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Martin's Readies Food Truck

Published Saturday, May 13, 2017

Prepare yourself, food truck fans.

Martin's Super Markets is getting into the game. Prestige Custom Manufacturing finished the custom-built truck at the end of last week. Martin's took it home over the weekend and will now tuck it away for a few weeks to train employees before unveiling it to the public.

But when this truck hits the road for good — the hope is by mid-June — it won't go unnoticed. It's bigger than most and brand-new from inside out.

"We just had a big vision," said Jane Case-Tom, deli merchandiser and coffee kiosk manager for the local grocery chain.

She's not kidding.

Martin's has big plans for its first food truck. On a daily basis, it'll be a Side Door Deli on wheels. Just about anything you can get at a brick-and-mortar location will be on the truck — fried chicken (!!), sandwiches, salads, paninis, a soup of the day and snack items for the grab-and-go crowd. The list goes on.

It comes decked out with all the equipment necessary to make the deli's most popular items available off site, including a pair of panini presses.

"Eventually, once we get out and about and really get it going, we're gonna have one weekly item that's signature just to the truck," said catering manager Brittany Unger. "You won't be able to find it in the deli. It'll just be a truck item."

Even though Martin's has yet to formally introduce the truck, there's already been great demand for its presence.

Unger says it's committed to events at University Park Mall, Fridays by the Fountain in downtown South Bend and a summer concert series on the deck at Eberhart-Petro Golf Course in Mishawaka. She's also talked with Crowe-Horwath about setting up in its parking lot for employee lunches.

When it's not booked for specific events, the plan is to operate like any other food truck. That means carving out a space in downtown South Bend, Mishawaka and eventually Elkhart.

Martin's will use its social media outlets to keep customers informed of where the truck will be on a daily basis.

"The public doesn't really know about it," Unger said, "and we're already so booked at this point I can't imagine once people get wind of it."

Not only will it be available for lunches, customers can book the truck specifically for their own events with a customized menu. Imagine a big, beautiful food truck showing up to provide some late night fried chicken at a wedding reception. I can picture it. And almost taste it.

Martin's is still working out the pricing on those type of things. In general, this truck is a way of testing the waters.

Success with it could mean adding more in the future. That'd be just fine with Prestige Custom Manufacturing general manager Randy Carr, as he was quick to point out (with a laugh) during my time at his Elkhart factory.

"We don't have numbers and we don't know," Case-Tom said. "It's a wait and see. It's a huge dream of ours to have a whole fleet of them."

Source: South Bend Tribune

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