South Florida, the food truck loves you: warm weather all year long, a melting pot of culture and cuisine from Broward to Palm Beach, and hungry people eager to stand in line for whatever can be procured from a giant kitchen on wheels.
Since the food-truck trend started several year ago, the meals on wheels have appeared in packs, overtaking neighborhoods, unleashing feeding frenzies in parking lots as far north as Jupiter and Wellington and all the way south to Miami.
Each year, still more hit the streets for the first time, hoping to win the crowds with special takes and fusions with the familiar favorites. So it comes as no surprise that one such food truck, Sauced Up, has taken the slider and chicken wing and upped the ante.
In July of last year, Florida natives Dan Scala and Matt Kaiser launched Sauced Up, their Coral Springs-based food truck specializing in gourmet sliders and stuffed chicken wings. Kaiser, who attended culinary school at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, said he never dreamed of opening his own restaurant, bistro, or café. Instead, he hoped to have a catering business.
A food truck was the perfect answer -- especially for Scala, whose degree in political science wasn't helping him to find full-time work. Since Sauced Up hit the streets, the duo say they've been doing well with a menu serving two American staples: burgers and wings.
It's a solid combination -- but with a twist.
"At first, it was all trial and error," said Scala. "We didn't know what people would like. But every day we go out, we sell out. Especially our filet mignon sliders."
As soon as Scala gets the sentence out, a customer appears at the order window, a fiendish look in his eyes. He's desperate -- and hungry.
"Please tell me you have the filet sliders, man," he begs.
The filet mignon sliders are Sauced Up's signature dish, a pair of two- to three-ounce filet steaks on fresh potato bread buns dressed with homemade garlic aioli and topped with sautéed onions ($13). They're addictive.
Scala doesn't flinch as he delivers the blow: no more filet sliders.
His customer is quick to order the last of the truck's other specialty -- the stuffed chicken wings, Kaiser's own creation. They've earned Sauced Up its cult following, a meal inside a meal. Extra-large, jumbo wings are sold five for $10 (or ten for $18) and fitted with a choice of macaroni and cheese, pulled pork, or bacon and cheddar.
Kaiser said the chicken wing "stuffing" has become an art.
"It's like a craft," he explains. "You have to develop a technique for it, and you have to know which wings are good for stuffing."
The truck also offers pulled pork, chicken cutlet, and whiskey BBQ beef sliders. Scala's personal favorite: the meatball sliders, made using his grandmother's recipe. Each meatball is stuffed with provolone and mozzarella and served smothered in marinara and topped with Kaiser's creamy pesto.
Sauced Up can be found at Tamarac Park each Wednesday from 5-9:30 p.m., and for lunch every other Sunday from noon to 3 p.m. at The Hook Up parking lot in Boca Raton. Visit the Facebook page, or follow them on Instagram.
Follow Nicole Danna on Twitter, @SoFloNicole.