The Flying Falafel Brothers will officially begin flaunting their newly-permitted stuff on Saturday, April 21, during downtown Asheville’s Earth Day festivities. After that, the truck, serving falafel, fries and other lunch-appropriate items such as lavash-bread sandwiches, can be found semi-regularly at the Lot at 51 Coxe Ave.
The brothers in question, chefs Craig Schulz and Shaun Parcels, have a combined 25-plus years of professional food-industry experience. Even better? They’ve managed to snag the year’s last permit for food-truck vending in the central business district. Followers of the food-truck battle may recall that only 10 are issued per year.
“What a blessing,” says Schulz, speaking on behalf of the duo (Parcels is in Morocco doing a little “food safari,” he says). The permit, he adds, is only good until January of 2013. And what happens after that? Will food-truck vendors arm-wrestle for the next set of 10? “I don’t know the answer to that, actually,” laughs Schulz. “That’s a good question. There were a lot of hoops to jump through, but I can understand the restrictions and for then to want a certain level of standards.”
Followers of the food-truck saga may also note that one of the pioneers of the movement, Suzy Phillips, also deals in falafel. And what happens if the two falafel trucks are scheduled for the same day at the Lot — will there be falafel wars? “No, nothing like that, no falafel wars,” Schulz says. “Our cuisines are pretty different. Yes, we both do falafel, but … I’d say that our style is less traditional.”
“We’ll have about five types of fries and multiple lavash sandwiches,” Schulz says of the menu. “We’ll do a lot of specials depending on what’s local, fresh and seasonally available.” The price point will stay under $10 for a meal and a drink, the chef says. “We’ll offer light, healthier foods — platters and salads — when we’re serving lunch in the Lot.” Lighter than the 1-pound serving of chili-cheese fries on the festival menu? “Yes, exactly,” says Schulz.
Schulz, who lived in both Los Angeles and New York before moving here, says that street food is much more plentiful there — and the mobile-vending bounty has greatly influenced his style. Schulz, trained at the Natural Gourmet Cookery School, has worked as a chef at Warren Wilson College for more than a decade, using sustainable and local meats and produce to feed the students there. “I’ve been trained in whole-food cooking, so we’re bringing all of those values to the truck,” Schulz says. Warren Wilson College Farm beef appears on his menu. He also culls goods from other local purveyors — Spinning Spider Creamery for feta cheese, for example.
The Flying Falafel Brothers also work with Blue Ridge Biodiesel, Mountain Foods, Blue Ridge food Ventures and are working to get Living Wage certified.
Visit the Flying Falafel Brothers’ Facebook page for scheduling and more information.