Food trucks starting to hold court

Brothers creating hub with indoor dining for rolling restaurants
2013-06-20T00:00:00Z Food trucks starting to hold courtCathalena E. Burch Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
June 20, 2013 12:00 am  • 

William and Travis Miller are breaking the rules of food-truck dining.

Very soon, the brothers will have a dining room with air conditioning in addition to a covered patio with misters that easily drop the temperature 10 to 15 degrees.

This is food trucking with perks, which is exactly what the Millers had in mind when they leased the abandoned gas station at the corner of East 22nd Street and North Pantano Road and set up 22nd & Pantano Food Truck Court.

"To me this is an ideal situation," said Travis Miller, who has been tooling around Tucson since last August serving cheesesteaks and burgers from the brothers' Serial Grillers food truck.

"We were doing a lot of the food truck roundups and people said, 'We love your food; where can we find you?' "

The brothers parked their truck under the shade six weeks ago, plugged into the former gas station's electrical outlets and fired up the flattop. They started renovating the station's store into a dining room, complete with air conditioning.

So far, they have done a steady business on the corner, selling sandwiches named after movie and TV serial killers like Dexter, Se7en, Hannibal and Freddy. Within the first several weeks, they started pulling in $600 to $800 a day, "which is great for a food truck. And we don't have to be mobile to do it."

Miller says 22nd & Pantano Food Truck Court is like having a brick-and-mortar restaurant without the overhead. He and his brother have opened the lot to other food trucks, inviting them to park alongside Serial Grillers. Among the trucks that have taken them up on the offer is BurgerRito and The Ritz Carlton Food Truck.

For now, the brothers aren't charging the other trucks. But once everything begins to gell and diners realize the trucks are sticking around, Miller said they will charge trucks $30 a day to help offset the lot's $1,500 monthly lease.

This could be a first for Tucson. While other trucks have been known to stake out a spot and park for regular hours, none of them offers indoor seating. Most set tables up beneath a canopy or tent.

The brothers live on the northwest side, but migrated to the east side, where they've had luck at roundups.

"It seemed like a lot of our followers were on the east side. And in this area there's not a whole lot of places to eat," said the 31-year-old University of Arizona Eller School graduate who also served in the Air Force.

Two weeks ago, Serial Grillers also introduced free delivery with a $15 minimum purchase to businesses located in an area generally bounded by Golf Links and Harrison roads to the southeast, and Speedway and Wilmot Road to the northwest. Miller and his crew are going door to door to advertise the service, he said.

Meanwhile, the Millers are hoping to roll out their second food truck soon. They bought it in February and are renovating and equipping it.

On Monday they launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $15,000 for the build-out and remodeling.

If you go

22nd & Pantano Food Truck Court

7889 E. 22nd St., at North Pantano Road.

• Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

• Featuring: Tucson food trucks including Serial Grillers, which leases the lot, along with guest trucks such as BurgerRito and The Ritz Carlton Food Truck.

• Details: facebook.com/Serial-Grillers

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at cburch@azstarnet.com or 573-4642.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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