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Bridge Road Bistro is goin' mobile

By Megan Workman

CHARLESTON, W.Va.--  Bridge Road Bistro has gone mobile.

The South Hills restaurant is unveiling its first food truck, which hungry patrons will be able to locate on a phone application.

The Bistro Black Truck will make its debut Monday night at the West Virginia Power game at Appalachian Power Park, although it won't serve any food yet.

Bridge Road Bistro General Manager Sandy Call said restaurant workers applied for a city loading zone permit, which would allow them to park and serve food for 30 minutes on Charleston streets, Thursday. They are waiting for city approval -- still weeks away, Call said -- before they start serving food.

The phone app -- where customers will be able to see where the food truck is, check the menu and give feedback -- will be available in about three weeks, she said.

"We're going to be very respectful and ask owners of parking lots if we can park there and, of course, we'll pay. We want to respect the city and add to the vitality of the city," Call said, "We're not going to pull up in front of other eateries."

The Bistro Black Truck will switch up its menu every two weeks so customers won't see the same fare all the time, said Brandon Aubrey, manager of the food truck.

Some ideas Aubrey and Chef John Right are already tossing around include salads, wraps, fish tacos, empanadas, hot and cold soups, and a nacho of the day.

The menu will be displayed on the side of the truck next to the ordering window. Prices will range from $4 to $10.

Aubrey and one other Bistro employee will work inside the truck at a time.

He said he will prepare most of the food in the morning. By lunchtime, orders will go out in less than two minutes, he said.

"In the city, it's great to be able to eat something that's not fast food but delivered to you fast," Aubrey said. "We're used to doing 200 people [at the restaurant] in a couple hours, so this is nothing."

Aubrey, who has traveled to California and Florida exploring food trucks, said this is a dream come true for him. They bought the 1984 Ford food truck from a man in Atlanta, who took the mobile business to NASCAR races.

"I get to do what I've dreamed about for years," he said. "For a lot of us, it's not just a job, it's a passion."

Charleston Mayor Danny Jones said the Bistro is opening new doors as a "premiere operation in the city of Charleston."

"The Bistro will continue to expand because they attract the best customers, but they also attract the best people to work there," Jones said.

Call said they are doing what the Bistro's late owner, Robert Wong, wanted out of his restaurant. Wong died last May after collapsing on a tennis court.

"This past year has been really tough for us, losing Robert . . . but we embraced that philosophy behind Robert and Sherri's beliefs in serving great food and meeting people, so there's no stopping us," Call said.

The food truck will travel all around Charleston every day except Sunday, but it isn't restricted to city limits, she said. The restaurant already caters to numerous weddings in Lewisburg, and the St. Albans Armory has requested the Bistro Black Truck to serve its location.

Call said the truck will sit outside Charleston offices so that people looking for a quick, fresh bite to eat won't have to walk far.

Festivals, including Live on the Levee and other Boulevard events, are location goals for the food truck, she said.

"We hope to grow and get another one," Call said. "We got Morgantown tailgating, and more, to cater to."

Reach Megan Workman at megan.workman@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5113.


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