By Dennis Seid
TUPELO – Tupelo foodies, the city’s first food truck has arrived.
Meet Curt McLellan, the owner/driver/chef of Local Mobile, the turquoise-colored restaurant on wheels making its debut soon.
For those who watch the Food Network’s “The Great Food Truck Race,” they know what a food truck is.
“It’s a full kitchen on wheels,” said McLellan, a 2004 graduate of the University of Mississippi whose career in the food industry has come full circle. He worked at Cock of the Walk in Jackson and Nashville, inspected restaurants for the health department in Nashville and sold food to Nashville restaurants for Sysco.
“This is where I got the itch,” he said. “This was the beginning of the nationwide food truck trend, about 2007.”
McLellan and his wife moved closer to home and ended up in Tupelo. But his food career was put on hold as he took on a different sales job.
“Some buddies of mine were talking about the food trucks in Memphis and Nashville. … and I had been in sales for nearly 10 years and was ready to move on,” he said.
His friends thought a food truck would be great – and why not in Tupelo.
After talking to Downtown Tupelo Main Street and the city’s permit office, McLellan got the blessing to open a food truck.
So, he bought a truck in Olive Branch that had been set up to sell food at fairs and other events. He’s reworked the interior, and though it already has all-new plumbing and fixtures, he still has a few more details to hammer out.
But the exterior is painted an unflinching shade of turquoise – “tantalizing turquoise,” to be exact” with the Local Mobile logo and it’s tagline, “It’s a food truck y’all.”
McLelland said he’ll set up in downtown Tupelo twice a week, near the hospital another two times and the other day will be a “float” day. Part of the charm and adventure for food adventurers is finding where the truck is and what’s being served. Once he gets going, the truck’s location will be revealed on Twitter (LOCALMOBILETUP) and Facebook (local MOBILE).
He’ll be open 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for lunch during the weekdays. He’ll do prep work in the mornings, buy his ingredients locally in the afternoons. In the evenings, he plans to spend time with his wife and two kids.
As for the menu: “Every day I’ll have hamburger sliders, pulled pork sliders, shrimp po-boy, catfish po-boy and some special,” he said.
Chips and sodas also will be sold.
As the weather turns, Cajun-inspired food like red beans and rice, jambalaya and gumbo will make their way to the menu.
“We’re going to be working and tweaking it as we go along,” he said with a smile.
KEEP UP WITH LOCAL MOBILE on Facebook at local MOBILE and on Twitter at LOCALMOBILETUP. And of course, the Daily Journal’s business blog at www.bizbuzz.djournal.com will provide updates, too.