It's 130 Degrees (and Rising) in at Least One of Dallas' Food Trucks
If you haven't noticed it's hot outside. Highs are expected to top 110 this weekend, according to my Google skills. I've never experienced 110. I have no idea what that feels like. I imagine it sucks, and I imagine it's affecting other people's food choices as well.
Eater reports today that Trece is taking a break. The article cites August temperatures and a bum air conditioner as reasons for the temporary closure. But what about the food trucks? The small metal boxes roast out in the sun at high noon every day. In addition from baking in the elements, most trucks boast flat grills, deep friers and other equipment that kick out a ton of heat. The small air-conditioning units that control the climate on these trucks don't stand a chance in triple-digit temps.
I called Michael Siegel of the Green House food truck to see how he's handling the heat in his now ironically named vehicle. He claims temperatures top 130 right near his stove. In addition to the obvious toll the heat has on his staff, it's causing his equipment to malfunction as well. The burner he uses to cook stir-fried dishes won't operate when the truck overheats. A safety valve shuts the gas off.
Siegel told me he mandates regular breaks, and plenty of hydration for his workers, but concedes he's concerned about temperatures breaking into the 110s. The safety of his employees has him considering shutting down on the hottest days.
Randy Wolken of the Gandolfo Deli food truck is watching the thermometer too. While his truck's internal temperature is topping out at 110, he says long days are taking their toll. "I'm literally less of a man," he told me, claiming to have lost 35 pounds since working the truck over the past seven weeks. Perhaps he should eat more pastrami.
Customers, however, don't seem to mind the heat. Both food truck proprietors indicated steadily increasing sales despite oppressive mercury. Siegel says demand is steady, but customers crave different foods in the heat. They haven't missed the hot rice stir-fries stifled by a malfunctioning burner. Instead, sales of cold soups and salads are getting the most demand.
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