When the PORC food truck rolled out onto the streets of D.C. in January 2011 with a menu focused on barbecue sandwiches, it was a fast success. Sales were strong and fans were dedicated. But there were drawbacks: no booze, no seating and, of course, no permanent location.
Those issues were resolved last month when co-owners Josh Saltzman, Trent Allen and a few partners opened a restaurant in Columbia Heights called Kangaroo Boxing Club. Though the name (inspired by an inside joke among the owners) is different, the menu includes some of PORC’s signature dishes, as well as more appetizers, entrees and a full bar.
“It’s the things you can’t logistically pull off in a two-hour period inside a 6-by-10 metal box,” Saltzman says.
He’s not the only mobile proprietor to have sought a fixed address. Local food truck owners are increasingly using wheeled start-ups as a way to test concepts with the public, perfect recipes and create buzz. During these tough economic times, money — or a lack of it — often is the driving reason why entrepreneurs start out with wheels.
“We always wanted a brick-and-mortar location,” Saltzman says. “The whole intent of the truck was to build up enough capital and get our brand out there.”
Kangaroo Boxing Club was financed in part by PORC’s profits and promoted to its fans via social media. Both elements were key to getting it opened — and packed — its first weekend without spending any advertising dollars.
Photo courtesy of Pleasant Pops.