Friday Oct 07 2011
Restored ’62 Chevy dispenses fine foods and espresso
By: Gloria Young Journal Staff Writer
Having a restaurant on wheels is the fulfillment of a longtime dream for Deb Arbogast. “I’ve wanted a food truck for 10 years and finally got to do it,” she said. “I like to dine there and I’ve always wanted it. It’s just cool.” Arbogast unveiled her Americano Fine Foods & Espresso truck in early September, traveling around Auburn and Roseville with her specialty menu. It’s not the first experience in the food business for the lifelong Auburn resident. Her family owned Arbogast Body and Paint in Lincoln Way in Downtown Auburn for 28 years. But the Arbogasts also took the leap into the restaurant business during the 1990s with the Firehouse Café, located in the old firehouse on High Street that later housed the Boys & Girls Club. After her father sold the body shop, Arbogast began searching in earnest for just the right food truck and finally found it in Stockton — a 1962 Chevy. “I was looking for something that stands apart from the rest,” she said. “I think I found it with that truck. It doesn’t look like any other food truck.” It was unique, but it also needed a lot of work. She said she’s very grateful to family members for all their support helping her get started. “We painted it. We restored everything,” Arbogast said. “Everything is new in the truck except for the refrigerator. … Once I saw the truck, it just sort of all came together. I didn’t really know what I was gong to do until I saw it. I never thought of the name Americano until I saw the truck. It just fits with the year of the truck and our menu.” Arbogast’s menu specializes in paninis and espressos. But she also has daily specials, bakes her own scones and cookies, and plans to add soups as the weather gets colder. “(Recently) I made tacos with chicken, cheese, black beans and corn salsa with sour cream and Tapatio (hot sauce),” she said. “We sold 100 in one day. They’re really good.” Much of the work begins at her commercial kitchen. “We prepare everything out at the kitchen,” she said. “We make (things like the) fresh mango salsa that we put on our chicken mango sandwich, which is by far our best seller. … Then we make the sandwiches fresh to order (on the truck) in the panini press.” For breakfast, there’s a bacon, egg and havarti sandwich, which has become another favorite. “And we always have a dessert sandwich — Nutella and orange marmalade, or we can make a pear havarti with honey and cinnamon,” she said. An espresso machine on the truck produces the coffee drinks. Arbogast said her focus is to keep the ingredients as local as possible. “I get my espresso beans from Depoe Bay,” she said. “I (use) the Truckee Sourdough Company ciabatta rolls, which are just delicious.” While she gets her business rolling, Arbogast is out on the roads seven days a week. She brings along a helper so one of them can take the orders and the money while the other gets the food ready. “We do our routes Monday to Friday,” she said. “We start at the airport and do the dealerships, and then lunch at various places that want us. … We do the same routes so people are familiar with where we’re going to be.” Her daily drive also takes her to downtown Roseville. She’ll book special events and catering jobs and plans to have the truck at the Auburn Community Festival. Eventually she hopes to be able to work exclusively in Auburn. The high price of gas makes the trips to Roseville costly — she estimates she spends about $45 a day at the pump. One of Arbogast’s favorite parts of the job is meeting and interacting with customers as she works to build a steady clientele. She posts the daily route on Twitter so customers know when and where to find her. Prices range from $6 to $7.50 for sandwiches and $2 to $4.25 for drinks. One of her customers is Linda Chandler at Mad Will’s Food Company in the Airport Business Park. “It is not the usual food truck fare. She’s innovative and brave enough to try the paninis and other healthy food items,” Chandler said. Arbogast is also a golfer and played on the Futures Tour for five years. She also entered a couple of LPGA tournaments. “I was two shots away from getting my LPGA card,” she said. Reach Gloria Young at firstname.lastname@example.org.