Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Tortillaville: Seeking Partners

Well, the grill has barely cooled over at Tortillaville, Hudson. It was a scorching Summer season, both literally and business wise. To cap it off, we sold the food truck operation at the last possible date we could have. While we wish those folks only the best for success, and will do everything in our power to assist them, we are already thinking of our immediate future. Due in large part to the fact that we retained the Tortillaville name, brand, domain and recipes, we are thinking of starting anew, but on the other side of the river. We are looking into purchasing real estate where we can operate the brick and mortar Tortillaville. We may also have a small food cart for parties and events as well. We are currently exploring the concept of working partners. In doing so, Allison and I would like to hear from you - two partners, individuals or couples, who are willing to invest $50K each to own 25% of the business (only) not the real estate. This arrangement would allow the business to stay open more days per week, and to have the dollars earned go to the principals, rather than several employees. We would still have employees perhaps, but not as many with partners. The idea is that the partners get a salary while they work, and don't work, but that their full investment should easily be recouped within five years time. If you like the idea of living and working in a lovely community, and at a busy business - but one where the emphasis is to enjoy life, and part time work, knowing that you have other interests, this might be the perfect opportunity for you. If all goes well, we might even open in the Summer of 2014.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Tortillaville Lives:

We had a good run. 5 years, 40K burritos, 25K tacos, over 20K drinks, and a book, So, we have everything to be happy about. And, we are. Truth be told, five years of food truck life is enough. It is one of the hardest jobs that I have ever experienced. But, I would have changed little. On the most part, I am very pleased with our business. I made some mistakes along the way, but such is life; live and learn. I was telling a Yelp sales person who called me just today that with food trucks, customers do not just get good, affordable, food - they are invited into the kitchen - literally. This is not as much a good thing as it is a fact. Can you imagine a typical restaurant kitchen that is slammed with business, lunch time, weekend, "in the weeds" and all, have a customer come into said kitchen for a causal conversation with the chef? How long have you been doing this? Where are you from? Did you go to school for cooking? And, on and on. I mean, it is enjoyable to a point - until the breaking point that is, but that is what working in a successful and busy food truck can be like. It is only disappointing when you are overwhelmed, and said customer walks away thinking, Boy, is that guy uptight and rude. It can be a no win situation at times. Fortunately, that is only a small percentage of the time. The rest of the time is a pretty good experience. I just never expected to be so totally consumed by it all; order food, pick up food, distribute food, store food, prep food, cook food, cut food, freeze food, (all this on your days off). Then, buy ice, buy propane, ferry food, heat up food, cook food, and open for business. Of course, there is; gather garbage, rid garbage, recycle bottles (300 per week), recycle cardboard, and the all important - rest. Because, it's all going to start again after your two day break. There is light at the end of the tunnel. The season is only 5 months and 90 days long. But, if you count the prep days, and you have to, it is really a 120 day season - straight. Then, you get 6 glorious months of unemployment to; enjoy, get in debt, and start your season all over again. If you start mid May like we do, you are not "in the black" until July. But, for whatever reason, it worked out for us. We worked for it, but it worked enough for us where we were able to; keep out of debt, pay insurance and taxes, purchase a mobile home and boat, a couple of kayaks, and live off the business for 5 incredible years. Then, one day, those magic words came flowing in through the back door. In the book, those magic words were, "that was the best burrito I've ever had, thank you." but in this case, after 5 complete seasons, and 7 if you count the two we spent in the FL Keys, the magic words were this; "I think that I would like to buy your food truck." Actually, it was more like, "Are you the owner?" And I'm like, "Maybe, who's asking?" He continues, "My wife has been following your posts, and I think that we would like to buy your food truck." And, I'm like - "please if there is a god up there... ... don't be cruel to me at this point of the season, or life." And, it seems that there is, because they did, (buy the food truck), and we are now unemployed - in a whole new way. For just several thousand dollars more, they could have opted to own the name, brand, business as well. But, they chose not to. They chose to go with a different name, and just keep the cuisine - Mexican. So, this is not the good bye post that I thought I might be writing after all. It is even better. We are still Tortillaville. We still own the name, brand, business, domain, recipes and screen door. We still have wholesale and franchise options. Our book still follows a week-in-the-life of Tortillaville. We have another opportunity to rise again - either as food truck or brick and mortar. And, we get another chance to sell the business (and name) if we want to. Tortillaville lives! We still have a Plan B to fall back on. And, (coming up to Thanksgiving) that is something to be very thankful for. And now, we have five glorious months in the fabulous Florida Keys to enjoy. Thank you customers - sincerely. BTW, just in case you need a gift idea, may I recommend Food Truck 411 (Amazon). Or, perhaps 4 nights for two in the FL Keys (private trailer, private bath, AC, wifi, laundry, bicycles and kayaks), just $400 total is something to treat yourselves to, A day of fishing and snorkeling is just another $150.00. Just putting it out there. As we ourselves learned on a recent late Fall day - one never knows. Call 518-291-6048 for reservations.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Food Truck 411 hits stand, (and offers a free taco).

The journey took two years time, and at the end of the road, a new book, Food Truck 411. The book will be available this coming weekend at Tortillaville – where if you purchase one, you get a free taco with it. In a few weeks time, it will be available on and Barnes& Initially intended as a video script, for a series of You Tube videos to market our food truck, Tortillaville, my idea instead morphed into a book. The script is still in tact, and perhaps one day, it will see the light of computer screens across the globe. But, the book has already surpassed any expectation that I had for it. Getting a positive review was accomplishment enough, for which I am grateful Being invited as a guest with Joe Donahue on WAMC’s Roundtable, (6/28 11:40 AM) is really icing on the cake. WGXC has had us on, and I have been asked to come in as a guest with Philip Grant, (during his morning show) in the near future. Hudson Valley Magazine will be doing a feature story for the July issue, and The Valley Table, for their Fall issue. I have most recently signed with an agent at Random House, who is shopping the book around. Aside from a marketing vehicle, the book was very much inspired as a way to archive this chapter in our lives. We feel very fortunate to have such a robust business, but it is not easy – this I can tell you, and have. The book loosely follows a week-in-the-life of Tortillaville, while sprinkling helpful information throughout. It is book as mentor, and begs the question; Are You Ready To Roll? It hopes to discourage as many people as it encourages, for food truck life is no place for the faint of heart. It is a cook book too, offering over 30 winning artisanal recipes. And, there are over 200 photos peppered throughout the book. The book focuses on food safety, food allergies, and first aid. There are actually many lessons in the book that can apply to any small business, cafe, or restaurant. There is good information on marketing and branding too, all wrapped into a story of a little city and a tiny food truck. It is my ultimate hope that the book will reflect very kindly on Hudson, NY. And, I believe that it will. In fact, there is a chapter titled, Welcome To Hudson, and mention throughout the book about the relationship between food truck and community – and how important that relationship is (to many). Next, the movie; just kidding. But, perhaps one day we will do some videos. I hope to shop the book around, visiting food truck hot spots, trade shows, and do something that I really had little intention – sell lots of books. I have learned much during our now five seasons in Hudson. I have made mistakes, but I have learned from them. I invite anyone to try a day (or even an hour) in the food truck to get a taste of this life. You will surely see what I mean. But, you will learn a lot too; about patience, balance, friendship, and community – things I never imagined come from working in a food truck. It is my hope that you purchase Food Truck 411, if only for the recipes. But, I think that you will find the story to be an interesting read. At least, I hope so. If you can’t make it to the stand, you can visit our website, > Buy The Book. It will bring you to a Pay Pal screen. This is not kick starter. We are doing it the old fashion way instead – earning it. Did I forget to mention that it makes the perfect gift? Thank you for your support.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Tortillaville Is Celebrating Five Years (and a book)

How time flies. Tortillaville is celebrating Five Years in Hudson, (and a book) this 2013 season. And, we can't wait! Who would have thought, what started out as a Plan B, is still going strong? And, we are still having fun. Sure, the recipes will be played with, and our menu selection will change, if only a little, but that is what a healthy and happy food truck does. The important thing is – we made it to 5 years! And, if that were not enough, we have a book to help bring in this momentous occasion, Food Truck 411: The Essential Information To Run A Successful Food Truck(Eat Words Publishing). BTW is well worth check out. So, we have decided to open five days per week, rather than just weekends.Our official opening day is May 17, 2013 at 11AM. There are parades, events, and weddings to feed. There are the locals too, some of whom are forever memorialized in the book. Food Truck 411 is a book for the budding food truck entrepreneur, but it is a photo book too, a wonderful cook book, and a first hand account of life – inside the box. It is also the first comprehensive food truck book written by a food truck cook. In true teamwork fashion; Brian wrote and photographed the book. And, Allison designed the cover, interior layout, and cook book section. Allison also designed the website and facebook page for the book. Food Truck 411, will be available at the Tortillaville food truck, and on Amazon. This much, we know. Our winter in the Fl Keys has worked wonders yet again. It is the right antidote to be sure. We are rested, tanned, and ready. We are ready to roll as many burritos as it takes to make up for lost wages. As Hudson looks forward to another wonderful Summer, so too do we. We look forward to seeing everyone, working hard, selling books, supporting causes, offering mentorships, and hiring staff. So, get ready people. We're coming back, and at 5 years old, we're looking to have some fun!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Opening Day At the Big Pine Key Fishing Lodge Is December 19

Just a quick shout out to announce our opening day at the Big Pine Key Fishing Lodge. We are very excited to be back in the Keys. The weather is perfect, and we look forward to seeing our Winter time customers again. We always look forward to working at the BPKFL because the staff and community alike are really great to be around. We just want to do our best to keep the prices down and the food at the highest level - clean and delicious. For now, we just have two days per week, Monday and Tuesday,  booked through March 2012, but we hope to book Sunday at Lazy Lakes campground too. Or, perhaps even Saturday and Sunday, but only through March. April is ours, no more than two days a week from then on.  If anyone up north wants to visit us and see what Tortillaville South is like please feel free. We even have a very affordable and comfortable private guest trailer for two (double bed), with a private bath, AC, electric, bicycles, wifi and laundry, to name a few. Email us for more info. Happy 2012 all!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

We're Heading South

The final details have been taken care of. The trailer is packed up, Tortillaville Hudson is cleaned up, the leaves have fallen off the trees, and Thanksgiving is upon us. There is one more thing that we have to do before heading south to the FL Keys. And, it's always a nail biting last minute affair. And, that is to get our house ready and find a tenant  who we can trust, and who will pay us to take care of our house while we're away for five months. I am happy to report that we are three for three. This year we found a lovely tenant who we are confident will take good care of our home. But, what matters most perhaps, is that we won't have to worry about pipes freezing while we're away. I actually don't know if I could leave the house with no one in our home. But, now we can! We can enjoy five full months in the FL Keys. WE can look forward to fishing, and swimming, and relaxing a bit. We look forward to returning to the Big Pine Key Fishing Lodge where we will serve our fare Mondays and Tuesdays. We plan to find another spot too, because we need to save up some money beyond covering our expenses, because there are always other expenses. And, we want to come back ahead, not behind. While we're in the Keys, Brian hopes to get his Coast Guard approved captains license. Allison is busy planning ; sewing, art, jewelry and design projects, aside from her yoga, swimming, and windsurfing lessons. So, 2011 has wrapped up, or is wrapping up quite nicely. We will spend TD in NYC. I will also photograph food trucks and the like for my book, Food Truck 101: A Recipe For Success. The book is coming along fantastic. It is beyond my expectations. I look forward to seeing family and visiting the 10th street baths in the city. Then, it's off to Phili, where we will see the other side of the family. We might even buy a boat there to bring down to FL. We'll see. We very much look forward to FL and to our return in May. We wish you all a great holiday season and Winter months. Here's hoping that 2012 is a great year for all of us. Cheers!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Opening Weekend

photo by
What can you say about opening on Memorial Day weekend? Very intense comes to mind. But, very rewarding too. It's great to see familiar faces and satisfied customers. My only worry when it gets so busy is that quality is compromised. I know that I burned a few burritos, and I apologize for it. Let me know and I'll make it right, because I only want satisfied customers. The weekend was our busiest to date. The line was long and seemingly endless. We went through 70 lbs of chicken, 80 lbs of meat, 22 lbs of fish, 16 lbs of shrimp and approximately 900 (taco and burrito) tortillas in just three days. By the time Monday rolled around, we didn't have enough supplies to open. But, we were tired too, like crash out on the floor tired, so a good excuse to rest. Is this what we should expect for future weekends? I imagine not, but Hudson seems busier than I remember, so perhaps a banner season is in the making. I only wish that we could be open seven days a week. And, I am looking into that possibility as I try to line up some reliable taco and burrito makers to help make it happen. Are you the next Tortillaville taco and burrito maker? We will only allow five hour shifts per team, which will include prep and open hours. Allison and I can do three days on our own, but we'd like to find four other people to share the other four days in shifts of; 9AM to 2:30PM and 2:30PM to 8PM. That's the idea anyway. Seasonal businesses like ours should be ope everyday Memorial Day thru Labor Day (if possible). So, if you think you have what it takes, please contact us.