A downtown Woodstock business has capitalized on the food truck trend for diners and drinkers as it offers a different one each day in a restaurant setting topped off with local brews.
BY KAYLA ELDER // PHOTOGRAPHY BY KATHRYN INGALL
Truck and Tap, which planted roots in downtown Woodstock last fall, has taken advantage of the popularity of food trucks and beverages on tap by combining the two in a friendly casual setting where diners can sit and eat.
Co-owner Zach Yurchuck, who also owns Woodstock beer staple Barrel and Barley, teamed up with Cliff Crider and PREP, the largest commercial share kitchen in the Southeast to create the successful bar and restaurant on Main Street.
“All three of us wanted to create an environment that was really come-as-you-are and laid-back, that had great beer and great food and was something different in general and definitely in downtown Woodstock,” Yurchuck said. “Cliff and I have lived here for a long time…he found this particular spot and saw the vision for what the use could be. It was a no-brainer, I knew all about craft beer in this town — what sells and what does not sell — and we had this great space we could use in a creative way.”
The storefront features rolling garage windows, while the inside has a variety of seating at the bar, high-tops, tables and at the window bar surrounded by brick accents, bright murals and metal artwork from neighboring Blue Frog Imports. And of course, beer.
Step outside and you have the option of picnic table seating, as well as the food truck of the day whipping up its best cuisine.
“We are fitting two separate spaces, we are a fast-casual restaurant that is also a bar; we are somewhere in-between,” Yurchuck said. “We are filling a new experience for people that they have not had before.”
The mobile food trend stems from two dining traditions that predate the invention of the automobile itself: chuck wagons and pushcarts. Chuck wagons served breakfast, lunch and dinner to those across the plains and the pushcarts served simple lunches of meat pies, fruits and sandwiches to urban dwellers in large cities for construction men, delivery boys and garment workers.
After the invention of the automobile, ice cream trucks were the first businesses to take to the streets in modified vehicles that resemble the larger food trucks of today. Designated food truck parks have popped up overnight in large cities and many brides and grooms are choosing them for catering wedding food.
Craft beer has also grown in status as local breweries take on the challenge of creating brews that delight the most sensitive of taste buds. Belgians, IPAs, porters, amber ales and stouts are quickly rising to challenge popular names such as Budweiser and Miller Light and are popping up in restaurants and local grocers.
Cicerone Certified Beer Servers at Truck and Tap seek to educate guests about the 12 draught lines offered such as Reformation, Creature Comforts and Red Hare, as well as bottled domestic beers. They also feature mixed drink concoctions, hand mixed sugar cane sodas, nitro coffee and other non-alcoholic options.
“We like to tell people, there is no wrong way to be a customer here: go get food, don’t get food, get a beer, don’t get a beer, do one first or do the other first. Just come on in and enjoy yourself,” Yurchuck said.
Featuring a rotation of food trucks daily, superior craft beer and wine from around the globe including Argentina, New Zealand and sake from Japan, Truck and Tap seeks to bring in all ages whether it be for a business meeting, after working out at a local gym, coming off the downtown trail or shopping.
“We are a different restaurant every time you come in,” Yurchuck said noting this restaurant could not have worked before the digital age due to the model relying heavily on Internet promotion and its easy access to online information about menus. “If you are going to go out to a restaurant you are going to want to have some kind of idea what to expect. For us, communication is very important; we post the schedule as often as we can and keep it updated as best we can. The same with our beer menu, its changing so many times a week, so we do our best to stay on top of that and keep everyone informed.”
Six months into their distinctive business model, Truck and Tap has regulars already: customers, food trucks and brews.
Dominic’s New York Pizza on Thursday, which has a wood-fire oven right on the truck, and Tasting Maine on Saturday, which flies in all its seafood fresh from Maine and the north Atlantic, have become two top favorites.
“The menus are smaller, by the fact that they do not have a full kitchen and full walk-in refrigerator, but they are able to do a lot of really creative things and they stay focused on being street food,” Yurchuck said.
When it comes to beer, locals are reaching for Belgian beers and IPAs. Yurchuck said “IPAs outsell our other beers almost three to one.”
“With beer and food, we like to keep it mixed up with a wide variety of different cuisines and different beer styles. We offer the latest and greatest,” Yurchuck said.
“It is a little bit easier with beer, we get a lot of new beers coming in to the state all the time, whether it is our local brews producing new lines or brews like Atwater, which is the latest to come into the Atlanta market. If I am not getting bored doing it, then it’s working.”
“We do our best to create an environment that people can feel comfortable in and that goes in all aspects of our overall vibe,” Yurchuck said.