October 24, 2014

New food truck opens

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Owner Mark Austin (left) and cook Joe Taylor pose for a photo at Take-A-Bite, a new food truck that opened earlier this month on Industrial Avenue. (Observer photo by Heleigh Bostwick)

Owner Mark Austin (left) and cook Joe Taylor pose for a photo at Take-A-Bite, a new food truck that opened earlier this month on Industrial Avenue. (Observer photo by Heleigh Bostwick)

By Heleigh Bostwick
Observer correspondent

There’s a new lunch truck in town.
Located behind the Sears Home Store at the confluence of Industrial Avenue and Williston Road, Take a Bite! opened two weeks ago and features an impressive lunch menu—from cheeseburgers and chicken Caesar salad to tuna salad, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and the Michigan hot dog made famous by Tim’s Snack Shack, which closed in 2009.
Austin purchased the Tim’s Snack Shack trailer and moved it to the 48 Industrial Avenue location. His wife, Taryn, came up with the catchy name.
“It’s affordable and priced for people who want a decent meal on the run,” he said.
Specifically designed as a food truck, the trailer is painted dark grey, but a paint job is in the works.
“I might paint it lime green to make it stand out,” Austin joked, referring to the truck’s location at the back of the Sears lot and the lack of formal signage on both Williston Road and Industrial Avenue.
“A-frame signs need a special permit from the town,” he explained. “I’m in the process of obtaining it now.”
Business has been good so far with a steady stream of customers.
“We’ve had people from the state offices over on Industrial Avenue already come by and pick up menus,” he said. “It’s a great spot for a lunch truck, quite a nice place actually—off the beaten path, no dust, no grime, with a bit of privacy.”
Some people prefer to stay and eat their meal at one of the two picnic tables adorned with red and white striped umbrellas.
“It’s not gourmet dining, but we try to make it a nice experience,” he said. “We’re adding flower boxes and hanging baskets in a few weeks.” Austin hired experienced cook Joe Taylor, but spends quite a bit of his day helping Taylor out “just to make his life easier,” he said.
“We hand cut our fries every day, so there’s a lot to be done,” he said.
Although Take a Bite! already offers an extensive array of lunch items, they’re open to suggestions.
“We’ve had several requests for wraps, so we may keep some on hand,” he said.
Austin, a South African native who arrived in Vermont 22 years ago as a granite trader, bought the Sears store last September, and also owns the business, Upon This Rock, which sells granite countertops.
He admits he’s never run a lunch truck before, but was a frequent customer at Tim’s Snack Shack, whose owner gave him what he says is the original Michigan hot dog sauce recipe (and closely guarded secret) from Charlie’s Red Hots, a Mallett’s Bay hot dog establishment that has long since closed.
Take a Bite! joins Zuppa duppa, the bright yellow snack bar parked in the lot at the Champlain Oil Company gas station off Industrial Avenue, in offering reasonably priced lunchtime fare for local employees.
“There are enough people working in the area to support two of these carts,” Take a Bite! owner, Mark Austin said. “There’s room enough for both of us.”
Take a Bite!, located at 48 Industrial Avenue, is open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., but may extend its hours to Saturday if business picks up. It takes credit cards and delivers. The phone number is 999-4704.
“Come by and try it,” Austin said. “I’m sure you’ll like it.”

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