With dozens of food trucks popping up throughout the Triangle, many Chapel Hill business owners are using these mobile businesses to enter the restaurant business or expand their restaurants.
Captain Poncho’s Mexican Grill opened its first brick-and-mortar restaurant in Southern Village shopping center in September. But the business originally got its start in 2009 as a taco truck.
Carolina Escobar, who co-owns the restaurant with her husband Hector, said they decided to open the restaurant to support their two food trucks.
In North Carolina, food truck vendors are required to obtain a permit to sell food. In the Triangle, part of the requirements for obtaining a food truck permit is having a restaurant or commissary kitchen where food is prepared to be served on the truck.
“It was more convenient for us to have a restaurant,” Escobar said. “With the restaurant, we can cook everything here, and the truck can come pick it up.”
She said the restaurant has seen a good amount of customers so far and a lot of the traffic is due to loyal fans of the truck.
“We cook with love,” Escobar said. “That’s something that we learned through the food truck. A lot of restaurants don’t cook with love.”
Other Chapel Hill restaurants such as Mixed Casual Korean Bistro and Bandido’s Mexican Cafe sought to expand the reach of their stationary restaurants through food trucks.