Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Truck Talk Tuesday - Gennarinos

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. 

You can follow Gennarino's on Facebook and Twitter to find their daily location.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Gennarinos Takes You To the Streets of Naples

A little bit of Naples, Italy rolled out in Irving today when Gennarino's hit the streets.   

Gennarinos is bringing not only Italian food but Italian culture to the Metroplex. Their hand painted truck is a piece of artwork that would make the most well known Italian artists proud. Gennarino's logo represents the city of Naples, itself; the first "N" is the same logo as the Naples soccer team, the "I" is a corniciello or horn that is the symbol of good luck and the last "O" represents the sun that shines over Naples. Each of the pictures also represents a piece of Naples with a painting of Pulcinella, a figure in Neapolitan theater, Mount Vesuvius the active volcano that sits next to Naples and San Gennaro, the patron Saint of Naples for whom the truck is named. 

The food served by Gennarinos transports diners to the streets of Naples.  On this first visit, I had the Granny's Sunday Gravy Panini. A sandwich made with beef pieces, pork loin, tomato sauce and mozzarella. The meat was extremely tender and the sauce and cheese extremely flavorful. 

I followed the sandwich with a dessert of chocolate zeppalone, or chocolate donuts. The dough was light and soft while the topping of chocolate sauce and powdered sugar added just right sweetness. 

My friends who attended Gennarino's first day out with me had an assortment of items:
 The pizza fritta, or fried pizza, which is a specialty of the truck.

 The lasagna

The fried spaghetti, fried fettuccine alfredo and a fried rissota ball.  

Everyone loved their items and several people made a second order before leaving. 

I regret that I did not get a picture of the Italian cream sodas. The reason for this is that no one in my group would put their glass down long enough for me to get the picture, to say the sodas were a hit would be an understatement. 

Overall, Gennarino's first day was a success, as judged by the people in my group. I highly recommend you visit as soon as possible and allow Gennarinos to transport you   to the streets of Naples for your lunch or dinner hour. 

You can follow Gennarino's on Facebook and Twitter to find their locations of the day. 

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