A new kind of mac truck
Rosemount-based R.A. MacSammy’s offers new twist to food truck trend
by Andrew Miller
Like a lot of chefs, Kevin Huyck toyed with the idea of opening his own restaurant.
He ended up buying a big yellow truck instead.
The Apple Valley resident is adding a new twist to the burgeoning Twin Cities food-truck scene with R.A. MacSammy’s, which opened in January.
Described by Huyck as “comfort food on wheels,” R.A. MacSammy’s offers soups, sandwiches, desserts and, Huyck’s specialty, macaroni and cheese.
“I wanted to have something different and I kind of came to, ‘Who doesn’t like mac and cheese?’ ” he said.
Huyck, who has 17 years experience as a chef, adds a gourmet touch to the macaroni dishes R.A. MacSammy’s offers.
In addition to classic mac and cheese, there’s more esoteric fare such as Greek mac, topped with olives and feta cheese, and Cape Cod mac, featuring artichokes and lobster.
After debuting his food truck at the St. Paul Winter Carnival in January, Huyck has been serving his specialty lunches on weekdays, mostly at high-traffic spots in downtown St. Paul such as Rice Park and Mears Park.
Like other food trucks, he gets the word out about his daily location through social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, as well as his website, www.ramacsammys.com.
As for the business’ name, the letters R and A are the initials of his children – Randall, 13, and Avery, 16 – while “Mac” denotes his signature dish and “Sammy’s” denotes sandwiches, he said.
Based in Rosemount, the business is licensed through the Minnesota Department of Health and the city of St. Paul. His licensing gives him leeway to operate anywhere in Minnesota except Minneapolis.
Thus far he’s logged one day of lunch service in Dakota County – a few weeks ago he set up shop in Burnsville at County Road 42 near Judicial Road – but plans to expand his service at south-of-the-river sites to one or two days a week once the weather improves.
“It went OK,” he said of his first foray into Dakota County. “I don’t think people are really accustomed to looking for food trucks out here, especially this time of year. Because I live down here I really want to develop a presence here.”
When it’s not in operation, Huyck stores the truck at parking lot space he rents from a real estate office in downtown Rosemount. He does his kitchen prep work at Rosemount’s Fireside Restaurant, which charges him an hourly rate.
The advantages of owning a food truck, as opposed to a restaurant, are many, according to Huyck, who is the business’ sole employee.
“I’d been thinking about a restaurant of my own, but the financial outlay was too much for where I am right now,” he said. “The food truck is a more inexpensive way to get into owning my own business. … Before (the food truck), I had done real estate for four years, and I really liked the idea of being my own boss.”
Unlike with a restaurant, “you’re not married to a location. If one place isn’t working I can just drive to another place.”
One drawback, he said, is the effect inclement weather can have on business, especially in a state as subzero-prone as Minnesota. Last week’s flurries kept Huyck at home all but one day.
“Weather’s a big factor, but once we get into the 40s I’ll be out every day,” he said.
Huyck’s vehicle, originally a DHL delivery truck, is fitted with a full kitchen that includes a four-burner stove, charbroiler and fryer. As a chef who likes meeting the people enjoying his culinary creations, Huyck said a food-truck business is ideal.
“It puts me in touch with my audience – I’m taking their order and then cooking their food right here,” he said. “I’ve got to say, I’m not making money at it yet, but this is the best job I’ve ever had.”
Andrew Miller is at firstname.lastname@example.org.