While planning my food truck crawl in LA I wanted to do more than just eating and than blogging about what I ate. Inspired by what Serious Eats and California Taco Trucks are doing on their site for street food vendors, I set out to come up with my own set of questions to ask each vendor. So much has been talked and blogged about the food from the street vendors I decided to concentrate on more of the social aspects of this new wave of food trucks. And also to find out how the city of Los Angeles has shaped the way of street food vending.
*Photo provided by The Franken-Stand
1) Please state your name, name your food truck, the type of food you serve, and how long have your food truck been in operation?
My name is Raymund and I own/operate Franken’s (aka The Franken-Stand.) It is quite an honor to be included in your food truck mission, Thank you. I can tell right away you may not know much about us. We are a Spooky-Theme Mobile Cuisine! We offer 100% Plant-Based Gourmet Franks. We are not a food truck. Franken’s is the one and only Vegan Hot Dog Stand in Los Angeles. The Franken-Stand has been haunting L.A. for over a year and a half and have seen tons of food trucks within our time, spring on the scene. But, I am confident to say that even though we are not a truck and we only work out of one food facility.. we still stand out amongst the massive gathering of food trucks in our town. I do not know of one food truck here that is entirely vegan, though many have some vegan options. There is not one that is dedicated to the spooky side of life. So, with these things in mind.. we kind of are not in the food truck loop of things. We do not associate with any of them. Franken’s books events all over. We do private parties, festivals, music shows, art shows, independent theatres, museums, etc.. and since we are so compact it makes it a lot easier to be “a part” of the happenings and just be parked around it. That is our goal. We are there because people want us there.
2) When and how did you come up with the idea of serving food in a truck and how did you decide on your menu?
Before I started Franken’s I was playing venues all over L.A. with my band. I consume a plant-based diet and always found it difficult if not impossible to find food to eat after my late night shows. I have always wanted my own diner and decided that to live your dream you have to be bold. I sold everything that I owned.. car, music equiptment, etc.. to have Franken’s build from scratch. I made a list of everything I needed to do in order for my stand to be 100% legit.. w/no exceptions. Began checking things off and making my way into the streets. I started out doing events in the alley of, “The Smell” in downtown Los Angeles and since then have made my way into the Los Angeles Times and been rubbing elbows with the top notch food trucks. It’s crazy!
Our menu is simple. We offer 3 different gourmet franks. The Wolf: a spicy chipotle pepper frank, The Witch: a big beer brat & The Franken: our classic italian sausage. I am revamping an old item right now which is our vegan chicken sandwich, “The Cannibal.” We carry canned soda by Hansens and Bluesky as well as Chips by Dirty Chips and Route 11. Vegan cookies by, “Follow Your Heart.” We also stand by the DIY style of things. Customers get their franks plain and do it up themselves for no extra charge… pickles, onions, sauerkraut, relish, jalapenos, and fresh chopped cilantro! Ketchup, mustard (spicy brown and reg), bbq, hot sauce & vegenaise! (vegan mayo).
3) Why the monster theme?
Well, that’s easy. As far back as I could remember I’ve had a love for monsters. I would watch Dark Crystal everyday when I was two years old. I think my first real experience with i guess “horror” was watching the Invisible Man with Claude Rains. Interesting enough, Boris Karloff was originally asked to play that part. I got into the Universal Films and immediatly fell in love with Frankenstein the monster. By my teenage years I had vast knowledge of all things horror and began leaning into the b-side stuff. Anyways, I wanted Franken’s to be fun, unique and reflect who I am. People respond really well to our style plus get to do what I love.
4) Do you see the food truck trend slowing down at all? What do you think will happen in 2010?
I think the way things are in our economy right now, food trucks are not going anywhere but to the bank. That’s why there are so many popping up. Everyone is trying to do something different and come up with interesting ideas to stand out. I can’t even count how many trucks have been born in my town within this last year.
5) Got anything planned for Halloween?
On Halloween we are going to be at one of my favorite places in this town, The Silent Movie Theatre. They are screening Ed Wood’s Plan 9 from Outer Space (50th anniversary) with Q & A by Ed Woods screenwriters, Larry Karaszewski and Scott Alexander! With a huge monster party after the film! Dance floor, costume prizes, Giggle Water Galore, karaoke on the big screen, fundraiser and frightening delicious franks of course.
Like I said.. Franken’s is not a part of that (food truck) scene. We are doing our own thing our own way. We do events that food trucks have no idea about. We don’t care about the crowds, we care about the people. I want to thank you again for taking the time to find us and learn about us. Maybe we’ll start a Franken-Stand in your town.
-Thank you Ray for taking your time to answer our questions!