Reporting Sara Pelissero
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. Here’s this week’s Friday food truck feature!
When it comes to good eats on the street, Simply Steve’s likes to keep it in the family — his employees are his own flesh and blood. With his son, Tyler McLeod and his daughters Rachel Cornelius and Katie Newham, Steve Ramlow has certainly found a food truck formula that works.
Steve, a man whose been everything from a dishwasher to an executive head chef said he likes to keep things simple, hence the name.
His approach to food is letting the ingredients speak for themselves. And the result? Simply delicious.
Let’s get to know this family affair.
Owner: Steve Ramlow
Date the food truck opened: End of January, 2011
What kind of food do you serve? I do mostly hot-grill sandwiches. I would say the best sellers of my long career in the food service.
Price range of menu: $5 to $8
Hours of operation: Typically, lunch service 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., plus special events on evenings and weekends.
Job before opening food truck: Most recently, I was the owner and operator of a small food service management company.
Why did you decide to open a food truck? It seemed like it was the thing to do, I dunno. I was looking for work a couple of years ago and I thought, what the heck, why not.
Why did you want to go into the food industry? I’ve always worked in the food industry — did dishes when I was 14, was a chef by the time I was in my mid-20s, just tried everything there was to do. It’s what I’ve always done.
What were some of the restaurants you worked at? Oh yeah, I was chef at Nicollet Island Inn, I was chef at Muffuletta in the Park, Good Earth in Roseville so a long, long time doing that kind of work.
How is your food made? Mostly short order cooking. We prep up stuff but it’s just made to order on the truck. I work out of the Kinder Kitchen in north Minneapolis, mostly for storage. Their freezer, their cooler, their dry storage, their dishwashing facilities and for events, I’ll use their kitchen for pre-cooking or this and that. But 90 percent of the stuff comes right off the truck.
How did you come up with the name? I couldn’t think of anything else. I haven’t been happy with the name since the beginning, to tell you the truth. It is what it is now. And now I’m actually glad it is what it is. My menu is mostly me — things that I’ve done through my career that have been big sellers.
How did you decide on the menu? Same thing. Just what items are really popular. Mostly for the last 12 years, I did corporate food service at the U.S. Bank building and I thought that would be the kind of clientele that I’d be going after down here. So I put out my best sellers — the Cuban burrito, the asparagus, the Philly cheesesteak, black bean burger — those were always things that were super popular when I ran them as food specials and I figured why wouldn’t they be popular here.
What do you think is your best dish? As simple as it is, I’d say just the side of grilled asparagus — with pine nuts and Parmesan cheese. That’s just something I love.
Describe your truck in one word: Simple, I guess.
What’s your craziest story from working at a food truck? Oh just the heat. The heat is incredible on some of those days when it’s over 100 degrees. Every surface in there is 180 degrees, you can’t touch anything without literally burning yourself. I made the mistake of kneeling down in there once — you know the floor is metal, too — immediately burned my knee. That’s the one thing that’s just the dominating factor that I think of. There’s quite a few days when I closed early. I canceled a couple of nighttime events because it was supposed to be 100. It’s dangerous. It really gets to be dangerous over an extended period of time.
What’s one thing you want people to know about your food truck? It’s a family-run operation. It’s me and my kids that do it, mostly. We’re all professionals but we’re low-key about it and it’s going to be really good food.
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!