By Dennis Seid
TUPELO – Curt McLellan has learned to adapt and adjust while running his Local Mobile food truck.
For example, weather plays a big role in what he cooks and where he puts his truck.
“We have to go where the people are, who don’t want to go far to eat, especially when it’s freezing outside,” he said.
So adding chili and chicken and dumplings to the menu has been an obvious move.
But then there’s having to deal with other issues, like having been robbed twice and having all his food stolen.
Then this week, he had to put the turquoise Local Mobile truck in the shop.
“I was leaving the BancorpSouth campus off Jackson Street and was on Coley Road when the rear brakes went out,” he said. “And I mean completely out. I put it into first and used the emergency brake to bring it to a stop.”
But putting it into the shop meant going without income for at least a couple of days.
Just two weeks earlier, McLellan had to replace the front brakes. This week’s brake repair was another $1,000 hit.
That’s when friend and fellow restaurateur Adam Morgan stepped in. He offered to let McLellan use his restaurant.
“It was the right thing to do,” said Morgan, who owns Blue Canoe on North Gloster Street. “If he’s out, he out in two ways, with not selling his food and also having to pay for the repair.”
It’s not the first time Morgan has lent a helping hand. When Kermit’s Outlaw Kitchen, or KOK, opened in downtown Tupelo last fall, Morgan was helping in the kitchen, too.
Said McLellan about Morgan’s latest act of kindness, “Adam said, ‘why don’t you set up like a pop-up restaurant and come to my place?’ So we did, and Tupelo really responded. That also shows how much Adam is involved with local restaurants.”
Since Blue Canoe doesn’t open until 3 p.m., Morgan offering his place to McLellan from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. worked out perfectly.
“It worked out great,” McLellan said. “I got in here between 9:30 and 10 to do the prep work, then by the time we’re through and cleaned up, his people are coming in getting to open. … Adam and his staff have been great. I can’t say how much I appreciate it.”
The good news is that McLellan and his food truck are back in business today.
And the cooperation between two local restaurateurs said a lot about the community and its business owners.
“Hey, we’re all in this together,” Morgan said. “Anything we can do to help each other. … we eat at each others’ restaurants, and we want more people to eat locally, too.”