For years my husband Pat and I have been saying if we ever bought a vehicle for a pop up food truck, it would be a tuk-tuk. On all of our travels we’ve seen tuk-tuks used for any number of purposes, and they’ve always stood out for their cuteness and versatility. It was one our first purchases for our IC location and we are thrilled to be using it outside our space. This all-electric vehicle has zero emissions, making it perfect for indoor or courtyard popups and environmentally friendly. When we first started this tuk-tuk venture we thought we would move it around campus once we opened (we’re still planning on doing that). Since we have been so delayed it has become our semi-permanent home on campus right outside our door.
We originally had a plain design with just the logo. The IC design team took one look at it and decided it needed a lot snazzier detail work to make it something memorable. We let them run with it and we couldn’t be happier with the new look. It’s hard to miss!
Thank goodness for the facilities and partnership of Industry City. They’ve let us borrow another kitchen on campus, so we have been able to run through our menus and then package and sell lunch from our tuk-tuk. While it’s great for training and recipe development, it has also been a lot of fun participating in the hustle and bustle of the campus. It’s also given us a chance to get to know our neighbors and colleagues.
In our borrowed kitchen we have been making zaatar chicken sandwiches and kale salad. We have roasted and peeled beets for a side dish and roasted harissa carrots. Tons of local vegetables have been grilled and layered on sandwiches with either fresh soft goat cheese or our own smoked baba ghanouge. We have sold Lebanese water, sodas and juices. We can’t wait to feature our Lebanese 961 beer in the future, along with our neighbor’s brew from Five Boroughs Brewing Company.
While the challenges of operating out of a kitchen for only 2 hours a day have been real, participating in our community has given us a sense of purpose that building out the store didn’t fill. The store buildout has been an amazing feat, but my real love will always be the producing of amazing food as well as curating, marketing and merchandising. This experience with the tuk-tuk was a lot of fun both for me and my staff as they’ve watched people react to the amazing design. Shout out to our terrific staff who manned this vehicle through heat and rain and humidity this summer — as well as to our kitchen staff who made it work with limited resources!! We all can’t wait for the store to open!