MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Amid the traffic and construction cones of Highway 10 in Elk River, David and Joy Gess have set up shop, unannounced, in the parking lot of Ralphie’s Gas Station.
They know that wherever the “Gess What’s Cookin’” trailer is parked, the people will come.
“A little play on words, we had to use it,” Joy said.
Clever marketing aside, this is a story about fate.
“It started out as a commitment to our local youth,” David said.
It is about having a dream.
“We’ve talked about owning resorts and bars and restaurants for a long time,” Joy said.
And the courage to pursue it.
“Go big or go home,” Dave said. “If you want it, go for it.”
Two years ago, Gess What’s Cookin’ existed only on paper, but fate always seems to find a way.
“Some of the people would call me ‘The Grill Master’ all the time for doing the events,” he said. “We would run these smoker Sundays at home and [people would say], ‘You have to get out and get going on your own.’”
As the planets and stars were busy aligning, Dave contemplated quitting his day job in the fertilizer business.
“It was a lot of sleepless nights,” he said.
One quality that served Dave well in his previous occupation was his gift of gab – which would serve him even better in the service industry.
“I like talking with people,” Dave said.
And with a little advice from his mom, they did it. Pooling their skillsets, Dave and Joy built their food truck business to be the best in Minnesota.
“He’s the fry cook, I’m the chef!” Joy said.
Their food is simple.
“Burgers eight ways,” Dave said.
“Pork on 20 things,” Joy said.
But their pulled pork pairings and flavor combinations are anything but simple.
“We constantly evolving with this,” Dave said. “We can flavor profile for whatever we want. Like, if we’re doing a special event for one of the breweries, I’ll incorporate their beer into prepping my meat.”
Gess What’s Cookin’ also does festivals and weddings. They will be back in Big Lake at Lupulin Brewery.