Food truck owners consider relocating to rest areas


By Sam Shriver - sshriver@limanews.com



Christian Montenegro makes a taco while working inside the Taco Movil food truck.

Christian Montenegro makes a taco while working inside the Taco Movil food truck.


Craig J. Orosz | The Lima News

Minerva Valdez cleans the outside of the Taco Movil food truck.

Minerva Valdez cleans the outside of the Taco Movil food truck.


Craig J. Orosz | The Lima News

Dulce Montenegro, far left, and Christian Montenegro prepare a meal while working inside the Taco Movil food truck.


Craig J. Orosz | The Lima News

LIMA — Daniel and Ashley Carnes own Fat Kid BBQ, a food truck that travels around the Lima area providing a menu of nine sandwiches to their customers.

Their specialty is their brisket and pulled pork.

The Carneses started their food truck business in 2017 and because of the new coronavirus pandemic, they’re struggling.

“We literally have had every last one of our customers that we had scheduled and booked through May cancel out and that really hurt us,” Daniel Carnes said.

But there have been other places that have stepped up to help the Carneses like the Pony Keg, Best One Tire, American Pawn, Stoops Freightliner, Procter & Gamble as well as S&S Volvo.

“We’re down around the 50-to-60% mark on sales from where we would normally be at this time of year,” Carnes said.

Dulce Montenegro owns Taco Movil. They run a food truck that specializes in authentic Mexican food. Their restaurant will be closing soon due to the pandemic.

Jessica Zarazua, Montenegro’s sister in law, helped translate when we spoke with her earlier this week.

“At the end of this month, they will have to leave the establishment they were in on North West Street. This month will be their last, but they will still be at different locations like Pony Keg after that until they can find somewhere to be established again,” Zarazua said. “They’re still debating what to do because with this whole thing going on they haven’t been able to make enough money to pay rent for the location.”

Last week, Gov. Mike DeWine announced he would allow food trucks to set up at Ohio’s rest areas. As of Tuesday, the Ohio Department of Transportation reported that 219 food trucks have signed up for a free permit to operate at the rest areas.

It’s something that Montenegro is going to take advantage of. On Monday she’ll begin operating her food truck at the northbound Interstate 75 rest area just north of Wapakoneta.

Nick Myers, a truck driver who drives for Nutrien is all for opening up the rest areas to the food trucks.

“It’d be nice if it was actually a regular thing. Because it’s hard to get a truck in and out of places and to be quite honest everybody gets tired of cold meat for lunch every day. It’s a big deal especially because like a lot of the little places we go quit carrying food because they were told they couldn’t have anything that wasn’t like prepackaged.”

Robyn King owns Over the Rainbow, a food truck that specializes in a variety of fresh-made sandwiches as well as casseroles and chicken salad.

It’s not her full-time job and she is struggling on whether to be out or not during the pandemic, expressing concern about exposing herself or others to the novel coronavirus if she were to locate at one of the rest areas.

“Is it more dangerous to be out there with potentially creating lines, working around money, having a lot of metal on board which the virus seems to attach itself to, you know money and metal — that’s the inside of my food truck,” King said.

King said they will remain closed until the pandemic is over.

Carnes doesn’t plan to set up at the rest areas, either.

“The Wapak Lucky Steer has a great thing going for the truckers that are traveling through the area down there and I don’t want to rain on their parade. As far as I know, they’ve had so many donations that they’re giving the truckers … food for free and I can’t go out and do food for free,” Carnes said.

Christian Montenegro makes a taco while working inside the Taco Movil food truck.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2020/04/web1_Taco-Movil_01co.jpgChristian Montenegro makes a taco while working inside the Taco Movil food truck. Craig J. Orosz | The Lima News
Minerva Valdez cleans the outside of the Taco Movil food truck.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2020/04/web1_Taco-Movil_02co.jpgMinerva Valdez cleans the outside of the Taco Movil food truck. Craig J. Orosz | The Lima News
Dulce Montenegro, far left, and Christian Montenegro prepare a meal while working inside the Taco Movil food truck.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2020/04/web1_Taco-Movil_03co.jpgDulce Montenegro, far left, and Christian Montenegro prepare a meal while working inside the Taco Movil food truck. Craig J. Orosz | The Lima News

By Sam Shriver

sshriver@limanews.com

Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.

Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.

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