Kenny Hockert isn’t waiting to get rolling. While still looking for a suitable and affordable food truck to buy, the chef has already started his Old World Food Truck, which serves up sustainable old world fare, as a weekly pop-up café in San Francisco’s Mission district. Since opening in September, the spot has garnered a regular following, and drawn in passersby who see the chalkboard sign Hockert has put out on the sidewalk.
Each Wednesday evening Hockert serves up what he calls “Eastern European Jewish Soul Food” at the La Victoria bakery from 6:00 to 9:00, or until his supply runs out. On the menu, which changes each week and is posted on the Old World Food Truck Facebook page, there are lots of recognizable items like pierogi, goulash, borscht, schnitzel, chopped liver, and pickled vegetables. But the 39-year-old Hockert puts his unique stamp on these by altering the traditional recipes to reflect his own personal interest in and commitment to using organic, sustainable and seasonal ingredients.
Three years ago, Zane Caplansky applied to the city of Toronto to sell Montreal-style smoked-meat sandwiches from a cart. Confronted with red tape that would have required a steep investment in a mobile kitchen, he dropped the idea.
Bad news for the aspiring vendor became a boon for Toronto foodies. Caplansky instead started selling smoked-meat sandwiches from the back of a Toronto bar. Insane demand, fueled by word of mouth, led to the 2009 opening of Caplansky’s, his massively successful deli on the northern edge of the city’s historically Jewish Kensington Market neighborhood. “Caplansky’s did more to put Toronto on the map as a deli city than anyone else in half a century,” says David Sax, author of “Save the Deli” and a Forward contributor.