Pandemic pushing rise of food trucks
ELKINS — The COVID-19 pandemic has altered many sections of our lives, including our dining habits. Many of us have rediscovered the joy of home cooking, but when you want to take a night off from slaving over a hot stove, in-restaurant dining or ordering take out and hitting the drive-thru window are no longer the only local options.
In Elkins, it seems food trucks have popped up in different locations all over town since the pandemic began.
Trucks for the 1863 Appalachian Bistro, Good Vittles and Company, Holy Smoke BBQ, Pap’s BBQ and The Old Fashioned Ice Cream and Milk Shake Factory have all been up and operational for weeks or more, giving residents a choice of something different each day of the week.
“Ever since the COVID-19 shutdown, we’ve had our truck up and running,” said 1863 Appalachian Bistro owner Mike Winn. “When everyone was closed down we had the truck going. It really kept the business alive and kept our employees working.”
Just this week a “food truck mall” popped up on North Randolph Avenue near the Division of Motor Vehicles building.
The vision of Elkins resident Jimmy Phillips, the mall opened on Monday with three trucks setting up shop — Shirley’s Steak and Sausage, Rex’s Calzone and Cinfully Amazing Cinnamon Rolls.
“I came up with the idea for a food truck mall two years ago,” Phillip said of his creation, Jimmy’z Food Truck Mall. “The reason I did it was because opening a restaurant takes so much capital. And with this, people have another option to get into the food business.
“The idea was on the radar and then when COVID-19 came along, it became even more important to get it running. It’s very easy to keep a food truck clean and sanitized, and there are a lot less touches of the food. Plus (customers) can just drive up and get your food very conveniently.”
Phillips has spaces open for additional trucks to hook up at the mall. The mall is open seven days a week, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The cost for a space is $150 per week.
The 1863 Appalachian Bistro’s truck is located in the restaurant’s parking lot across from Davis Memorial Hospital. Good Vittles and Company is downtown beside the Delmonte Hotel across from the Elkins Depot, while Holy Smoke is beside Seneca Satellite on the Beverly Five-lane just past Crazy Harry’s.
Pap’s is in the Elkins Industrial Park just down from Builder’s Supply and The Old Fashioned Ice Cream and MilkShake Factory is in the parking lot of Rent World USA, across the Beverly Five-lane from Elkins Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram.
“Since all the fairs and festivals got canceled, we decided to get the truck somewhere and get it opened,” said Old Fashioned Ice Cream and Milkshake Factory’s Joseph Schmidlen. “We’re locally owned from here in Elkins and we’ve been doing a truck around the state for the past 20 years.”