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Meals on wheels: Some of the food truck fare at Northglenn’s carnival

More than 80 trucks offer everything from barbecue to fusion to dessert

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Chuey Fu’s: Latin/Asian inspired offerings

Joseph Knonlich really just wanted to stop working for someone else and start doing his own thing. So, he combined two of his favorite cuisines to bring a fun, unique menu to the food truck scene.

Chuey Fu’s focuses on Latin Asian-inspired street food, offering Tacos, burritos, and rice bowls filled with Korean Beef paired with a Chipotle Aioli or Ancho Chili Chicken paired with a Sesame Peanut Sauce. Knonlich also pickles his own onions that go on everything, taking the flavors to another level.

Knonlich is proud of the fact that his food truck is still going strong after six years. With two brick-and-mortar locations and another scheduled to open downtown late summer, their growth is not stopping there.

The biggest challenge he’s have faced so far is getting the food truck up the mountain. They booked a couple weddings in the past and have had a hard slow time climbing the hill.

Knonlich advises new entrepreneurs to talk to others in the food truck community.

“We know each other and always have helpful info regarding events, licensing,” he said. “It’s hard to do it alone. I thank my staff for working hard and sticking it out with me throughout these years.”

For more information, visit them online at http://www.chueyfus.com, at Facebook at ChueyFUs, and @chueyfus on Twitter and Instagram. You can also contact them by email at Jordain@chueyfus.com and by phone at 720 505-6462.

Pavy’s Food Truck: The perfect bar food

Joseph Pavlushik had been working in fine dining for his entire adult life when he decided he needed a change of pace from the classic kitchen environment.

“I knew I was at a point in my career where I wanted to make food that I loved and felt passionate about, so I decided to start my own business,” Pavlushnik said. “I came up with my sandwich concept pretty early in process. They’re as complex as you want them to be. They’re perfect bar food. I could offer unique flavors in each sandwich and the only rule was that it had to fit between two pieces of bread!”

Pavy’s offers gourmet, made-to-order hot sandwiches and house-seasoned tater tots.

Their best-selling Steak Sandwich offers prime cuts of steak piled atop a fresh Ciabatta roll that has been spread with creamy horseradish sauce. They advise customers to indulge themselves with their cheddar and bacon covered tater tot.

The company recently rebranded and upgraded.

“When we first started the business, we were running out of an open air, hand-welded, little cart.” Pavlushnik said. “ It was definitely something to be seen and we really had to bundle up in the winter.”

They’ve since converted to a brand new, commercially-equipped, trailer.

“During that same time we redesigned our logo to fit our new and improved food truck,” Pavlushnik said.

Over the years, the truck has endured it’s share of bad luck. One time the crew opened the doors to the food truck in the morning only to see that cold oil from the fryer has leaked all over the floors. They’ve also learned from the times they forgot the cash box at home or neglected to charge their iPad.

He recommends budgeting conservatively.

“Things are always breaking in food trucks, you forget you didn’t book that big event you planned to, or [you’re a victim to the elements and it] is a particularly harsh winter, so it always helps to have a little nest egg to fall back on.”

He also recommends cultivating a good relationship with other food trucks.

“Make friends with other trucks at events you do, join facebook groups, join a commissary, and get to know the other food truck owners,” he said. “It pays to have friends in the business and it doesn’t hurt to have a group of people who know just what you’re going through.”

For more information on Pavy’s Food Truck visit them online at www.pavystruck.com, Facebook at PavysTruck and @PavysTruck on Twitter and Instagram. You can also email at joe@pavystruck.com or call 712 251-2169.

Comforts of Home: Panininis, egg creams and soft serve

Rae Ann DeCuio wasn’t necessarily expecting to open a food truck, but as she was looking for a vehicle to help with catering, food trucks just kept coming up.

So, she looked at a few and decided on the truck they purchased, which has a panini grill and soft serve ice cream machine in it.

Comforts of Home offers gourmet panini sandwiches and soft serve Flavor Burst ice cream. They make all of their paninis to order when the customer comes to the window and offer only fresh food. All of their sauces are made in house.

Their Cubano is the most popular panini, with their own twist: Using a house made mustard aioli, shredded pork, thick-cut bacon, Swiss cheese, sweet and spicy pickles, it evolves into a panini on a ciabatta roll.

“Some might think, it’s just a sandwich, but those are the ones that come back to the window and say, `Wow,’” she said. “In the winter, we offer various soups and switch it up in the summer to offer salads. We also offer lattes, espresso, and chai lattes. We have many specialty beverages as well. We offer handcrafted soda and egg creams.”

All in all, DeCuio has had a great deal of success with her truck.

“We are starting our third season and we know it’s going to be better than the last,” she said. “We plan on continuing to run the food truck for a long time. It’s great to get out and see new customers and have a different location all season. We don’t have to sit in a brick-and-mortar staring at the same parking lot day in and day out. I have great employees that make running the truck fun and take great pride in our image and food. I have been very lucky with finding a great staff.”

For more information, visit www.comfortsofhomellc.com or www.facebook.com/thecomfortsofhome. You can email them at radecuio@q.com or by phone at 720 333-1413.

Taco Bron: It begins with the guacamole

Jonathan Tejada’s Taco Bron began years ago, in his high school, with his own recipe.

“I brought a big container of my homemade guacamole for lunch,” Tejada’ said. “My friends wanted to try it, so I gave them some. I ended up sharing this guacamole with the whole class and none of them could get enough of the guac I had brought that day. They loved it so much that one of my friends told me I should sell it, as a joke.”

What he thought was just a joke ended up pushing Tejada to start selling his guacamole around school. He ended up being very successful with his guacamole and taking it mobile was logical.

“Selling guacamole was just the first step; I knew I wanted to do a food truck because of my experience in the kitchen with my family,” he said. “Everyone in my family cooks and we are always perfecting our recipes. Why not make a food truck where I can enjoy cooking and share that with other people?”.

It wasn’t always easy, but it’s worth it.

“It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get it up and running. Just being able to serve the food I love making, to people willing to eat it, is enough to keep me going,” Tejada said.

The most unique part of Taco Bron is their tacos.

“Taco Bron has some of the best tacos you’ll ever dip in your salsa. Our menu includes a variety of different tacos and other signature Mexican Dishes,” Tejada said.

He’s had to work equally hard on getting the word out, he said.

“You can have an awesome looking truck, the best food in Colorado and more, but if you don’t work on your following and creating good relationships with your customers then it won’t make a difference,” Tejada said.

Tejada said it’s important for food truck owners to work together - and just as key to take work when you get it.

“No gig is too small when you are starting out,” he said. “It may seem not worth it to go to a small venue and just serve 35-50 people, but don’t forget the best method of advertisement is word-of-mouth. People talk if you provide awesome food and service.”

For more information, visit them online at www.eltacobron.com and eltacobron on Facebook. They are @eltacobron on Twitter and Instagram, and can be emailed at tacosbron@gmail.com or called 303 330-7029.

Sweet Penelope’z BBQ: Constructing good food

Max Cochran and Dana Cotter started Sweet Penelope’z BBQ and Catering with an idea in 2013.

“My modular construction business was making an old man of me,” Cochran said. “Thirty-three years of body wrecking work was taking its toll.”

Everyone agreed, however, that he was a master of smoked meats

“At that time, I had been smoking meat for 13 years and had a growing group of satisfied family, friends, and friends of friends,” Cochran said.

At the same time Dana, recently widowed and facing injuries from an accident, needed to find a way to make a living. She’d been cooking and baking since she was a 10-years-old and had exceptional skills, he said.

“The reality of life and our many years of friendship seemed to push us in the direction of a food trailer,” Cochran said.

The journey has evolved by testing out hypotheses.

“We tested the water by catering some small events and winning a couple of BBQ contests,” Cochran said.

They purchased and picked up their trailer in 2015 and began their first gig as Sweet Penelope’z BBQ and Catering just after Thanksgiving that year.

“The only thing we knew about the food business was eating and it showed in the first months,” he said.

Sweet Penelope’z does not offer the conventional BBQ menu.

For festivals, they have their “Award Winning” Pulled Pork Sandwiches, Pulled Pork Tacos with their homemade sauce and Pulled Pork Loaded Grilled Cheese that is popular with customers.

In addition, they offer Green Chili Fries, Chicken Nuggets, onion rings, and homemade chips and desserts.

For more information, www.sweetpenelopezbbqandcatering.com or Sweetpzbbq on Facebook. On Twitter and Instagram, they are @Sweet_pz_bbq and their email address is sweetpenelopesbbq@gmail.com. Their phone number 303 655-9888.

Funnels: A carnival all year

Steven Seidel said the origins of Funnels food truck began where we normally find funnel cakes, that is, in a carnival atmosphere.

“It all started on a summer evening in 2008 at a Colorado racetrack,” Seidel said. “The sweet smell of funnel cakes filled the air.”

He, his daughter and her friend braved the long line for the warm, powdered-sugar treat, and he began wondering about them.

“Several thoughts entered my mind,” he said. “Why is it that you can only get a funnel cake at a festival, fair, or sporting venue? What if we could top a funnel cake our own way with fresh fruits, glazes, or toppings?”

“We’ve also been very fortunate to be featured on Fox 31 a couple times and our Food Truck won Best Food Truck in Denver in a 2014 contest on KOA radio,” Seidel said.

Funnels is considered “Denver’s First Gourmet Funnel Cake Restaurant” and their motto is “Fun Food, Fun People, Fun Place!”

In addition to the traditional crispy-friend confection, they serve Gourmet Funnel Cakes, Funnel Fries, Bacon Fries, ice cream and other delicious treats like The Fundae.

Locally owned and operated, Funnels also has a brick-and-mortar The Shops at Northfield Stapleton. The Funnels Food Truck caters at festivals, community events, weddings, company events, and private parties in the Denver Metro Area.

“Staffing is the biggest challenge and the many maintenance challenges that come with an older, larger vehicle,” Seidel said.

Minding the small matters pays off, he said.

“Pay attention to the details,” he said. “Keep it fun, stay focused on the little details, and bigger things will fall into place.”

For more information, visit www.funwithfunnels.com, or Funwithfunnels on Facebook and Instagram. They are @funnels1 on Twitter and get email at sseidel@funwithfunnels.com. The store’s phone number is 720 339-3218.

Taste of Texas BBQ: Going mobile

Bruce and May Washington started BMW Catering LLC 17 years ago, with the coming together of two hearts with a passion for cooking and serving others.

But barbecue just took over, and now they do business as Taste of Texas BBQ.

“We joined the food truck community in 2012,” Bruce Washington said. “We enjoy being mobile, catering, and vending at different festivals and events all over the State and beyond.”

The Washingtons specialize in Texas style barbecue. Their meats are smoked using their own dry rub, cooking them low and slow with charcoal and mesquite wood.

Along with the BBQ entrees, their sides are seasoned and cooked with a Southern flair.

The best thing they appreciate about their business is being referred by sponsors and coordinators of different events, to travel further and be involved in festivals in Telluride, Grand Junction and Albuquerque, New Mexico.

“Our biggest challenge has been getting people to see us as a food truck,” he said. “We are licensed as a mobile unit, like other food trucks, but we use two trailers. Our winter trailer is an enclosed, complete kitchen. Our warm weather unit is a custom built 23’ smoker that is a hot holding unit, which can hold more food than the kitchen or any traditional food truck.”

For more information, visit them online at www.totbbq.com, http://www.tasteoftexas-bbq.com/food, and www.facebook.com/totbbq. They are @taste_texas on Twitter. You can email them at eat@totbbq.com or call 720 233-4591.

The Dumpling Deli: Gourmet fillings fried inside

The concept of The Dumpling Deli was inspired by Nick LaPanse and a close friend in culinary schoo,l years back.

“At the time dumplings were becoming a craze and well, who doesn’t love sandwiches?” LaPanse said. “So, putting together the up-and-coming dumpling craze and one of the best sides of the culinary world sounded like the right thing to do.”

After a couple of years of letting the idea settle in his mind, LaPanse decided to take the leap, follow his passion, and create his dumpling truck known as “The Dumpling Deli”

The Dumpling Deli specializes in fried dumplings with gourmet sandwich fillings inside, which hasn’t disappointed his customers.

“The incredible positive responses and the outreach people have on wanting my dumplings is humbling and yet inspiring,” LaPanse said.

LaPanse, too, said the business requires hard work and solid networking.

“Make friends with fellow food truckers and most importantly be ready for the financial expense side of it all,” LaPanse said. “Stay humble and understand you will take your blows from time to time but keep working at it no matter the blow. Make sure to put your love into your business and everything that intertwines within it.”

For more information, visit http://thedumplingdeli.com. They are thedumplingdeli on Facebook and Instagram and @thedumplingdeli on Twitter. Their email is thedumplingdeli@gmail.com and their phone number is 303 908-7576.

Lucky Mary’s Baking Company: Baking as art

Carol Mele-Norton has a huge passion for art, so when she noticed the Denver Metro area was lacking in a diverse one-stop-shop for all things dessert, Lucky Mary’s Baking Company was born.

Lucky Mary’s makes wide range of confections. From custom decorated wedding and occasion cakes to cupcakes, ice cream, and made-to-order ice cream sandwiches. There are multple options for those, she said, from the cookie sandwiches to ice cream sandwiches made from brownies, funnel cakes, churros, doughnuts and cinnamon roll.

They also specialize in ice cream nachos, floats, cannolis, and macarons to all things fried like funnel cakes, fried oreos, fried twinkies, fried snickers, fried cookie dough, fried cheesecake, and fried oatmeal cream pies.

They have won multiple awards for their desserts and Mele-Norton said she loves connecting with all the amazing people who have chosen their delicious desserts.

The biggest challenge in running the food truck is maintaining their constant full schedule and continuing to feed the masses. She suggested trying the business before investing full-time.

“Work on someone else’s food truck first, and make sure you bring something unique to the table. It’s extremely hard work yet very rewarding.” Mele-Norton said.

For more information, visit them online at www.facebook.com/luckymarys and at www.instagram.com/luckymarysbakingcompany. On Twitter, they are @luckymarys. Reach them via email at luckymarysbakingcompany@gmail.com or by phone at 303 895-0343.

Lomito Gourmet: A mix of flavors

Peruvian-American chef Andrew Diaz born in Denver, to travel to Peru and study Peruvian culinary arts and learn the culture’s unique invention.

“Our food is a mixture of Japanese, French, American, and more that combines flavors you will not find elsewhere,” Diaz said. “It’s not something you can get like Mexican food.”

Diaz said the food combines fresh ingredients in unique combinations rarely found here in the US.

For example, Lomo Saltodo, their best seller, is a traditional Peruvian dish served with marinated steak, onions, tomatoes and fries served on a bed of rice.

Their Ceviche Mixto has been ranked the best in the state. A dish made with white fish, shrimp, calamari and octopus marinated with limes, onions, spicy Peruvian peppers and cilantro and served with Peruvian corn and sweet potatoes.

He’s looking for a brick-and-mortar location to give his business a year-round hook.

“Shutting down for a couple of months of the year and having our customers wanting the food year round is tough,” Diaz said.

It’s worth it, however.

“This is my third business that I’ve tried and I’ve learned from those experiences in other industries so that I make sure I don’t make the same mistakes [here],” Diaz said. “Do everything with a passion and do it right. Don’t go the cheap route. Give your customers the best experience that you can. Do it right the first time and don’t cut corners on food quality, so that they come back for more.”

For more information, visit them online at www.lomitogourmet.com and www.facebook.com/lomitogourmetdenver.

On Twitter and Instagram they are @lomitogourmet and their email is andrew@lomitogourmet.com. The phone number is 303 931-0045.

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