The work on the rocket power generating system has been completed . . . took a little longer than expected. We’ll be at the Oddo Print Shop today for our last service here in Torrington from 11:30 until 3:00.
For those that may have missed our recent news . . .
Rocket Drops A Bomb
The rocket has been conducting operations here in Northwest Connecticut since August of 2010. In that time we have made many friends, learned so much about running a food truck that our heads hurt, and have had more fun that we ever thought possible. Food truckers wear many hats . . . chef, customer service, navigator, mechanic, driver, writer, accountant, marketing, purchasing agent . . . you get the picture. We can tell you that this experience has been twice as difficult as anticipated (and we knew it would be very difficult), but ten times as rewarding. Not a day goes by where we don’t pinch ourselves expecting to wake from a dream. But wake we must, as the cold fingers of reality hover.
Capitalism is a bitch and only the strong survive. Strength comes in the form of understanding your business inside and out and taking appropriate action when required. Often times these actions are difficult in their emotional toll and shear terror-inducing capabilities, but courage and determination assuage these feelings. The rocket faces a critical problem at the moment. After a stellar summer season packed with events, catering opportunities and smiling faces, winter descends and the flow of fuel (moolah in accounting terms) becomes constrained, threatening the rocket’s ability to stay true to its principles and maintain flight. Our market here simply lacks the vitality with which to make it through the inevitable seasonal downturns. Every flight simulation that we perform simply runs out of fuel leading to a crash. I don’t have to tell you how unpleasant crashing is. Few survive. A knee jerk reaction, taken by so many food establishments, would be to start sacrificing quality in favor of lowering food costs. Using cheap ingredients full of preservatives, and who knows what else, is not the rocket way and betrays the confidence that rocketeers place in us to serve freshly prepared, delicious food free of the crap contained in more common fare. Patricia and I promised one another that, no matter what, we would never sell out and betray our core beliefs. And so, after much contemplation, the crew has determined that the rocket must leave its current orbit.
A food truck like the rocket requires an environment rich with year-round events and vigorous pedestrian traffic in order to thrive. These criteria are in short supply here in Litchfield County and this does not comport with our goals and ambitions. Over the past couple of months, the crew has been on fact-finding missions to cities all over New England in search of a home. Applying scientific method to our findings led to a clear choice, Providence, Rhode Island. Being a 1988 Providence College alumnus provides a familiarity as well as a vantage point from which to testify to Providence’s rebirth as one of New England’s premiere cities. It is rich in history, fantastic architecture, has a vibrant and growing arts scene, many universities call the city home, and has a burgeoning food truck scene appropriately matched with the city’s culinary identity recently ranked by Travel + Leisure Magazine as the third best in the country behind only New Orleans and San Francisco. The rocket will join an ever-growing community of great food trucks. Mijos Tacos, Mama Kim’s Korean BBQ, Hewtin’s Dogs, Meltdown Gourmet Grilled Cheese, Like No Udder, Poco Loco Tacos and Flour Girls Baking Company are just some that currently cruise the streets of Providence.
Thanks go to a number of friends who were instrumental in getting the rocket off the ground. Julia Sloan, owner of Brazen Betties, was and remains a source of inspiration. Keith Paul, Artistic Director at the Desultory Theatre Club, is an enthusiastic champion of the rocket and our mission. Thanks also go to Julia and Keith for including the rocket in so many fantastic events which created some hopeful moments of synergy in Downtown Torrington. Mark Gauger of Maple View Farm in Harwinton understood our vision and brought the rocket into the Torrington Farmers Market and supplied us with many amazing, organic vegetables. David Hoover, a dear friend of many, many years made an actual investment in the rocket that paid off. He recently moved to England where he is endeavoring to name the rocket as the official food truck of the royal family. Peter Kaufman and Lillian Gee, of Kaufman Woodworking, sustained the crew with gastronomic skills of their own and good humor. We also want to thank the City of Torrington for everything they did to assist us in starting up our venture. The Arts and Culture Commission’s Main Street Marketplace marked the rocket’s maiden voyage. It was a baptism by fire and stands out in our minds as one of the most exciting things we have ever done.
There are also individuals who lent their skill and expertise. Jon Greenbaum, whose prowess is electric, came to the rescue with a heroic, late night repair of our ventilation system that threatened to ground the rocket for a big event. Hoxie’s Garage in Winsted was charged with maintaining the rocket’s carbureted engine and a more honest and capable crew of technicians cannot be found on this planet. Jillian Farrell, of 60b Photography, caught many great shots of the rocket. Her eye is unmatched. Toce Brothers Tire and David McManus kept the rocket rolling. David is an old schoolmate and helps my mother out from time to time with her hot dog cart. Our family owes him a debt of gratitude. The whole crew at Avery’s Soda, of New Britain, besides making tasty old-fashioned sodas, was always ready with great service and sunny dispositions. And, of course, we are grateful for the many devoted rocketeers who appreciated our concept and mission, and often traveled great distances to catch up with us. Lastly, huge thanks go out to Mom and my sister, Lisa, without whom the rocket would have remained just a dream.
Our last service here in Torrington before we blast off will be on Saturday, January 28, although we may be able to squeeze in one or two more depending upon how well preparations go for the journey to Providence.
We beseech you to keep us in your thoughts and wish us well. If you know somebody in Providence, tell them the rocket will be landing soon. And please visit, it’s a wonderful city, just two hours away. There’s nothing like seeing old friends and seeing your faces in the rocket window would warm our hearts.
A last piece of advice for all rocketeers . . . be brave and be daring.
Over and out.