by Meryl Pearlstein
Sure, food trucks help diners stretch dollars during these tough times, and appeal to today’s social-networked consumer. But for larger companies, they can also serve as billboards for a brand and serve as test outlets for brick-and-mortar restaurants. In New York City, the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck — one of GAYOT.com’s Top 10 Food Trucks in NYC — proved so successful that the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop opened in the East Village. Another entry on the list, Schnitzel and Things, opened a non-mobile version in Midtown, while GO Burger has opened three locations from coast to coast!
Big Gay Ice Cream Shop: The East Village recently welcomed the arrival of “Bea Arthur” and the “Salty Pimp,” favorites from Doug Quint and Bryan Petroff’s Big Gay Ice Cream Truck, at their new Big Gay Ice Cream Shop. Under the watchful eye of the shop’s pink unicorn, the shop is a dream-come-true for the two founders, giving them more space to create soft-serve ice cream cones, cups, sundaes, sandwiches and shakes, all with an even greater selection of creative toppings.
Schnitzel and Things: It’s gotten easier to navigate the assembly line of Austrian comfort food in this storefront setting. Here’s where you can create your favorite sandwich combination of veal, chicken, or cod schnitzel. Or go for that Bratwurst you’ve been dying for, now made “healthy” with side salads like Austrian potato salad and roasted beet and feta salad.
GO Burger: The GO Burger truck, which started rolling in 2010, has had such success with its burgers and shakes that it opened three brick-and-mortar stores in New York and Los Angeles. GO Burger, owned by ESquared Hospitality (the parent company to BLT Restaurant Group), incorporates favorites from BLT Burger and the GO Burger truck, along with new specialties such as the UltiMELT and the Smashed Burger. The all-Kobe beef hot dog still remains a menu favorite along with the Vidalia onion rings and duck fat fries. The shop first opened in January 2011 in Los Angeles, and then the concept moved east with a second location on the Upper East Side in February and a third in June.
But not all such transitions go smoothly. Cupcake Stop also tried the storefront model at the Limelight Marketplace. Not only did they close their shop, but the entire Marketplace located in the former church closed soon after. They’re currently trying a fixed bakery in Montclair, New Jersey, and hope to open at the Staten Island Mall. Stay tuned!
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