Appetizers
January 7, 2011
Sacramento's first gourmet food truck to debut Jan. 29

By Chris Macias
cmacias@sacbee.com

Sacramento's first gourmet food truck will be rolling through town starting Jan. 29
, co-owner and restaurant industry veteran Davin Vculek said Friday.

Mini Burger will serve gourmet burgers and fries through its mobile truck, he said, while also satisfying a hunger from locals who have been craving gourmet food trucks in Sacramento.

Vculek is a former corporate chef with Guy Fieri's restaurant chain and a silent business partner in Mini Burger. He and his partners are modeling Mini Burger after Kogi BBQ, a southern California food truck that's been featured in Bon Appetit magazine and tweets its location to more than 79,000 followers.

Like Kogi BBQ, Mini Burger will use social media and its web site (www.miniburgertruck.com) to give updates of its current location. Mini Burger will feature a menu of burgers such as the "cow town" and a "ninja" burger with Asian slaw and sriracha aioli. A two-pack of burgers costs $6, or three for $8, while sides cost $2 each.

Vculek's business plan projects for a minimum of 100 customers daily with a $1,000 gross, and plans to serve throughout the city limits, including midtown and north Sacramento. Successful gourmet food trucks can gross upwards of $400,000 annually.

"This concept was actually designed many years ago, and we thought it would be great for a land-based restaurant," said Vculek. "But when food trucks became popular in L.A., we knew this would be a great concept for a food truck."

Food trucks emerged as one of the nation's biggest culinary trends over the last year, serving such dishes as Belgian waffles, chicken adobo and escargot in cities including Portland, Ore., and San Francisco. The Food Network even launched "The Great Food Truck Race" in August and attracted 2 million viewers in its debut.

But in Sacramento, strict city ordinances, including a 30-minute limit before food trucks have to move at least 400 feet, have put the brakes on this trend. Vculek and his partner expect the necessary paperwork, including a health permit from the County of Sacramento, to be wrapped up within a week. Even with the time limits, Vculek insisted that Mini Burger can thrive.

"The city isn't so friendly with ordinances,but I've found some ways where you can work it out," said Vculek. "In 30 minutes, we can serve a good amount of people. Mainly for us, we just want to be respectful of restaurants and won't park in front of them."

Sacramento city officials are meanwhile warming up to the idea of gourmet food trucks. Mayor Kevin Johnson told The Bee in August that he believes the city council "can develop a plan that allows mobile food trucks to thrive alongside other businesses."

Dafna Gauthier, business permit manager for the city of Sacramento, recommends that food truck entrepreneurs get well-acquainted with current ordinances.

"If someone came in and said they'd abide by the 30-minute rule, we'll see what we can do to make it happen," said Gauthier.

Mini Burger plans to debut at the Make-A-Wish Foundation's Winter Wine & Food Festival on Jan. 29 at the Sacramento Convention Center.

"We're going to pioneer this thing and see what happens," said Vculek. "We hope the city will catch on."

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