Stillwater News Press

Local News

July 28, 2012

Cafe Bella owners bring food truck craze to Stillwater

STILLWATER, Okla. — The gourmet food truck craze will roll into the parking lot of Consumer’s IGA, 909 W. Sixth Ave., Monday when Cafe Bella transitions from a brick and mortar restaurant to one with wheels.

Cafe Bella owners Diana Ward and Ali Zarrabi said they had contemplated the food-truck concept for several years before circumstances — the sale of the downtown Stillwater building in which their restaurant was located — turned thought into action.

“We go to Austin, Texas, a lot. Austin has become a mecca for food trucks. In such a way that even the city of Austin has given an area downtown to all the food trucks,” Zarrabi said  “Famous chiefs and famous restaurants have converted from brick and mortar to food trucks.”

The gourmet food truck craze started on the East and West Coasts. Kogi’s restaurant chef Roy Choi is largely credited with starting the craze in Los Angeles when he rolled out the Kogi truck that served short-rib tacos, kimchi dogs and other Asian fusion specialties.

Today, food truck operators dish up everything from cupcakes to sushi in parking spots, parking lots or parks across the United States.

In the past two years, a food cart dished up street tacos in downtown Stillwater and a food trailer is featuring Indian fare, but Cafe Bella on Wheels is a retrofitted food-vendors truck that will serve the Mediterranean cuisine that made Cafe Bella unique, Zarrabi said.

“The food truck will have its advantages because we can take the food truck to fairgrounds or various events to cater,” Ward said.

Mobility is a big advantage, especially with social network outlets — Facebook and Twitter, Zarrabi  said.

“We can go from point A to point B depending on the demand,” he said. “You do have the flexibility of moving from one spot to another and providing the same quality food that our customers have been used to for the last 10 years.”

Zarrabi and Ward have downsized the Cafe Bella menu to work in the smaller confines of a food truck kitchen. The focus is on their Mediterranean menu — the recipes that made Cafe Bella unique, Ward said.

“We had to trim it down because of the space,” Zarrabi said. “We had to adjust. Diana and I looked at the menu and picked out the ones we were famous for.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News