After all, the first incarnation of Friar Tuck was destroyed on June 13, 2012 on the Florida Turnpike. Owners Robb and Abbey Muise were on their way to debut their food truck in West Palm Beach when the accident occurred.
After completely rebuilding the truck, Muise relaunched Friar Tuck 2.0 in August 2012. And, just as he was getting ready to celebrate a full year of business, another accident on the Florida Turnpike caused yet another setback for the trucker.
Clean Plate Charlie contacted Muise, expecting to hear a dejected food truck owner share his hard luck story. What we got was a lesson in "never give up" from a self-described "stubborn prick from Boston".
Muise told Clean Plate Charlie that the accident happened this past Friday night. On the way to an event, the pick-up truck pulling English Pub-on wheels broke down on the Florida Turnpike. Muise called AAA for a tow and when they arrived, he and his wife got in the truck. The pick-up was placed on the tow bed and the trailer was hitched to the back. A couple of miles down the road, the trailer broke free.
Muise recalls watching from the sideview mirror. "For about two seconds, I thought this was the most amazing thing I'd ever seen. I watched a house flip over three times on the Turnpike. Then I realized that this was my house flipping over."
Muise said that first and foremost, he was relieved that no one was hurt and that no other cars were even scratched. Then, he started looking at the damage.
"The truck was in three pieces. I'm not exaggerating when I said it did three full flips. It looked like a pinata. We built that thing and it would just be easier to build another from scratch."
Muise does have a claim filed with AAA, and doesn't want to talk further about the accident, but he said "there's nothing in the rulebook" against getting a head start on rebuilding. So, on Saturday morning, he decided to start an Indiegogo campaign to raise $5,000 toward the new truck. Two days later, Muise is three fifths of the way toward his goal, with $2,860 raised so far.
Muise said that he decided to start the Indiegogo campaign after customers and fellow food truck owners found out about the accident and started sending emails asking how they could help.
"By Saturday morning, I had customers, friends, partners, and family wanting to donate. I didn't just want to take money, and I didn't want to do a Kickstarter, because I'm not starting a new business. But with Indiegogo, you're basically pre-purchasing food. For example, if you donate $100, you'll get a coupon book good for a dozen burgers. If you choose our premium burgers, you're getting a bargain. For a $10 donation, you'll receive a burger when we re-open. It's a good deal."
That's not to say that the $5,000 Indiegogo goal is all that's needed to rebuild. Muise estimates that if he purchased a new truck, it would cost something between $50,000 - $100,000. But Muise plans on building the new truck himself.
"Here's the thing. Opportunity smells like work. If I'm sweating and near death, it means good things are happening." Muise had actually met with the friend who helped him design and build the last truck a few months back to start talking about how to improve on the truck. "We just need to escalate it a bit," the Friar Tuck owner said. In a show of solidarity, other food truck owners have come forward to offer help "raising the roof."
Friar Tuck 3.0 will look pretty much the same design-wise, although it will be roomier on the inside, with the possible addition of a fryer.
In addition to the Indiegogo, Friar Tuck is holding a fundraiser August 29 from 5 to 11:30 p.m. at Funky Buddha in Oakland Park. Entitled, "Tuck Everlasting", Muise will take over the Crazydilla truck for the evening, serving his famous Tuck Tuck burgers and Jurassic Pork sandwiches. Muise hopes to be able to have the new truck on the road sometime in the fall, in time for his 40th birthday on November 23.
We asked Muise how he can be so damn optimistic about life when his second food truck was just demolished? "I can be upset and defeated. But that's not what I'm passionate about. If life isn't a challenge and an adventure, It's not worth it. I'm going to be 40 this year. I worked in a cubicle all my life. It's hard being a small business owner, but I want a food truck that builds partnerships."
"A year ago I didn't even have customers. Now, I'm getting emails with support. Within 24 hours, we're already over halfway to our goal. It's huge for a small business owner to hear customers support me. It's creating a community. I can't walk away from that. I'm a stubborn prick from Boston."
Being a stubborn prick with a loyal following is exactly what will see Robb Muise through the second rebuilding of Friar Tuck. If you want to help, check out the Friar Tuck Indiegogo page, or follow Muise's progress on his website.
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