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Food trucks banding together to create new hub/restaurant along 23rd Street
Lawrence is getting creative with food and trucks, and I’m not just talking about my method for eating biscuits and gravy while still safely making the Kasold Curve. No, four area food trucks have joined forces to lease space along 23rd Street for a unique food truck hub.
The operators of Torched Goodness, Drasko’s, The Purple Carrot and Wilma’s Real Good Food have reached a deal to take over the spot formerly occupied by Granddaddy’s BBQ at 1447 W. 23rd St.
The new venture will be called Fork to Fender, and it will be a little bit restaurant and a little bit food truck. Chefs from each of the four food trucks have committed to have at least a portion of their food truck menus available each day at Fork to Fender. In addition, there will be certain days of the week where all the food trucks — plus some guest trucks from Kansas City — will be parked outside. Customers will be able to order their food from the trucks and then have the option of taking the food inside the Fork to Fender space.
The concept behind the idea is unique but simple, said Julia Ireland of Torched Goodness: Lawrence diners need to know there is a consistent location where they can always get food truck grub.
“Lawrence is a good town for food trucks, but we need to band together to get more of an awareness for food trucks,” Ireland said.
The joint location also will offer another benefit: the opportunity to have a liquor license. Food trucks in Lawrence aren’t allowed to have a liquor license. But by having a storefront, the businesses will be able to sell craft beers, wines and other alcoholic beverages at the inside location.
The storefront also will serve as a space for some vendors of the Lawrence Farmers' Market to sell their items year-around. Ireland said the store plans to stock some of the honey, jams, jellies and even the locally raised meat.
“We’re trying to make it a small business hub of local artisan food vendors,” Ireland said. “We want that local community feel.”
Ireland said the businesses took possession of the storefront last week and have begun renovations. She said they hope to have the business open sometime in September. But there are still hurdles to meeting that date. The business has created a Kickstarter campaign in hopes of raising $9,000 to help cover the cost of the liquor license and some additional kitchen equipment.
As for the type of food to be served, Ireland said it will be an eclectic mix. Drasko’s is known for down-home comfort food and barbecue dishes. The Purple Carrot is a vegan food truck that does things like avocado smoothies, veggie burgers and other such fare. Wilma’s Real Good Food — which recently was named the best food truck in Kansas City by KC Magazine — makes dishes such as meatball sliders, homemade bratwursts and fried grits. Torched Goodness plans to expand its menu from its dessert theme to include meat pies, such as Shepherd’s Pie and chicken pot pie, plus frittatas and other dishes.
But don’t worry, Torched Goodness also will continue making its creme brûlée, and will continue to have its stand downtown and also at the Saturday farmers' market.
That’s good news because, as I have learned, I need a really wide berth when I’m going around Kasold Curve with a handheld kitchen torch.