New England feeling the food truck trend

The expansion of the food truck has turned into a nation wide phenomenon. With demand forcing new businesses to ‘one-up’ the next guy, the truck designs have become more elaborate and the food options more specialized.

Siam Thai Truck 2 (RGB)

Posted July 11, 2014

By COLE BENZ | Herald Editor | cbenz@countrymedia.net

The expansion of the food truck has turned into a nation wide phenomenon. With demand forcing new businesses to ‘one-up’ the next guy, the truck designs have become more elaborate and the food options more specialized.

The entertainment industry has even maximized the popularity, with the Food Network’s Tyler Florence hosting the show ‘The Great Food Truck Race’. The show travels from city to city as each group competitively cooks for the chance at winning their own food truck business, making a stop in Rapid City last season.

Cousins Maine Lobster, a food truck business featuring lobster cuisines, even made a successful pitch on the hit investment show ‘Shark Tank’, securing a deal with Barbara Corcoran.

Though the food truck craze started and expanded in cities like San Francisco, Portland, Chicago and Los Angeles, it has made its way to the frontier of North Dakota.

Opening Wednesday, July 2, Siam Thai is serving the community of New England authentic Thai food dishes.

Siam Thai, located across from Country Style on 8th Street in New England, offers a menu full of different options. Phad Thai, and Drunken Noodles can be supplemented with Egg Rolls, Wontons, and Fried Rice. Siam Thai even offers a variety of different Curry dishes to choose from.

The new food truck is actually an expansion of a current restaurant operating out of Billings, Mont. Thawee ‘Nit’ Williams is the proprietor of Siam Thai, a store front restaurant she has run for the past 13 years, after her husband retired as an employee with the state department.

Williams had intentions of expanding the business, but after an initial interest from another party in Williston dissolved, she was back to square one.

June Gardner, a resident of New England, had been serving her home cooked egg rolls and wontons for special occasions around the area in the past. This led to Siam Thai’s expansion in New England.

Gardner and Williams conversed and Gardner mentioned that many of the residents in New England like the food she cooks. Since there were no other Thai restaurants to compete with, they decided it would be a good time to get the expansion going.

They decided on the food truck instead of a restaurant because they want to keep things simple and they just enjoy cooking for the citizens. According to Williams, the purpose of this venture is not specifically to make money, but to have fun and enjoy sharing with the community.

“Money (is) not important, the friendship is important,” Williams said.

Gardner, having already shared wontons and egg rolls with the community, is “very excited” to be able to expand.

Assisting with the business is Williams’ brother-in-law Bob Gardner, who said a great part of this venture is that they will cook the food to the liking of the customers.

“If somebody doesn’t like spicy (food), no problem,” Bob Gardner said. “If you want it American style, no problem.”

Business has been steadily busy. They have even had repeat customers.

“Sometimes, in one day,” Bob Gardner said.

At this point they are not going to get a store front, they want to keep it simple and using a small unit like the food truck allows them to do that.

“Right now we just want to do (it) for fun,” Williams said.

The New England area may not have the population density big cities have, but that hasn’t stopped another food truck from being successful in the area.

Tony’s, which serves authentic Mexican dishes, is beginning its second year of business in the community of Bowman, N.D. Tony’s is just another example of how the popular trend isn’t relegated only to big cities.

The mobility of the stand allowed it to even make an appearance in New England last year during the Wheat Harvest Festival.

Operating Monday through Friday, Siam Thai plans on being open until the weather gets cold.

The food truck business offers its patrons quick meal solutions without diminished quality. Prices are reasonably comparable to a store front restaurant, and gives customers the flexibility to sit outside or dine at home, a luxury the citizens of New England can take advantage of.

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