To general manager Elizabeth Petrosian of Portland, Oregon’s Burrasca, launching the rustic Tuscan concept as a food truck — or cart, as it’s called in Portland — was the critical first step towards realizing that she and chef Paolo Calamai’s ultimate business plan: a sit-down restaurant.
Hollywood has even learned to invert “the star chef” story.
In the breakout indie hit “Chef,” starring Jon Favreau, the fed-up chef he plays turns renegade food truck entrepreneur. As he plies Cuban sandwiches out of a battered truck, it proves to be the spiritual antidote to the merciless, critic-driven L.A. restaurant scene. In the film, art imitates life: as food trucks have grown over the past decade from indie outliers to a mainstream phenomenon, they have also become the territory of pedigreed chefs.
But what makes a restaurant concept stick not only as a truck, cart or mobile pop-up, but also for the long haul?