Over the past few years, the food truck industry has become an increasing culinary force in metropolitan areas across the country.
Just recently the New Orleans City Council changed their rules to allow more of the mobile eateries to operate in the city.
Now it seems like the craze is spreading further as Destrehan resident Myrtle Palmer was recently granted a permit to operate her food truck “Food 4 da Soul” in St. Charles Parish.
Palmer’s food truck will be the first allowed inside the parish.
After being retired for nearly a decade from Crown Roofing, a successful business she started with her ex-husband, the 54-year-old Arkansas native said she was interested in getting back to work for supplemental income.
“I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, but I knew I wanted to something,” she said. “I did the painting and stuff and helped my friend out who is a contractor across the river, but the pay was too low. I didn’t want to do that.”
After thinking it over for a while, Palmer said she decided catering would be a good business for her to get into.“I’ve never worked in a restaurant, but I’ve always cooked for people when they’ve come by,” she said. “I’d been cooking for a long time and I never heard anything bad. So I decided I was going to do a little catering.”
Her first gig was on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights outside a club in New Orleans.
“We started at the club and we were on the sidewalk. I didn’t want to be on the sidewalk forever, so I went ahead and invested some of my money,” she said.
For $30,000, she went online and ordered the food truck to her specifications from a Florida firm. This February she received the truck and ever since has been contracted to provide food for various festivals, industry locations and private parties in New Orleans.
After the truck arrived, she had to make some changes to it to meet fire department safety specifications and received a health safety inspection. Now with a permit from the parish in hand, she can operate locally.
Palmer hopes to pick up weekly lunchtime gigs at local industry sites and serve festivals in the parish.
“I am looking at some of that, the parades and Mardi Gras and that type of stuff,” she said.
While she is originally from Arkansas, Palmer has picked up the New Orleans culinary style and has also added some soul food cooking.
“I cook fried chicken, fried fish, yams, stew and rice, red beans, gumbo and shrimp pasta,” she said.
Palmer said she has received a good response so far and is hoping that now that she has been given the go ahead to operate in St. Charles Parish, her business will take off.