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Tuesday April 23rd 2019

Truck Food

This month’s article took the Man About Town about town.  I’d like to share my thoughts on the establishments that are on wheels.  In other words, Truck Food.

First, since we’re talking about a mobile food establishment, I’m sure there a more than a few of my readers who are thinking, “Is this sanitary?”  Of course, they are.  In fact, when I spoke with Dan Brown, a representative of the Comanche County Health Department, he told me that the same regulations that govern all restaurants regulate the mobile establishments – with the addition of three requirements.  One has to do with the mobile unit being able to connect to a potable water system, another requires that there be an onsite waste disposal system, and the last stipulates that the service window must have a screen, an air curtain, or have sliding windows over the openings.

After doing a little digging, I can see why people would want to take the mobile route when starting a food establishment.  The initial cost of opening a restaurant could be staggering – so much so, that it could thwart the idea altogether.  But, with a mobile version of the business, the cost would come down dramatically. actually has six ideas that fall into six tiers of expense, but each still cheaper than opening a full-fledged restaurant.  Food Trucks fall right in the middle, more costly than food kiosks and food carts, but cheaper than gourmet food trucks, mobile catering businesses, and bustaurants – which, as the name implies, is like a food truck, but in a bus – typically a double-decker with the kitchen and food prep in the bottom with the upper level reserved for seated customers.  It is estimated by that one could start their own mobile food business for as little as $50,000.  That is if you purchase a used retro-fitted food truck.  A new food truck will run right around $100,000; still cheaper than opening a new restaurant.

There are probably more than two mobile eateries in the Lawton/Ft. Sill area, but the two that I’ve chosen to let you know about are John and Cook’s Barbeque and Tamale Joe’s Taco Truck.  As luck would have it, both of these folks have closed up shop for the winter season. I’d been wondering why I hadn’t seen Tamale Joe’s truck on Ft. Sill Boulevard across from the Subway.  Perhaps they’ve moved to a warmer climate for the winter months of Oklahoma.  A huge advantage to a restaurant…you can pick up and move to wherever the business happens to be.

As for John and Cook’s, they have taken a break from the “mobile barbeque” for the winter season.  Every year since Lonzo Gaines and Troy Certain, brothers and part of the fifth-generation of ownership of John and Cook’s, opened their second location located “anywhere in Lawton” they have been taking December to March off.  I happen to have some insider information on where they will be setting up their second location in March; look for them on Post.  I couldn’t get a more pin-point location of than that.


See you around town…MAT

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