For months, Clean Plate Charlie has been tracking the progress of local food truck owner/operators Robb and Abby Muise and James Seeley, who saw their dreams to launch Friar Tuck's food truck come to a screeching halt when their truck literally crashed into pieces in a devastating accident on the Florida Turnpike in June.
Friar Tuck's had been en route to its debut appearance and the truck was totalled, ostensibly putting the brakes permanently on the business. Read Clean Plate Charlie's original blog posting on the accident and Muise's vow to rebuild in a matter of weeks, here
After weeks of reconstruction and financial stress, Friar Tuck's (version 2.0) will debut tonight. Its first event is a fundraiser that Muise helped to organize as a way to raise money for an ailing performer from the Florida Renaissance Fair community. (Robb and Abby got their start in the food industry as vendors at the fair.) Money raised will be used to pay for the man's hospital and medical bills, as most people involved in that line of work are uninsured.
"Written into our company genetics is a belief that a community looks out for one another and being a part of the Florida Renaissance Fair community of vendors and 'Rennies' is no exception," Muise said via email.
Fans of "Dr. Who" will recognize this little detail.
When Clean Plate Charlie dropped by Friar Tuck's homebase on Thursday afternoon to check out the finished product, the exterior of the unit was essentially finished and the interior was nearing completion. The paint used on the truck -- which is actually more of a small "hut" built on top of a modified camping trailer -- was provided free of charge as part of a program in Oakland Park that gives city residents up to five gallons of paint each year. They mixed beach sand into the paint in order to give the Styrofoam "bricks" on the lower half of the structure a gritty texture.
The shelves and grill inside the truck were salvaged from the wreckage of the original truck, as was a small handwash sink. The shingles and much of the remaining materials were all salvaged or scrap. In the end, Muise said the unit -- with it's old English pub facade -- is now actually closer to their desired aesthetic, though he's hoping to add some more "green" features (like solar panels) to the structure in the near future.
"This is exactly what we wanted to build," Muise said.
The menu for Friar Tuck's -- which has a provisional license for tonight's event -- includes loaded tater tots and "sammiches" like a meatball topped with homemade bruschetta, a ground chorizo burger on a Hawaiian sweet roll, and a Buffalo chicken burger. The tater tots will come with an assortment of toppings like garlic parmesan or as "tatchos" -- a version of nachos made with tater tots instead of chips.
Muise expects Friar Tuck's -- which is towed by a pickup truck donated to the couple by a family member -- to be rolling out into the community in two weeks. Anyone interested in attending today's debut/fundraiser can email Muise for details at firstname.lastname@example.org.