Sometimes, life throws some pretty tough decisions at you. Especially where food is concerned.
The solution to all my sadly unfulfilled cravings for barbecue and creme brulee at the same time is almost here, you guys.
Lawrence’s new food truck collaboration, Fork to Fender, is slated to open “early next week” at 1447 W. 23rd St., co-owner Julia Ireland has confirmed.
Ireland — who also owns the Torched Goodness creme brulee truck and cart with her husband, Eric — has four local vendors along for the ride with her: Drasko’s, The Purple Carrot, Wilma’s Real Good Food and Fine Thyme Food. Together, they’re forming what Ireland calls a “community food hub” at the spot formerly occupied by Granddaddy’s BBQ in southwest Lawrence.
Here’s how it’ll work, at least initially: Fork to Fender’s restaurant will serve a menu of mostly Torched Goodness (which, in addition to its creme brulee, will also branch out into savory offerings) with a handful of items from The Purple Carrot. Because the other vendors can’t commit to kitchen duty every day, there might be one night a week — Wilma’s on Saturdays, for instance — when a different truck owner will take over the Fork to Fender kitchen with their menu.
In addition, certain days of the week will see different trucks parked outside the restaurant. When the weather cools down, business will move inside.
If you’re wondering what this schedule might look like, Ireland didn’t give out specific dates but says it’ll all be “pretty widely publicized ahead of time” on Fork to Fender’s Facebook page.
Despite its brick-and-mortar location, Fork to Fender’s restaurant will remain “true to street food” while offering “something for every dietary choice or restriction,” Ireland says.
“It’s an eclectic menu,” she says. “Everything will be made in-house, from scratch. We really tried to cover everything.”
Right now, that includes comfort-food classics like chili, meatloaf, potpies and pasta dishes, plus more “unusual” creations like chipotle artichoke dip, spinach balls (think meatballs minus the meat) and something called “cheeseburger pie.”
The Irelands have also recently secured an alcohol permit, which means plenty of Free State Brewing Co. on tap, plus other craft beers, wines and a few specialty drinks. And, in the winter, Mexican hot chocolate — no alcohol in that one.
The storefront will also sell favorites from the farmers market year-round, including selections from Lecompton-based Kroeger’s Country Meats, Lawrence’s Fresh Coffee Roastery and Mr. Bacon BBQ.
“It’s been a learning curve,” Ireland says of her “community food hub,” but she’s been encouraged by the folks who have stopped in during renovations.
There’s nothing like Fork to Fender along the bustling restaurant hotspot along 23rd Street, they tell her.
There’s nothing like it in all of Lawrence, really. At least for now.
Fork to Fender hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, though Ireland says that’s subject to change. We’ll keep an eye out to see when the place officially opens — hopefully soon, because now I’ve got a serious hankering for cheeseburger pie.