Photos by Lucas Kane
W e all love to escape the confines of our kitchens and eat out occasionally, but there is something particularly appealing about a visit to a favorite food truck: debating the mouthwatering possibilities on the menu as we stand in line (even if—like me—you always revert back to your go-to order); visiting with fellow diners; and just soaking in the inherently festive atmosphere that inevitably accompanies a food truck.
Nashville has one of the best food truck scenes in the U.S. and, even better, many of them have made a commitment to source local ingredients whenever possible. In this issue, we’re spotlighting three trucks that have made this commitment to bringing customers great food with ingredients sourced from Middle Tennessee and surrounding areas.
H usband and wife duo P.J. and Ali De Armond, the proprietors of Two Goats food truck, were already working as cooks when they met six years ago in Chattanooga. From the beginning, Ali says, “We always talked about [having] our own place…what we would serve. It seemed like a dream.”
After a move to Nashville to be closer to Ali’s sister Laura, the couple shared their vision of having their own eatery, and Laura told them about the Nashville Farmers’ Market’s Grow Local Kitchen. “One day we said to each other, ‘Let’s just do it,’” Ali recalls. “We served out of the Grow Local Kitchen...We loved it there. Being able to come in early, talk to the farmers and purchase the food we would serve—the same day it was picked—was amazing!”
While their original goal was to open a brick-and-mortar restaurant, they eventually decided they would prefer a food truck, and their delicious and unique culinary creations filled a void in Nashville’s burgeoning food truck scene. “Coming from different regions of the country, P.J. loves Caribbean and Latin-style foods, and I have a love for French, Mediterranean, vegetarian and southern cuisines,” Ali says. The end result is an eclectic menu that includes their famous goat bowls (e.g. the Bowly Goat, featuring rice and beans, harissa marinated goat, pickled onions and cabbage, a blackberry chili reduction and a sunny side egg), rabbit tacos, sweet potato tacos, fried grit cakes and much more.
True to their Grow Local Kitchen origins, the couple source local ingredients whenever they can. “Say if we do a ceviche in the summer, it will be dressed with local herbs and vegetables,” Ali says. “Our rabbit comes from a small farm in Southern Kentucky…the eggs we use are from a friend in East Nashville who has chickens. We are still looking for a local goat farmer who can supply enough goat weekly for us.”
Two Goats also does catering and pop-ups; to find their truck, or book them for an event, visit their website or stalk them on social media. When you do, you’ll probably get more than a delicious meal—you may also get inspiration for your own culinary creations.
“We want to get to the point where we can share our recipes so others can grow their own food, source from small local farms, and make amazing meals for their family and friends at home,” Ali says. “Profit-wise it is not the best choice, but it’s our choice. We do what we love and want share it with everyone.”
T he Brothers Burger, the food truck of siblings Cole and Jeremiah James, is the inevitable result of the passion for cooking that they have shared their whole lives. “Both of us have worked in restaurants on and off all of our adult lives,” says Cole. Jeremiah started the truck, and Cole quickly joined forces with him to make it a family affair.
The Brothers Burger is as passionate about local ingredients as they are the end result: “It’s all about the quality, and supporting other local farms and businesses,” Cole says. “We use Head Family Farms beef, and…it’s some of the best beef around. It’s 21-day dry-aged beef, and you can tell in the flavor. We actually work directly with Jay Head, who runs the farm. It’s nice to know the farmer that is handling your food.
“We also use Batey Farms for our bacon,” Cole continues. “They have delicious uncured bacon. It’s tough to go back to store-bought bacon once you’ve tried this stuff! The qualityof the food is very important, but it’s also nice to know that the beef and bacon aren’t traveling a thousand miles to get to us. It’s going less than a hundred miles.”
The brothers also source many supplemental ingredients locally. “During the growing season, we use Burns Farm for tomatoes and other produce,” Cole says.“For our buns, we use Charpier’s Bakery. Quite a few restaurants and food trucks use them for bread, because it is delicious,” he adds.
The menu at the Brothers Burger revolves around their gourmet burgers and hand-cut fries. Two menu staples, the Jump Back Jack burger, featuring a 1/3-pound beef patty, candied bacon, caramelized onions, cumin aioli, jalapenos and pepper jack cheese, and the Uncle Sam burger, a 1/3-pound patty with mustard, mayo, lettuce, pickles, tomatoes and cheddar cheese, are joined by a rotating third burger, which changes every week or two.
“We make everything from scratch except for things like mayo and mustard,” says Cole. “We put a lot of love into our food!”
It’s all part of the brothers’ commitment to their customers and to their community—and to creating a mouth-watering, gourmet burger.
O riginally an art major, Texas native Brittney Blackshear fell in love with crepes while studying abroad in France. After graduation, she moved to Savannah, Georgia, and studied under a Michelin star French chef before taking the crepe-making plunge in 2011 with a small pull-cart, which she christened Crepe A Diem. The name, a play on the Latin phrase “carpe diem” (seize the day), was an apt label for Brittney, as that is exactly what she’s done over the last five years.
While Crepe A Diem was thriving in Savannah, the historic city’s food truck ordinances limited her business potential. “I decided to move to Nashville and join the amazing food truck scene,” says Brittney.“I designed my truck to be a mobile cafe to specialize in preparing fresh-to-order French street food...crepes!”
The Crepe A Diem menu has a plethora of tasty offerings, all chock-full of locally sourced ingredients: The B.E.C. Crepe—featuring Applewood smoked bacon, River Cottage Farm eggs and Sweetwater Valley cheddar cheese; Nutella and banana or strawberry crepes—made with Delvin Farm’s organic strawberries, when they’re in season; and the quiche du jour, which is seasonally inspired (at press time it featured Whispering Creek roasted mushrooms and Noble Springs Dairy goat cheese) are just a few highlights. “[We serve the quiche] with local greens salad,” says Brittney. “They always go fast!
“This year we will celebrate three years as a food truck in Nashville,” she adds.“Being able to be a part of the circleintegratingfarmer and food to family and table is awonderful and deliciousprivilege.”
Since its first year, Crepe A Diem has been a full-season vendor at the Franklin Farmers’ Market. “This is a wonderful and vibrant food-cultured community where you can really get to know your local farmer,” Brittney says. “There are a lot of genuine and sincere folks who are truly passionate about their farms, ranches and crafts…I look forward to how I get to visit the farmers, handpick my ingredients, and then go make breakfast for…the patrons of the market. Greens and produce, cut and pulled within hours, along with farm-fresh eggs, fresh milled grits, creamy fresh milk and butter, and…fresh local grass-fed beef and pork...all this goes into our fresh crepes made with love. I like to serve the best to my customers and share the bounty of this market.”
You’ll find the Crepe A Diem truck every Saturday at the Franklin Farmers’ Market, and every Sunday at Sevier Park in 12 South. For additional locations, connect with Crepe A Diem on its website or social media.