Alex Salas spent the last twenty years working as a captain at Chicago's storied and respected Les Nomades French restaurant, which was widely considered to have been robbed of a well-deserved a Michelin star last year--it's also the highest Zagat-rated establishment in the city. But his wife Allison became homesick for Texas not long ago, and they headed back home to Dallas. Now, they're opening the city's first vegan food truck: the Jackalope Mobile Kitchen, a "meat-free gastrowagon."
Eater Dallas had to know more about Salas, who went from serving the uppermost of upscale French food to, well ... working out of a food truck he's hoping to pay for via social media fundraising site Kickstarter. He says he and his wife had always wanted to open a restaurant and had been keeping tabs on the food truck trend on television shows. When they moved back to Dallas a couple of months ago, they decided that a truck was "the most economical."
They also found that the Dallas dining scene left a lot to be desired, so they decided to take matters into their own hands. Says Salas: "I wasn't really that crazy about the menus and the food scene here in Dallas, so I just went for it." Instead of waiting around for someone else to open a restaurant he liked, "I thought this would be the best deal, for me and my wife to do it ourselves."
Salas will be doing the cooking while his wife works on design and operations, and the truck's already on order from a specialized food truck company that Salas says should cut down on red-tape as far as permits go. Their menu: "familiar foods that anyone could eat. Most meat-eaters would have this on their menu, but we're just going to do it in a vegan style."
"When my wife was vegan and I wasn't, I'd order these types of things," remembers Salas. "It was very comforting for me to order something I knew." He says he's most proud of his "meatball" sandwich, but overall, people should find their menu to be accessible no matter their dietary preferences. "We're going to substitute the meat and protein and make it so it's very similar in texture and flavor." However, Salas says they're not doing a veggie burger because "it'd be the only thing people ordered."
As for the Kickstarter, Salas says he's "very confident we're going to be over-funded." They're at $700 of $10,000 with 34 days left. Even now, Salas knows where every dollar will go. "We already have it all tallied up, and we're ready for it to come through our little fingers."