As the popularity of food trucks grows, Bartlesville residents don’t have to wait for their favorite festival or event to sample out-of-the-ordinary snacks, meals and sweets.
In many cases, they can just walk to the nearest curb.
Yvette Thompson and her husband, Terry, began operating a food truck as a part-time business in 2000 when the idea was new around Oklahoma.
The couple is now on their third trailer — bigger and better — and have adopted a new name for the business, Prairie Fire Grille & Catering Mobile Restaurant. They also have help so they can continue to work full-time jobs.
The endeavor began with appearances at festivals and catering events.
“I’ve noticed growth over the past few years,” Yvette Thompson said. “Everyone wants to get into it.”
Area towns are scheduling food truck days every week to once a month.
Prairie’s menu is “Anything you want” in the form of American, Italian, Mexican and Asian food selections.
“Maybe not everything, but I try,” Thompson said.
Philly steak sandwiches, Cajun catfish, chicken sandwiches and hand-cut fries are popular items from the menu.
Luckily, the Thompsons have never had to extinguish a blaze in the trailer, but they have worked through a tornado. At one event in Eufaula, her husband performed CPR on a man struck by lightning, Yvette said.
They have served old and young, as well as some famous people.
“We’ve met some interesting, fun people. It’s a lot of work but it’s gratifying,” she said.
“We get a lot of people who say, I want to buy a food truck. I tell them not to quit their day job.”
Through trial and error, the Thompsons have learned a lot about preparing many food items in a short amount of time.
“If you can be ready and prep as much as possible,” she said, pointing out that their food is always fresh.
Travis and Meghan Yoder, owners of The Local Juice Company, moved to the area from Lexington, Kentucky, where they said food trucks were prevalent.
“By the time we had left, about half of the food trucks had turned into brick and mortars,” Travis Yoder said.
Food trucks not only allow people to diversify their daily food choices, they can help potential restaurant owners experiment before opening a permanent location, Yoder said.
The couple make their own products and run the business, and they also pedal nutritious drinks all over Bartlesville.
They said the delivery bike symbolizes another component of a healthy lifestyle: exercise.
The Yoders arrive at their local store to start pressing fruit for offerings such as fruit juices, smoothies and smoothie bowls. Bright and Early, Two Roots and a Fruit, Green Island Getaway, Watermelon Lime Juice and Coffee Date are some of the most popular drinks, they said.
Yoder said he and his wife take turns pedaling throughout Bartlesville.
“It’s so fun,” he said. “The bike has seven speeds; it’s great.”
A week ago, they started selling fruit juice, smoothies and snacks from the cart of their bike.
“We’ve had a great response and a lot of people love the bike,” he said.
The bike is also the company’s logo, and the nutrition café on wheels allows more residents to experience diversity and intake more nutritious foods and drinks, Yoder said.
“Nourishing Bartlesville is our passion,” he said.
Chris Barnhill with Shorties had always worked in the food industry, so it just seemed natural for him to serve food from a truck. It allows Shorties to offer customers a choice in how they enjoy the food, through the food truck or the brick-and-mortar location.
Some of his casual take-out dishes revolve around burgers or tacos. Another spin-off is a fried chicken sandwich with grilled cheese sandwiches for the top and bottom.
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