Homemade soups, such as the Chicken Noodle, Pasta Fagiol and Mac and Cheese Soup or the Wing Bite Hoagie are also good for warming up on cold days.
By Patrice Wilding | TheTimes-Tribune.com
The local food landscape is changing, and food trucks have emerged as a force to be reckoned with for lunch and dinner traffic.
After spending 19 years with his feet firmly on the ground in the kitchen at Drinker Pizza, area chef and restaurateur Brian James is taking his American-style cuisine to the streets with Drinker Mobile.
The bright red, turquoise and white food truck can be spotted throughout Dunmore during the week or near the University of Scranton campus late at night on Fridays and Saturdays.
With help from his girlfriend, Jennifer Borowski, Mr. James has been making a new name for himself among area diners looking for well-made, hot and fresh food. Mr. James is still the only one who knows the precise recipe for the delicious pizza sauce that made him a hit at the pizzeria, and plans to offer it to truck customers.
“It’s the same menu I’ve done for years,” Mr. James explained. Also making a comeback are his spicy Wing Bites, which he said is what he’s really known for in Dunmore.
Other standouts on the regular menu include the Four-Cheese Grilled Cheese, the cheesesteaks and Jamaican Jerk Tacos (using spices the couple brought home from a recent trip to the islands.) Homemade soups, such as the Chicken Noodle, Pasta Fagiol and Mac and Cheese Soup or the Wing Bite Hoagie are also good for warming up on cold days.
Social media play a big role in getting the word out about where to find Drinker Mobile, and with hundreds of followers on the truck’s Facebook and Twitter profiles, business has been steady. Though Mr. James is on his own most days while Ms. Borowski works her regular day job – taking orders, making the food and ringing customers up – feedback has been positive on the taste. Each order only takes about seven to 10 minutes from start to finish.
Operating a food truck is not without its challenges, the couple said, including the full weight of long hours, limited space and stock. Mr. James noted that it’s been a major adjustment to go from stocking about $8,000 worth of food supplies per week to picking up ingredients on a daily basis.
Parking also has been an issue. In Dunmore, Drinker Mobile can only operate on private property, which presents a daily struggle to find a space, they explained, and in Scranton, though the truck is allowed to be parked on the streets, it can’t be any closer than 150 feet to another operating restaurant.
“It’s a whole ‘nother ball game,” Mr. James said.
One way the food truck has gained traction is with its undeniably bright exterior, which features a 1950s-style pin-up girl. It was designed by Billy Thornton of Thornton Graphix in Old Forge. Promotions, including a contest to name the pin-up or design a University of Scranton-themed “Royal Hoagie,” engage customers beyond food transactions, giving them a sense of ownership.
Ms. Borowski, who attended school in Philadelphia and lived in New York for a time, said she was very familiar with food trucks in those locations, but that introducing the concept to Northeast Pennsylvania has been a learning experience for both the owners and their customers.
At special events
Drinker Mobile’s first gig was at the Italian Festival at the end of summer, and since then, it has made appearances at numerous area fundraisers, such as Bark in the Park at Nay Aug, or even birthday parties and other neighborhood events.
Food trucks are trendy, but Mr. James and Ms. Borowski hope their old-fashioned approach to customer service will win over a following strong enough to sustain them for quite some time.
“It’s a good lunch at a fair price,” Ms. Borowski said. “It’s our way of giving back to the community.”
Contact the writer: firstname.lastname@example.org, @pwildingTT on Twitter
Address: Changes daily
Owners: Brian James and Jennifer Borowski
Established: October 2012
Prices: $3 to $6
Hours: Mondays through Fridays, open for lunch at 11 a.m.; Fridays and Saturdays, open for late night near the University of Scranton 11 p.m. to 3 a.m.; check for weekday dinner hours or Saturday lunches
Website: Like the fan page on Facebook or follow @DrinkerMobile on Twitter