My House NOLA sat down with Theresa Galli and Gavin Cady from the Fat Falafel, a food truck that serves falafel platters, sandwiches, and french fries. Before coming to New Orleans, Theresa, an economy major, and Gavin, a drama major, attended Colorado College. When the pair graduated in 2012, they dove into the New Orleans culinary scene by acquiring jobs at Patois and Domenica.
The couple knew they wanted to start an affordable food truck. Considering the financial constraints involved in using sustainable meat, they decided to go the vegetarian route. After some thought about what was missing from the New Orleans street food scene, Theresa and Gavin settled on the concept of a truck that would make the falafel its star.
With a simple menu, it was essential that Fat Falafel’s falafel be top-notch. Theresa and Gavin found the truck’s mouthwatering falafel recipe through trial and error; they ate all the falafel they could in their respective hometowns, Chicago and New York City, as well as, here, in New Orleans -- where, they claim, as far as restaurants are concerned, Babylon and Cleo’s are your best bets for falafel.
The pair says their most prominent start-up challenges have included their initial unfamiliarity with the ins and outs of food truck business and the process of creating a kitchen inside their vehicle. These obstacles, however, did not deter the two from executing their falafel dreams. Aside from the truck’s gas and electric systems, these two built the vehicle (which includes a commercial deep fryer in its kitchen!) from the ground up. And as far as food truck-education was concerned, the Food Truck Coalition helped by sharing tips about running a successful street food operation in New Orleans.
While the initial start-up challenges may be past for Fat Falafel, Theresa and Gavin note that working with a food truck can still be tremendously stressful at times, due to the many uncontrollable variables, such as parking spot availability and automotive glitches, that come with operating from a moving entity.
Working within the spatial confines of the truck’s kitchen is also not without its challenge, but Gavin and Teresa work around it by performing prep work n a commercial kitchen two out of the seven days their business is rolling.
The pair initially assumed that since their business is a mobile one, they'd end up serving a varied clientele; however, they've been pleasantly surprised by the number of regulars who frequent the Fat Falafel. There are the occasional customers who mistake their vehicle for an empanada or taco truck, but the dedicated customers remember who they are and what they're about.
So what’s up next for this dynamic duo? It’s all very hush hush, but a restaurant is said to be in the works. Expect to see some surprising things on their restaurant menu -- not just falafel land anymore. Check back on Thursday for an update on their restaurant and a recipe from the Fat Falafel.
You can stay updated on the Fat Falafel's whereabouts and news by following them on Twitter.
This article is part of a guest blog series with My House NOLA. You can follow them on Twitter here.