Food trucks expand the Brunswick Mall menu
BRUNSWICK — Food carts are popping up on street corners around the country, and Brunswick is no exception.
While hot dogs have always been standard fare on the Mall thanks to Danny's Dogs, this year outdoor diners will have a wealth of culinary options, ranging from burritos to Asian stir-fry.
Newcomers Patricia Boissevain and Damian Gormley are opening up Northeast Noodle in an eye-catching orange cart.
Gormley will be the principal chef, tossing noodle stir-fries on demand. Customers will be able to pick from three types of Japanese noodles, vegetables, and their choice of protein. He said he would try to source his food as locally as possible, and described the stir-fries as hearty and reasonably priced and "distinctly a north-country, Maine kind of food."
Gormley said cooking has always been a hobby he has excelled at without trying. He decided to open a noodle business after he and Boissevain "kept joking about his knack for taking a box of mac and cheese and making it into an outstanding meal."
He previously was a stir-fry chef at the State University of New York in Plattsburg, and has also worked as a farmer, sculptor and welder in the Adirondacks.
After moving to Maine last summer, Gormley found a food cart for sale in Sharon and bought it. He said he was motivated to open a food stand partly because it was difficult to find other jobs, but also because he is used to working for himself.
"I've had my own business for most of my life so it wasn't a big reach to start seeking something we could do," he said.
He said he hopes to be open weekends by the end of April.
Just down the pathway, Jonathan Holmes will soon be starting his second season inside the Lola's Taqueria cart.
"This season should be great as we don't have to figure everything out for the first time," he said in an email.
Lola's features California-style burritos and tacos. Holmes said this type of Mexican food, which highlights “really fresh food, more vegetables, local tomatoes, regionally produced things," is a trend that is just beginning to arrive in Maine.
He said he was inspired by the street-food vendors he saw in Papeete, Tahiti, where he sailed while working as a cook on a research vessel.
He recalled "a large plaza that filled with up to 25 food vendors every night. It was this vibrant place ... with hundreds of people eating and socializing and then in the morning it was gone, only to return the following evening. So there is a little of that vibe in what we do on the Mall."
Holmes said while he likes working in food service, he doesn't enjoy the typical restaurant schedule.
"I don't enjoy working the nighttime restaurant hours," he said. "My wife is in grad school to be a teacher, and I didn't want an opposite schedule."
While Holmes said he has enjoyed the off-season, he's looking forward to opening this weekend.
"People love to eat in the park and people love Mexican food, so we are just out there making people happy," he said.
David Brown of Wrappers said he is also looking forward to opening up on the mall. Wrappers has been around for 17 years, but Brown, who worked at Brunswick Naval Air Station for 30 years, took over just four years ago.
Wrappers specializes in its namesake: wraps. Chicken Caesar, veggie, and Buffalo chicken are three of the most popular, and he also serves fresh-squeezed lemonade.
Since taking over the stand, Brown has added flavors of Round Top ice cream, lobster rolls and new kinds of wraps. This season he said he plans to introduce $5 lunch specials.
"That seems to be where the market is for lunch," he said, and pointed to fast-food chains like Subway that are doing similar offers.