Jacksonville Food Truck:Backstreets Catering Food TruckJune 28, 2014 1 comment Print Article
EatDrinkJax.com shares their interview with Backstreets Catering Food Truck
Talking with Trip and Ulka Shriver of Backstreets Catering
1. Tell us about Backstreets Catering
We’re a food truck serving healthy homestyle food from across America. Every item on our menu hails from the backstreets of a certain American town or city. The food we serve is authentic to its roots while featuring a fresh set of ingredients and preparation that’s as healthy as possible.
2. Why did you choose that style of food for Backstreets Catering?
Ulka: Trip has lived in various corners of the country and he’s always been one to savor the foods he comes across. He’s spent time in the Southwest, from California to Texas. He grew up in New Jersey, and that's where he came to appreciate a good cheesesteak. We haven’t featured seafood on the truck yet, but Trip later grew up in New England, and our catering menu has a number of coastal options. Trip has spent most of his adult life in Virginia, and he's really developed his own pulled pork barbeque during that time - we think it comes from neighboring Tennessee more than the Carolinas to the south.
Trip: I wanted a bit of an eclectic menu, featuring the foods I really enjoy. I’m a cheesesteak fanatic. I love them, but I want a good one, not something made with Steak-Ums or a poor cut of meat. And a good cheesesteak requires a good roll. So, my idea was to pick a few things and make them right.
San Diego Pork Tacos
3. Are all your items based on regional specialties?
We use city streets as the theme for the food, and when an item is from a certain region we want to be authentic. But there are a few items that were named for a region, not necessarily because the items hail from that part of the country more than others, but for other reasons. For instance, we named our grilled cheese sandwich for Green Bay, Wisconsin, just because that region is known for its cheeses ... and for Cheesehead football fans.
4. How did you come up with your current menu?
We wanted something that would appeal to a wide range of people.
The Philly Cheesesteak is delicious and it’s a classic that appeals both to people from the Northeast as well as those who've traveled to Philadelphia and fallen for this sandwich. It's a hard task to find an authentic cheesesteak this far from Philadelphia - in just a couple of months, we're already known as the place for this speciality.
Being in the South, we knew we needed to represent barbecue - the pulled pork sandwich, done Memphis style, with a sweet and tangy sauce as well as a dollop of our signature salsa. We have a giant rotisserie smoker, and we wanted a feature that took advantage of that attraction, so that’s that’s how we came up with the smoked chicken. It isn't a true Buffalo wing-style recipe, but our chicken thighs are marinated in a homemade hot sauce before they hit the rotisserie, and we serve it with a dipping pepper sauce.
With the quesadillas and tacos, we’re serving up something that’s popular and a little trendy. And they work well because they let us feature the pork that comes off our rotisserie, in a way that's a little different from all the barbeque options we see in this region, as well as highlighting our signature homemade "Road Trip Salsa." We also sell chips and salsa, and jars of both our red and green varieties of salsa.
Pork smoking on the rotisserie
5. What’s Road Trip Salsa?
Trip: It’s our own salsa, made from a recipe that evolved from one used at a Mexican restaurant I owned previously. It's come to be fresher and lighter - a truly unique recipe. The salsa is faithful to our idea of being really tasty and healthy - it’s made with just tomatoes, peppers and lime. There are no artificial preservatives or additives of any kind. The name "Road Trip" plays off the idea of Backstreets. The speed limit on the jar indicates the level of heat - the higher the speed limit, the hotter it gets. I use a secret paste I've developed, made with three different peppers, to infuse heat in varying degrees. The red salsa comes in at 65 mph and the green salsa is a sweeter 45 mph ride. Traditionally, salsa verde is milder, and used more often for cooking. People really like the salsa so we’re working on having it placed in some retail stores. For now, we use it in our recipes and we’re also selling jars canned and labeled by us at the trailer. Once we get a little momentum in our sales, we’ll market the salsa professionally. At that point, we plan to sell it with a "side-car," which is a separate packet of our secret pepper paste, so customers can set their own levels of heat.