Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

Help Kickstart Fresno’s food truck scene

Judging from previous Beehive posts, many people around here are proponents of Fresno developing a more dynamic mobile cuisine scene. Now, chef Martin Franco (formerly of Pangea, among other local restaurants) is hoping Fresnans will put their money where their appetites are. Specifically, he’s looking to locals for help Kickstarting his new culinary endeavor — a food cart he’s calling Taste Kitchen.

Using Kickstarter (as Creative Fresno and Blake Jones did), Franco is hoping to raise $4,000 in the next month. Donors receive incentives ranging from a hearty thanks ($1) to a free salad or side ($10) all the way to a private meal for four and your own sandwich ($1,000). Here’s Franco explaining more with the help of the some mouth-watering visuals:

The Kickstarter site has a specific breakdown of where the money would go and more on Franco’s culinary concept. But you’re probably wondering most about his menu, right?

Taste Kitchen is a renovated travel trailer that is in the process of being outfitted with the proper commercial equipment so it can be a fully mobile restaurant kitchen on wheels. The Taste Kitchen mobile food cart will serve fresh, seasonal, locally sourced products with an emphasis on global flavors. Some of the menu items include, but not limited to are:

* Lemongrass Chicken Bahn Mi Sandwich
* 5-Spiced Pork Belly Bahn Mi with Pickled Asian Pear
* Heirloom Tomato Caprese Melt
* Grilled Peach Panzanella Salad
* Paella Croquettes with Saffron Aioli
* Watermelon Gazpacho
* Bacon-Strawberry “Shortcakes”
* Banana Bourbon Bread Pudding

The menu will change as necessary to reflect the seasons and to give the guest the best possible experience. We are committed to using meat, poultry, fish and produce grown both sustainably and organically as much as possible. We also aim to provide high quality, well-executed food at an accessible and affordable price so that all may enjoy.

If you’re inclined to help, visit Taste Kitchen’s Kickstarter page.

Responses to "Help Kickstart Fresno’s food truck scene"

Martin says:

Thank you for sharing this Mike! A little truly does go a long way and I can’t express enough thanks in all the help and support that we have received so far from everyone in the community..

Fresno is a great place and is even better when community comes together to create something unique and special..thanks again!

Cody says:

Good luck man. Hope to see you and your food cart around the mural district as A LOT of people live around here yet there’s only 3 restaurants in walking distance and we all love great food. Yours looks especially good can’t wait to try it out!

Martin says:

Thanks for the suggestion! I plan on being in and around downtown as much as possible and wherever else people would be willing to have the Taste Kitchen cart come out and set up shop.

D17 says:

Who did the video? It looks amazing!

Mike Oz says:

Enrique from The No Network.

Dinobyte says:

why do food trucks deserve more/special support & attention than brick an mortar small restaurants? Actual restaurants employ more people and need our business as well.

I’m glad the food is made well with quality ingredients, and I’m for food trucks as a new (well, not anymore) way of introducing better fast food to the public, but I’m totally lost as to why he’s asking the public for money to start his business. Is this investment solely paying off in some kind of community warm and fuzzy kind of thing? Because I imagine there are hundreds of desperate small family owned businesses who could use a dollar or two donation, but they aren’t getting it because they aren’t kickstart savvy or web savvy or whatever…

So yeah- this is all kind of weird to me.

Martin says:

First of all, believe me when I say that I am probably the least technologically advanced, web savvy person there is. Kickstarter is open to just about anyone wanting to use it and I am not the first person who has.

To be clear, I am not asking for donations. I am providing a service. Kickstarter is set up for people to be “backers” and “supporters” of this particular project by contributing money to it up front. Depending on the amount people pledge, they in turn receive pre-determined goods and services.

I do agree with you that there are many small, family owned businesses that can use some help financially in starting up or staying afloat. Fresno has suffered many restaurant closures during the last few years. I know because I have been a casualty of MANY family & locally owned restaurants who were forced to shut down. There are many economical reasons for the closures, but a main one is the saturation of chain restaurants that people flock to in droves. Another side to this is the loss of business and revenue that local farmers, bakers and vendors who supply locally owned restaurants have endured due to these closings. During my time working in restaurants I have met some wonderful people who work really hard and put a lot of love in what they do here in the Valley.
Some of those people are:

IL Giardino Organico – Fresno
KMK Farms – Kingsburg
John Texiera – Dinuba
T & D Wiley – Madera
Mary’s Chicken/Pittman Farms – Sanger
Tory Farms – Dinuba
Hamada Farms – Kingsburg
Boomstix Bakery – Fresno
Max’s Bakery – Fresno

This is just a small sampling of folks who are out there that are doing some amazing things and providing a beautiful product & service here locally. I plan on working with them and their product once again for the enjoyment & benefit of all. So, no I won’t be able to provide too many jobs like a dishwasher, prep cook, line cooks, server, hosts and managers (those will all be my job titles). But, I will try and do my best in supporting as many local people and businesses as possible. In this way, there’s a pretty good chance that the money will stay here and be a boon to the local economy, instead of it being sent and spent elsewhere.

Bottom line..I just want to cook… I just want to cook and serve some delicious, thoughtful food. Thanks to all for reading this and thank you for supporting me in any which way you can!

james says:

Martin said it: It’s not a donation. It’s engagement. It’s thinking through the food we eat, collectively saying “I want better,” and then supporting the efforts of those who want to meet that desire.

Martin says:

Thank you, James!!

michelle says:

It probably helps to remind people like Dynobite that most new brick and mortar restaurants have investors. Rarely do restaurants start with just a single source of capital, and the ones that do rarely survive.
Traditional restaurants typically have enormous costs involved in opening, while a mobile food truck has a much smaller bottom line, which is why so many talented chefs are moving in that direction.
Kickstarter is an inventive way of allowing people who don’t need hundreds of thousands of dollars to get started & reach people who would like to be a part of/support the enterprise. Any restaurant committed to working locally and seasonally, providing tasty food at an affordable rate, is worth investing in. The fact that Martin is using Kickstarter to get the word out to potential investors is no different than him handing out business plans to potential investors in the more traditional manner ultimately. What is different, and most appealing to me, is the scale on which it’s being done.

michelle says:

Sorry – I used the word “investor” but didn’t mean that in the literal sense, that they were looking for people to invest in the business itself for profit, I meant it in a supportive sense sort of like when you volunteer to help your community, you are “investing” in the community and it’s success. Just want to be clear.