Article Published: Sep. 6, 2012 | Modified: Sep. 6, 2012
Just when we thought Boone couldn’t get any cooler, a second mobile café has officially created a food truck culture.
For almost a year, Garrett Atkinson and Hunter Hallmark have been getting permits, outfitting their truck, creating their website and making plans to open The Feastie Boys, their gourmet food truck.
With a special burger menu set for their opening day this Saturday, Sept. 8, the two friends fulfill a long-term wish to come back to their hometown and create a custom business.
They both grew up in Boone and graduated from Watauga High School in 2002, but went to college elsewhere. Hallmark got a culinary degree from the Art Institute of Charlotte and is a former Fire on the Rock champion, while Atkinson studied economics and management and society at UNC Chapel Hill. They were looking for a way to come back to Boone and decided starting their own business was the thing to do.
“We talked originally about a restaurant, but we started paying attention to reducing the overhead,” Hallmark said.
When they pursued registering a food truck, obtaining permits from the town was tricky. “It’s a new concept of business,” Hallmark said.
At first, the town representatives expressed concern that a food truck would take business away from the bricks-and-mortar restaurants, but the two friends think of their competition as nearby chain restaurants rather than the local businesses. They’ve painted their truck in a black-and-white cement-block design as a nod to local establishments without wheels.
Hallmark and Atkinson are open to suggestions for dishes, emphasizing their culinary flexibility and their desire for customer feedback. “We’re going to do specials every week,” Atkinson said.
Hallmark added, “We have a flexible menu to reflect seasons, trends.”
They have an interactive website where they invite visitors to describe the kind of meals they’d like to see from Feastie Boys and to describe which food truck meals have been their favorites.
The Feastie Boys are also open to serving different kinds of events. “We call ourselves a gourmet food truck and catering solutions … we like to keep it casual, but have the ability to make it pretty high-end,” Hallmark said.
They’re catering a wedding this fall and have been booked for private dinner parties. They have also been talking to the organizers of the Watauga County Farmers’ Market about parking there during the market next year. “As long as we’re health inspected, we’re all set,” Hallmark said.
Atkinson and Hallmark buy their produce from the local New River Organic Growers cooperative and would eventually like to use local beef and pork. They work hard to make their flavors unique by making even sauces and seasonings from scratch.
“We have an army of food purveyors,” Hallmark said. “We want to use as much local influence from everybody. We want to use as much local produce as we can.”
The Feastie Boys’ distinctive truck will be by the Duck Pond this Saturday on the Appalachian State University campus, during the first ASU home football game of the season.
Customers can find menus, future locations and contact information at http://www.feastieboys.com,
follow their activities on Twitter at feastieboys@feastieboys1, and see pictures of their truck on Facebook.