Burlington, NC: Downtown Burlington’s First Food Truck is Here
By Molly McGowan | TheTimesNews.com
There’s a new truck rumbling around downtown Burlington serving piping hot jambalaya, pork sauce piquant, red beans and rice and other authentic Louisiana fare. Now that King Creole is in town, downtown Burlington has its very first food truck.
Micah Martello, owner and chef of King Creole, sees himself as a pioneer of sorts. “There’s no food truck culture established here,” he said, explaining larger cities like Greensboro and Durham have “vibrant food truck cultures,” where people are accustomed to the somewhat different method of food purchases.
“People that eat at food trucks are typically an adventurous eater,” said Martello, and he hopes to coax downtown eaters into tasting his sophisticated cuisine. He said it’s a common misconception that Cajun style food is all going to be too spicy. On the contrary, Martello said, “It’s very flavorful, but it isn’t overly spicy.”
Martello’s best-sellers are his gumbo — made with mesquite-smoked pulled chicken and okra — and his chicken and sausage jambalaya. Martello makes everything from scratch, including the Louisianasausage he uses in his recipes. Eventually, Martello plans on adding shrimp creole to the menu and alligator, when available.
For the slightly less adventurous customers who still want to sample his Cajun-style cuisine, Martello offers a chicken sandwich in the pulled barbecue style familiar to the South.
The food truck is Martello’s brainchild, which he said he’s had “up and running for about three weeks now.” He said, “The truck’s kind of a work in progress,” adding that as he gets more equipment inside, “the menu will expand.”
Originally, Martello owned a restaurant, Nautical, in New Orleans, which was named in Bon Appetit Magazine’s “Best of the Year” list in 1999. He moved to Chapel Hill from New Orleans in 2004 for another job, but then decided to leave the rush of restaurant business to spend more time with his family.
After five years out of the restaurant scene, Martello came toBurlington and started his King Creole food truck business. “It allows me to practice my craft … without having to work restaurant hours,” Martello said.
“For the couple weeks I’ve been down here, I’ve already got regulars,” Martello said. King Creole does well on weekend nights, when people are downtown visiting The Rusted Bucket and Front Street Public House.
“Most bars want me to be around them,” Martello said, explaining his readily available food source encourages bar patrons to stick around downtown, instead of leaving the bars for food elsewhere.
“I’ve tried a few different spots,” said Martello, but he particularly likes setting up in the empty lot next to Front Street Public House, since the owners are OK with him being there and Martello doesn’t have to move his truck every two hours — which he’d have to do with on-street parking.
Since his business isn’t stationary, Martello uses social media like Facebook and Twitter to let followers know where he’ll be setting up each day.
Martello takes his food truck to other places like Greensboro and said, “I’ve been involved in downtown development in other cities.” However, he’s partial to downtown Burlington and aims to set up shop there at least three days a week.
Check out the King Creole page on Facebook for a full menu and updates, and follow @kcfoodtruck on Twitter.
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