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Food trucks and vendors embrace 4th of July crowds in West Monroe

Published: Jul. 4, 2021 at 11:17 PM CDT
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WEST MONROE, La. (KNOE) - Fourth of July festivities, like fireworks over the Ouachita River and the grand opening of Flying Heart Brewing and Pub, drew large crowds to downtown West Monroe over the weekend. Local food trucks and vendors capitalized on the big events.

The food truck owners say they were ecstatic to be back out and socializing with the community after a year that tested them in more ways than one.

“Everybody needs to get out. All the businesses, you need to come on and start. I know the heat’s tough. It’s difficult. That’s the reason I came out late today, but I’m hoping that now that the pandemic is not over but we’re in that curve coming out of it that people will start to realize that you know hey, we need to get out,” Cajun Will’s Sweet Spot owner Will Evans said.

Wood-fired pizza, corn dogs, hot dogs and Greek food were just a few options to choose from.

“I grew up in South Louisiana. My grandmother, my mother, both cooked a lot, and so the passion just came from them as far as the cooking aspect. I worked on a pizza dough recipe for probably about two and a half years until finally, I think got it how I want it to be,” Mangia Mangia Wood Fired Italian Oven owner Keith Cavaretta said.

After a difficult year and limited events due to the COVID-19 pandemic, business owners said they are glad to be doing what they love again.

“I recently started my business with a small hot dog cart and then last year COVID struck. I thought it was a bright idea to finally roll out my food truck, but surprisingly we were able to survive really well. This year, I was able to upgrade, get my truck wrapped and some new equipment,” Hot Dawg Hut owner Chris Baade said.

Baade worked in restaurants for about 20 years and decided to take a chance on himself.

“I was like okay I need to upgrade from a little hot dog cart and decided to invest all my money, all of it like literally drained my bank accounts down to zero, and then all sudden lockdown happened and it was a little rough,” Baade said.

Nevertheless, he thinks working for himself is less stressful and more rewarding.

“I get to meet people hang out with people. Before I always stuck in the kitchen, so now I go out and talk to customers and get like an intimate relationship with them,” Baade said.

The entrepreneurs say they can’t wait to sell food and grow their business at even more events.

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