Last April, Chris "Crash" Hethcox and his friend Adam Bettis faced an opportunity they couldn't pass.
"We saw that the food ordinance had changed, so we decided to open a food truck," says Hethcox, who recently rolled Revival Southern Food Company's food truck onto the streets of Memphis. "Revival was a concept we'd had 10 years ago for a restaurant."
The menu is upscale Southern food, with prices befitting a food truck: reasonable enough to reflect the low overhead costs of a mobile food business. (You can get a meat-and-two plate for about $7; a plate of sliders or tacos will run about $8.)
The menu will change seasonally, but you can expect a mix of items like Sloppy Joe sliders, Korean BBQ short-rib tacos with sesame Asian slaw and sriracha mayonnaise, Frito pie, mini muffalettas, smoked ham and goat-cheese macaroni and cheese, Cuban sliders, and various soups.
Desserts include an "Ooey Gooey Brownie" with a touch of caramel sauce and a Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding that is as absurdly decadent as it sounds.
Hethcox handles cooking and driving the truck, while Bettis works on the marketing and sales side of things. And Hethcox wouldn't have it any other way. He has spent the last 14 years or so hanging around kitchens, working every possible job from busboy to head chef.
"I wanted to be able to say that I had done everything," he says. But, of course, the cooking is his favorite part — especially the flexibility he has now that he's mobile. The menu changes daily, and his customer base can change with the turn of a steering wheel.
"I love that I can pull up and cook right there," he says.
Business has been good for Revival Southern Food Company so far, despite a mid-December launch.
"It's only our fifth week, and I've already seen some of the same people eight or nine times," he says.
For now, Hethcox parks downtown at the corner of Madison and Main for lunch Monday through Friday. Then he spends his Thursday and Friday evenings in Midtown and his Saturday evenings in East Memphis. He takes Sundays off.
As spring approaches, Hethcox is looking forward to more walk-up traffic as well as festivals and outdoor wedding receptions.
To keep tabs on their food truck, check out their daily menu, or to enlist their catering services, visit Revival Southern Food Company's Facebook page (facebook.com/Revival.Truck), follow @Revival_Food on Twitter, visit revivalsouthernfood.com, or call 662-715-9049.
Central BBQ is also looking to get into the mobile food scene, with a newly tie-dyed food trailer that should hit the streets sometime next month.
If you made it to the Agricenter's corn maze this fall, you might have seen them serving up their sandwiches. But when they make their formal debut next month, it will be in a signature tie-dyed trailer, and the menu will cover more than sandwiches. Elizabeth Blondis, Central BBQ's catering and shipping director and wife of owner Craig Blondis, says you can expect nachos, ribs, perhaps even wings and some sort of specialty item like pork belly sliders.
Much is still up in the air, and the timing of the trailer's entrée onto the mobile food scene is still contingent on favorable inspections and permit applications.
One thing is certain: Once Central BBQ, which already has two successful locations on Central and Summer, is set loose upon this city, barbecue lovers won't know what hit them.
Central BBQ, 2249 Central (272-9377)
4375 Summer (767-4672)