The 2016 Food Truck Fight started with 48 food trucks five weeks ago and we have narrowed that down to one winner. Guerrilla Street Food, owned and operated by Brian Hardesty and Joel Crespo, has won this year’s Food Truck Fight.
“I can’t believe so many people continued to vote for us every week,” Brian Hardesty, chef and co-owner of Guerrilla Street Food, said. “We really, really appreciate that.”
Guerrilla has been a serious contender since day one of this year’s competition, beating its first matchup, Pnoy Kings, with 79 percent of the vote. The food truck continued dominating the competition, beating Bombay Food Junkies with 72 percent of the vote in round two and St. LouisanaQ in round three, with 66 percent of the vote.
Its matchup before the final round was Mission Taco Truck, which Guerrilla defeated easily with 64 percent of the vote. And it beat out Seoul Taco and Gioia’s Deli Food Truck in the final round, with 44 percent of the vote.
Guerrilla Street Food, launched about five years ago, has dominated not just our competition, but the food truck scene in St. Louis.
During its first year in business, the food truck won a best food truck competition from the Riverfront Times and appeared on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.” The food truck also won a best dish in St. Louis competition, beating out several local restaurants.
Hardesty and Crespo first started discussing a food truck business about seven years ago, while Hardesty worked as an executive chef at Terrene. Crespo was working for a local funeral home, designing headstones.
“We kept hearing people talk about food trucks and saw a lot of television shows talk about them, too, so we decided we wanted to be leaders in this field, at least in St. Louis,” Hardesty said.
The two invested about $30,000 to get a truck and build it out. The truck itself cost about $2,800, but building it out and the equipment required a lot more than that.
They decided on Filipino food because no one else was really doing it, and plus, Crespo is Filipino, so Hardesty knew he had the right resources to teach himself how to cook the food.
“Filipino food is amazing and the culture is never ending,” Hardesty said. “I’ll probably never learn how to cook all of it, but that’s exciting for me as a chef because I’m always learning.”
The Flying Pig — spicy slow-roasted pulled pork on a bed of jasmine rice and topped with a poached egg — is the food truck’s most popular menu item, and it has been for the last five years, Hardesty said.
The duo opened a brick-and-mortar restaurant last year at 3559 Arsenal St., after a $50,000 investment. A complete redo of the space was needed, including a build out of the kitchen, as well as the dining area and the bathroom.
When asked what the two have planned next, Hardesty says more restaurants and food trucks are in the near future, both in St. Louis and outside the area. A restaurant in Chicago is currently being worked on.
To catch the Guerrilla Street Food truck, visit their Facebook page.
Credit: St. Louis Business Journal – Veneta Rizvic