Food Trucks Provide Fresh Alternatives to Traditional Wedding Fare
Jan 31, 2018 02:09PM
By Beth Gavaghan
The Bella Christie food truck
Attending an outdoor wedding this year? Don’t be surprised if burgers, pizza and donuts are on the menu, as more couples choose food trucks to cater their receptions.
Food trucks certainly are popular—patrons can even track the location of their favorites on apps or social media. However, booking them for wedding receptions is a more recent phenomenon that has gained popularity in Pittsburgh in the last year or so.
“It’s approachable food that makes guests feel comfortable,” said Jessica Pekarcik, food truck and catering coordinator at BRGR. Specializing in gourmet burgers, the Pittsburgh-based restaurant chain has been operating a food truck out of its Cranberry Township location since the fall of 2012. It takes BRGR about two hours to feed 100 guests from its truck, which offers seven or eight different burgers as well as fries and milkshakes.
“To be most efficient, we prefer not to do too many customizations, but we can tweak the menu,” Pekarcik said. She noted that BRGR is adding a pierogi burger for one couple seeking a Pittsburgh experience.
Because food truck service is casual, table service is not typically offered. Couples may wish to ask family members or friends to help run food to less mobile guests.
Other considerations include the venue and cost. Parks and farms are popular but must contain a safe, appropriate place to park and operate the food truck.
As for cost, do your research, Pekarcik advised. Each food truck determines their pricing differently. Some charge flat fees, others a minimum food charge and still others design proposals based on such things as menu items, head count and desired time frame—the longer a truck is onsite, the higher the charge.
“Keep an open mind and be open to suggestions,” Pekarcik said. “Food truck operators have experience with what works and what doesn’t, and they can help you make good decisions.”
Pekarcik said one trend is for couples to provide traditional food at traditional venues and offer food truck fare as a late-night snack. BRGR recently did such a wedding in Station Square where it served sliders and fries.
Kim Fitzpatrick of Wood Fired Flatbreads said the freshness of food truck cuisine is key to its appeal. “When food is cooked for you on the spot, it's way better than the traditional buffet of chicken and rigatoni,” she said. Fitzpatrick and her husband Kerien, better known as “Fitz,” have owned their Ross Township-based mobile pizzeria for eight years. They operate two ovens that can be booked separately or together. They transport one oven in a food truck and the other in a catering van.
“Brides tell me they love pizza and want to do something a little different. They like that pizza can accommodate a variety of special diets—vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free,” she said. The Fitzpatricks offer a gluten-free crust.
For weddings, Wood Fired Flatbreads typically sets up a buffet with assorted pizza for guests to sample. Gorgonzola filet with arugula and a balsamic glaze is a favorite. They also can provide appetizers and small plates such as meatballs, antipasto platters, caprese skewers, salads, lemon chicken and dessert pizza.
The company offers unlimited pizza per person and can serve as many as 400 people in under an hour. Fitzpatrick recommends reserving their service at least nine months prior to the wedding, especially for large events that require two ovens. However, they can often accommodate last-minute bookings as well.
“We’ve been booking our food truck for many more weddings,” said Dimitri Dimopoulos, director of corporate events at Bella Christie and Lil’ Z’s Sweet Boutique, which has locations in Aspinwall and Lawrenceville. “It’s a great opportunity to take photographs of guests coming up to the window for us to serve them. People love to Snap and Instagram the different desserts.”
Everything at Sweet Boutique is customizable. “We want as much information as possible regarding colors, linens and flowers,” Dimopoulos said. “That will help us create desserts that really reflect the theme the couple is going for and make it a cohesive experience from beginning to end.”
Sweet Boutique offers mini desserts that guests can eat while socializing as well as stations where guests order customized donuts, milkshakes, crepes and more. “We can provide suggestions if they’re confused as to what they should pick. It’s just a fun experience all around,” Dimopoulos said. Of the 15 possible stations couples can offer their guests, the most popular are the three that use liquid nitrogen to flash freeze desserts and cocktails.
“Everything is ordered a la carte. Everything we make is freely customized, so no two desserts are alike,” he added. Dimopoulos advised couples interested in the food truck to reach out as soon as possible and book a minimum of three months in advance.
“We understand that some couples may not have all the information regarding their wedding, but we can make changes up until two weeks prior. There’s a lot of wiggle room in that in-between time when we’re designing the dessert experience and the proposal,” he said.
Food truck receptions offer guests a memorable experience that is different and fun. No worries about what fork to use; it is casual dining at its best.