Bringing sustenance to the people; food carts, or mobile food units as they’re often called, can be a Godsend to festivals, construction sites and any other venue where people have a need for food. They’re convenient and usually the food is prepared onsite and hot and fresh when it’s ordered and received.
Tara Herrin and her family own Catfish Cabin in Boyle. Last August, Herrin made the decision to invest in a mobile food unit she lovingly calls “Liza Jane,” named after the Vince Gill hit.
“We bought a mobile unit back in August,” Herrin says. “It’s fully-equipped to be self-sufficient and has everything that a normal kitchen has in it. So, it is completely independent. We can go anywhere people need us to be and serve hot, fresh food.”
The mobile unit, which mainly serves the restaurant’s specialty, catfish, has been to several festivals, including the Bayou Academy Harvest Festival in November.
“It’s been very well-received,” Herrin says.
When they go “on-the-road” with the cart; it’s usually a family affair consisting of Herrin and her husband along with their daughter and a few of the restaurant staff.
As for the profitability of this endeavor, Herrin says so far she is pleased and excited with the possibilities.
“It really has been a good thing so far for business,” she says. “I’ve had people suggest to me that we should get more involved in the mobile part of our business. But being so new, I haven’t moved forward with anything but the festivals right now. However, I have thought about other venues, like the factories. Of course, I’ll have to look into city ordinances and see if we’re allowed to go to those types of settings. It’s just something I’m thinking about and need to check into further.”
Herrin adds that she’d actually had the idea of a mobile food unit in her mind for several years.
“I had been thinking about it for quite some time,” she says, “but I put it on the backburner. Then we had a call to do a big catering for 400 people and that just sort of got my wheels turning again. And it just progressed from there. We began to really look into it. And you see a lot of the food truck business on TV and hear about it everywhere. So, we just went with it and gave it a shot.”
The mobile unit has two fryers and a flattop grill, a steam table and a three compartment sink. “It’s fully-equipped,” Herrin says. “And the food is always fresh because we cook it onsite.” The menu on the mobile unit is a bit different from the restaurant and the prices vary as well.
“What we do on the food cart is different,” she says. “It usually depends on where we’re going as to what we serve. Catfish is always the main thing that we have, in some capacity or the other, such as a catfish basket. But we have served other things like when we did Bayou’s Harvest Festival; we did corn dogs and pizza sticks along with the catfish. There we did more concession-type food. We’ve also had fried pies in the past. And we have sweet and unsweetened tea and bottled water. But catfish will always be our main dish.”
Herrin says there is no schedule-in-stone for the mobile cart, and they’re ready and willing to take on any event. “We can do corporate events, church events, such as family reunions; just anything people have a need for,” she says. For rental information contact Tara Herrin at (662) 846-0004.
Angela Rogalski is a HottyToddy.com staff reporter and can be reached at email@example.com. Originally published in Delta Business Journal, photography by Courtney Dean