Jason Ledford was out of the food-service industry for around a decade, but that didn't stop him and wife Allison from opening The Great Southern Food Truck (facebook.com/greatsouthernfoods) last Monday, Oct. 10. Jason, who has almost a decade of experience in the kitchen, comes from Atlanta; his mother owned catering companies in Georgia and Louisiana.
"We're picking up where his mother started and bringing Southern food out here to Colorado," says Allison.
She, like Jason, comes from the corporate world most recently; she's an operations manager for a data company, and he a logistics manager. She says that they were excited to start a business of their own. Earlier this year, they came up with the idea to start a food truck, echoing Jason's Southern roots.
"With all of the awesome breweries in Colorado Springs and their demand for food trucks, we figured there would be a calling," she says, "and it's really, really hard to deny the fact that Southern food is really tasty." She says their menu highlights include chicken and waffles, jambalaya, chili on a cornbread waffle, and fried Twinkies, to name a few.
"[There's] lots and lots of fried [items], but you can't be Southern without that," she says.
No business is without its false starts, though, and when they had their opening night at JAKs Brewery, their generator proved to be too small. Rather than pack up and go home, they cooked up what they could and gave it away for free.
"We're going to be getting a new generator and getting that fixed," says Allison. They plan to return to JAKs Brewery on Monday, Oct. 24, and they'll be serving at Banning Lewis Ranch Academy's Fall Fest on Friday, Nov. 4. Once the generator proves reliable, Allison says the truck will be announcing a swathe of future dates.
The Crazy train
Crazy Otto's Diner owner Jack Cox came up with the idea to start a food truck around a year ago. The diner was getting catering requests, and he decided it would be easier to have a dedicated mobile kitchen than to load and unload equipment. In March, he opened up The Food Train (crazyottoscs.com/foodtrain), and so far, the response has been good.
"We do a lot of corporate events," he says, noting that menus are set by clients. The Food Train has served everything from street tacos to cinnamon rolls, with green chile sloppers being a particularly popular item.
"We cater to what people request," says Cox. "If somebody wants something out of the ordinary, we'll make it happen." Cox usually has his client build a list of possible menu items, which he files down to five or six he'll serve at the event.
"They choose one [vegetarian] item, normally, and the rest are up in the air," he says, adding that he does have gluten-free options available.