Boston is currently under siege. The Health Foods Revolution is closing in on the city from every direction, and it is threatening some of the most celebrated junk food institutions in the Commonwealth. However, there are two brave men who are fighting the war on kale, and they are definitely winning — one strip at a time.
Sam Williams and JJ Frosk first decided they wanted to open up The Bacon Truck two years ago, when they were about to graduate from college. They had no culinary arts or business ownership experience, but they knew that greasy, crisp strips of bacon were transcendental and that Boston was ready for a little more fat and a lot more flavor.
Before they fleshed-out their bacon concept, the two high-school buds went to work in the food trucks of Boston, learning the basics of the industry in the process before going out on their own and opening up a pink truck with a can't-miss design featuring bacon figures and a 3D snout that has quickly become a force in the ultra-crowded Boston food truck space.
After a wildly successful soft launch last year and a break for the winter, the Bacon Truck's official grand opening is two weeks away. When asked if he anticipated the truck's popularity, Williams said, "no, not in the least. The initial press that we had received in the week or two leading up to the soft launch really caught us off guard."
He added, "the truck hadn't hit the road yet and we were on the front page of the Metro. And we really hadn't done anything ourselves to get our name or our brand out to these publications. When people first started writing articles about us and contacting us, it was a complete surprise. We were not expecting that (…) we're really excited about all the feedback we've gotten."
It's easy to see why the press and feedback for the truck have been so positive. Williams and Frosk have built a loyal following behind sandwiches like the Turkey Bacon Brie, which features turkey breast roasted right in the truck to complement creamy brie, and of course, perfect bacon. They also offer a hot new take on the BLT, known as the BLT 2.0, which features spinach and goat cheese in addition to a pile of the crisp stuff.
Although a number of their dishes have gotten a warm reception, ironically, the duo could not serve the first dish that they dreamt up for the truck during the soft launch.
"The first dish that we created was Deep Fried Bacon Mac and Cheese Bites, we knew we wanted to do them on the truck. But when we purchased the food truck, the previous owner didn't have a fryer installed. So we actually weren't able to sell what we knew would be our biggest item until we put one in, which is actually happening today." Williams added, "they are going to be our biggest seller without a doubt, they're phenomenal."
Bacon is hot right now in the culinary world. Chefs are beginning to incorporate it into dishes like never before. Bacon cupcakes and other desserts have surfaced recently, and the Bacon Truck even sells Nutella Covered Bacon. When asked if there is anything bacon can't do, Williams said, "I can't say that we've tried anything with bacon that's come out not tasting delicious."
He did spill on one potential creation that is coming in the future. "We did find that the permitting is a little different when it comes to selling frozen dairy products out of the truck, so we did have to initially forgo selling bacon ice cream […] it won't be on the menu for our grand opening, but we do want to get there someday."
While the two pals have no official culinary experience, they know what people value, and that is local ingredients and dishes made from scratch. The bacon itself comes from the Blackstone Street Smokehouse in Southie, and the turkey breast is roasted every day in the truck.
"We try to source all of our ingredients from local suppliers and when we can't, we insist that they be made locally, like the Bacon," says Williams. "We're committed to using this as an opportunity for us to learn the culinary arts, and if we can start by making everything from scratch ourselves, I think that's a step in the right direction."
There are many theories about why this concept works, but one definite concept is that Boston is a top-notch bacon city. It's a safe bet that when you saw the words "bacon truck" laid out on the page, you immediately started running through the possibilities in your head of what a wonderful concept can do for your soul.
When asked why bacon draws such an emotional response out of people, Williams said, "I definitely think that there's an element of nostalgia to it. Obviously there's an element of decadence to it, it's definitely an indulgent food. There's also an element of coolness to it. Bacon is in right now." He added, "in a city like Boston at the current time, where everyone is going crazy about health food right now, bacon is kind of a counter measure to that for people that still want to have fun and live a little dangerously when they go out for a meal."
The Bacon Truck has proven that there was more power being held in those succulent strips than any of us had dreamed, all it had to do was be let out. Williams and Frosk are pushing the envelope in the food truck race, and they have been rewarded beautifully for that.
The Bacon Truck will be back out on the road in two weeks and will be at a number of locations over the course of a week. Some notable locations include City Hall Plaza from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Fridays, Seaport Blvd. by Courthouse Station on Wednesdays from 3 to 8:30 p.m., and Belvedere Street by the Prudential Center from 3 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesdays. For the full list of times and locations, go to bostonbacontruck.com, and follow the truck on Twitter at @BaconTruckBOS.