Lowdown Food Truck Interview

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Manny Figaro

The Lowdown, is one of Asheville's many great food trucks. They serve simple dishes with big flavors. Nate Kelly, the owner of the Lowdown is an Asheville native who is providing the city excellent food like BBQ sammies and B.L.T.Ps-brown sugar bacon, lettuce, tomatoes and jalapeno pimento cheese. I got the chance to spend an afternoon on the truck taking photos, talking with the owner, and enjoying great food. The interview below is of the owner Nate Kelly, and he tells us about his food truck, the menu, and the food truck community.

Manny: Where did the name for your truck come from?

Nate: We were originally going to call it the down low, because food trucks are kinda underground, but my wife liked the way the lowdown sounded much better and I agree.

Manny: What makes your food truck unique?

Nate: I think there are a couple of things that make our truck unique. The fact that we are true Asheville locals makes us a minority in this town which is pretty unique. Also the fact that we have the ability to put out any genre of food instead of painting ourselves into a corner by declaring a certain type of cuisine.

Manny: I heard that the graphic on the front of your truck was designed by an artist on the show Ugly Americans, how did you meet him and get him to make the graphic? Is there anything special about the graphic?

Nate: It's true, the designer was working at Comedy Central, he has now moved on to a different studio working with a pretty famous graphic designer, but I'm not allowed to give to many details because the show they are working on is still in its planning stage. Erik Minkin, the artist, is one of my best friends. We met the summer before our freshman year at AHS (Asheville High School) and have been friends ever since. When I approached him about the idea he was thrilled and said he had a lot of fun working on it. I think what makes it special is how well he encapsulated Asheville in the mural and how ever time you look at it you can find something different.

Manny: Are there any Chef's locally or nationally that you look up to or inspired you to start a food truck?

Nate: Locally, I really admire Brian Canipelli (Cucina 24) and my mentor James Clark* who lives in Austin now.

*James Clark worked with Nate at Usual Suspects for six years in which time he took him under his wing and taught Nate everything he knows about culinary arts.

Manny: Do you remember who your first customer was?

Nate: I'm not positive, but I think it was John Molnar* a local cook/friend.

*John Molnar is a friend who worked with Nate at Usual Suspects and has now moved on to Charlotte.

Manny: Have you taken your food truck to any other events or cities?

Nate: We have taken the truck as far as Morganton [NC] for a wine festival, but for the most part we have decided to stay as local as possible to avoid wear and tear on the truck, also we want to stay close to all our loyal customers.

Manny: Have you worked with any of the other food trucks on any specific projects?

Nate: I worked with the Pink Taco Truck and Gypsy Queen Cuisine developing "the lot" and we would like to create a food truck festival sometime in the future.

Manny: Do you view the other food trucks as competitors or as friends in the food truck community?

Nate: I would say both, of course they are competition but I look at it as a friendly competition. I would definitely consider all the food trucks as friends and would do anything to help them out.

Manny: What's the best thing on the menu?

Nate: I would say my favorite menu item would be the B.L.T.P-brown sugar bacon, lettuce, heirloom tomatoes and jalapeno pimento cheese.

Manny: What's the best reaction someone has had to your food?

Nate: At the Blind Pig food truck battle someone wrote on their comment card after they tried our food "Amaze Balls", which I thought was hilarious.

Photos and Interview by Manny Figaro

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