One of the things I have enjoyed most about the food trucks is meeting people, not only the other customers but those who are bringing the trucks to life each day. These men and women are incredibly passionate about what they are doing and the food they are serving. I was also noticing that they all had a story of how their truck came about and how their life evolved in to being a part of one of the fastest growing small business concepts, not only in DFW but in the US. Each week I will share these stories in “Truck Talk Tuesday”.
Today we meet the Raineri Family, Raffaele, Elizabeth, Armando, and Alessio with Gennarino’s.
1. What did you do before you were a food truck owner?
Answer: Raffaele: Pizzaiolo, Armando: Army Paratrooper, Alessio: Classically-trained pastry chef, Elizabeth: Teacher/Grad Student
2. How did you come up with the name for your business?
Answer: Like good Neapolitan boys, we decided to name it after the Patron Saint of Naples San Gennaro. Gennaro also happens to be the name of our father (also a good Neapolitan boy).
3. What made you decide to have a food truck rather than a brick and mortar restaurant?
Answer: We have always wanted to open a friggitoria and an authentic Neapolitan friggitoria is mobile. We wanted our food to be accessible to everyone, and restaurant prices often turn away people instead of bringing them in. Our price range is very reasonable, with items between $2.50 and $5.
4. What is your favorite menu item?
Answer: We discuss that all the time. Alessio loves the Timballo Bianco (handheld fettuccine Alfredo). Armando, instead, is undecided between the Pizza Fritta and the Panino Caprese. Raffaele loves the Arancino Rosso. Elizabeth, the vegetarian of the group, alternates between the Pizza Fritta and the Panino Caprese.
5. What has been the biggest reward of having a food truck?
Answer: Working on a food truck reminds us of being in an Italian piazza all the time. We enjoy meeting new people every day, chatting with customers, and listening to the Neapolitan music coming out of our speaker system.
6. What has been the biggest challenge of having a food truck?
Answer: The biggest challenge is always making sure that we provide the best customer service and highest quality product for our loyal customers. We also want to find the most convenient locations, so if anyone has any location requests, please let us know!
7. Most marketing for food trucks is through social media, do you see that as a benefit or challenge to you and why?
Answer: Social media is both a benefit and a challenge. When you put everything out on the internet, everyone can see it. If you come up with something new and original, there is always the chance that someone will "borrow" it and try to pass it off as their own. Of course, without social media, we might not have met some really cool bloggers, journalists, and other foodies quite so quickly.
8. You spent most days of this summer on a food truck, where can we find you when you aren’t on a truck?
Answer: We actually spent all summer trying to set up the truck for the Feast day of San Gennaro, and fortunately we made it! Whenever we will not be on the truck, you can visit us at North Lake College in Irving, where we study business. Elizabeth is in the process of finishing her Master's Degree in Humanities at UTD. We all think that besides our business, education is really important.
9. If you could only cook one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Answer: Pizza Fritta
10. What would you like to see in the DFW food truck scene in the next two years?
Answer: We would like the larger cities set up a piazza for all the food trucks where people can go and taste all the particular food that they have.
Thanks to the Ranieri family for bringing Naples to DFW, I look forward to trying all the menu items you have.