With so many new — and delicious — food trucks hitting the streets of the Twin Cities each summer, it’s almost too tough to keep up. Well, fear not, we’re here to help. Introducing our new Friday food truck feature!
Each Friday, we’ll put the spotlight on a different food truck in the Twin Cities. And not just on the food, but on the fabulous chefs behind the truck.
This week we’re going back to a classic cuisine — roast beef. But this isn’t your typical supper club hunk of beef — this is slow-cooked, tender, juicy — and healthy — roast beef from Bloomy’s.
From the minds of Ryan Bloomstrom and his fiancee Katie Johnson, Bloomy’s is parked strategically on Marquette Avenue, between 6th and 7th — which just so happens to be in front of the downtown Arby’s.
Ryan says they may serve the food fast but Bloomy’s sandwiches are several hours in the making — from selecting the best fresh and local beef to the intensive marinating and cooking process, each sandwich is truly something special.
Owners: Ryan Bloomstrom and Katie Johnson
Date the food truck opened: April 26.
What kind of food do you serve? Feel-good comfort food, specializing in ultra slow-cooked roast beef, with traditional diner-style sides — coleslaw, mac and cheese — very wholesome, very Midwestern-type of comfort food. It’s all minimally processed, using top sirloin, certified Hereford beef that’s marinated in special (top secret) juices overnight and then we slow cook it overnight the next night.
Price range of menu: From $5 to $9.
Hours of operation: Mostly from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for lunch, but you might be spotting the truck soon at more events and evening activities.
Job before opening food truck: Well, we still have them, actually. I (Ryan) sell custom computers, networking equipment software — completely different. I do have a little bit of family background in bar and restaurant ownership and I used to work a lot of special events when I was younger. But mostly for my culinary perspective, it’s self-taught. I (Katie) oversee a department at LifeTime Fitness Corporate called Talent Management, we focus on leadership development, succession planning and employee engagement. … I used to work for a bakery, started when I was 16, worked there for a couple of years. So I always joke that I learned how to bake but never learned how to cook — that’s where Ryan comes in.
What made you want to open a food truck? Long story short — Ryan had always wanted to get re-involved with the food industry. He and his co-workers would always frequent Wally’s Roast Beef, in Bloomington. One day, he thought, why don’t we try something like this? So he talked to the owner about franchising but it ended up not working out. We still wanted to pursue something and with the popularity of food trucks, it just seemed to be easier for us to get into, opposed to opening a brick and mortar restaurant.
Is everything done from the truck? Yes, everything is made from the truck. We roast the beef on the truck and we make the sides fresh every day from scratch on the truck. We have a little more equipment than some of the other trucks because it’s a true mobile kitchen.
How did you come up with the name? Yeah, it totally comes from my last name (Ryan Bloomstrom). Bloomy was a nickname of mine growing up through college and actually we were coming back from a fishing trip last year, right around when Katie and I were coming up with the business plan for this and they’re like, “Why are you approaching Wally’s? Why aren’t you just making Bloomy’s instead?” So really, that was the instant we decided on it.
So why roast beef? Roast beef has always been a passion of mine, be it cooking it or enjoying it. And looking around, there’s just not a lot of good places to enjoy roast beef. We did a little bit of market research and traffic counts and saw how few places there are so we built our business model around that void in the marketplace and something that I was good at cooking.
How did you decide on the menu/theme? It was always going to be a diner theme from day one, and it was always going to be about roast beef. We pulled some from the Wally’s place that we were modeling it off of but then we also wanted to change some things and spruce it up a bit. We are always evolving and we take suggestions. For example, we have the Jessica sandwich on the specials board right now. Jessica is a girl I went to high school with that sent us a message on Facebook saying, “Hey, I’ve got a great idea for a sandwich.” And we’re like, “Yeah, let’s do it.”
What do you think is your best dish? Is gravy a dish? (laughs) … I (Katie) love the Commercial, personally. (An open-face roast sirloin sandwich with mashed potatoes, homemade gravy and a side of veggies.) It’s the best thing in the world. We actually had a customer say this is on his list for his last meal.
Describe your truck in one word: Classic.
What’s your craziest story from working inside a food truck? We literally had a wheel fall off on the road. We have these yellow tabs on our wheels now, so we can tell when one of our lug nuts are coming loose. But the story goes, as Richard, our food truck manager, was driving in the truck, he felt it kind of drop. And he looks over and says, “I’ll never forget the look on Amy’s face when I pointed out our tire passing us by.” So the tire literally rolled by them on the road and rolled for blocks. I was talking to him on the cell phone and he was like, “Yeah, I’m trying to run it down right now.” We’re so lucky that nobody got hurt.
What’s one thing you want people to know about your food truck? People think of comfort food and they think of food that’s really heavy or not the healthiest for you but we try to put that locally sourced, sustainable spin on comfort food. So it’s a little bit different than what you might typically find but we’re so adamant about the processing of our food, where it comes from and what’s in it. Just making sure we don’t add anything — anything artificial, not even salt. We try to get as many things locally and as many sustainable-type products as we can get. … We just try not to use anything that we can’t pronounce the ingredients for.
Catch the Friday Food Truck Feature every week, in the Curiocity column. Know of a food truck you think should be featured? Let us know by leaving a comment below or tweeting your suggestion to @SaraPelissero!