Find Comfort Food on Wheels at Delectabowl
A half-hour before the doors are scheduled to open at a food-truck rally at the Royal Oak Farmers’ Market, Katie Picard is busy setting out the red-and-white-checked tablecloth and stocking the cooler. The young general manager of the big blue food truck called Delectabowl knows business will be brisk.
In fact, over the three years since she and childhood friend Aaron Tye opened Delectabowl, business has been so good that they are about to open a food-truck park. Picard says their success is based on their concept: fresh, homemade comfort food in a bowl.
“I grew up in a house where food was important,” says Picard, who has 15 years of experience in the food business. “Aaron has a ton of business experience, so we were a perfect team.”
“I’m always looking to do something new, something different,” says Tye, who had never been in the food business before. Seeing a few food trucks around Detroit and their growing recognition in other major cities, “I said, ‘What the heck.’”
The two grew up in Berkley, but Picard was living in Denver when Tye asked her to join him in the venture. “He contacted me and said, ‘Hey, I have this crazy idea. Maybe we should open a food truck,’” Picard says. The two and their spouses came up with the idea of the bowl. “My first thought was comfort food,” she adds. “We started test cooking and really got a great response.”
Everything from sauces, toppings and rubs to cornbread and slow-cooked meats is homemade. “Every bowl has a base,” Katie says, such as brown rice or cornbread. Toppings, protein and a sauce are added. “We have signature creations, but you can build your own.” Bowls can be made gluten-free or vegetarian.
Their truck is what is known as a Stationary Transit Food Unit (STFU), which means it’s a certified kitchen and everything is done on the truck. In addition to regular monthly days at the Royal Oak Farmers’ Market, where they got their start, the truck does wedding catering and goes to Eastern Market, Campus Martius and festivals such as Electric Forest in Rothbury. Summer is the busy season, with the staff doubling or tripling so the truck is available seven days a week.
“We’ve grown and grown and we wanted to take the next step,” Picard says. They purchased the former Wing Hing Inn on East Nine Mile at Wanda in Ferndale and have been converting it into a large bar and patio. The new location, called Detroit Fleat, will offer them a bigger, stationary kitchen and have room for two other stationary trucks and a guest truck. At press time it was under construction and set for a June opening. It will be open six days a week.
“It’s been a crazy three years,” Picard says. “You have to put everything you have into the business. You have to be consistent. It’s not just food; it’s the craft.”
Find out More at Delectabowl