach, began The Flippin’ Yellow Truck in Callao after completing their journey of real working life. They grew up working in food trucks with their parents who had putt putt golf and food stands in an amusement park in Hampton.

“We decided that was what we would go back to doing when we got older so we did. What we enjoy most about working for ourselves is we get to meet people from all over the country. We are amazed at how many people travel around just looking for good food and conversation. What an awesome opportunity to get the chance to do what you really love to do,” said Debbie.

When someone approaches The Flippin’ Yellow Truck, they can expect smiling faces and a friendly atmosphere complete with a seating area decorated to be a pirates lair with picnic tables transformed into pirate ships. People can expect there to be friendly conversation as you wait in a line to get some great food.

Husband and wife team, Jason and Dorsie Reese of Gloucester, also ventured into the food truck industry and formed Creekside Catering Company. With over 30 years of combined experience in the culinary and hospitality industry, the Reese’s decided to get out of the corporate world and take the leap to start their own food truck and catering business.

Dorsie Reese said they love what food does to people.

“What we love is how food brings people together. Whether in social events like breweries, weddings, backyard barbecues, or preparing food for a funeral, happy times and unfortunately sad times. It just brings people together and we are lucky to be able to provide that for our clients. That’s what we love and why we love doing what we do,” she said.

“We tend to customize our menu according to the event we are doing. At farmer’s markets we’ll make a signature dish with local veggies. At wineries, we like to do something that pairs well with wine like our brie cheese with pecans and a bourbon sauce. A dish like buffalo chicken mac and cheese is a favorite at the breweries,” she continued.

“We aren’t a specific type of food. We just love food and live to cook for people. Food connects us to people. That’s what makes us happy,” said Dorsie.

When exploring the Rivah Country, venture out and find a food truck and enjoy what they have to offer. 

posted 09.04.2017

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