Red hot lunch option leaves food truckers hoping for cool breeze

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by DEBBIE DENMON

WFAA

Posted on June 27, 2012 at 6:00 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 27 at 7:05 PM

DALLAS — Food truckers never had it so good... or so they thought.

After all, they've put their restaurant on wheels to reduce overhead.

"This is a nice way to ease into the market, get your feet wet, meet people," said Caroline Perini, co-owner of Easy Slider. "We're not a brick-and-mortar, so we don't have to worry about the bigger bills."

She and her partner are definitely bringing home the bacon, but she would gladly pay an air conditioning bill. But with no a/c unit and no fans on her truck, there are some heated moments while slaving over a 400-degree griddle.

"There were a lot of things we were saying; I don't know if they were safe for camera," Perini said with a laugh.

She bought the truck and rolled it out six months ago... in the winter. The summer is totally different, as she can only hope for a cool breeze through an open window.

The truck is literally a hot box — a homemade sauna, if you will.

"We joke as owners of the truck that this is the most expensive spa I've ever attended," Perini said. "The amount of sweat and weight we lose on these things is crazy."

The owners of Easy Slider try to make it a little easier for themselves by parking in the shade. It's first-come, first-serve to park under the awning at the Winspear Opera House in downtown Dallas.

The shade helps, but it didn't stop Mary Ann Quinonez, the owner of Rock and Roll Tacos truck, from having a meltdown.

"Last Thursday, I don't remember how hot it was, but when I got off I went and told my husband I'm done — I quit — this is crazy! What are we doing?"

Quinonez and her husband were back at work on triple-digit days, and our infrared thermometer recorded 128 degrees inside the truck — and that's as far away as we could get from the hot grill.

"I had an employee who was on the border line of passing out and I had to get him off the truck," Quinonez said.

Now, workers on the trucks focus on staying hydrated and taking breaks. It's a sacrifice the customers are grateful for.

There's only one thing these food truckers thirst for: "I wish Gatorade was our sponsor at this point," Perini said.

E-mail ddenmon@wfaa.com

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