Not your dad’s roach coach; gourmet food on the streets

Ryan McCullough

On Wednesdays at the Phoenix Public Market, a local grocery store, an outdoor market is held while food trucks selling a wide range of foods gather around.Feb. 9 was Brian Webb’s first day out with his truck.

“When a guy of fair skin walks down the street of the Philippines, all the locals are going to yell, ‘Hey Joe!'” Webb said.

So, Webb named his truck the “Hey Joe! Food Truck.” Webb serves Philipino street food.

“I like to say (my food is) 99.9 percent authentic Philipino street food, and the .1 percent, we don’t add any MSG,” Webb said.

Webb’s wife, Margita who is Philipino, introduced him to the food he now serves.

“Her family showed me really authentic recipes. I got some recipes from street vendors which were friends of her mother-in-law,” Webb said.

Two trucks down from Webb was parked Micheal Brown’s Jamburrito truck.

“Back east I was makin’ jambalaya in cast iron pots…and when I came out here in 98’…I just started gettin’ interested in the southwestern flair, the tortillas and what you could do with them,” Brown said.

Brown was looking for a way to make Cajun food portable.

“I started sayin’, ‘what would jambalaya look like in a burrito?'” he said.

It took Brown four years to perfect the recipe.

“At first I was going to do a fusion, where with the Jamburrito would be Mexican flavors as well as Cajun flavors. But that didn’t work,” he said.

Eventually Brown decided to just have all Cajun flavors transported in a Mexican way.

Brad Moore and his wife, Kat, are parked on the other side of the Hey Joe! food truck. They run a truck called Short Leash Hot Dogs.

“I was in banking and finance prior to this and just was getting a little stir crazy and restless,” Moore said.

Moore and his wife considered opening a restaurant but realized it was too expensive. A food truck was their next option.

The Moore’s serve up hot dogs with many traditional toppings but throw in some interesting twists. One hot dog they call the Aiko, named after their own dog, has a mango chutney, jalapenos, red onions, cilantro, and mayonnaise.

Webb, over at Hey Joe!, started his food truck for the same reason as the Moores.

“I wanted to open a restaurant but I didn’t want to risk my whole life savings,” Webb said.

Food trucks are offering chefs a chance to prepare their own food with the same over-head as a restaurant.

Brown, at Jamburrito, used to own a 3,000 square foot restaurant and cannot believe how much he can fit into his truck.

“Everything that is in that restaurant is pretty much in this truck right now,” Brown said.

While Brown, Webb, and The Moores are fairly new on the food truck scene, Darryl King at Riteway Catering Co. is a veteran in the game.

“I actually moved in the valley 24 years ago to do street food and they (the counties) were not allowin’ it,” King said.

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These are archived stories from Mesa Legend editions before Fall 2018. See article for corresponding author.

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