Can’t we all just be foodie friends?
Restauranteur Pat Joyce and food truck owner Ben Dougherty think so.
From the time the food truck trend took to the streets—now nearly a decade ago—there has been animosity with brick and mortars about how and where mobile food is sold.
Restaurants tried to hit the breaks by pressuring cities to enact laws that would restrict where food trucks could park and serve customers and for how long.
Food truck owners argued their innovative services shouldn’t be punished by these restrictions since many restaurants across the country already successfully operate in the same vicinity as other restaurants.
In many cities, this struggle continues.
But this week a brand new model was born much to the delight of Pittsburgh food fans. South Side BBQ Company owner, Pat Joyce thinks business is best for everyone when both sides work together.
“Ben’s got great stuff. I asked him if he wanted to do this event with me. I thought it would help someone else out. People gave me help when I was starting out, so I wanted to return the favor,” said Joyce.
Ben Doughtery, owner of the Pittsburgh Po’Boy food truck spent Monday evening—a night the South Side BBQ Company would otherwise be closed—creating his specialty cajun-creole cuisine for customers using the South Side BBQ’s kitchen and dining area. The pared-down menu included chicken or shrimp po’ boys, gumbo and red beans and rice.
“I’m sort of a traditionalist,” says Dougherty of his classic cajun flavors. “I want to represent New Orleans style food as best as possible.”
Joyce kept the restaurant’s full bar open to customers.
“It’s cross-promotion for both of our businesses,” said Joyce. “A lot of people don’t know about the South Side BBQ restaurant and a lot of people don’t know about Ben’s Po’Boy truck.”
Joyce also owns a food truck by the same name as his restaurant.
The Po’ Boy event was only advertised on social media.
“I saw a pop-up on Facebook,” said customer Tom States of Carnegie. “I had never heard of the Po’Boy truck, but I’m a big cajun fan. The food is good. Not too spicy. It’s traditional gumbo. It’s good.”
The event drew a crowd of food truck fans, South Side BBQ regulars, FB event followers and other food truck families.
“We ran out of food in three hours,” said Dougherty. “I figured we were going to have a good turn out.”
Many food truck owners like Dougherty do off-season work through the winter such as weddings, elaborate house parties or breweries, but Monday’s event could serve as a new revenue stream for food trucks and restaurants alike.