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Legendary Late-Night Eats

Article Published: Aug. 30, 2012 | Modified: Aug. 30, 2012
Legendary Late-Night Eats

Darren Ma, right, greets customers at The Hungry Unicorn’s food truck’s opening night Aug. 25.
Photos by Kate Smith

The Hungry Unicorn is not an escaped mythical creature or Lisa Frank cookbook.

It is shock value and vaguely associated to a family name and the newest moveable restaurant to greet downtown Boone.

Blaze Morrell and Darren Ma have received the permits required to park the Hungry Unicorn food truck in the parking lot off South Depot and Howard streets in downtown Boone. The truck will be serving from 9 p.m. until 3 a.m. every Friday and Saturday night.

On its first evening open on Aug. 25, the pale yellow lights of the trailer drew in many curious, giddy and hungry – or fourth meal seeking – customers.

The Hungry Unicorn’s logo of a rearing and unpredictably war-tense, muscled, white unicorn, breathing smoke and raging between two olive branches was painted by area artist Tommy Lee.

In February 2011, Morrell and Ma, both well acquainted with the restaurant business, decided to invest in the small white trailer.

“I love cooking, and Darren loves cooking, and we’ve always wanted to get involved as a small business,” Morrell said. “We figured a food truck would be awesome, and the Hungry Unicorn was born.”

The two claim to have had separate dreams about a unicorn, and Ma translates as “horse” in English.

“It’s different,” Julia Favorov said as she tried the Chinese pork fried rice on Saturday. “Oh, gosh, this is really good.”

Before parking downtown, the Hungry Unicorn set up as a concession stand at festivals like the Cleveland County Fair, Watauga County Farmers’ Market, Cherryville’s Cherry Blossom Festival, and the Boone Harvest Festival.

“It’s a lot different from fairs,” Morrell said. “We’ve already gotten a lot of local support tonight and are expecting to make some regulars.”

Asian food is the exclusive cuisine of the food truck, and, “We’ll change the menu with the seasons,” he said.

Both Morrell and Ma were winsome on opening night, laughing with customers, answering the same questions (“Yeah, we live here,” “No, this is our first night”), and urging them to try the “unicorn sauce” or “yum-yum sauce.”

“It’s been trying at times to have our own business,” Morrell said. “But we’re so glad we’ve stuck with it. This is great.”

Currently, their dishes are Chinese pork fried rice, Veggie Love, Beefmaster, Wok Chop and spicy tofu, ranging from $5 to $8 and served in black and white to-go boxes.

Many of the recipes are inherited from Ma’s mother, Thanh Ma.

“We’re working toward the point where we use all local produce,” Morrell said, who currently orders vegetables from New River Organic in Hickory. “We’re open to all possibilities and suggestions.”

Eventually, the duo hopes to rent a small storefront and establish a restaurant.

“It’d be more elaborate, fine food,” Morrell said. “It’s definitely something we’ve been thinking ahead toward, but we’re so excited about where we’re at right now. We want to provide a service that people don’t already have. There’s no reason to go anywhere else.”

For more information, visit the Hungry Unicorn’s page on Facebook.

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