101 Best Food Truck Feature: Marination Mobile
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Kamala Saxton and Roz Edison started Marination Mobile after a not-so-great venture on Wall Street. Saxton marinated and Edison came over, and the two women supported each other over meals. Then the idea of a food truck came to them and Marination Mobile, The Saucy Food Truck was born. They came in at number 16 on our list of 101 Best Food Trucks in America 2013 because of their saucy treats. They have tacos, sliders, quesadillas, rice bowls, and even a Spam Musubi waiting for hungry customers in the Seattle area.
When did you launch your truck?
June 19, 2009.
What was the inspiration for going into this business?
Kogi in Los Angeles and Skillet in Seattle are obvious choices. But I don’t think the food truck scene would ever have had the opportunity to go this mainstream if it weren’t for the trucks that have been parking outside manufacturing plants and construction sites every day — breakfast and lunch — in cities across the U.S. for years. It’s important that they be acknowledged as the real pioneers.
What's the story behind the name?
Two things: Kamala’s marinades, which have been famous within five blocks of our house since we moved in, and Kalbi beef, which is marinated. We thought we'd roll with that theme.
What's the inspiration for your cuisine and recipes?
One word: Kamala.
What's your signature dish? Is it also your most popular dish?
Our signature and most popular dish has to be our Aloha Sliders — Kalua pork and our now famous Nunya sauce.
If you haven't already, would you ever go brick-and-mortar? And if you have, is there anything you feel gets lost in the transition?
We've gone brick-and-mortar with Marination Station, in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, and Marination ma kai, which opened last fall on Alki Beach with an incredible view of the Seattle skyline. As long as we keep our customer service the same, we feel we've kept the best part about our truck.
How did you come up with your truck's design? Is there a designer you'd like to give a shout-out to?
We were lucky. The truck was mostly built when we found it in LA. Big Blue has had a lot of good people get her on the road, and then work hard to keep her there.
Does your truck have a vanity license plate? And if so, what does it say?
Not yet, but that sounds like a brainstorming project best started after a few pints of Marination Brown Session Ale. Maybe "Big Blue"?
What model truck do you have?
Chevy 24' Step Van... that's about all we know.
What one piece of advice would you give someone looking to get into the food truck business?
Do your research. There are as many hoops to jump through in this business as any other.
Any new upcoming dishes planned that you can tell us about?
LOTS of ideas. Come visit and we'll tell you all about them.
Any new plans on the horizon you can share?
We’ll tell you all about them when you come in to try the new dishes from the question above!
What's the most challenging thing about running your food truck?
We’re fortunate in Seattle that our city’s culture lends itself to trying new things then coming back to the ones we like. Once you’ve built that trust, the biggest challenge becomes finding and keeping good locations so the people who enjoy the food can get it when they want it.
Lots of things happen when running a restaurant, and that probably goes double on the road. As such, be it weird, funny, good, or bad, what's one superlative or particularly outstanding moment or story that's ever occurred with your truck be it with customers, in the kitchen, or just in general?
Honestly, almost every day generates a great story on the truck. One day, though, in our first month of operation, we were vending someplace that we truly thought was legal — since we had been invited by the adjacent business owner to be there. However, it turns out we were not allowed to vend there. So since we had a truck full of deliciousness, and line full of hungry customers, we just gave all the food away for free. No laws were broken, and many tummies were filled. Which brings us back to the advice we’d give to a newcomer to the business: Even when you do all your homework, there’s always going to be another permit to get!
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