By Michael Turton
Michelle McGuire is the owner of Michelle’s Roadside Kitchen, a food truck that opened on June 22 in the parking lot of the Countryside Motel on Route 9. She and her husband John, a plumber, live up the road, in Fishkill, although their driveway is in Philipstown.
What led you to the food-truck business?
I’ve worked with food for more than 30 years, and on the business side I worked in banking for 10 years. A friend and I had a restaurant in Westchester County. I also cooked at Marist College and for the Putnam County seniors. Owning a food truck has been a dream of mine. I like to make people happy, see them smile. I want them to enjoy eating my food.
How did you end up with this truck?
It’s a 1988 Grumman-Olson Kurbmaster that had been a bread truck in Norwalk, Connecticut. It has more than 200,000 miles on it but the motor is brand-new. My husband and son bought it bare-bones in 2017 and gave it to me for my birthday. “Here’s your food truck!” John sold his midlife-crisis Harley to help pay the costs of outfitting it. We put about $70,000 into it.
There’s a full-size refrigerator, full-size freezer, a double sink, full-size oven, a griddle, two burners, a steam unit, a 50-pound deep fryer and a milkshake machine.
What was the menu for Day One?
Sabretts hot dogs have been the biggest seller, and onion rings; I’ve gone through six bags and my son said we wouldn’t sell any! We also have sausage and peppers, chorizo tacos, fried green beans with Parmesan cheese and chicken nuggets. I plan to get into more vegetarian foods, salads, veggie tacos and a “burger laying on the grass” — a hamburger using lettuce as the bun. I also want to work in breakfast; there aren’t that many places around Cold Spring to get breakfast on the run.
What challenges should would-be food truck owners be aware of?
The preparation it took to get it here. It’s time consuming, preparing the truck and getting ready to sell food. I had to go to school at the Putnam County Health Department. There are permits required from the county and Philipstown. There are Health Department inspections. And you have to get into a routine. I was cooking sausage and peppers at 3 a.m. Everything is cooked in my truck. We’re totally ready.