You see, the opportunity to open at Kruger's first arose just two days before we actually began cooking, when Dylan from Captured by Porches Brewing Company contacted me to see if I could get the truck ready fast enough to open alongside his mobile ale van (yes, you read that right...mobile ale van!). Eager for the opportunity to cook, I scrambled like a mad man to get my truck ready for service, and with the help of loved ones I was able to get the truck open just as the taps on Dylan's van were being connected. What I had originally thought was going to be a weekend-only engagement turned out to be an everyday gig, and for the last ten days I've happily been flipping cheeseburgers (and vegan cheeseburgers) on the same North Portland street where we closed our cafe almost six months ago. I'm taking the day off today in effort to refuel, prep, and try to keep y'all informed as to just what heck has been going on around here.
What is Lucy's Original?
Lucy's Original is a roving food truck that serves inside-out cheeseburgers.
It's not the LRBC, and I know many of you out there may have been wishing for a food truck based on the dishes you grew to love at our former cafe. Lucy's Original is a food truck that offers yours truly an opportunity to continue doing one of the things I love most, cooking for others, while simultaneously providing a new direction for growth within the local food industry. The birth of Lucy's Original does not signal the ultimate death of the LRBC. In choosing to develop a new food concept we maintain hopeful that somewhere, someday, the LRBC might be reborn. Rest assured that for the time being the LRBC Recipe Bible rests safely on a shelf above the kitchen counter in our home. Perhaps one day it will be taken down and dusted off in preparation for a new restaurant endeavor, but until that day comes, I encourage you to get out there and eat some cheeseburgers.
What is an "inside-out cheeseburger?"
An "inside-out cheeseburger" is a cheeseburger where the meat patty has been stuffed with cheese. The result is that the cheese melts as the patty is cooked, and eventually it is released onto your taste buds like hellfire when you sink your teeth into that first bite. The idea of the inside out cheeseburger comes from the Jucy Lucy (not misspelled), the original inside out cheeseburger which hails from Minneapolis, MN.
Why a truck? Why cheeseburgers?
The journey in which we went from closing our cafe to opening a mobile food truck serving cheeseburgers was a long one. Thankfully requests for information from online magazines such as Thrillist and Willamette Week have forced me to try to recount how all this has materialized. If I hadn't been contacted by these organizations I probably wouldn't be able to make sense of it myself. Our love for truck food can be traced back a long way, and was taken to a whole new level from 2002-2004 when we often dined at a particular taco ruck that operated in Eagle Rock, a small section of Northern Los Angeles located between Glendale and Pasadena. Never in a million years would I have guessed back then, that someday I would be operating my own food truck, but that day has come and here I am.
After closing the cafe in June we eventually took some time off and did some travel. It was during this time that we were able to rekindle our mutual love for wandering, and subsequently we realized that somewhere inside, we both yearned to see more of the world. That said, travel costs money, and in effort to put ourselves in a position where we can comfortably travel for periods of time we knew that we had to get back to work and begin saving. In dreaming up ideas of what kind of work we could enter into, I continuously came back to the realization that nothing makes me happier than cooking for others, and working for myself. In consideration of future plans to travel we began to think more seriously about mobile food trucks as a viable means to re-enter the food business. In addition to the fact that they cost a fraction of the price to open as a small restaurant, should we some day wish to visit Guatemala for example, we could always take our food truck with us. Don't worry, we don't currently have plans to relocate to Guatemala, but the fact that food trucks offer so much possibility in terms of one's ability to relocate was a very appealing aspect of the mobile food business, and one that made it seem as though it might suit us perfectly.
Ultimately we wanted something that was ours. Based on our experience with the LRBC, we badly yearned to create something that we had control over, that couldn't be jeopardized or left behind. For now, the truck offers us that sense of ownership we so badly craved. We own a kitchen on wheels, and the truck's window functions as both a means with which we can connect with the world, as well as offering a window into our souls.
After we purchased our truck we began the process of trying to create a breakfast heavy menu to entice the good people of Portland. As time passed, we felt as though we were simply creating an alternate version of the LRBC, and we began to worry that serving breakfast, but not serving favorite recipes from the cafe, could prove problematic on many levels. Similarly we grew weary of the idea of serving breakfast out of a truck in a city where it rains nine months out of the year. Quickly our focus shifted towards dinner. The idea of serving cheeseburgers, and specifically cheeseburgers inspired by the famous Jucy Lucy, grew from a conversation we had while on a road trip to Central Oregon. The Jucy Lucy entered the debate probably as a result of the fact that we have many friends now living in Portland who moved here from Minneapolis, not to mention the fact that with its bike-loving populace, and penchant for indie-rock, we've always felt that Minneapolis is Portland's separated-at-birth sister city. Our logic was simple: if the Jucy Lucy had become iconic in Minneapolis then Portland should also fall in love with this unique cheeseburger. After doing some research we were surprised to discover that no restaurant in Portland (to our knowledge) serves a Jucy Lucy. We wanted to be the first. The original. The rest, as they say, is history.
How can you find Lucy's Original?
Given that "Lucy" is a roving food truck, the best way to track us down is on Twitter. You can find Lucy's Original on Twitter at twitter.com/LucysOriginal.
Plans for the future are subject to change. I've had a wonderful ten days at Kruger's, and I'd be delighted to be able to operate there in the future. I plan to continue to operate there (7316 N Lombard St, 97203) this Tuesday through Friday (12/21-24) from 12:00pm-8:00pm, closed for Christmas Day, and open again this coming Sunday (12/26).
Next Monday through Friday (12/27-31) the truck will move to a triangular shaped parking lot outside the Leftbank Building, located at 240 N Broadway, 97227 near the Rose Quarter.
Dates and times are subject to change so check us out on Twitter for the latest news and updates.